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I have that same issue with my 80-200, foreground bokeh is nice, background is so-so, depending on aperture. I wouldn't be to worried about it, just find the apertures that aren't so great and avoid them. Granted, it is very dependent on the OOF area being rendered. I have had the opportunity to shoot with the 75-150 and I would gladly trade my 80-200 for it as the range is more in line with where I like to shoot. The extra 50mm at the long end is wasted in my hands...the tube I just got may change that though.
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Having a tube to mount on these lenses can change everything. I see you checked out the Shooting with Tubes thread I started in the Macro World Forum. Tubes work magic with every lens, but they do especially well with a few, including the 80-200 f/4.5 AI with the rectangular baffle at the rear. Give it a try before you trade it for a Series E lens.