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Old Feb 23, 2006, 3:17 PM   #1
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I own the Maxxum 5D. I recently purchased the Maxxum 80-200 xi lens. This lens works perfect with my camera. My question is since this lens was made 10 years ago would the optics be superb compared to the optics made in the lens today?

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Old Feb 23, 2006, 3:57 PM   #2
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You really need to take each lens on a case by case basis, as you had lower and higher quaity lenses then and now.

Some newer lenses may have better coatings more optmized for digital. But, some older lenses had pretty good coatings, too.

The 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 is a relatively low quality lens in comparison to many. But, it's a a relatively small and light lens for it's focal range and the MTF charts don't look too bad for it if you don't try to shoot at wide open apertures.

It appears to sharpen up quite a bit by the time you stop down to around f/8 with it, except for the longest focal lengths, which still look a bit soft on the charts at f/8.

Also, because the sensor in your DSLR is smaller than 35mm film, a lens that may have been a relatively poor performer on a film model, can be a bit better on a DSLR in some areas. That's because you're using the "sweet spot" of the lens, and avoiding some of the edge softness you might see with a lens on a 35mm camera.

That lens is selling in excellent condition used for around $60 - $80 from reputable dealers now. In comparison, a Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8G is typically going to sell for more than 10 times that amount. ;-)

Quality is subjective, and not everyone is going to use a lens in the same conditions, or need larger print and viewing sizes where flaws are more noticeable. Also, not everyone wants to lug a larger and heavier lens around either.

If you're happy with the quality, that's all that really matters, and the differences in lens quality become far less obvious if you stop down some to smaller apertures (which your Auto Expoosure algorithms are probably doing in better light with it).

Things like chromatic aberrations/purple fringing at high contrast edges and loss of contrast from flare are often more noticeable in harsher lighting with older entry level lenses. That has improved a bit with newer lenses having better coatings, according to most users that have old and new. But, in most lighting conditions, you may not notice a big difference.

You may also have gotten a better than average copy of the lens, as you do tend to see some variations in quaity between lenses of the same make and model.

Any lens choice is a compromise (size, weight, cost, build quality, optical quality, focal range, brightness, etc.), and no one choice is going to be right for all users and in all conditions.

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Old Feb 23, 2006, 5:24 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for your precise explanation.
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