Today, marked an important test for the Nikon AF NIKKOR 80-200mm 1:2.8D ED lens, whether or not I would keep it. I got the lens as part of a trade for use with my new Nikon D200. Field test was dramatic: Kensington, Md.’s annual Labor Day parade. The newer model 80-200mm lens costs about $1,000, while I got this older 80-200mm for a fraction of the price. I don’t mind a used, older lens—as long as it performs.

I wasn’t disappointed, but I also wasn’t overly impressed, either. Maybe having used a Canon 135mm Prime lens had spoiled me, raising my expectations about clarity and sharpness. More likely, from looking at the photos, I needed a lens hood. More time with the D200 (I hadn’t used one for almost a year) would have helped. 

I’m pleased enough to keep the lens, for the price. More than two-thirds of the 176 parade pictures were usable, even though many weren’t sharp enough. The sharpest pictures were those away from the bright sun. Unfortunately, the parade route put the sun in a bad position. This lens will definitely meet my needs, particularly for the price and what I can afford (We preparing to move!). I got a good enough deal and a more than good enough f/2.8 lens.

But I’d like your opinion. Please take a look at my Labor Day 2007 gallery. Did the Nikon 80-200mm lens deliver?

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