How good can an old lens be?

Well… I have a few very nice lenses in my collection now, but one of my favourites is one of the oldest lenses I have. It’s a Nikon AF 80-200mm F2.8 (two touch) that I bought from ebay second-hand (or perhaps third or fourth hand who knows as it could be over 15 years old) a few years ago . It was the first truly “professional” lens in my collection.

It cost me the pricely sum of £410, which sounds a lot for a tube with some glass in, but for a professional lens of this size and maximum aperture it’s not.. by a long way.. in fact it was a bargain as I was to find out when I came to start using it. It’s a bit shabby looking, but it works perfectly and the glass is in tip top condition.

Performance shot taken with 80-200mm F2.8
Performance rehearsal shot taken with 80-200mm F2.8.

And wow… what glass. I soon discovered why professional lenses are such. It’s sharp, very sharp, it’s fast – even though it’s an old fashioned screw type focus lens using the in-body focus motor it still focusses very quickly, and it’s also fast in the sense of light gathering ability or maximum aperture. F2.8 at 200mm is a very, very useful feature to have.  It also renders the out of focus background really nice and softly too.

It’s a big, and very heavy lens to cart around and use (I have achy shoulders after using it for an evening event for example) but the results are well worth it. Probably the best value for money piece of equipment I’ve ever

bought… plus if I were to sell it I’d probably get pretty much what I paid for it… and possibly even more. There may be newer and higher tech alternatives out there (the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 VR is the obvious one) but for sheer bang for the buck this 80-200mm cannot be beaten.  Highly recommended.Problem is after using one professional grade lens… it was difficult not to want more…. 😉