70-200 VRII: Quick Summary - Facts Only, No Opinion, Plz

Started Dec 8, 2009 | Discussions thread
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em_dee_aitch Veteran Member • Posts: 3,675
70-200 VRII: Quick Summary - Facts Only, No Opinion, Plz

While Marianne is doing a much more in depth thread, I want to attempt to put up a very quick, very short summary here that is facts only, without any debate over opinion or merit of how to use which lens where. It will be interesting to see if the other denizens of this community allow this thread to proceed as such. So I request that debating be kept out of this thread, but please add facts that I have missed, solutions that I have missed, or discuss facts and solutions in a fact based manner. That being said...

Easy ones first, all without teleconverter:

1. VR2 has way better VR. It has improved as much as all early hype indicated. Many participants here (myself included) have reported hand held shots at 1/15s or even slower and achieved a useful result. Just the same as the early reviewers.

2. At 200mm on the zoom ring, the resolution of VR2 is always better at 2.8 than VR1 is at 2.8. The difference is large enough that anyone can easily see it in a 100 percent view.

3. VR2 significantly improves the vignetting issue that VR1 had on FX bodies, more at shooting distances than others. Whether or not you consider it totally resolved, the difference is easy for anyone to see.

4. VR2 totally fixes the fuzzy corners that VR1 has when used on FX. Corners appear to approach, equal, or exceed 200/2, depending on aperture chosen.

5. When stopping down, VR1 sees its central image quality improve greatly, while its corners remain bad on FX.

6. When stopping down, VR2 sees its central image quality stay about the same or improve only slightly, while its corners improve significantly on FX. (This is to say that VR2 gets near maximal central quality from wide open.)

More complicated:

7. When using TC 1.4x at close-up distances, VR2 produces resolution better at wide open (effective F/4) than VR1 can achieve without TC at f/4.

8. When both lenses are using TC 1.4x, VR1 one can perform better at long distances (particularly by stopping down 1 or more stops) while VR2 can perform better at shorter distances. The distance at which the advantage equalizes and crosses over has yet to be determined (though Marianne has stated she is working on that). TC 1.7x is similar.

9. When shooting stopped down, there are likely distances at which the VR1 will outperform the VR2 with regard to central image quality (not corners). Those exact distances are not known yet. This is again because VR1 improves markedly at the center when stopping down, which VR2 does not.

10. With the zoom ring set at 200mm and working at closer distances, the effective focal length of VR2 decreases along with distance to subject (but not in direct proportion), and will eventually decrease to 128mm at minimum focus distance (128mm is quoting Marianne's math, which I suggest as standard for this thread), while the VR1 lens will maintain an EFL of 190 at MFD and quickly return to 198. When working from minimum focus distance to 10 feet, VR2 will on average look more like a 135/2.8 than a 200/2.8 (in every respect, from angle of view to background blur and perspective), so you must plan accordingly (TC 1.4x and/or a Canon 500D close-up lens attachment are the common suggestions). This EFL shift on the part of VR2 is mostly notably below 20 feet. At greater than 20 feet, most participants here seem to agree that VR2 is a clear winner when shooting wide open or for sharp corners.

11. For shooting close-ups at minimum focus distance, the magnification of VR2 is markedly less than VR1. Again, close-up lens 500D or TC 1.4x are the suggested fixes, depending on application.

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David Hill
San Francisco, CA | Austin, TX
Certified Wedding Photography Junky™

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