Nikon AF-S 80-200 f2.8 review

After getting this lens back from repairs, I felt like it finally needed a review on my website.

My first tele lens was the Nikkor 70-300 ED. This was a fine lens for playing around, but also the first lens where I really quickly felt limited. The images were soft, and the lack of light gathering ability was severely limiting in most but the sunniest of circumstances.

After being asked if I would like to do some sports photography for the local American Football team, I started looking for a replacement telelens. The 70-300 just couldn’t cope with that kind of abuse.

Through a local photographer I found a solution. As the 70-200 f2.8 that was just released was way to expensive for me, I started looking for a second-hand lens. I finally found it in the hands of a photo journalist who wanted to replace his 80-200 with the new 70-200. For a very good price, I could take it off his hands. Even though being owned by a journalist usually means it would’ve taken a considerable amount of abuse over the years, I couldn’t resist and went for it.

As it turns out, the lens was in a very good state. It is very fast, and very sharp. It is very heavy as well. But that is something you learn to live with. It’s the second best lens in my arsenal, the first place being taken by the 17-55 f2.8.

Unfortunately, after more then a decade of good service, it started having some problems. As they mostly related to the focus motor and sharpness, these problems took the lens to the closet to collect dust.

A year later I got annoyed by the absence of a good telephoto lens in my lineup. Taken aback by the price of a new one (over 1900 euro) I finally send it back to Nikon to have it repaired. The repair was costly, but totally worth it. I’m happy to have my lens back, equipped with new rubber components, lens mount and AF-S motor.

To me, it feels important to have good glass. I want my lenses to be reliable, so when a picture turns out bad, I know it is because of something I did, and not because of some manufacturing error or weakness in the design of the lens. When you buy into professional lenses, you know that you will be able to use them for 10 years, and be able to have them repaired and survive another 10 years.

Now if it would only start raining less (the lens can handle it, I just can’t) I can start shooting with it again.