Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 ED vs 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S VR2 Zoom Lens Nikkors

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Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 ED versus Nikon 70-200mm f2.8G AF-S VR2 -Click image to see full size

If you follow my blog at all, you know I love the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR II AF-S. It is one of my go to lenses.   Search within the blog and you will see several articles about this excellent lens.  It is a love story.

Recently, I had an opportunity to buy an inexpensively priced copy of the Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 ED (two ring model) so I tried it.

What makes the 80-200mm 2.8 ED better than the 70-200 VR2? 

  • Typically cheaper, by less than half – NICE FEATURE
  • Smaller, (187mm vs 205.5mm) quite a bit more compact in overall length, see photo
  • Lighter, (1300 Grams vs 1540 Grams) quite a bit less metal to lug around  – NICE FEATURE
  • Manual focus has very quick turn from infinity to close 1/4 turn total – FAST
  • Focus limit switch – 1/8 turn from far to near within the focus limits – Faster within focus range
  • Smaller attached tripod foot – You won’t lose it, it is secure to the lens

What makes the 70-200 VR2 better?

  • VR2 (second generation vibration reduction), I can take shots at 1/13 sec hand-held at 200mm on a Nikon D7000 body – NICE FEATURE
  • Sharper less chromatic aberration, more ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements
  • AF-S Automatic focusing is fast.  This is my fastest focusing lens – NICE FEATURE
  • Easy manual focus override by twisting the focus ring
  • Manual focus has about 3/8 turn travel total – ACCURATE
  • Near focus is closer (4.6′ vs 4.9′) – NICE FEATURE
  • Detachable tripod foot – You can save some space and add a quick release plate to the foot for quicker on and off attachments to a tripod via the removable foot. Sometimes, it may be a bit loose if you are not paying attention…

Lets get down to cases


  • If you want a clear pro lens and your budget is under $1000, the 80-200mm f2.8 ED is the clear choice, end of story.  Shop for some new or used units of the 80-200 2.8 on Amazon by clicking here.
  • If you want the best glass and can take the extra weight and size, and got about two to three times the $ in your budget, click here  to check out some units of the 70-200 2.8 VRii on Amazon.

Type of photography you do:

Why is this important?

Different feature take on different importance for different types of photography.

VR is a great feature for people who shoot hand-held, or perhaps on a monopod.    VR is fairly useless on a tripod with a cable release type shooting.

If you shoot landscapes on a tripod, or slowly moving mammals on a tripod, you may not use the VR.

If you shoot portraits, without a tripod, the 70-200 VR2 is a great choice.  Being able to focus a couple inches closer can make the difference between a shot or no shot in portrait  photos.

For large mammals, close focus may mean the bear eats you…  And, a bit of lighter weight, plus the lower cost of a lens carried into the elements may be a deciding factor.

For my kind of photography, the 70-200mm 2.8 VR2 is the clear choice.

For your photo style, the 80-200 2.8 (two ring version, not the older push-pull version) may have some clear advantages, beyond just its more affordable price.

Indeed, if your shooting style doesn’t require VR, close range focusing and/or the very fastest in focusing, a case for buying the 80-200mm f2.8 ED lens, for this focal range coverage, may be made fairly strongly.




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