New Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 or Cracked Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HM-8404, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. HM-8404 macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2009
    Indio, California
    I am an amateur photographer in need of a 70-200mm f/2.8. I have been eyeballing the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 for a while now and at $699, new, it's a great price. I know the biggest set back on that lens is the poor AF quality. Right before I pulled the trigger on purchasing the Tamron, I found an awesome deal on a Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 (two-ring version) for $620. Its not the range I want but I'm hoping I can deal with the 10mm. The catch with the Nikon is that the A/M focus ring is cracked, which is the major design flaw of this model. I figure this could be a quick fix with some super glue or epoxy. I am just hesitant to purchase something that is already broken.

    What would most of you do in this situation?

    Buy the brand new Tamron which has the 70-200mm range and a 6 year warranty but suffers from poor AF or buy the used Nikon 80-200mm which is pro-glass but will need some work.

    ..And let me politely stop some of you now by letting you know I am on deployment to Afghanistan and can not justify spending $2000 on the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, as much as I would love to.
  2. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
  3. Praksis macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2011
    If you can test, or have a friend test it for you, the Nikon and confirm that it's only a cracked AF ring cosmetic problem and not something like the current owner dropped the lens and on top of cracking the focusing ring it also damaged some internal parts... i would go for the Nikon for $620.

    Also test/have your friend test, the lens for dust, on top of being a push-pull lens (that tend to suck in dust even when new) the damaged focusing ring might have made that much worse.
  4. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    I think the AF problems you hear about with third-party lenses are blown out of proportions, some people fear third-party lenses. But I think this is a bit undeserved, especially for more expensive third-party lenses.

    That being said, I have a 80-200 mm Nikkor, the second push-pull version with AF-D (meaning the lens transmits the distance to the camera). Without hesitation, I can say it's the best lens in my camera bag. AF action of the push-pull version is noticeably slower than that on newer versions, but I found that this isn't a problem for my shooting style. Note that the optical construction is the same as in this lens.

    I would be hesitant to buy a damaged lens. I'd only buy it after having seen and tested it thoroughly. I have paid about 200 € to get my 80-200 mm fixed (there was some dried salt on one of the lenses, so it had to be disassembled, cleaned and reassembled). If I were in your situation, I'd probably look elsewhere for another lens or get the Tamron. It has received good reviews.
  5. flosseR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2009
    the cold dark north
    i had that 80-200 Nikon and i am regretting every day i let it go.. it was VERY nice.. but make sure it really is a cosmetic thing..

    Besides the 70-200 VR from Nikon i found only 1 lens to be better than the 80-200 and that was the 70-200 Sigma Macro II ..

    That lens should be on your consideration list.. but with sigma its hit and miss so you might wanna tread careful there..
  6. mackmgg macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2007
    Their quality control isn't the best, but Sigma is usually pretty good at replacing bad copies. I was lucky that my lens was great on the first copy, but from what I've heard, Sigma will replace it without hassle if something is wrong.
  7. SDColorado Contributor


    Nov 6, 2011
    Highlands Ranch, CO
    One of the benefits of Nikon and Canon glass, is that it is top quality and it holds its value. This is evident in the fact that the 80-200, even with the cracked A/M focus ring, is selling for nearly what the new Tamron 70-200 is going for. Good luck selling the Tamron for even half of what you paid for it even a year down the road. Not to say that all Tamron lenses are bad, and I own one or two myself, but they are not as consistently good, nor do they hold their value as well.

    The 80-200 is an excellent lens, but it does have that flaw where the A/M focus ring is susceptible to breaking. I have heard of some folks saying that they have done repairs on them, even with duct tape, and others who have had them replaced. I believe the repair is about $160-ish. Nikon lenses will last for ever, so it isn't as though the money would be poorly spent if you had it repaired.

    Of course if you are buying it online and can't check it out before buying, you are always taking a gamble. That is where the advantage of new can be of a benefit, but otherwise the 80-200 is an excellent Nikon lens.
  8. HM-8404 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2009
    Indio, California
    i ended up buying the sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 HSM II. I ended up on the fence between this one and the tamron, both had great reviews, but i found more people online returning the tamron for the sigma than the other way around.

    my initial impression of the lens has been great. the bokeh is creamy smooth. separation is great. its pretty sharp, but not as tact sharp as ive seen with examples of the nikon 70-200mm but at 1/3 of the price i guess i cant be too picky. the lens is built like a tank, weighs as much as one too. not having any type of VR/OS has been kindve a pain. ive missed a lot of my test shots playing with the lens due to camera shake, but then again im shooting stationary things in my barracks at 200mm. the "macro" feature is all advertising from what ive found. i think i had a closer focusing range on my 55-200mm that it replaced. all in all the lens seems to be working for me right now..

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