The Nikon 70-200m F2.8 VR II is built to withstand the rigors of daily professional use, and the quality of construction is impeccable. The external barrel construction is primarily of magnesium alloy, and the lens is environmentally sealed, including a rubber gasket around the mount to prevent dust and water ingress into the camera. As is standard for this class of lens, both zooming and focusing are internal, which leads to a distinct impression of solidity to the 'one-piece' construction, and maintains the balance of the lens on the camera regardless of focal length.
The lens retains essentially the same layout as its predecessor (aside from the loss of the AF-stop buttons on the front of the barrel), and uses the same type of detachable tripod foot, which works very well, allowing to switch between using the camera on and off a tripod (or monopod) quickly and easily. About the only possible criticism is that the switches on the side controlling the AF and VR systems are a little small and fiddly to use, especially when wearing gloves.
(We've read some internet concerns about the internal construction of this lens but, with our review sample at least, can see nothing to complain about at all.)
On the camera
This is a relatively large and heavy lens, and therefore best matched to the more substantial bodies in Nikon's range such as the D300(S), D700 and D3 series. It feels rather better balanced on the camera than the somewhat front-heavy older version, but D300 and D700 users will still likely benefit substantially from adding the vertical grip, especially when shooting in portrait format.
The one irritation we had with the lens in use was caused by the ribbed rubber grip right at the front of the barrel, which seems to have no obvious function. We found it all-too-easy, when trying to locate the focus ring by feel, to grab this instead, only to find it didn't seem to work. It's a small problem, but one that seems wholly unnecessary, especially if it can cause the occasional missed shot.
Potential upgraders should also be aware that this is a much bigger, heavier beast than typical consumer telezooms such the 70-300mm VR - it's relatively unlikely to be something you'd want to carry around with you all day without being paid for the inconvenience.
This lens features Nikon's silent-wave motor for autofocus, which performs extremely well; it's almost silent in operation, and we saw no evidence for any systematic focusing errors. We found focusing to be extremely fast and accurate in everyday use on both the D300 and D3X test bodies; this really is one of those lenses you can rely on to nail the focus every for shot. However as always it must be noted that focus speed and accuracy is dependent upon a number of variables, including the camera body used, subject contrast, and light levels.
Lens body elements
Reported aperture vs focal length
This lens allows an aperture range from F2.8 to F22 at all focal lengths.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens
Nikon AF-S VR Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
Nikon Af-S 70-200/2.8 Vr Ifed G Nikkor
Nikon AF-S VR 70-300 f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED