Nikkor 70-200 f4 Zoom

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by f8ybethere2, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. If you have or tested one, what are your impressions of it? Will it become a "classic" like the Series E 75-150 f3.5 Zoom?
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have used a test sample for a little while. It is an excellent lens, but at $1400 without a tripod collar, which costs extra, it should be excellent for an f4. The optional tripod collar is not that smooth, though.
    From the beginning I feel that this lens is on the expensive side. A 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR that is made in Thailand should cost a bit less. Hopefully there will be discounts after a few months.
     
  3. I recently received one and have been using it on my D800. It's a heck of a good lens, even in lower light. Excellent sharpness, VR is very effective, and the weight difference between it and the f/2.8 is noticeable. My impression - and maybe somebody else here with more experience with the various lenses than I have can comment - is that this lens is a bit sharper than the 2.8, or at least the previous version of the 2.8.
    As for value for money, I agree that the lens could cost a couple hundred less. I received it as a gift and the 2.8 wasn't reasonable, so for me the comparables were the Tamron and Sigma 2.8s (including the new version of the Tamron) and to my eye the Nikon f/4 had the edge.
     
  4. I thought someone had made a mistake with the price when I checked a couple of stores for stock! Shan't be getting one at that price. I'd rather shell out the extra for the f/2.8 - VR or not. That's if I can't get my old Sigma AF 70-210mm f/2.8 Apo cleaned out, and for a lighter weight alternative my Ai-S 80-200 f/4 gives acceptable image quality. Then the new Tamron SP VC 70-200 f/2.8 looks like it might be interesting and lighter in weight than either the Nikkor or Sigma. Hmmm. Decisions.
    Anyway. Got any example pix Shun?
     
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As I have pointed out several times before, I am interested in an f4 version of the 70-200 due to the small size and lighter weight for hiking. Otherwise, I already have both versions of Nikon's 70-200mm/f2.8.
    A few days ago, I was in La Jolla, California (just a bit north of San Diego) to capture the brown pelicans. I brought both the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II and the f4 there for comparison. I am not sure that this is the best image sample, as the distant houses are back lit and maybe there was a bit of haze, but you can see that even wide open at f4, the new lens is plenty sharp.
    I also took some pictures with the f2.8, and the f4 seem sharper than the f2.8 wide open, perhaps due to the extra depth of field. I'll capture more image samples and try out various teleconverters on it.
    00bBWn-511247584.jpg
     
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Pelican crop
    00bBWq-511247684.jpg
     
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    House crop. Again, the houses were probably too far and there was a bit of haze, but you can see that sharpness is still good at f4.
    00bBWr-511247784.jpg
     
  8. Hi Shun,
    Do you happen to have the same image but taken with the 70-200 f/2.8 lens so we could compare the two?
     
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Brooks, actually I captured a bunch of images at that location with both lenses, both at 85mm and the f2.8 version from 2.8 to f11 while the f4 from f4 to f11. However, I don't think this is a good image for lens evaluation because the subjects were at different distances and the lighting was not ideal. For example, the pelicans look a bit out of focus.
    I still have all of those lenses with me at home, including version 1 (and version 2) of the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR. I'll try some other samples with a subject that is more like a flat wall.
    Nikon USA was shipping me the 70-200mm/f4 test sample in early December, but unfortunately the timing didn't quite work out as it would miss the day I was leaving for Hong Kong by just 1 day so that I couldn't take the lens on the trip. By the time I got back, it was Christmas, etc. I'll try to capture some more samples this afternoon.
     
  10. Thanks Shun.
    Although this image is not ideal, it is representative of images one might take on a day to day basis. (I seldom take pictures of flat walls. <grin>) The 70-200 f/2.8 VRII is known to be a superb lens; that is why a comparison of the same subject taken under the same conditions would be most instructive. If as in this image the subjects are at or near infinity focus, the DOF differences should not be a problem.
    I look forward to seeing you comparison images - next year.
    Happy New Year to you and yours.
     
  11. Shun, thanks for showing those. I have a decrepit Vivitar lens (still cooks in macro), so I'd like to get the F4 lens for general use. Have you had a chance to run the extenders with the new lens ? I'm most curious about the 1.7 and 2.0 ext...how they stack up to the F2.8 model.
    Happy New Year to you and the rest of the bunch here.
    Les
     
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In real life, I seldom capture images of flat walls too, but when the situation is not ideal, for example, any haze is the great equalizer and that would literally blur the difference of a great lens and a "Coke bottle" lens. That was why I wouldn't use subjects close to infinity to evaluate sharpness.
    I have just taken a lot more images with the 70-200mm/f4, 70-200mm/f2.8 version 1 and 2, as well as the 200mm/f4 AF-D macro, all on the D800E. One thing I can report is that the f4 does not have the serious "focus breathing" issue (which I think is not a big deal, but people like to discuss it) the f2.8 VR II has; i.e. it wouldn't lose focal length as dramatically when focusing to a close distance. My test subject was about 7 feet (a little over 2 meters) away, and at 200mm, the f2.8 VR I, f4 VR, and 200mm/f4 macro give about the same results. The image using the f2.8 VR II covers considerably more area.
     
  13. Just to mix it up a bit by why not consider the venerable 80-200 F2.8 D? It is a marvelous lens. Sharp as a tack. It does not have VR but you get an extra stop over the F4 so that helps. And you can put about $400.00 in your pocket.
    I love my 70-200 F/2.8 VR but I still occassionally use the 80-200. Image quality is a wash. You would have to look at what you are doing with the lens but for about 90% of what I do either lens is fine.
    If I had to pick one I would, of course, pick the 70-200 for the VR and AFs but I would not want to give up that lovely F/2.8.
     
  14. I put my VRII up for sale when reviews of the f4 started coming out. At landscape apertures the f4 appears to hold its own; the weigh savings will likely make the difference between getting a remote shot, and wondering why I left the VRII in the truck; but the absence of a tripod collar is a point I'll have to sort out. I shot the 180 AIS on a tripod for years and I frequently wished for better balance. Almost certainly Really Right Stuff will pony up and we'll have a better, albeit similarly expensive option.
    .
    Primarily I look to this lens for portability in the pack, but when my copy arrives I'll be most anxious to evaluate the OOF rendition at f4 (and 5.6 and 8 when foreground and out-of-focus areas and distant from one another). Selling the VRII concerns me some but I have other portrait tools in the focal range, and I can't justify keeping both.
    .
    Oh - and three cheers for the VRIII reports, and the relative absence of focus breathing. I'm just wondering if it has an Achilles heal.
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Here is a side-by-side comparison, with both the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR and 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR set to 200mm, f5.6, both on a D800E at ISO 100 on a tripod with one-second exposure delay. Once again it reminds me that the D800 is so demanding on lenses that if you pixel peep RAW files from the D800, it is hard to find completely sharp images.
    This is the whole frame, and not surprisingly, there is some pincushion distortion at its maximum 200mm. The amount of distortion is similar between the f2.8 and f4 lenses. Both also have a tiny bit of chromatic aberration, but that is very minor.
    00bBlq-511433684.jpg
     
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Corner crop from the version using the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR.
    00bBlr-511435584.jpg
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Corner crop from the version using the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II.
    00bBls-511435684.jpg
     
  18. I've been eyeing the 70-200/4: nice MTF, positive impressions in the web and compared to the 2.8 VR, half the weight, a much nicer minimum focusing distance and minimal focus breathing (185mm at mfd). It seems tempting, but the current UK price is outrageous: Almost 50% more than the 3rd party 70-200/2.8, as well as Canon's own 70-200/4 IS.
    IMHO, this lens becomes truly attractive at about £800, not £1200 (essentially $2k). That is the price range of the Canon version, as well as the 3rd party 2.8 zooms.
     
  19. I've had the 70-200/4 for a few weeks now, and the results have been very good all around. The VR is noticeably better than VRII lenses. The lens is sharp wide open at both ends of the zoom range. The close focus is another positive, I have been using this lens in the studio for table-top shooting and it's quite versatile, and sharp at close focus. My only disappointment has been at the long end using a TC17e. But, that was handheld at low shutter speed, so the jury is still out on that. Whenever Kirk or RRS comes out with a lens bracket, I'll test that some more.
     
  20. Which 3rd party lenses were you looking at? In the US the Tamron with VR is more expensive than the Nikon f/4, and the
    Sigma with VR has a rebate that makes it about 10% cheaper than the Nikon f/4, but it isn't very good. To me, the Nikon
    f/4 seems better than either of those options and the prices are basically the same. The Canon f/4 with IS is $50 less at
    normal price and looks like it has a rebate going.
     
  21. Eric James, Jan 01, 2013; 01:26 a.m.
    I put my VRII up for sale when reviews of the f4 started coming out. At landscape apertures the f4 appears to hold its own; the weigh savings will likely make the difference between getting a remote shot, and wondering why I left the VRII in the truck; but the absence of a tripod collar is a point I'll have to sort out. I shot the 180 AIS on a tripod for years and I frequently wished for better balance. Almost certainly Really Right Stuff will pony up and we'll have a better, albeit similarly expensive option.
    .
    Primarily I look to this lens for portability in the pack, but when my copy arrives I'll be most anxious to evaluate the OOF rendition at f4 (and 5.6 and 8 when foreground and out-of-focus areas and distant from one another). Selling the VRII concerns me some but I have other portrait tools in the focal range, and I can't justify keeping both.
    .
    Oh - and three cheers for the VRIII reports, and the relative absence of focus breathing. I'm just wondering if it has an Achilles heal.​
    Eric -
    The only sort of Achilles heal I can find is wide open sharpness at the 200mm end at MFD - mine, and some others have seen similar behavior, goes noticeably soft when trying to shoot something up close at 200mm. It could be focusing error, but when I back down to 70 or 130mm things get very very sharp wide open up close. It could be that the VR becomes ineffective at 200mm and MFD as all of my shots have been hand held.
    Perhaps at distance the long end is sharpest while up close the short end becomes sharpest. I need to shoot mine some more (and on a tripod) to confirm.
    John
     
  22. Andy, the latest Sigma (blablbabla EX DG OS HSM blablabla) is ~£900, compared with the £1200 for the Nikon. The older, nonstabilised Tamrons and Sigmas are about £600. In contrast, however, Jessops sells the stabilised Tamron for *more* than the f/2.8 Nikon.
    As an aside, only Amazon seems to "have" the Nikon f/4 on stock. No Calumet, no Jessops, no other high street retailer I'm aware of.
     
  23. FYI on the RRS collar for the 70-200/4. I inquired and got this reply:
    Dan,

    Thanks for your interest in RRS lens support systems. We've begun the design process for the replacement collar but I don't have any definitive shipping dates at this time.

    I anticipate the collars will start shipping in roughly 3-5 weeks. Please feel free to continue checking back for updates or you can always sign up for our enewsletter, which is where we announce all new items: http://reallyrightstuff.com/WebsiteInfo.aspx?fc=102

    Thanks again and happy shooting,

    Mark Gvazdinskas
    Really Right Stuff, LLC
    Call 805.528.6321 or toll free from the US and Canada 888.777.5557 fax 805.528.7964
    1146 Farmhouse Ln
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
    Visit our web site at http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/
     
  24. Dan - when did they send you this reply - hopefully 4-ish weeks ago!
     
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I am glad that RRS is designing a dedicated collar for the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR, assuming that it has the Arca Swiss type dove tail QR built in. Nikon wants $220 for the collar and you still need to add a QR plate, and the Nikon collar is good but not ideal, as its rotation is not smooth enough IMO.
     
  26. John, unfortunately, that was from today. I'm just glad it is in the pipeline :)
     
  27. Shun: I hope RRS (or Kirk) can make a smooth rotation collar, but I suspect the fundamental challenge will be dealing with the textured finish Nikon has on the collar ring. We might just have to wear it to smoothness.
     
  28. Hi Shun,
    Thank you very much for the comparison shots. The f/4 version holds up quite well against the f/2.8 version. It is remarkably well when you consider that at f/5.6 the f/4 lens is stopped down one stop while the f/2.8 lens is stopped down 2 stops.
     
  29. I spoke with a Really Right Stuff representative earlier today (before I saw today's posts) and learned that the collar will utilize the existing LCF-10 foot used on the 70-200 VRI and VRII lenses, and the 300 f4 AFS collar.
    http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=LCF-10&type=0
    That's good news for the folks who already own one of these as it will provide roughly a $100 savings. I was also told that the collar will be sold separately, and as a kit with the LCF-10. That said, I'm going to get a second foot because I invariably find that my foot is on the 70-200 when I've brought the 300 f4, and on the 300 f4 when the 70-200 is needed. Murphy.

    It's not yet available for pre-order because they haven't settled on a price, so I'll be checking the link Dan provided ten to twenty times a day to beat all of you to the punch.
    Thanks for the feedback John.
     
  30. I tried to get a handle on the out-of-focus character today by focusing closely at 200mm f4. I didn't notice anything disturbing, except for a possible tendency to swirl, a bit like the VRI. The attached shot is handheld with VR on, near minimal focus distance at 200mm f4.
    00bCGC-511839584.jpg
     
  31. Purchased one which arrived yesterday. Correction to photo caption: Should be Leitz tabletop
    00bCO2-511905684.jpg
     
  32. I recently purchased one with the Nikon collar. As others have said, the lens is very sharp. Testing it's resolution and contrast at 200 mm on my D800 reveals the lens to have very high resolution with the D800 sensor resulting in alaising at 88-100 lp/mm on axis. Corner resolution was very good with far less astigmatic blur than my previous 80-200/2.8 AFS as I predicted from Nikon's MFT graphs. Compared to my trusty 200/4 AIS prime, micro-contrast and resolution was better on this new zoom. Performance is quite high wide open but stopping down to f/5.6 is optimal as it improves corner falloff and slightly improved IQ as well.
     
  33. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The Really Right Stuff 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR replacement collar and foot are now available for pre-order: http://reallyrightstuff.com/Items.aspx?code=LenNik70-200f4&key=cat
    However, RRS is not showing their product image at this point. I can only assume that the replacement collar includes a foot that has the Arca-Swiss style quick release plate. If you are going to order from RRS, please verify the product details yourself.
     
  34. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The 70-200mm/f4 AF-S has Nikon's VR III, third-generation VR. I have used two separate samples of this lens, and its VR capability is amazing. I have hand held it at 200mm, 1/13 sec and 1/20 sec many times on the D7000, D700, and D800E. I can routinely get very sharp results at those low shutter speeds. Of course, once you are down to 1/20 sec and your subjects are people or animals, their motion will be an issue regardless of how good your VR is or how sturdy your tripod may be.

    I captured this image in front of some post office boxes to check out the amount of distortion. At 200mm, pincushion distortion is very noticeable. However, its VR is amazing at 1/20 sec as I said.
    Maybe people don't need to use tripods much with this lens and the tripod collar is not as necessary.
    00bFOV-514403584.jpg
     
  35. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    1/20 second hand hold at 200mm, D800E
    I can routinely get this kind of sharpness hand holding at 200mm and 1/20 sec.
    00bFOW-514403684.jpg
     

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