Experience with the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 AF VR EDIF AFS (ad nausium) lens.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alex_lofquist, Mar 30, 2003.

  1. A couple of days ago I stopped in at one of the Helix Camera shops in
    the Chicago area, to ask about this new lens. They actually had one
    on the shelf, priced (after taxes) at about $1950. When I got back to
    Glen Ellyn, I found that the local camera shop had two of them on the
    shelf for about the same price. While I am not quite ready to shell
    out for one, it may be in the not distant future, so I am wondering
    if anyone here has actually used one. Any comments as to ease of use
    and image quality would be appreciated, especially by those who have
    also used the 80-400 VR Nikkor.
  2. Alex,
    I've been shooting the 70-200 VR for a month now. In spite of a dozen or so rolls through it, the jury is still out on its overall performance but I think I really like it. I've shot it from small boats and more recently from from flying helicopters. I have several examples on my site (www.danmegna.com) in the helicopter portfolio. All but two were made with the 70-200 VR.

    The VR certainly gives me more tack sharp keepers than my AF-S 80-200 when I'm hand holding and using a shutter <160. There is however that slight delay that one must get used to once you depress the shutter release in order for the VR to activate. I've read and heard about a flare issues when shooting into the sun but I've never seen it. I don't doubt that it is a problem judging from the amount of glass in the lens.

    I did have an opportunity to use the 80-400 VR. I loved the focal length but; it's slow, it has an external zoom which produces a silly looking protrusion and the VR seemed slower and not as accurate. I have read that Nikon has revised the VR for the 70-200 and that does seem to be the cases. For my style and subject matter where I need the VR, I didn't think the 80-400 VR was adequate.

    The VR can make a big difference if you need it. I've produced several 24" x 36" LightJet prints from some of the helicopter images that are so sharp you'd never guess they were from 35mm. It isn't a lens for everyone but if you hand hold more than you use a tripod it will certainly make a difference. Also, look around for a better price. I paid $1700.00 here in California.

    I hope to have a non technical field review of the lens, with lots of images, posted on my site within a few days.

    Hope this helps,
  3. I was considering the 70-200 lens, especially since it was AF-S and I could use a doubler on it. But it did not have an aperture ring! I got the 80-400 last Octover and love it. It has an aperture ring so it will work with my FM should I need to. I have owned all the flavors of 80-200 lenses, and love the 80-400. The lack of aperture ring knocked the 70-200 out of the proverbial ring, I will not consider buying it, sorry.
  4. I use both. In general, the handling of the 70-200 VR is extremely good. The lens body is exceptionally slander for this type of lens, making it sit extremely well in the hand. The AFS focus is very sweet in feel and quick and precise in action. Both focus ring and zoom ring are perfectly damped and exhibit absolutely no slack. The tripod collar is reasonably stiff and innovatively designed. VR works just as well in the 70-200 VR as the 80-400 VR, and with less view finder feedback in 70-200 than 80-400. The optics is very sharp and very contrasty, except when it is looking at a strong light source, when flare become something of a problem and up to a dozen multi-colored ghosts makes their very intrusive apparence.<p>
    The 80-400 is also a sharp and contrasty lens, but its sharpness experiences a notable dip at around 300mm, recovering again at both 200 and 400mm. The main drawback of the 80-400 compare to the 70-200 are the relatively poor handling and quite poor autofocus. The 80-400 is shorter and much fatter than the 70-200, and extends quite a ways when zooming and focusing (80-400 has neither internal focus nor internal zoom, whereas the 70-200 has both internal focus and internal zoom), enough to change the balance of the lens as it zooms. 80-400's autoofocus is barely fast enough for average use, and is much slower than other recent Nikon AF lenses. The focus also hunts with unseemly frequence and often requires the helping hand of your manual assistance. For this purpose Nikon designed a hitherto unique M/A focus selector for the 80-400 (other lenses with similar selectors lock the lens in either M or A mode, requiring you to press an unlock button before changing modes, 80-400 lets the selector change mode without unlocking), but it is still far less convenient to use than 70-200's instantaneous, on demand A-M switch. <p>
    IN conclusion, basically the 80-400 is pretty good at 400mm, but not so good at 300mm. If your style calls for modest AF requirements and good image quality at 400mm, then 80-400 is your lens. Otherwise 70-200 is the hands down winner.
  5. Re: no aperture ring on the 70-200 AF VR -- the only camera bodies able to
    take advantage of VR technology all have the capability of setting the
    aperture though the camera. So Nikon saved a couple of bucks... makes
    sense to me.
  6. "the only camera bodies able to take advantage of VR technology all have the capability of setting the aperture though the camera. So Nikon saved a couple of bucks... makes sense to me."<p>
    Do glass in that lens turn opaque if the VR is not activated? If that lens can form a good image without VR, then it doesn't make any sense to me to save 2 bucks and the expense of making it unusable on vast majority of Nikon bodies.
  7. Maybe the thin design was made possible by the removal of the aperture ring.
  8. That's about as likely as removing aperture ring improves image quality.
  9. Chuck, the aperture ring on the AF 80-200/2.8D N is located right next to the lens mount. The diaphragm resides several (5?) centimetres inside the lens, and between the ring and the aperture, there is the tripod mounting ring. Now, within all this there has to me a mechanical system for coupling the ring position to the actual diaphragm. I would imagine that such a mechanism increases the thickness of the lens about 5-10 mm for a length of 5 cm. If you compare the profiles (at Nikon Japan's web site) of the two lenses, it should be obvious that this is the case. The AF-S and VR make the 70-200 (15/21) heavier than the plain AF-D (which is a 11/16 design) and so Nikon decided to even out things a bit and save on some weight (maybe 100 g?) by dropping the aperture ring.

    I hope I don't get the anti-G movement after me after saying something like this ... ;-)
  10. I'm glad they tried to reduce the weight. As it is, when mated with an F5, it felt like a grenade launcher around my neck. :)
  11. Also, the removal of the aperture ring allowed Nikon to introduce a rubber seal around the lens mount area to help keep dust and moisture out, a la Canon's newer superteles and L zooms.
  12. 1. Aperture ring itself can't weigh more than a few grams. The ring-aperture linkage itself is likewise only a few grams. If you don't believe me, weigh them. The ring-aperture linkage itself is likely also not very space consuming, the link is just a flat metal stick 2mm wide and 1/4mm thick, hardly requiring 5-10mm of extra diameter, and this is all without the even more space-saving creative routing of ring-aperture linkage that Nikon often uses on their lens.<p>
    2. No one has ever accused professional grade Nikkor lenses of being deficient in dust or moisture seal. Even Canon, with all its stupendious bragging audacity, has never dared to claim its rubber gasketed L lenses possess better practical resistance then Nikon's aperture ringed equivalent. So putting rubber seals on the G rings is an act that solves a nonexistant problem by dispensing with a useful feature.

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