Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens – Product Description:

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens New fast telephoto zoom lens AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II for use with digital- and film-SLR cameras. A number of unique Nikon technologies have been adopted for this lens, including the use of seven ED glass elements, Nano Crystal Coat, a vibration reduction (VR II) system that provides camera shake compensation equivalent to increases in shutter speed by four steps, and a Silent Wave Motor (SWM). This fast telephoto zoom lens provides the excellent performance and superior image quality demanded by professional and advanced amateur photographers. With release of this lens, Nikon has structured an incomparable NIKKOR zoom lens system that also includes the current AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED and AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED for complete coverage of focal lengths from 14mm to 200mm with support for a maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the entire range. The AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II offers excellent performance throughout its range of focal lengths, from the natural rendering characteristics of mid-range telephoto positions to the compressed perspective of telephoto positions. The lens makes the most of a wide variety of scenes, from portraits to staged events as well as sports photography under nighttime lighting, press photography, and scenes that require soft rendering of out-of-focus portions. The use of seven ED glass elements provides the ultimate in rendering characteristics for capture of images exhibiting exc

Product Features :

  • Fast f/2.8 Zoom-Nikkor lens
  • Nikon VR II (Vibration Reduction) image stabilization
  • 7 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements;
  • Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC); exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Focuses to 4.6 feet

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens – Review:

GREAT ZOOM LENS FOR FULL FRAME/FX AND CROPPED/DX NIKON CAMERA BODIES

I am writing this review from the perspective of someone who also owns the earlier version of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras. This new lens will be referred to as “VR2″ in this review while the earlier version of this lens will be referred to as the “VR1″.

Here are my initial impressions after using this lens and comparing it with the earlier version of this lens, the VR1.

This professional-grade telephoto zoom lens is very well-made. Its focus is lightning fast and it produces very sharp photos with very good contrast and dynamic colors even when shot wide-open at f/2.8. The increased sharpness at the corner is easily noticeable even at f/2.8 and now makes this lens suitable for landscape shots. I find this increased sharpness at the corner beneficial even for portrait shots when I shoot off-center rule-of-thirds portrait shots. The improved color and contrast is easily noticeable in certain shots in back-to-back comparison against the VR1.

The VR mechanism is very effective and helpful in keeping the photos sharp even when shooting at low shutter speeds in low-light conditions. The 1-stop improvement over the earlier version, the VR1, makes a very big difference, specially when shooting this lens from extended to maximum focal length with no monopod or tripod support. Being able to shoot handheld at 1/10th at 200mm is no easy task but it is possible with this new version.

The tripod leg support is nothing less than excellent … slim yet very sturdy, with provision for two-screws mounting support. The tripod support can easily be rotated for shooting in vertical portrait position or downside up for easy hand carry. The tripod leg can easily be detached if needed for a less-obtrusive hold when shooting handheld.

Though this lens is heavier than the VR1, the added weight is not immediately noticeable. The shorter length and larger diameter makes for a more balanced hold when shooting handheld.

How does this lens compare with the earlier version, the VR1? Here is a quick and easy to read summary:

First, a definition of terms. The term “FX” refers to full frame Nikon camera bodies (D3x, D3s, D3 and D700). The term “DX” refers to cropped/APS-C Nikon camera bodies (D300s, D300, D200, D100, D2, D1, D90, D80, D70, D60, D40, D5000, D3000).

THE ADVANTAGES OF THIS LENS OVER THE VR1

1. Sharp corners on FX and DX, even when shooting wide-open at f/2.8
2. Less vignetting on FX and DX when shooting wide-open at f/2.8 (vignetting on DX at f/2.8 now irrelevant)
3. 1-stop improvement in VR (1-stop improvement really makes a big difference when shooting at 135-200mm).
4. Improvement in the bokeh compared to the VR1
5. Improvement in color and contrast, specially when shooting backlit subjects against the sun
6. More resistant to lens flaring (due to nano-coating)
7. Shorter more compact length makes it easier to pack, carry and use in crowded spaces
(the lens and the hood of the VR2 are both shorter than the lens and hood of the VR1)

THE DISADVANTAGES OF THIS LENS OVER THE VR1

1. More expensive than VR1
2. Slightly heavier than VR1
3. Not as good as the VR1 when used with teleconverters in DX bodies for long reach
4. Shorter reach or magnification than the VR1 when shooting at close range
(e.g., shooting at 200mm focal length is equivalent to 164mm when shooting from 10 feet away)

For FX users who still do not have a 70-200mm f/2.8G zoom lens, go ahead and acquire this lens. The corner sharpness of this newer version is remarkable, specially when stepped down for landscape shots. Even for portrait shots, the increased sharpness at the corner is beneficial when shooting rule of thirds portrait shots.

For FX users who already have the VR1, you will need to gauge whether the advantages will be worth the cost of getting this lens. If you need to shoot at this lens maximum focal length of 200mm, the lower magnification or the shorter “effective focal length in terms of field of view” when shooting at near range may be a major concern for you. This is specially a concern for events or wedding photographers. Note however that some photographers have adapted to this and actually found it helpful that the magnification remain near constant which minimizes the need to zoom out as the photographer approaches a subject or when the subject gets closer to the photographer. For some photographers, the reduced magnification when shooting at closer range is thus something that one can adapt to and take advantage of. It would still be best however to try the lens first and see how this impacts on your shooting style.

For DX only users who already have a VR1, I currently see no advantages to upgrading to this new version unless you need the one-stop advantage of the VR2, and/or if you want even less vignetting (easily corrected in post-processing), and/or if you want a lens that is more resistant to flare … and/or more importantly, planning to upgrade or to add an FX body.

For DX users who still do not own the VR1, I recommend that you seriously consider getting this lens. Not only do you get the benefits of the newer version as listed above, getting this lens means that you will be well-positioned when you upgrade or add an FX body. Once you acquire or add an FX body, it will not surprise me that you will be doing a lot more shooting with the FX than with the DX. Since this lens is optimized for the FX, then getting this lens over the VR1 may prove to be a good decision. With regard to the issue of a shorter effective reach when shooting at near ranges, this should not be an issue with DX due to the 1.5X field of view of the APS-C sensor. If anything, it may even be an advantage when shooting up close.

Ultimately, both versions of the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G have their strengths and their weaknesses and it is up to the user to decide which version best fits his/her requirements.

As an FX and DX user, I have bought this new version knowing full well its strengths and its one limitation. The VR2 improved on what is already an impressive performance of the VR1, and then some. Except on the issue of lower magnification or focus breathing which hardly matters for me, the VR2 is an impressive step-up from the VR1.

I did retain my VR1 but this is primarily as a substitute to using a Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 VR. Matched with my 3 kinds of Nikkor teleconverters, the The VR1 is my lighter (and less expensive) version of the Nikkor 200-400mm and I use this with my DX D-300. The excellent center resolution of the VR1 is an asset when used in this manner. The other time when I use the VR1 on my D300 is when my VR2 is already on my D700. For all other usages however, I use the VR2 whether on FX or DX.

EDIT: For those who need to shoot up-close at 200mm focal length for maximum reach, this bit of info will be helpful.

Distance of subject / Effective focal length in field of view of the Nikon VR2 at 200mm
(Nikon 70-200mm VR2 at 200mm compared against a Nikon 200mm prime/fixed focal length lens)

1.27m …………… 128mm
1.40m …………… 132mm
2.00m …………… 147mm
3.00m …………… 164mm
5.00m …………… 176mm
10.0m …………… 186mm

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