User avatar
Topic Author
Posts: 287
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:18 am

Nikon Pro-level Lens Dilemma

Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:35 am

Dear spotters,
Time is getting closer to my birthday and I want to get a pro-level lens for myself as a gift.
I want to bring my photography to the better level and invest in good lens.
Apart from aviation photography this lens will be used for family photos in parks and streets, exhibitions, zoo, sport events.
I have two options, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR[latest version] and Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 with AF-S.
I may consider buying converter in the future.
What would you chose and why?

With best regards from Almaty
Posts: 221
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:58 am

RE: Nikon Pro-level Lens Dilemma

Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:48 am

Personally, I'd save and go right for the 80-400 AF-S given the great performance, and overall reach when mated to a DX body. However, if you need a quicker lens for lower-light photography and fast action, the 70-200 f 2.8 will be the better choice. It's also a lot cheaper.
Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF
Posts: 343
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 8:40 am

RE: Nikon Pro-level Lens Dilemma

Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:12 am

The 70-200mmVR is the only 'pro' level lens of the two. The 80-400mmVR is considered a consumer lens
User avatar
Posts: 888
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 4:05 am

RE: Nikon Pro-level Lens Dilemma

Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:33 am

Don't get caught up in the snobbery of "pro" or "consumer". Get the lens that suits your budget and needs.
User avatar
Posts: 14569
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:37 pm

RE: Nikon Pro-level Lens Dilemma

Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:57 am

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 2):
The 70-200mmVR is the only 'pro' level lens of the two. The 80-400mmVR is considered a consumer lens

In my view, the 80-400mm falls between those stools, but closer to the pro one. At £2,000 in the UK, it's price certainly wouldn't put it in the 'consumer' category. I hate the word, but I'd see it as a 'prosumer' lens - a lens for the pretty serious amateur.

Quoting derekf (Reply 3):
Don't get caught up in the snobbery of "pro" or "consumer". Get the lens that suits your budget and needs.


I've been very fortunate and been able to buy a pretty good collection of lenses, but I started off with low-end bodies and light, plastic consumer lenses. I was still perfectly able to produce shots good enough for this site.

I have the older generation of the 70-200mm and it's been carted all over the World for the last seven years. It's taken a beating and is looking a little tatty around the edges, but is still one of my two favourite lenses.

I also have the original 80-400mm and it's not a great lens. Don't get me wrong, it can produce very good results but AF is painfully slow and in low light it's not a great performer. At the time, it was the one Nikon lens that gave great range and for a long time was one of only two lenses I used. Ironically, having replaced it, I now carry four lenses to cover the range that two used to. They also weigh about five times as much as the old lenses. While undoubtedly optically superior, I'm not sure it's progress.   

If I was in the market now, I'd probably go for the 80-400mm. Doubly so if it can use the 1.4TC.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
There are 10 types of people in the World - those that understand binary and those that don't.
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:28 am

RE: Nikon Pro-level Lens Dilemma

Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:48 am

I recently went through this dilemma. I am a DX shooter, the 7100 produces very large images, see no need to go FX.

My trusted 70-300 VR dust pump produced 40,000 photo's. now full of mold and dust it was beyond repair. I also looked closely at both lenses. What made my decision, I rented both and shot every type of photo. The conclusion was simple. A F/2.8 lens allows me absolute control of the foreground and background. Since my photos are about capturing not only the object but the environment around the object I can produce dramatic composition, not just photo's. For me it is not the hardware that wow's other photographers but the final results.

I will share one example. I was at North Las Vegas Airport, listening on the scanner for the next approaching aircraft. In front of me a bird landed on the top of the perimeter fence. It was a very colorful photo and decided to capture it as it left it's perch. Behind the bird was a shopping center and a mountain range. I set the camera for max bookah. As the bird left it's perch I captured it at 1/1600 , F/4, ISO 200. I only got one shot. I was stunning, only the bird in focus, wings up, mouth opened, and the image background totally blurred. I is the best birding photo I have ever taken. Why do I shoot birds and insects flying? I you can master these shots, aircraft is no problem!

I now shoot with a 24-75mm F/2.8 and a 70-200mm F/2.8 and use a 1.7 teleconverter for smaller aircraft or longer reach. Pro lenses, who cares, expensive, who cares, it is all about results. This is the last glass I will ever need to buy and your worst photo will blow away anything you see on this site. That is if you have the skills.

Good Luck


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Popular Searches On

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos