I just got my Nikon D7000 and I was not satisfied with the kit lens that came with it (18-105mm VR), so I have now set my eyes on an 80-200mm available for $1000 on a local store.

However, I have heard photography sites that say never to pair up the 80-200mm f/2.8 with a DX camera an instead to go for the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR2, which is more than twice the price of the 80-200.

For budget reasons, I am not able to go 70-200mm, but I would not want to waste money on an 80-200 if it will not work as I expect it.

I do mainly sports photography and candid shots of people from events, so I need the zoom and the f/2.8. I also plan to do small music videos, so I need the zoom and the f/2.8 aperture, again.

So why, exactly, do some people say not to pair up the f/2.8 80-200mm with DX cameras? Or in general, why would I not want to pair up a lens designed for FX cams with DX cams?

  • Very similar to this question we just got asking a similar thing for Canon, although not quite with such specificity: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/17028/…
    – mattdm
    Nov 8, 2011 at 3:59
  • 1
    yes. I just saw it. However, I wanted an answer from the Nikon owners as this 80-200 lens is quite "special" XD
    – Ygam
    Nov 8, 2011 at 4:06
  • Yeah, I'm not complaining, just putting the link there for people in the future. :)
    – mattdm
    Nov 8, 2011 at 4:07
  • A number of answers have said that the 80-200 f2.8 is not AF-S, whilst most 80-200s are not, Nikon did make an AF-S version too, from the question it's not entirely clear which @Ygam is talking about.
    – Dan
    Nov 10, 2011 at 8:01
  • Don't do it!! - The 80-200mm f/2.8 lens (AF-D) does not focus properly on a D7000 even though it worked very well on my D90. I ended up taking my D7000 back to the shop. I wish it had worked properly as it is otherwise a great camera. No probs with supplied lens or my 50mm AF-D - just with the 80-200mm f/2.8
    – user17836
    Mar 18, 2013 at 17:49

13 Answers 13


Maybe a Nikon expert will come along and given a better answer, but: I can't see any reason to be scared of this lens. Thom Hogan gives it a nice review, with the theme throughout that some of the lens's downsides are hidden from DX users: "DX users won't find a significant flaw, FX users will still be very happy, especially at f/4 and smaller."

The concern you may be seeing is that the lens doesn't isn't an AF-S lens, meaning it won't auto-focus on the entry-level Nikon bodies. That's not a problem with your D7000, however.

  • I initially read this Ken Rockwell review on the 80-200 and there was a paragraph, specifically the "Not For" paragraph which caught my attention. I wanted more opinion so I posted a question here in PSE: kenrockwell.com/nikon/80200.htm
    – Ygam
    Nov 8, 2011 at 5:04
  • 4
    I think I'd file that under Ken Rockwell just writing stuff without much thought, as he is prone to do. It sounds like he'd give the same advice for the 70-200mm f/2.8 (at least, if writing while in the same mood) — he's arguing that people with entry-level cameras don't need pro glass.
    – mattdm
    Nov 8, 2011 at 5:19
  • 5
    that's indeed Ken's premise, that there's no need for amateurs to buy quality lenses because they won't ever rise to the level of expertise where they can benefit from quality. Which is utter BS of course, and reeks of an overblown ego and elitism on his part.
    – jwenting
    Nov 8, 2011 at 6:55

The 70-200 isn't specifically better for DX cameras than the 80-200 -- it's probably a better lens, and it has AF-S and VR, which are both nice, but there's nothing about it that makes it a better fit for DX cameras.

Your friend might be incorrectly assuming that the D7000 has no in-body focus motor (thus requiring AF-S lenses such as the 70-200 for autofocus), because none of the other Dxx00 cameras have one.

I should also note that Nikon briefly made an 80-200 AF-S lens that would work fully with all Nikon DSLRs, but the current model of 80-200 is simply AF.


I've owned and used both the AFS 80-200 and the AFS 70-200 VR lenses extensively for sports with Nikon D2h, D2x, D300 and D3 bodies. The 70-200 is superior to the 80-200 in auto-focus speed and accuracy and the images produced by the 70-200 have better contrast. The 80-200 is a great lens, but the 70-200 is a superb lens, one of the best Nikon has ever made.

You can read a good review of the 70-200 at Bjorn Rorslett's website.

  • Agreed. I've owned both the push/pull and later versions of the 80-200mm, and have borrowed a 70-200mm on many occasions. The 80-200mm is fantastic. Until you use the 70-200 and realize how much snappier and accurate the focus is.
    – MikeW
    Jan 31, 2013 at 18:26

I also considered the Nikon 80-200mm F2.8 for my D90, and compared it to the second version of the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8. See Sigma 70-200mm vs Nikon 80-200mm Auto Focus Speed

I ended up buying the Sigma because it was cheaper, and had the HSM AF motor built-in (the Nikon requires an AF motor in the camera body, so the AF won't work with some older and/or lower end Nikon DSLRs that don't have a built-in AF motor), but the AF will work fine with the D7000, which does have a built-in AF motor).

The Sigma also has a 10 year warranty in Canada. Plus also, the only time I tried to evaluate the Nikon (at the Henry's Photo / Imaging Show in Toronto) the demo they gave me to try would not auto-focus at all (I took it as a sign!).

Having said that, my Sigma is currently in being tuned (it was front focusing) and evaluated (sometimes the AF system just stops working - see Reasons for Auto-Focus Freezing). I feel like the Sigma isn't always as sharp as I would like (hopefully fixing the front focusing will help).

If I had to do it again, I might buy the Nikon instead, but I do like my Sigma, and have gotten lots of great shots with it.

I don't think you'll have any problems with the Nikon on the D7000.

  • The Nikon AF-D will work on any and all Nikon bodies, with the exception that AF won't work on some lowend DSLR bodies lacking internal motors (the same is true of all AF-D and AF-G lenses). It will work on even the Nikon F and FM :) I too have the Sigma (for my D70s and D200) and am perfectly happy with it. Rugged, sharp, very reliable.
    – jwenting
    Nov 8, 2011 at 6:53
  • I thought I had implied that, but better to be explicit. I have have edited my response to clarify, thanks!
    – seanmc
    Nov 8, 2011 at 12:51

There is an issue combining the D7000 with the two ring 80-200mm f2.8 D ED. It will back focus bewteen 1-2 inchs. Even witht he fine tuning in the D7000 it will not properly focus at long focal lengths and wide open. The lens is tack sharp in Manual mode.

  • 3
    Is this just a personal experience with one lens and one body, or do you have data on this being commonplace?
    – Imre
    Jan 16, 2013 at 11:18
  • @Imre - I just had the same problem. 80-200 (the two-ring version) has become like a dream to me, I recently got the money, bought it and now, it's staying on my desk, prepared for returning. I have the same issue - backfocus. And it's really annoying, the fine tune is not enough (on -20 there's a little improvement, but far from enough; kinda good results are achieved at -20 and f/5.6, which is..). I googled about this problem and I actually saw, that there are a lot, a lot or problems with this combination. D7000 + 80-200 - exactly this body with exactly this version of the lens. Sad. Nov 25, 2013 at 8:44
  • Anyway, I'm not giving up this lens :) It's really, really great for the price, it's comfortable and super sharp. Yes, it cannot be compared to 70-200 VR/VR II, but the prices with these lenses cannot be compared, too. Unfortunately. Nov 25, 2013 at 8:46

No reason at all to avoid that lens on D7000. It's a great 'poor man's' alternative to the 70-200 f2.8. Should be able to find a good used copy now around $700-$800.

  • This would be my answer as well. I'm very happy with my 80-200 on the D300.
    – Rene
    Mar 19, 2013 at 8:35

I can think of two possible explanations: 1. Probably, there was some misunderstanding due to the fact that many of the DX cameras, such as D3000 and D5000 series do not have an internal motor. As a result the 80-200 AF-D lenses will not focus on them. They will still focus on D90, D7000 and D7100 bodies. On the other hand the 70-200 AF-S lenses have a motor in the lens. So that even D3000 and D5000 series cameras can autofocus with them.
2. Another reason may be that full-frame cameras (FX) generally have better high-ISO performance. As a result, one can avoid a need for VR on a telephoto lens while hand-holding simply by raising ISO. On the DX the threshold (of poor light) when one no longer can hand-hold the lens while shooting starts earlier.

In the end, I don't think there is a reason to avoid 80-200 on DX. It is a wonderful lens. It is about half the price of 70-200 VR1 and a third of the price of 70-200 VR2. It is great for portraits and sports alike. For birding one will be better of with 300 f4 for roughly the same price (or cheaper).

Side note: the effect of hand-shake is proportional to the lens magnification. To mitigate it one should use twice as fast shutter for double magnification of the lens.


Not a particularly scientific answer, but I had an 80-200 f2.8 that I used on my D300 for a while. I no longer have it, but only because it was too heavy - when I did actually use it I got some very nice images from it.


The lens is not AF-S (Auto Focus Silent) which means your camera has to use its internal motor to auto focus, generating some audible noise. This might be disturbing in some events with quiet background (e.g during speeches). Those situations are generally quite peaceful - so, if you feel comfortable with manual focus, you may as well disable auto focusing.


I've been asking the same question - i have a d300 with a sigma 70 - 200 2.8 - can't say I can complain about the shots - they look great to me but not tried a nikon lens in this magnification range. I know the d7000 has has amazing reviews on line and I've heard great things from friends that own one - i've met a couple people who adore the 80 - 200 and hark back to those heady days before they upgraded to the 70 - 200 saying that while the upgrade is slightly better it wasn't necessarily worth the cost. i might throw my hat in next month and get the 80 - 200, try it for a while on the d300 then consider upgrading my body to a d7000 -


I use my 80-200 extensively on a D7000, mainly for events. It is old school (no VR and no AFS motor), but for me since I'm shooting mainly outdoors, it does an excellent job and I love the sturdy construction. Excellent color, contrast and bokeh. I got it used in excellent condition for $825. The price for a comparable Nikon version would have been 2.5 times more.

  • When you say "a comparable Nikon version" that seems to imply you're talking about a non-Nikon 80-200. (Tamron, maybe?) Is that the case?
    – mattdm
    May 11, 2013 at 23:55

The Nikon 80-200 2.8 D lenses, the push pull and the two ring, both have back focusing issues on some DX cameras. I had the same problem with my push pull version, very annoying on my D300. I tried everything to remedy this to no avail.

What I finally figured out is that the newer DX cameras have some problem with the distance information of the older lenses. Since the distance information is mostly relevant for some flash situations, I decided to remove the distance brush. I have had NO problems with back focusing since I did this. Others have also tried this with the same result. Pulling the distance brush is relatively easy and can be put back in the lens easily as well...


The 80-200 f2.8 lens is going to be pretty heavy compared to a similar DX lens. This is mainly because the glass elements have to be larger to accommodate a full-frame camera. The D7000 is not a full-frame camera and does not need the full frame. However, the 1.5X multiplier turns this lens into the equivalent of a 120-300mm lns.

I would recommend getting a DX lens instead, because you can get more for your money. The reason you get more for your money is simply that the ultra-low dispersion glass is very expensive, and using smaller elements in the lens saves money.

  • 1
    Does Nikon offer a high-quality constant-aperture zoom designed for the smaller format?
    – mattdm
    Dec 3, 2011 at 19:57
  • Well, they have a 17-55mm 2.8, but it seems you're looking for something longer. If you gotta have a Nikon long zoom constant aperture, you'll have to go with a full frame lens. If you're going to spend the money and carry the weight anyway, I would definitely get the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II. Amazing bokeh and sharpness. I've used the Sigma version of it for years now. Dec 3, 2011 at 21:58
  • 1
    So that goes back to the original question. :) Any reason to get the 70-200mm and avoid the 80-200mm?
    – mattdm
    Dec 3, 2011 at 22:07
  • The 70-200 is much easier to switch between manual and auto focus. Dec 3, 2011 at 22:10

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