How I almost bought the Nikkor 70-200 f/4

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nampramos
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How I almost bought the Nikkor 70-200 f/4
7 months ago

I am the kind of photographer that doesn't read much about photography or keeps an eye on all the new gear that keeps coming out. Since before last week, I didn't even knew this lens existed and I can't really remember how I came across it but I have now went through at least 10 reviews of the Nikkor 70-200 f/4.

After reading the first review, which talked marvels about the lens and how well it performed that I simply kept on going, reading review after review, until today at lunch time, when I decided that I'd be selling my Nikkor AF 180 f/2.8 and buy the 70-200 f/4 that I'd been reading wonders about for the past week or so.

The decision to sell the 180/2.8 came quite easy just because I bought this lens second hand (together with the Nikkor DX 18-55 II and the Nikkor DX Fisheye 10.5 f2.8). Although used lenses, anyone could have said they were brand new, so good were their condition since the previous owner didn't really give them much use. For the 3 I paid only 700 euro, already with shipping included.

Size comparison between 18-55 II, 180/2.8 and Fisheye 10,5/2.8

So why did I change my mind?

Well, when I went online to check the price of a brand new 180/2.8 at Amazon UK (which is still sold brand new for 695 british pound (~830 euro) I went through the only 6 reviews that this lens got and it simply took me out of the state of hypnosis I had entered about a week ago when I first read a review on the 70-200/4.

I then thought to myself, why in hell would I ever consider selling the 180/2.8? Especially since last Sunday I sold the two lenses I had bought together with it for 500 euro. So basically, after selling the two lenses, the 180/2.8 effectively cost me only 200 euro (and even better, it is the metal version)!

Even though I was completely out of my mind about selling the 180/2.8, all those great reviews I had read the previous days kept popping up in my mind, and honestly, the idea of getting a new lens felt pretty good.

So instead of keep on doing the work I was doing before lunch, I grabbed my Nikon D7100 with the 180/2.8 attached to it and went for a walk with the dog with only one thing in mind: shoot, hand held on a pretty cloudy and grey day, in aperture priority at f/4 and find something wrong with the 180/2.8 and go back home as quickly as possible to set up a sale ad for it.

So what did I end up doing when I got back home? First I will show you some photos from today.

100% crop from a Nikon D7100 + Nikkor AF 180 f/2.8

This image did not get any processing at all. It is in fact a print screen from 100% view on LR5 of the NEF file.

Full size image (resized to 1MP) of the above 100% crop from a Nikon D7100 + Nikkor AF 180 f/2.8

This is the resized (1MP) exported to jpg from LR5 which did not get any processing at all (not even the "sharpening for screen" which can be selected on the export window that pops out).

Pretty sharp for me, but continued saying to myself that I really want the 70-200/4, so here goes another one.

Full size image (resized to 1MP) from a Nikon D7100 + Nikkor AF 180 f/2.8

This is pretty much as close as one can auto focus with the 180/2.8 on Chewbacca's face.

And now the last two photos, 100% crop and full size.

100% crop from a Nikon D7100 + Nikkor AF 180 f/2.8

Again, this image did not get any processing at all. It is in fact a print screen from 100% view on LR5 of the NEF file.

Full size image (resized to 1MP) from a Nikon D7100 + Nikkor AF 180 f/2.8

And again, this is the resized (1MP) exported to jpg from LR5 which did not get any processing at all (not even the "sharpening for screen" which can be selected on the export window that pops out).

So, I did mention that I really wanted the 70-200/4, didn't I?

Do I still want it?

My photographers heart says YES! but my rational brain say NO!

Although not directly comparable lenses for many, for me they would end up getting the same use since I would use the 70-200/4 fully zoomed out 90% of the time.

My photos are either wide (or super wide) angles or close ups of whatever I find interesting on the streets. Since I shoot with a Nikon D7100, this 180/2.8 is actually equivalent to a 270/2.8 on the 35mm format which I think is more than enough to take some interesting portraits of strangers on the streets without breathing down their necks. The extra stop also comes in handy on a cloudy day like it was today. Shooting at f/4 was constantly bumping the auto ISO up, something that very rarely happens when shooting wide open at f/2.8 and at 1/500th sec (I don't have the steadiest of hands).

Conclusion (mine at least): never ever think about selling this amazing "little" lens, especially for some slower glass. For the reach, speed and relative small size, and having paid only 200 euro for it in mint condition, it is a definite keeper (at least if I keep shooting in DX and much likely still a keeper in FX as well).

For all of you that actually read this far, I thank you, and I wish you good luck on finding such a great deal as I did in case you got the need to have one now!

The Nikkor AF 180 f/2.8 is an excellent piece equipment and proof that old glass can still be fantastic on modern DSLRs.

Cheers,
André

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