Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

Started Feb 28, 2013 | Discussions
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westcoasthd
westcoasthd Contributing Member • Posts: 584
Re: Tamron 70-300 Di VC
1

Another option is the Tamron which is currently selling for $350 with the rebate. I was debating the same choice, but didn't want to spend $1400 dollars (it's a lens for my wife). I am sure the new Nikon is better, but the Tamron is sharp at 300mm wide open, even at 100%. Just depends on if the extra $1000 dollars matters or you want the best light weight f4 zoom. I would speculate that in good light it would be hard to tell them apart if you had a TC on the Nikon f4. Build quality on the Tamron is what you would expect on a lens at that price point, but the LD glass is pretty darn good.

Rich Dykmans Senior Member • Posts: 2,532
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

bocabum wrote:

Hi,

I have owned both lenses. For three years I owned to 70-300 lens for 3 years. Pretty good lens for the money. Pretty good from 70-250mm range.

A month ago I bought the 70-200 f/4 and no comparison in terms on IQ and handling. I use it mainly for nature/birding. I have used it with the TC 1.4x and the results are very good. This gets me to 280mm. Granted not the same as 300mm but with much better IQ than the 70-300.

I recently sold the 70-300 since I was confident I would not miss this lens.

Hope this helps.

Regards, Scott

Plus 1 to this!

You can compare the new 70-200 f4 favorably to the 70-200 f2.8 VR2 from an AF and IQ standpoint.  It's in another league when compared to the 70-300 VR.

westcoasthd
westcoasthd Contributing Member • Posts: 584
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

Just to be clear I am referencing the Tamron which most people rate higher than the equivalent Nikon 70-300 at the long end. My comments are also based on 70-200 f4 with a TC compared to the Tamron with no TC at 300mm both wide open at f5.6. I don't have the Nikon and my local shops don't have one in stock, I am sure it's very good in some situations. If you want to save $1000, and believe it or not that is important to some people on a budget, you will not be disappointed in the Tamron results. I plan to do some comparisons today with the Tamron and my Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRI lens both wide open at the long end and will add the results to my blog in a few days. Most comparisons on line are for the Canon 70-200 f4 none IS because it's been around so much longer. I did find one like that commented on the Tamron vs. Nikon below:

http://betterfamilyphotos.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-overachiever-tamron-70-300-vc.html

westcoasthd
westcoasthd Contributing Member • Posts: 584
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR
1

I took a few quick shots with my wife's D7000, the new Tamron 70-300 VC and my trusty Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR I with a 1.4TC. These are hand held shots with VR / VC turned on from about 6m away, aimed at a wreath on our front door. I tried to make everything apples to apples, same time and camera body. All taken at the far end, sort of favoring the Nikon because at f5.6 it's stopped down and the Tamron is wide open. I have never been disappointed with the older Nikon VR I lens at 200mm with a 1.4 TC stopped down, so this is about as close as you can get to a fair comparison in every day shooting conditions. My take is they are very close in sharpness, but the Tamron has slightly better micro contrast when viewed at 100%.

DCS_0015 = Tamron 1/320 at f5.6 (300mm wide open)

DSC_0021 = Nikon 1/400 at f5.6 (280mm stoped down)

http://www.esp-sportsphotos.com/docs/tam/

John M Roberts Senior Member • Posts: 2,196
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

whoosh1 wrote:

I also know that photozone has a great review of 70-200 f/4 VR and a so-so of review of the 70-300mm VR - but photozone does not do direct comparisons.

In which case I open up two windows side by side and compare myself.

clarnibass Senior Member • Posts: 1,920
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR
1

Many post how the 70-200mm f/4 is significantly better than the 70-300mm. Well, of course it is! Consider their prices and it would be crazy if the 70-200mm wasn't much better in many ways!

I imagine the question is whether that price difference is worth the advantages (and disadvantages) of the lens. IMO that's individual for each person. To me, for what I want from such a lens, it was definitely not worth it. Obviously for others it was.

JurassicPizza
JurassicPizza Contributing Member • Posts: 804
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

mf999 wrote:

have you taken any action shots in low light conditions?

If so how fast is autofocus vs. 70-200 f2.8?

What camera did you use?

This isn't usually my kind of photography, which is one reason f/4 is fine.  I will say that the VR III is a big improvement over the VR in my 70-200/2.8 I.

All with a D800E.

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Rich Dykmans Senior Member • Posts: 2,532
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

How is the AF on that Tamron?

westcoasthd
westcoasthd Contributing Member • Posts: 584
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR
1

Hi Rich, I bought it so that my wife could shoot out doors at the beach etc. In those conditions it's fine; as others reported similar in speed to the Nikon 70-300VR or say a Nikon 16-85G AFS. When the light gets low, the AF slows down, and in truly bad light it will hunt. I briefly tested the Nikon 70-300VR last year, and the copied I had was softer at 300mm, even at 250mm it was no better than out Sigma 18-250 DC HSM lens at the long end. The Tamron VC just plain works, and optically you won't find anything better in is class.

The 70-200 f2.8 VR I and TC is a $2K combination and the Tamron produced a better image. I have taken shots of a sail boat in the harbor at distance, those are sharp as well, although the boat was shot at f8 and not wide open. The only down side is no foot, which would be nice for video and as you mentioned low light performance. I am not going to sell my Nikon 70-200 f2.8, but at half the weight and substantially less money you can't go wrong with the Tamron LD glass, and it comes with a 6 year warranty.

Chrisd999
Chrisd999 Contributing Member • Posts: 886
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR
1

Opening up this 2 month old thread because I picked up a new copy of the 70-200 f/4 VR today, and whilst I am very pleased with it overall (it is very close to my old Canon 70-200 f4 IS), I am not seeing any IQ advantage over the 70-300 VR, aside from the extra speed and shallower DOF wide open. I mounted them both on D800 with my tripod and took some "brick wall" test shots at comparable apertures and focal lengths, and pixel-peeping on my computer at 100% or 200%, I could not detect any significant difference between the 2 lenses at the same settings.

A few here in this thread commented that the IQ of 70-200 f/4 "blew away" the 70-300. I am not seeing that at all, so either I have a superb 70-300 VR, or my 70-200 f/4 VR is sub-par I guess?

That being the case I guess I will return the 70-200 f/4, and keep the 70-300 for landscapes and distance, and pick up a 50mm or 85mm prime for my shallow DOF shots.

Am I the only one who has not seen a difference between these 2 lenses at overlapping aperture and focal length settings?

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Richiedi New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

I have owned the 70-300 for 4 years now. I originally purchased it with a Nikon D300. I have gotten very good use with it. I'm strictly an outdoor landscape/seascape photographer . It's a strong hobby of mine and I've been shooting  on and off for over 20 years. I recently purchased the D7100  and was considering upgrading to the 70-200 f4. I went to my local camera store and compared my lens against the 70-200 f4. All handheld photos were taken  With vr on. I'm sold on the newer lens. Contrast, IQ, and chromatic aberration improvements were easily visible At 100 percent crops. I have to believe the Nano Crystal coating played a good part in improved color saturation and contrast. I'm going to order mine this week. I'm no specialist in testing lenses, but I saw obvious improvements at 70, 135 and 200 mm that I tested. I hope this helps someone interested in the comparison. I also own  the Nikon 16-85 vr, nikon 35mm 1.8 prime lens, Tokina 11-16 ultra wide and the Tokina 100mm macro.

Ian Regular Member • Posts: 487
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

There is no comparison, the 70-300 VR has been out for a long time in different guys, the 70-200VR is a very different lens.

Really the 70-300 was made for the guys who moaned about the price of a 70-200, its lighter and not as robust.

It would be penny pinching to buy the 70-300..

JTC111 Regular Member • Posts: 495
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

westcoasthd wrote:

I took a few quick shots with my wife's D7000, the new Tamron 70-300 VC and my trusty Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR I with a 1.4TC. These are hand held shots with VR / VC turned on from about 6m away, aimed at a wreath on our front door. I tried to make everything apples to apples, same time and camera body. All taken at the far end, sort of favoring the Nikon because at f5.6 it's stopped down and the Tamron is wide open. I have never been disappointed with the older Nikon VR I lens at 200mm with a 1.4 TC stopped down, so this is about as close as you can get to a fair comparison in every day shooting conditions. My take is they are very close in sharpness, but the Tamron has slightly better micro contrast when viewed at 100%.

DCS_0015 = Tamron 1/320 at f5.6 (300mm wide open)

DSC_0021 = Nikon 1/400 at f5.6 (280mm stoped down)

http://www.esp-sportsphotos.com/docs/tam/

I see quite a difference in contrast and color in those pictures.  The Tamron is the clear winner.

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sambru Regular Member • Posts: 284
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

whoosh1 wrote:

Is there any review which compares these two lenses? I know Mansurov's is extremely glowing about 70-200 f/4 VR (including vs 70-200 f/2.8 VR II) but he does not compare it directly with 70-300 VR. Also I am getting slightly skeptical of Mansurov's mostly gravitating toward newer introduced lenses - folks will be more likely to buy newly introduced lenses after seeing a positive review (and click the links to B&H for that lens). I also know that photozone has a great review of 70-200 f/4 VR and a so-so of review of the 70-300mm VR - but photozone does not do direct comparisons.

D700 & 70-300VR

StephaneB Contributing Member • Posts: 779
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

Hundminen wrote:

Opening up this 2 month old thread because I picked up a new copy of the 70-200 f/4 VR today, and whilst I am very pleased with it overall (it is very close to my old Canon 70-200 f4 IS), I am not seeing any IQ advantage over the 70-300 VR, aside from the extra speed and shallower DOF wide open. I mounted them both on D800 with my tripod and took some "brick wall" test shots at comparable apertures and focal lengths, and pixel-peeping on my computer at 100% or 200%, I could not detect any significant difference between the 2 lenses at the same settings.

A few here in this thread commented that the IQ of 70-200 f/4 "blew away" the 70-300. I am not seeing that at all, so either I have a superb 70-300 VR, or my 70-200 f/4 VR is sub-par I guess?

That being the case I guess I will return the 70-200 f/4, and keep the 70-300 for landscapes and distance, and pick up a 50mm or 85mm prime for my shallow DOF shots.

Am I the only one who has not seen a difference between these 2 lenses at overlapping aperture and focal length settings?

Ditto.

I had the chance to shoot the new 80-400, 70-200/2.8 II and the 70-300. Between 70 and 200, I cannot see a difference. I'd say even around 250 it is a tough call. After that, the 70-300 needs to be stopped down and it does loose, but more in contrast than actual resolution.

However, it compares favourably to the 70-200/2.8 + TC x2 III.

The 70-300mm is a killer deal for landscapes. Much less for subject isolation, but I have an 85/1.8 for that.

I use a D800.

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jfk Senior Member • Posts: 2,973
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

StephaneB wrote:

Hundminen wrote:

Opening up this 2 month old thread because I picked up a new copy of the 70-200 f/4 VR today, and whilst I am very pleased with it overall (it is very close to my old Canon 70-200 f4 IS), I am not seeing any IQ advantage over the 70-300 VR, aside from the extra speed and shallower DOF wide open. I mounted them both on D800 with my tripod and took some "brick wall" test shots at comparable apertures and focal lengths, and pixel-peeping on my computer at 100% or 200%, I could not detect any significant difference between the 2 lenses at the same settings.

A few here in this thread commented that the IQ of 70-200 f/4 "blew away" the 70-300. I am not seeing that at all, so either I have a superb 70-300 VR, or my 70-200 f/4 VR is sub-par I guess?

That being the case I guess I will return the 70-200 f/4, and keep the 70-300 for landscapes and distance, and pick up a 50mm or 85mm prime for my shallow DOF shots.

Am I the only one who has not seen a difference between these 2 lenses at overlapping aperture and focal length settings?

Ditto.

I had the chance to shoot the new 80-400, 70-200/2.8 II and the 70-300. Between 70 and 200, I cannot see a difference. I'd say even around 250 it is a tough call. After that, the 70-300 needs to be stopped down and it does loose, but more in contrast than actual resolution.

However, it compares favourably to the 70-200/2.8 + TC x2 III.

The 70-300mm is a killer deal for landscapes. Much less for subject isolation, but I have an 85/1.8 for that.

I use a D800.

I'll respectfully disagree from my experience as I own both.  When I tested both len's at close to medium distances the center sharpness of the two were very close, so close that I thought I'd wasted money on the f4.  When I checked at longer distances the differences were striking.  The 70-200 f4 is sharp edge to edge with excellant fine detail while the 70-300 is soft along the edges/corners with less fine detail definition.  This was on a D600.  So my take is on FF the 70-200 f4 is much better for landscape use, while the 70-300 would be fine for subject isolation use.  On a dx body this may be a moot point, but haven't tested so can't comment on that.

jfk

stevef1961 Senior Member • Posts: 1,903
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

Rich Dykmans wrote:

bocabum wrote:

Hi,

I have owned both lenses. For three years I owned to 70-300 lens for 3 years. Pretty good lens for the money. Pretty good from 70-250mm range.

A month ago I bought the 70-200 f/4 and no comparison in terms on IQ and handling. I use it mainly for nature/birding. I have used it with the TC 1.4x and the results are very good. This gets me to 280mm. Granted not the same as 300mm but with much better IQ than the 70-300.

I recently sold the 70-300 since I was confident I would not miss this lens.

Hope this helps.

Regards, Scott

Plus 1 to this!

You can compare the new 70-200 f4 favorably to the 70-200 f2.8 VR2 from an AF and IQ standpoint. It's in another league when compared to the 70-300 VR.

That's interesting... it's in another league compared to the 70-300?  I'll bet anything over 200 the 70-300 does a much better job.   This picture was around 280mm, where would you be with less distance?  I'll stick with the longer reach and sharp quick focus every day.

xtm Senior Member • Posts: 1,032
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

I owned both lenses. One of the main differences was CA, especially towards the edges. You'll see this when photographing a landscape scene where there are tiny leaves against a bright sky. The CA on the 70-300VR is pretty bad, especially at longer distances and at the corners. The 70-200 f/4 has crisp and very clean rendition, about the same level as the 2.8 VRII.

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 10,675
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

I have owned the 70-300 VR 6.5 years. The 70-200 f4 was delivered 3 hours ago.

The 70-300 remains very good for the price range. The new lens is designed to meet higher optical standards - at about 150% more money.

My needs are mainly close up as distinct from 1:1 macro when I would use a 1:1 prime. Others are likely to have different needs.

My quick initial findings are the 70-200 goes closer; to a 3 inch wide DX subject at 200mm minimum focus (from the sensor) 3 feet 1 inch, compared to 3.75 inches wide at 4 feet 11 inches on the 70-300.

By comparison the 24-120 does 4 inches wide at a too close for some uses 17 inches.

The 70-200 covers 2.25 inches with a TC14e.

The legendary 70-170 covers 1.3 inches wide at a close 15 inches and an uncomfortable for insects front element to subject distance of 5 inches

The 70-200 has faster AF at 200 f4 than the the 70-300 at 300 f5.6, as I would expect. AF speed is similar when a TC14e is fitted to the 70-200.

On weight the 70-300 and 24-120 are each 1 pound 12 oz, the 70-200 (which has 20 elements) is 2 pounds, the 70-180 is 2 pound 4 oz, the 70-200 with TC 14e is 2 pound 8 ounces.

Hardly an essential detail - the D7100 and new 70-200 have white raised plastic lens mount lining up indicators which are bigger and easier to see than the white paint marks on older lenses and bodies.

The Nikon MTF indicate the 70-200 has better 30 lpm performance than the 70-300.

My intention is to replace the 70-300 with the 70-200 plus Nikon TC 14e. I will need to do testing but nano coating etc on the new lens plus f4 at 200mm should give a performance advantage.

On a detail the new 70-200 lists at a horrendous £1772.99 including 20% sales tax, but has a more realistic current street price around £999.

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Leonard Shepherd
Many problems turn out to be a lack of intimate knowledge as to how to get the best out of modern and often complex camera equipment.

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Steve Bingham
Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 23,582
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR

D80 using 70-300 at 300 and ISO 500. Not great, but acceptable.

I own - and use both. The Nikon 70-200 f4 is better. Period. That said, the 70-300, up to 200mm, is a pretty good performer.

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