USED 70-200 F2.8 VR II or NEW 70-200 F4 (VR III)?

Started Jul 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP Babylon7 New Member • Posts: 18
Re: USED 70-200 F2.8 VR II or NEW 70-200 F4 (VR III)?

RichyjV wrote:

Ok well firstly the image quality is very similar, just slightly favouring the f4 several year newer lens as you might expect. The f4 build quality is very good, the f2.8 is like a tank - don't think the f4 is poor or flimsy, it certainly isn't, it just doesn't have that very high level of weather sealing. The f4 is half the weight, which for many is a gamechanger. If I am doing up to 2000m of ascent occasionally and carrying up a couple of lenses then it really matters - the best lens in that circumstance is the one you will actually carry with you all the time.

The f4 isn't "VR III", yes it is 1 stop better VR than the 2.8 here, but the II refers to the second model of 70-200 2.8, not the quality of its VR, an incredibly common naming confusion that somehow persists.

Now whether you get one stop of slower speed handholding is debatable, what I can say is that the VR on the f4 is brilliant, and I can shoot handheld on a D800E at f4 as slow as 1/20 and 1/12 at 200mm and still get some perfectly sharp shots - but I have pretty good technique and don't think that means every shot that slow will be useable.

BUT but but, just because you can shoot (lets say) a stop slower, doesn't mean it will work in real life for you, because at those speeds you will get motion blur from anything that is moving. This is the important difference between f2.8 and f4 here - shutter speed often matters.

If you are shooting things that move, and expect to be shooting a lot at f4 in low light and hoping the VR will compensate, then you are better off with the 2.8. This means weddings and sports indoors and many other things.

Here is a quick rough and ready table from my own experience:

f2.8 II f4

IQ/10 9 9.2 - opinion: largely irrelevant for most users

build quality/10 9.8 8.5 - opinion: same again for most users

Sports Yes OK

Low light Yes OK

Landscapes Great Even better (half the weight)

Studio work Depends if you need 2.8, otherwise judge by IQ

So for me I got the f4 and haven't looked back for a second. The weight is low (lower than the 24-70 2.8), so many people including myself think that you don't need to mount to tripod using an additional-purchase tripod collar, so when doing your value assessment that needs to be considered.

For sell on value, the f4 is new so will certainly not be replaced for quite a few years, the f2.8 is 2009 so probably won't be replaced for a couple of years (in the old and now getting debatable holy trinity there is much more demand for a 24-70 2.8 refresh with superior optics/VR or both).

Hope this helps.

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Hi Rich - thanks for your comments. Just curious, in relation to your experience:

"...shoot handheld on a D800E at f4 as slow as 1/20 and 1/12 at 200mm and still get some perfectly sharp shots."

Were you able to get the same sharp results with the F2.8 at just as slow and at 200mm?

Thanks, Eric

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