Is the tripod collar required for the 70-200 F4 on a tripod?

Started Dec 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
Phil Goble
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Re: Is the tripod collar required for the 70-200 F4 on a tripod?
In reply to Phil Goble, Dec 3, 2012

I wanted to thank everyone who responded to my "collar" question with some information on the Nikon 70-200 f4 lens.

I picked up the Nikon 70-200 f4 lens on 12/1/2012 as a replacement for my old Nikon 80-200 2.8 AFS lens I purchased in April 1999. My old 80-200 served me well and is a nice lens, but my D800 has identified sharpness issues that weren’t obvious to me before. Since I shoot primarily landscapes the lack of a 2.8 aperture isn’t a problem and the reduced size and weight is actually a big advantage as I sometimes hike a bit to get to destinations I want to shoot. The VR will also be nice in those situations where I shoot sports activities, which is infrequent.

The temperature here in Illinois was 63 degrees today (12/2/2012), pretty nice for this time of year, so I went outside and took photographs using a D800 with a Kirk L-bracket on a Kirk BH-1 ball head and a Gitzo G1329 tripod. No collar on the lens. I actually turned VR off when I shot from the tripod. Used mirror lock up and a camera release (my standard practice).

A summary of what I saw follows. I have been looking at 1:2 and 1:1 magnifications on a 30” Dell in Lightroom. Note that I’m not a professional photographer or reviewer, so take that into consideration. I don’t think any of these statements will surprise anyone.

  1. Pincushion distortion on the long end, barrel distortion on the short end. Obvious on the obligatory brick wall photos I took.
  2. Vignetting at f4 at all focal lengths. Not bad, but noticeable. Not as bad as my old lens.
  3. Good at f4, best at f5.6 and f8.0, softening up at f11. Softness at f11 was more noticeable to me on the long-end.
  4. Corners are pretty sharp at all focal lengths I shot.
  5. Color rendition seems good.
  6. More contrast in general. Pictures just seem to have a nicer quality to them (over my older lens).
  7. The lens is solidly constructed and attaches nicely to my D800.

Where I notice the huge advantage of this lens over my old one (from a photographic quality perspective) are:

  1. The corners seem better at all of the focal lengths. From 150mm on this one is much sharper outside the central area.
  2. Sharpness seems even better in the central area when looking at 1:1 and 1:2 crops. 
  3. Photographs just seem to pop more.

I also took a handheld shot in my house without the tripod. Not having had a VR lens before, I was impressed I could handhold at 200mm and 1/15tha second and get a pretty decent shot. Similar results to what Shun got.

I’m definitely keeping this and selling my old Nikon 80-200. I’m very impressed with this lens.

Hope this helps someone. I would supply photos, but don't want to drop them on my website.

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