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Review by Markus Stamm, published August 2012
The Nikkor AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8 IF-ED, introduced late in 1998, was one of the first AF-S lenses. In fact it was the first zoom lens that featured the then new sonic wave driven autofocus. It was discontinued and replaced by the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm VR less than 5 years after its announcement.
In this review we'll have a look at how the lens performs on our current FX test camera, the Nikon D3x.
The lens was targeted at professional users and consequently the build quality is superb. Most outer parts are made of metal and carry the crinkle finish typical for professional grade Nikkor lenses at that time.
The focus and zoom rings operate very smoothly and slightly damped. The length of the lens remains constant regardless of the focus and zoom settings and the front element does not rotate thanks to an IF (internal focusing) design.
A removable tripod collar is part of the lens. Unfortunately, it is not on the same quality level as the rest of the lens and does not offer sufficient stability for serious tripod work (a fate this lens shares with the AF-S 300/4 and the AF-D 80-400 VR). Anyone planning to use this lens on a tripod should seriously consider investing in a third-party collar for tremendously increased stability. In addition, these replacement collars usually also feature an Arca Swiss compatible mount. Our review unit pictured on this page featured such a third-party collar.
The left side of the lens barrel carries two control switches. The upper one switches between AF (with manual override) and purely manual focus modes. The second switch is a focus limiter. Between the zoom and focus rings the lens carries a set of buttons distributed around the barrel. Unlike on higher end prime lenses, those buttons are not configurable and only provide AF stop functionality.
Thanks to its silent-wave (ultrasonic) AF motor the lens provides very fast and near-silent AF operations as well as manual focus override at any time.
Just like the lens, the huge HB-17 hood has long been discontinued and is quite difficult to find nowadays. Several Chinese sellers offer replacements for an affordable price, but we can't comment on their quality. Another option to replace the original hood is the 70-200 VR's HB-29 hood. With very minor modification to the lens' bayonet mount this hood locks into place on the AF-S 80-200, too, and requires less space in the camera bag.
|Optical construction||18 elements in 14 groups inc. 5 ED elements|
|Number of aperture blades||9 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||1.5m (max. magnification ratio 1:6.3)|
|Filter size||77mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||Nikon HB-17, petal-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied|
|Other features||Sonic-wave drive (AF-S). Removable tripod collar.|