Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
RBFresno
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to SVPhotography, 6 months ago

SVPhotography wrote:

Outdoor portraits - sure.

Indoor portraits - no - you will rarely have the space to use a 200mm prime inside a studio.

For weddings - no - unless you are second shooting or have an assistant that carries all your gear for you and hands you what you need when you need to shoot or you are uncle bobbing.

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RB
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MPA1
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

It's a great lens but travelling with it would be a PITA as would carrying the thing all day long.

Even the 70-200 VRII is pushing it weight-wise on a D3 series body for all day carry in my view.

I also suspect it would be of limited use. I had a 300 f2.8 VRII and sold it after realising I had not mounted it on a camera for 18 months: just too much capital to tie up in something that got so little use. I am sure that this 200 would fall into the same category for me.

Personally I would just rent it when you want it.

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khaledgawdat
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

I have the lens, really great took it to a couple of weddings then stoped. really heavy lens i think it is a fantastic lens with limited use because of the size.

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glo
glo
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

You will love owning that lens. Yes it get's heavy if you shoot all day with it but it's so worth it. For extended shooting, I'll put mine on a monopod - makes it a breeze. It's not a gun and run lens like the trinity zooms which I also use for weddings and events, but when I really want control of the shot and need to create beauty, that's my go-to lens.

glo

btw, VERY nice shots.

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Onetrack97
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

I have the VR1.

First and foremost, it is a beast to handle.  If your a big strong guy, you can hand hold it for a while.  Otherwise, plan on a monopod, tripod, and/or camera stand.

Also, I often use a gimbal (ProMedia Gear) when on the tripod or camera stand.

I use it with the D7100 when I'm doing events.  Spectacular with instant focus.  I used this lens for a couple of years before I started doing what others were recommending.  Shoot it wide open.

I use it with the D800 and D3 for portrait work.  It's always great but find a way to shoot it wide open.  If you use off camera flash, this can be a challenge with limited sync speeds.  You can drop in a ND filter to help but of course, the viewfinder is then darker than normal.

You will need to fine tune the focus on each camera to get the best focus at f2.0.

Fits well with the hood on and camera mounted in a Think Tank Glass Taxi.

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Scott

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Cliff Fujii
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

I think that a 105 or 135 f/2 DC would work better for a portrait lens.

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Cliff

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crosstype
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

I have the lens and the best thing from it is to show off and bump up your price. Yes the optical quality is supreme, i.e. extremely high resolution and extremely low CA.

I have shot 3 weddings with the lens and I can tell that it is less convenient than the 70-200mm f2.8. You'll definitely need a secondary camera body to cover up other focal lengths such like 35mm (for me it's Sony RX1R for portability).

When shooting portraits, you'll need some good trigger such like the PocketWizard TT5, and also perhaps a radio to communicate with the model without having to shout out loudly. You might also want a tripod, though I handhold it most of the time.

Have fun with it!

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ScottnLaguna
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Re: I use the 200 VR (I) whenever I can for people/portraits
In reply to RBFresno, 6 months ago

RBFresno wrote:

bmcdad wrote:

I rented the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR I for my trip to West Africa and fell in love with the lens. I'm now thinking seriously about purchasing the lens (VRII) to utilize in my Wedding/Portrait work. What do you guys think? would anyone with the lens on a full frame body recommend it for portrait work?

Here's the link to the images I took with the lens in Africa and the D3.

http://billmcdad.com/thank-you-africa-2/

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HI!

I've used the "I" version of the 200VR on D3 and D4 bodies. The lens excels at people shots.

I don't do studio work, but here are some shots from a local Renaissance Fair, almost all taken with the 200 Vr (I) (and a few with the Zeiss 135/2 toward the end of the gallery):

Renaissance Fair

And some other 200VR shots here (including a few of the above Ren Fair shots):

200VR Pics:

Just make sure that you are OK with the size and weight of the lens. I don't have a problem with it, but others might:

Also, not every wedding venue will have the working distance you might want.

Outdoors, one can always use "sneaker zoom !

Nikon D3 ,Nikkor 200mm f/2G IF-ED AF-S VR
1/80s f/4.0 at 200.0mm iso200

I did try to shoot some limited wedding shots with it, but realized that I preferred the 70-200VR for that. Maneuvering the 200VR around a wedding seemed a bit much, at least for me.....

Best Regards,

RB

Hi RB,

Always enjoy your posts. (as well as the OPs!) Looking through your shots, I saw the half breach of the grey whale. My question is, how did you remember taking that shot? were you on a boat? I like to shoot whales and am thinking about this lens. The clarity and quality, plus the ability to use a tc are the attraction for me. Using a D800, I am thinking a clean shot should be fantastic and able to be enlarged pretty large. Just wanted your thoughts on this lens as a whale shooter.

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RBFresno
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Re: I use the 200 VR (I) for whales too!
In reply to ScottnLaguna, 6 months ago

ScottnLaguna wrote:

RBFresno wrote:

bmcdad wrote:

I rented the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR I for my trip to West Africa and fell in love with the lens. I'm now thinking seriously about purchasing the lens (VRII) to utilize in my Wedding/Portrait work. What do you guys think? would anyone with the lens on a full frame body recommend it for portrait work?

Here's the link to the images I took with the lens in Africa and the D3.

http://billmcdad.com/thank-you-africa-2/

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HI!

I've used the "I" version of the 200VR on D3 and D4 bodies. The lens excels at people shots.

I don't do studio work, but here are some shots from a local Renaissance Fair, almost all taken with the 200 Vr (I) (and a few with the Zeiss 135/2 toward the end of the gallery):

Renaissance Fair

And some other 200VR shots here (including a few of the above Ren Fair shots):

200VR Pics:

Just make sure that you are OK with the size and weight of the lens. I don't have a problem with it, but others might:

Also, not every wedding venue will have the working distance you might want.

Outdoors, one can always use "sneaker zoom !

Nikon D3 ,Nikkor 200mm f/2G IF-ED AF-S VR
1/80s f/4.0 at 200.0mm iso200

I did try to shoot some limited wedding shots with it, but realized that I preferred the 70-200VR for that. Maneuvering the 200VR around a wedding seemed a bit much, at least for me.....

Best Regards,

RB

Hi RB,

Always enjoy your posts. (as well as the OPs!) Looking through your shots,

Thanks!

I saw the half breach of the grey whale. My question is, how did you remember taking that shot? were you on a boat? I like to shoot whales and am thinking about this lens. The clarity and quality, plus the ability to use a tc are the attraction for me. Using a D800, I am thinking a clean shot should be fantastic and able to be enlarged pretty large. Just wanted your thoughts on this lens as a whale shooter.

HI Scott!

Thanks for the comments!

That Grey whale shot was an 'accident'!
It was shot from the Point Bonita Light house just North of the Golden gate Bridge.

My daughter and Son in Law took me on a hike for my Birthday last April. They wanted to show me the scenery on the Ocean side of the Marin Headlands.

I had brought all of my camera equipment, but decided to leave my 500VR behind in the car to save weight since I figured we'd mostly be shooting pics of each other and scenery:

Here's my Daughter and I (Facing North, northwest):

Nikon D4 ,Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED ,SB-900
1/640s f/11.0 at 24.0mm iso400

And my Son in Law (Great guy!):

One thing I really liked, was that my daughter and her husband took turns carrying my gear; I'd never had Sherpas before, and that was a treat!

We headed south from the picture above toward the Point Bonita Light House where I stopped and snapped a few more pictures:

Nikon D4 ,Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
1/250s f/16.0 at 24.0mm iso400

Then we headed to the light house, crossing the bridge in the above picture.

After about 10 minutes, folks started spotting 'something' coming from the South, headed North toward us across the shipping lanes of the Golden Gate. I thought, "Crap, I left my 500VR in the car!!"

So I got out the 200, slapped on the TC 20 E-III and stopped it down a bit to get maximal sharpness.

This picture is from a D4 'DX' image cropped another 20% or so.

Nikon D4 ,Nikkor 200mm f/2G IF-ED AF-S VR ,TC 20 E-III
1/1600s f/8.0 at 400.0mm iso400

The D4's dynamic range helped. It took a bit of post processing to pull details out of the whale's underside...

Turned out, we were lucky. I spoke to a Light House Docent who had volunteered for 6 years at the Light House, and these were the first Whales he'd seen!

With respect to what lens to use with whales, I'm afraid that I don't have much personal experience. But I won't let that stop me from giving an opinion!!

My shots (above) were not typical because of how far away I was. At other whale watching locations in boats, like the channel between Maui and Lanai, one would be a lot closer. And last year, the humpbacks were very close to shore at Santa Cruz, surfacing near kayakers.

Google images: Santa Cruz Humpbacks

Santa Cruz Humpbacks Sept 2013

If I were to hop on one of the whale watching boats out of Monterrey, I' might bring two camera bodies and keep the 500VR on one and perhaps a 70-200VR on the other. Last year, I might have ended up using a mid range zoom!

If I didn't have the 500VR, then yes, the 200VR with any TC, even the TC 20-E-III, would give a good quality 400mm.

I used to have a 200-400VR, but I sold it. I think that the 200VR/TC 20 E-III is at least as good at 400m, and probably a touch better than the 200-400VR.

And for what it's worth, for my particular situation above, I suspect the D800 would have been better than the D4 because of the cropping. I actually shot most of my whale shots having set the D4 to DX mode (I was getting short on storage card space!).

Best Regards,

RB

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ScottnLaguna
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Re: I use the 200 VR (I) for whales too!
In reply to RBFresno, 6 months ago

Thank you RB for your interesting and thoughtful reply!

I use 70-200vr2 for most whale shots off the boats. I also use a D800, which allows some cropping into the full frame. I just think the 200 f/2 on the D800 would make a beautiful combination. A breaching whale sequence last about two seconds. That is from the time you see it starting until the splash. Really, the apex is what looks the best. So you have one second to grab focus and shoot. Obviously, the earlier the better. So 4fps will give you some good choices.

I will rent one for my next trip and find out if I can handhold it for any length of time. 

Thanks again for sharing your family photos and story.

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calson
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

70-200mm f2.8 lens will provide the same 200mm with only the loss of a stop which is insignificant. I would not want to have a fixed focal length lens like this and be leaving my 70-200mm at home. It is one thing to carry around a 16mm fisheye as an addition to my bag but quite another to haul around the 200mm f2 along with the 70-200mm (which is a favorite of fashion photographers by the way).

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fotosbydennisw
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

bmcdad wrote:

I rented the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR I for my trip to West Africa and fell in love with the lens. I'm now thinking seriously about purchasing the lens (VRII) to utilize in my Wedding/Portrait work. What do you guys think? would anyone with the lens on a full frame body recommend it for portrait work?

Here's the link to the images I took with the lens in Africa and the D3.

http://billmcdad.com/thank-you-africa-2/

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fotosbydennisw
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to fotosbydennisw, 6 months ago

best lense I have  always wanted it fantastic lense if I could only  have one lense this is it

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TQGroup
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to fotosbydennisw, 6 months ago

I have some experience with the 200 F2 VRII because I have a kind and generous friend!:-D

This lens is capable of uniquely stunning rendering and it is crazy sharp, even at F2; so much so I usually use manual focus and back-off a bit for most portraits. The bokeh is glorious and the finished image just "pops out". It is a money-making lens if you are a pro and use it well.

However, I wouldn't use it as my main portrait / wedding lens because of its well known "usability" issues. But if you can afford it as a "special occasions" lens it is a world beater.

Attached is an informal test shot at F2, 1/4000 sec ISO 1600 -1 EV off camera flash. It is a JPG straight out of my D600, a contrejour flare test with absolutely no post processing.

Olga D600 200 F2 VRII OOC F2 1/4000 ISO 1600 Exp -1 EV off camera flash hand held reduced size

Aww, come on! The lens really isn't that sharp. I can't even read the label on the air conditioner against the side of my house reflecting in Olga's eye in this small 100% crop!;-)

Olga D600 200 F2 VRII OOC F2 1/4000 ISO 1600 Exp -1 EV off camera flash hand held 100% crop

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resident
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Re: what's a good used copy worth?
In reply to TQGroup, 6 months ago

Hey all.

I've been thinking of picking up one used one of these. VRI. Not many pop up or sale in Australia. There's one currently available on ebay Australia. First bought in 2005 but looks in good condition

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Nikon-Nikkor-200mm-f-2-0-ED-VR-AF-S-IF-G-Lens-/271423272661?pt=AU_Lenses&hash=item3f321676d5&_uhb=1

Regards

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TQGroup
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Re: what's a good used copy worth?
In reply to resident, 6 months ago

I've only seen one VRII on sale used in Australia and it was around $4,800 on Gumtree. Good luck!

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maljo@inreach.com
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Fantastic, but too heavy!
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

I mostly leave the 200/2 at home and use the 180/2.8 or 85/1.4 for portraits.

And there is always the 70-200/2.8 zoom.

The 200 f2 is such a terrific lens but so heavy I rarely use it.

maljo

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bm bradley
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Re: Thinking about getting the NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II for portraits! Any advice is appreciated
In reply to bmcdad, 6 months ago

bmcdad wrote:

I appreciate your input regarding the Zeiss. I need the AF in the 200mm... I'm hesitating because of the price tag obviously.

bartolyni wrote:

These shots were taken many years ago and you still haven't made up your mind? When you first uploaded the link ,years ago, you lead me to believe that you already owned this lens then. Zeiss 135 is lighter and cheaper with similar results.

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I do in fact have the 200mm f2.0 VI.. cleanest, sharpest lens I owned or have ever shot.... the images have 'medium format' clarity... certainly a beautiful piece of glass and worth EVERY penny $.02

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