Hello, Nikkor 200mm f/2G AF-S VR II lens.

Wasn’t planning this one.

I noticed an eBay listing for one of these lenses about a week ago. The price shot up early in the listing. So stupid for buyers to bid early on eBay.

But it got me interested. I’d read about this lens before and wanted one. It’s Nikon’s optimum answer to small-field indoor and night-time sports and for live performances in similar conditions (not too far away and indoor or night-time). If weight, size, and price are not a factor, this is the lens.

I found one listed in “Fair” condition on eBay for $2,531.98, with offers accepted. It looks cosmetically incredible though. Listing says:

Condition: Fair

This item is rated in Fair condition. That means that this item is between 65-75% of original condition. This item shows heavy wear and may have major cosmetic blemishes. The item has been fully tested as operational. The photographs are of the actual item for sale and this item only includes what you see in the photographs. The grade associated with this item reflects only the core item and not any accessories that may be included. 

Other Notes

There is heavy internal dust and marks under the front element. 

I can’t see problems in the listing’s photos. This seems to be cosmetically superior to lenses I’m seeing sold on eBay for $3,400 and $4,000.

Seller accepts returns. It’s a real shop that I’ve bought from before. Let’s do it. I used up all my offers working up to $2,400. Every offer below that price was automatically rejected.

I consider this about a thousand dollars below the used price a clean one of these lenses, at best. The wildcard is dust and “marks” “under the front elements”. Are the marks in the element, or outside — maybe it’s just the dust that’s inside and the exterior of the element is marred? If the front element really is messed up, I could send it to Nikon for repair. If that cost only $500, I’d consider the lens to still be a great deal. If the dust impacts photos, I could send it to Nikon for cleaning. Sometimes you need to get things cleaned. It’s okay.

Cosmetically, this does not appear to be in “Fair” condition. It appears to be in considerably better cosmetic condition. But we’ll see if the “Other Notes” points from the listing make this a bad situation.

This is a buy it and keep it kind of lens. (If I like it.) I think I’m going to like it.

B&H has laudatory user reviews: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/734998-USA/Nikon_2188_AF_S_NIKKOR_200mm_f_2_0.html/reviews

Ken Rockwell says good things: https://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/200mm-f2-vr-ii.htm

Nikon’s product page: https://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Camera-Lenses/AF-S-NIKKOR-200mm-f%252F2G-ED-VR-II.html

This is the newer model with slightly improved VR and, per that Rockwell analysis, unimportant coating improvement. Cool.

31 December 2022 11:35AM: It arrived last night. I opened it a few minutes ago. I see dust on the second element from the last element. Definitely there. Will it show up in photos (as blur or whatever)? I don’t know. Marks on the lens? I don’t see them. I just don’t. Cosmetic condition: Ridiculous. Perfection. It even came with this Don Zeck C3 lens cap I was considering getting: https://www.amazon.com/Don-Zeck-Nikon-200mm-300mm/dp/B0030I2T1C

Wowza! I got so lucky with this lens find. I consider that I saved about $900 to a thousand dollars over what I could/should have paid for it. It’s got some dust. So what?

2 January 2023: I’m excited to own this. I don’t have any new information or experience. But I think I got a $4,000-grade lens for $2,400. Time will tell. And eventually it won’t matter. As long as I use this and get results with it, the relevance and memory of the price will eventually melt away.

Hello, 16″ M1 MacBook Pro.

I found a pair of 16-inch MacBook Pros on Amazon Warehouse Deals just now.

Price: $1,724.25

Condition: Acceptable

CPU: 10-Core M1 Pro

RAM: 16GB

GPU: 16-core (the power-sipping one that I want)

Storage: 1TB

Color: Space Grey

The CPU/GPU options available on the 2021 16-inch M1 MacBook Pro are:Screenshot 2022 12 24 at 2 04 43 PM

I like the M1 Pro as it has considerably more battery life than the M1 Max versions, and I don’t need the increased performance of those CPUs or their GPUs at all.

New price right now from Apple for this configuration: $2,699

Refurbished price right now from Apple for this configuration (link): $2,309.00

Amazingly, Amazon has this new for $2,299, which is cheaper than Apple’s refurbished price. Wow.

Compared to the Apple refurb price, I am saving $584.75.

Compared to the Apple new price, I am saving $974.75.

Compared to the Amazon new price, I am saving $574.75.

I pulled the trigger on two. My hope is that one of them will be in amazing shape and that I can add AppleCare Plus to it, along with the perpetual annual AppleCare Plus renewal of $79 or whatever it is.

Amazon Warehouse Deals has exactly zero 16” M1 MacBook Pros with 32GB of RAM right now. Zero. So no ragerts. It’s a $400 upgrade for a new one. I’d gladly pay that on top of $1724.25, which would come to $2,124.25. But it’s not presently available and 16GB is working fine for me on my Mac mini.

I only plan to keep one of these.

This will replace my M1 Mac mini desktop computer. Sick.

New

Screenshot 2022 12 24 at 12 22 59 PM

Refurbished

Screenshot 2022 12 24 at 12 37 24 PM

5 January 2023 Update: I bought three of these in hopes of getting one that was worth keeping. Worth keeping means excellent physical condition and AppleCare+ available. The first one arrived Tuesday, 3 January 2022. I opened it when I got home. Not mentioned in the Amazon listing, it had no original packaging. But it was cosmetically perfect and even the screen was perfectly clean — not a single smudge. AppleCare+ was available for 20 more days and the factory warranty expires 22 November 2023. That means this thing is like a month old. I’m keeping it.

Hello, Western Digital Data Center HC550 18TB Disk Drives.

Many months ago, GoPro videos finally plugged up my 5TB “Photos” drive. I started saving lacrosse photos on my desktop, till my M1 Mac mini’s 2TB SSD filled up. Not good.

What to do? Delete GoPro videos? Meh.

Get a RAID array? Nah. I don’t need the speed nor the failure tolerance (high availability).

Get a NAS? They all have bad reviews. I only need access to the files from my Mac mini, not from a bunch of computers. And if I needed access from my MacBook Pro (which hasn’t happened yet, ever), I could share the drive via my Mac mini. Would a NAS really add value for my use?

Get a big hard drive. This is the one. So I did.

My understanding is these are basically Hitachi drives. I hope they have the legendary reliability Hitachi earned.

I put these in an OWC Drive Dock, a two-disk USB 3.1 thingy. On Amazon, it is called OWC Drive Dock USB-C Dual Drive Bay Solution (OWCTCDRVDCK). Manufacturer’s page: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TCDRVDCK/ 

Copying 5TB of photos and videos to the drive from my (slow, 2.5” external) Seagate drive to one of these new drives takes about 16 hours (Finder estimate).

Copying that 5TB of data from the drive to itself (just to see how long it takes) takes about six minutes.

Copying that 5TB of data from the drive to the same model drive in the OWC thingy takes about 16 hours (Finder estimate). That’s disappointing.

Is this OWC thing saturating the SATA 3 bus when copying from one drive in it to another drive in it? Not. Even. Close. Disappointing.

Manufacturer OWC’s Support has told me twice that this thing supports S.M.A.R.T. disk health information on the drives in it. But my experience is that it does not.