Nikon's pro zoom is a stunning beast of an optic, with consistently excellent results across the focal range

Product Overview

Overall rating:

97%

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

Overall score:97%
Value:95%
Performance:95%
Image Quality:100%
Features:100%
Design:95%

Pros:

  • Consistent high resolution

Cons:

  • Fiddly M/AF switch

Product:

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,630.00

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Every now and again there comes a lens that bears a new feature for which there is no obvious demand and which seems to have been included either to trump another brand or to prove manufacturing prowess. Nikon’s new 70-200mm f/2.8 pro-spec zoom, with its three-mode focusing system, may be just such a lens.

Nikon’s lens is a tad uncomfortable to use owing to the extended height of its tripod-mounting pillar, which pushes the zoom ring just out of comfortable reach. This is exacerbated by the position of the zoom ring, which is a shade further forwards than would be ideal thanks to the fact that the four slider switches, which control the focusing and anti-blur settings, are located rearmost.

The extra height has been caused by a tripod-collar quick-release mechanism, which might be a boon for some users but merely introduced a little handling awkwardness for me. Similarly, the three-mode focusing slider, which adds an M/A mode to the usual A/M and M modes, is tricky to use. It’s easy enough to set pure MF by sliding the switch right back, or to set AF with full-time manual intervention by sliding the switch fully forward, but the middle position is rather hard to locate.

According to Nikon, A/M is AF-priority with manual intervention whereas M/A is AF with MF priority. Apparently, setting A/M makes the lens less sensitive to manual disturbances of the focusing ring (hence AF priority) but I could detect no significant difference between the two variants.

As is the norm, Nikon offers anti-blur settings that combat camera-shake in a specific direction that allows panning to be used (Normal Mode) and camera-shake in all directions (Active Mode). Nikon suggests that Normal mode will be appropriate in most situations.

Technical testing resulted in a perfect score for Nikon’s new lens: at no point did its MTF figures dip below, or even get close to, the critical 0.25 cycles-per-pixel level. In fact, as appears to be becoming the norm for Nikon lenses, the MTF curves are remarkably flat and tightly grouped. Canon’s equivalent lens achieves a higher peak resolution but Nikon’s lens is much more consistent and apertures can be selected without fear or favour.

 

 

AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II MTF Chart

 

 

Sample images

Verdict

Thanks to a recent price-drop Nikon's new lens can almost be considered a bargain at the moment, albeit an expensive bargain. Though there is very little to dislike, if I were buying this lens I would get the tripod-mounting pillar modified to improve the way that the zoom sits in my hand.

Full Specification

Minimum Aperture:
f/22

Lens Mount:
Nikon F
Filter Thread:
77mm

Image Stabilisation:
Yes (VR II)
Focus Method:
AF/MF, MF/AF, M

Other:
Seven ED elements
AF Motor Type:
Silent Wave Motor

Minimum Focus:
140cm
Number of Diaphragm Blades:
9 (rounded)

Lens Construction:
21 elements in 16 groups
Maximum Aperture:
f/2.8

Weight:
1,540g
35mm Equivalent Focal Length:
70-200mm

Diagonal Angle of View:
34-12°’
Dimensions:
87×209 mm

Focal Length:
70-200mm
Maximum Format Size:
Full frame

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Sample images
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