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  Reviews by: ajdooley  

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Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF

Review Date: Mar 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Relatively light weight; compact in camera bag; sharp; VR aids in hand holding
Tripod mount; non-AFS autofocus

I bought this lens for use with an F5, since replaced by two consecutive digital SLRs - D100 and D200. Now that I am anticipating moving up to a D3, I'm glad to have a lens that will cover the almost-full size sensor. I have shot a lot of youth soccer and birds, hand held and with a monopod. The slow focus can be exasperating, but when it does focus it is absolutely tack sharp. I wish it was faster, focused faster, etc., but then it would be a $3-5,000 lens and I wouldn't be able to own it, so all in all I'm happy I bought it and don't anticipate getting rid of it unless I win the lottery. When I gripe about slow autofocus, I just consider what manual focusing would be like and I'm happier. This is nbot the Nikon 200-400 f4, but it is lighter and less expensive -- a good compromize.

Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF

Review Date: Sep 29, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, sharp and smmoth accurate focus.

I bought this lens to use with my F5 and it hasmade a smooth transition to my D100 and now D200. On the F5 it seemed a little better balanced and easier to use because of the heftier body. It's ability to deliver a narrow depth of field compared with other slower zooms is valuable too. All around a lens I will not consider getting rid of.

Nikon D200

Review Date: Aug 6, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid construction; fast, accurate focusing in decent light; smooth images, especially at ISO 100; incredible flexibility, a real step up from the D100.
Complex; substantial learning curve from D100, but all logical.

After 40 years of Nikons (F, FE, FTN, FE2, F3 and F5), my first digital camera was a Nikon D-1X in Iraq. I got a D100 on return in late 2003 and moved to the D200 last month. The build quality is a giant step up and image quality is astounding -- a lot better than what a step from 6.1 MP to 10.2 MP might imply. Broad expanses (sky, walls, etc) that used to display fine, but discernable "grain" are now continuous tones. Fine jpegs hold together up to 100% scale. There are a lot of "moving parts" on the D200 and even with 48 years photography experience I am being stretched to catch up with the camera. I am unconvinced by critics who want a full frame Nikon. The 35mm format is an artifact of earlier motion picture photography and is not predicated on anything else. So why can't 16x24mm work? This is especially true considering the requirement for light to strike the sensor more squarely than was necessary with film. I suspect that like the D100, which is still a serviceable camera which a friend snapped up at a fair price, this new model will carry me for three years. I'm not convinced there is a need for a B&W setting when you can arrive there from a color image, but not the reverse. But it's fun to play with. I'll not be a party to the Nikon-Canon debate: they're both superb cameras, equally capable in skilled hands and equally deplorable in the hands of people unwilling to learn how to use them and who just want "camera candy" hanging from their necks. The D200 is simply much more camera than I had and I am greatly appreciating its capabilities and possibilities. By the way, for those who are worried about flash synch speeds, get a Nikon SB-800 and head up to the camera's maximum shutter speed -- 1/8000 of a second. Just read the manual.