Review of the Nikkor Z 70-200 f2.8 VR S

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Rich Rosen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,453
Review of the Nikkor Z 70-200 f2.8 VR S
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I keep lenses for a long time. I started buying my "trinity" lenses in 1999, wit the AFS 28-70 f2.8, and the AFS 17-35 f2.8. I added the AFS 70-200 f2.8 VR in 2004. I kept the UWA and the mid range until 2018, and the 70-200 until this year, replacing them with Z mount lenses (Z14-30 f4S; Z 24-70 f2.8S; and the z 70-200). So my comparisons to what I owned previously, to what I currently own should be taken with a grain of salt. In this particular instance I would be comparing a lens that was state of the art in 2004, to a state of the art lens in introduced in 2020... a 16 year difference. So I'm not going to do that.

The Z 70-200 f2.8 VR S is one of the sharpest lenses I've ever seen. That includes Z mount lenses like the MC 105, and the 50 and 85 1.8S.

While there are some differences in controls, and their placement from previous F mount lenses, the feel of the lens is very DSLR like. Unfortunately that includes size. But given the choice between having a collapsable lens like the RF 70-200 f2.8, that is very small to carry, but is unable to take TC; and the Nikon, which can; I prefer the flexibility of the Nikon. I'll get back to using a TC shortly.

As with all "high end S Nikkors" the 70 -200 has the extra function buttons and rings. It also has a OLED display which can give you aperture, focal length or distance scale when the display button is pressed. However, it doesn't stay for very long, before it turns off. Its pretty useless. Another useless control is its function ring, which allows you to change Aperture, ISO, exposure comp or do nothing. Why is it useless? There is no feedback when you inadvertently move the ring, changing a critical setting without realizing it. All Nikon need do is put click stops on the ring to correct that problem.

Enough with the bad stuff. The good stuff includes image quality, AF speed, and overall handling. AF is quick and silent. Going from 70 to 200 on the Zoom ring is about a 90 degree turn of the ring. The size of the lens does not change when zooming.

I also purchased the Z TC 1.4X, which converts the 70-200 f2.8 into a 105-280 f4. Some reviewers recommend against using a TC, because of image degradation, or as unnecessary because one can crop an image in post. I experienced image degradation with different brand lenses and same brand TC's in the past. But I used  an  AFS 1.4 TC on my previous 70-200. Degradation was imperceptible with that combo, as it is with my current setup.

The Z 70-200 f2.8 VR S is a lens with very few faults. What matters to me is image quality, AF speed, and handling. In these areas, this lens excels.

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Rich Rosen

 Rich Rosen's gear list:Rich Rosen's gear list
Nikon D1X Nikon Z6 II Nikon Z fc Sigma 1.4x EX DG Tele Converter Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 +20 more
Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S
Telephoto zoom lens • Nikon Z
Announced: Jan 7, 2020
Rich Rosen's score
5.0
Average community score
4.9
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