In terms of VR, there is supposedly a one-stop difference between the two. Whether this is actualized in real world shooting is something else entirely. Optically, the VR1 lens is said to be a bit soft at the corners, but if you are shooting cropped sensor, that wouldn't matter. Or to put it another way, the VRII has better corner sharpness, but you only realize this on full frame. The VRII version's minimum focusing distance gives you a lower magnification than the VRI and many prefer the VRI because of this. Overall, if you can get a good price on a good VR1, that is usually what is recommended. However, keep in mind that Nikon is also going to ship later this month, a 70-200 f/4 with an "improved" VR, for substantially less than a new 70-200 f/2.8 VRII.