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Compared to Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR

This view gives an idea of how the Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 VR II compares in size and layout to its predecessor (with a Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM alongside for comparison). It's just a bit shorter than the previous version, but rather broader in width down the majority of the barrel; it's also a little heavier. But that extra weight does seem to be distributed more evenly, making the lens distinctly less front-heavy.

In terms of controls and layout, the new version loses the three AF-stop buttons that were arranged around the front of the barrel, replaced by an ornamental rubber grip. The focus distance scale has moved too, away from the extreme front to a more readily visible slot between the zoom and focus rings. The control switches on the left side of the barrel have slightly revised functionality - the focus limiter switch now restricts the closest range to 5m rather than 2.5m, which should reduce hunting a fraction for the benefit of sports photographers. There's also a third position on the focus mode switch called A/M; this differs from M/A mode (which is still available) in giving autofocus priority over manual focus, such that any movement of the focus ring during an AF operation is ignored, and won't cancel it.

Nikon has updated the stabilization unit to 'VR II' spec, and claims it now offers an extra stop of benefit (4 stops vs 3). As before it has two modes; 'Normal' in which it automatically detects panning (and then turns off stabilization in the requisite direction), and 'Active' which always gives stabilization in both dimensions.

One final specification difference is the maximum magnification, which unfortunately wasn't made widely available when the lens was first released, and has since caused some degree of controversy. Because while the minimum focus distance has decreased a little to 1.4m, the magnification has significantly decreased, from 0.16x to 0.12x. This means that while the older model could in principle capture an image area as small as 9 x 6 in (22.5 x 15 cm) on FX cameras, the best the new version can do is 12 x 8 in (30 x 20 cm). This indicates that the angle of view widens significantly on focusing closer.

Specifications compared

The table below gives a summary of the key specification differences between the two lenses:

Nikon AF-S Nikkor
Nikon AF-S Nikkor
F2.8 G VR
Lens Construction • 21 elements/16 groups
• 7 ED elements
• Nano-crystal coatings
• 21 elements/15 groups
• 5 ED elements
Minimum focus 1.4m 1.5m
Maximum magnification 0.12x at 200mm 0.16x at 200mm
Focus modes A/M, M/A, M M/A, M
Image stabilization • 4 stops claimed • 3 stops claimed
Weight 1540g (54.3 oz) 1470g (51.9 oz)
Dimensions 87mm diameter x 206mm length
(3.4 x 8.1 in)
87mm diameter x 215mm length
(3.4 x 8.5 in)
Other   • Three AF stop buttons
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Total comments: 7

Can anyone help me to find a suitable lens for my Nikon camera? I use the camera mainly for video and looking for a wide angle lens which is good in low light with VR option and also which can cover wide area in focus. I already have a 18-105 lens.
Thanks in advance.

1 upvote

I like it. Very good lens


If u have body like D800E . This lens is pointless . U will achieve better result with Nikkor 85mm F1.4 or other sharp prime lens and doing crop.Save money , save space ...

Seek Studios

Do you own the 70-200 vr 2? Im curious because I shoot with D800 as well and am considering this lens. What makes it pointless?


That doesn't make sense. Shoot at 85mm and then crop, thus turning an expensive 36MP camera into a 15MP? (whatever) camera. People buy 36MP to print BIG. No point if you're cropping.

1 upvote

Not all of us can afford a D8xx so "pointless" is just ignorant. This is one fantastic lens, on DX and FX


Then what if you want to shoot at 200mm? Are you going to break out your 200mm f/2? How about 135mm? May as well bring along a few other bags of lenses while you're at it. Never know when you might want a 50, or a 35, or a 24, or maybe a 300 or something.

Total comments: 7