Focus motors: In-body vs in-lens

Started Apr 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
Charles Currey
Contributing MemberPosts: 667Gear list
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Re: Focus motors: In-body vs in-lens
In reply to EKB, Apr 19, 2013

I have lots of experience with the 70-200 VRI with the AFs lens motor and the 135 AF D that uses the camera motor to focus the lens. I use both lenses in the same circumstances and shoot close to a million frames per year. Over the 10 years or so that I have used these lenses together I have used the D50, D200, D2Hs, D3 and currently a D3s. Probably I did not shoot a million frames per year with the D50 and D200 just because they shot fewer frames per second. During all that time and over all those years I never repaired or replaced the camera focus motor and never had the 135 repaired. The 70-200 worked well for the first six years or so, but over the most recent two or three years it has been in for repairs twice for focus failure. The most recent time the motor was replaced. I would guess I shot about equally with each lens.

Many might consider the 70-200 performance to be perfectly satisfactory, but for me it is very frustrating to be without this lens for a couple of weeks while it is repaired, and then there is the cost of repair, about $450.00. I am seriously considering the 80-200 f2.8 D as an alternative. I just don't know if it will focus fast enough. The 135 does focus fast enough, but it is much lighter and with many fewer glass elements than the 80-200 lens.

So, that's my experience for what it is worth. Yours may be different.

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Chuck Currey

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