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

Started Mar 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
RBFresno Forum Pro • Posts: 12,565
Re: I use the 200 VR (I) for whales too!

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.

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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,


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.

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,


 RBFresno's gear list:RBFresno's gear list
Nikon D2H Nikon D4 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR +14 more
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