80-200 f/2.8 (push-pull) or 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR

Started Jun 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
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jl55378008
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80-200 f/2.8 (push-pull) or 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR
Jun 26, 2013

I've got a few hundred dollars to put towards my next lens for my D7000. The gap I'm trying to fill is that mid-long zoom. Most of what I shoot is in daylight (mainly my kid right now), but my other big interest is concert photography, which of course demands fast glass.

I had basically decided on the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR, but yesterday I was doing some reading and saw a lot of favorable things about old 80-200 2.8 AF-D push/pull. It sounds like it has great IQ, and used copies are going for around $350-400, which is still within what I can spend. It seems like it could be the perfect thing to get me into dark rooms on a budget, but I'm a bit torn.

I keep going over a few things in my head that are making it a hard choice:

1) Weight.  f/2.8 glass is very heavy, and I'll be using it largely to take pictures of my young kid. I'm worried that it will be too cumbersome, and I'll end up not using it that much as a result. It will be great in low-light, but that's more of a specialty situation, rather than a day-to-day for me.

2) Speed. The vast majority of what I'd shoot with it would be outdoors in daylight, so all that heavy glass wouldn't really benefit me that much. BUT, there's always going to be that indoor event that will make me wish I could open wide, especially since one of my main interests is getting into concert photography (as an amateur).

3) IQ. I've seen some really impressive shots with the 70-300, but with the 80-200 being as old as it is, there's not much online in the way of real reviews with sample images. Some say that IQ is fantastic above f/4 and very good below, but others say that the push/pull isn't as good optically as the later models.

4) Stability/safety. I'm nervous about hanging 3 lbs. of glass off of my D7000, especially in situations when I'll be toting it around all day, like trips to the park or music festivals. Also, the push/pull doesn't have a tripod mount, which I don't foresee being a huge deal since I rarely shoot with one (and I have a Tamron 28-75 2.8 that I could use for portraiture), but it will limit me somewhat in what I can shoot with it.

I'm leaning toward the 70-300, but a part of me wants to buy the 80-200, try it for a while, and return or sell it if I don't like it. Unfortunately I can't justify the $300 jump in price from the push/pull to the newer two-touch model, which seems to get universal praise.

Any advice from shooters with experience with these two lenses would be awesome. Thanks.

Nikon D7000
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