I have a 2001 AF-S Nikkor 80-200 2.8 IF-ED (SilentWave) in need of a $562 repair on the focus mechanism. Ouch! This has been a great workhorse of a lens but it has one troublesome problem — a very poorly-designed tripod collar.
Usually, I use it on a monopod, and just slip the monopod strap over my shoulder when I switch to a shorter lens (keeping the 80-200 mounted and accessible). Unfortunately, the tripod mount locking mechanism tends to loosen if I don't keep a vigilant eye on it. Recently, the lens slipped out of the mounting collar for the second time in eight years. Both times, it only fell about a foot, landing on the removable, carbon fiber lens shade, which absorbed a lot of the shock.
Even now, there is no visible damage to the glass or even the lens barrel. In fact, the lens worked fine for several weeks after the latest incident and the only damage appeared to be to the lens shade. But now, about three weeks ago, the autofocus mechanism started acting up and it now only focuses from back to front — not in both directions).
An authorized repair facility says it can be restored to factory specs. The first repair cost about $250, but this one is gonna' be $562. The glass appears to be fine, the lens is sharp and cosmetically clean, and otherwise appears to be in excellent condition as it is always stowed in a padded TruckVault vehicle locker when not in use.
Here are my questions:
1. Should I repair this or bag it and get the new AF-S Nikkor 70-200/2.8? (I also want to invest in a D3x or D3s and reserve my aging but reliable D1x for QuickTime VR work. I fear that I'll soon have over $800 invested in repairs on a 10-year old lens, and still have the same vulnerable tripod collar.
2. Also, if I do repair it, does any company make a reliable, replacement tripod collar?
Any sage advice would be appreciated.