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Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II review

Onfotolife lets you check sample photos from lenses and cameras

When you buy a camera you need to clearly understand what goals you pursue, what are your requirements for equipment and what tasks will be solved with its help. Cameras with interchangeable lenses were created to enhance creativity and professional needs of photographers. Thanks to the lens, you can shoot a variety of scenes at different environmental and light conditions.

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II 200mm f3.3

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II 200mm f3.3

Of course, there are a lot of people who think that they need only 50mm lens, legs, eyes and camera to take good pictures. But most reporting photographers prefer to choose long-range optics to shoot from a distance. If you belong to one of those people, then the hero of this review is for you. It is Nikkor 70-200 F2.8G VR II.

If you are going to buy this lens, you must clearly understand what for you will use it. Nikon 70-200 F2.8 is clearly not designed to be used by beginners, its price is about 2,000 $.

When you take Nikon 70-200 VR II in your hands you understand what a big monster is it. The lens doesn’t afraid f dust, rain and dirt, but you must understand that you wouldn’t throw it into the pool.

Build quality and ergonomics

Nikon 70-200mm VR II body is solid and metal, which automatically increases not only its reliability but also attitude to it. The lens has a projection for tripod mount. You can easily remove it if you want to shoot mostly with the hands.

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II review

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II

Nikkor 70-200 F2.8G VR II has four switches. One of them is responsible for on/off stabilization mode and second – for stabilization mode (active or normal). The normal mode is designed for shooting in common situations, for example, with hands. The active mode provides improved image stabilization when you need it: when shooting from the moving auto or on the run. I didn’t feel any difference between those modes in practice.

The third switch is responsible for selection between auto and manual focus. The fourth switch is responsible for limitation of the focusing distance: you can select a full range of distances and from 5 m to infinity. It is a very useful option if you are often shoot reportages from a distance, because Nikon 70-200mm VR II will not be able to focusing at people who stands closer to you than 5 m. From the other hand, using the entire range of focusing distances you can easily take pictures of large and medium-sized portraits at 70 mm.

Two rubberized wheels and located closer to the edge of the lens. They are responsible for manual focusing and zoom. Their rotation is smooth, moderately tight. That’s what I expected.

Nikkor 70-200 F2.8G VR II is manually aimed at people who shoot reportages or sports, the autofocus works excellent. I tested the lens with many cameras: Nikon D610, Nikon D800, Nikon DF, Nikon D5 and even Nikon D80. Nikon 70-200 VR II showed very fast autofocus speed (thanks to built-in ultrasonic motor) and excellent accuracy with those cameras.

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II 200mm f2.8

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II 200mm f2.8

The level of distortion is extremely low, but it is not strange, because Nikkor 70-200 F2.8G VR II is a telephoto/portrait lens. You will not see them even at 70 mm. More over, all modern DSLR cameras have automatic distortion correction option. You can turn it on for much confidence.

The level of vignetting is also extremely low. You will not find any shade at the edges of the frame using full-frame cameras even when shooting at f/2.8. Use f/4 and forget about the possibility of such a problem.

Sharpness at the center of the frame is “excellent” on full-frame cameras, and “very good” at the edges at all focal lengths and apertures up to f/11. Sharpness drops to “good” only at 135mm and f/2.8 at the edges of the frame, but the center of the frame remains “excellent”.

Chromatic aberrations are present but not much. You will not see them at focal lengths from 70 mm to 135 mm even on pictures printed in large formats. Chromatic aberrations are easily noticeable when shooting at f/2.8 from 135 mm to 200 mm, but it’s not a problem. You can easily remove them stopping down to f/4 or use built in camera correction or use a software editor like Lightroom or Photoshop. All this is done in a few movements and doesn’t require additional time.

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II 200mm f2.8 image 2

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II 200mm f2.8

Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR II has a diaphragm with 9 blades. Thanks to them, the light in the bokeh zone takes the form of smooth circles. This is useful not only in portraits, but also in photography. Beautifully blurred background will help to highlight the hero of the story and all important details.


Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 SP AF Di LD IF Macro

The price of this lens is three times less then the price of the hero of our review. For that money you get the cheapest telephoto lens with a constant aperture of f/2.8, excellent picture and detail quality. Moreover, it allows shooting macro. That fact makes the lens more universal.

Sigma AF 70-200mm F2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM

Its price is a little more then 1000 $. This lens offers good build quality, low defects and not impressive but very good sharpness from “good” to “excellent” depending on the focal length and aperture. Moreover, it has optical stabilization.

Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 SP Di VC USD

This solid telephoto lens has price about 1500 $, good sharpness, low level of defects, optical stabilization and ultrasonic autofocus motor.

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II 160mm f2.8

Nikon 70-200 F2.8G VR II 160mm f2.8


As a result, we get a great lens that provides excellent sharpness at the center of the frame with a few failures at the edges. Defects can not scare; they are typical for all members of the class of telephoto lenses. Nikkor 70-200 F2.8G VR II can become a great assistant when shooting many scenes: reportage, sports, animals, children, large and medium-sized portraits. As for me, Nikon 70-200 VR II price of 2000 $ is a bit overestimated.

Here are Nikkor 70-200 F2.8G VR II sample images.

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