200/f2

Started Nov 11, 2017 | User reviews
north w Regular Member • Posts: 169
200/f2

Pro ; Fast AF. Ultra sharp, its optical as good as it gets.

Con;  weight of 3kg, i am looking forward to the assumable lighter "FL" version if its not too expensive. The foot of the lens should had Arca swiss groves and been 1 inch longer, but RRS sell replacements.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED-IF VR
Telephoto prime lens • Nikon F (FX) • 2150
Announced: May 28, 2004
north w's score
4.5
Average community score
4.7
MartynD2oo
MartynD2oo Senior Member • Posts: 1,836
Re: 200/f2
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T O Shooter Forum Pro • Posts: 11,959
Re: 200/f2

MartynD2oo wrote:

Love mine. Best lens I've ever owned.

I bought the VRII almost a year ago.  Maybe I should take it out of the box, but not sure what to use it for.

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MOD Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,818
Re: 200/f2
1

north w wrote:

Pro ; Fast AF. Ultra sharp, its optical as good as it gets.

Con; weight of 3kg, i am looking forward to the assumable lighter "FL" version if its not too expensive. The foot of the lens should had Arca swiss groves and been 1 inch longer, but RRS sell replacements.

Do any lens makers include Arca dovetails on their tripod mounts?  I know Nikon doesn't.

I can fit the tripod foot of my Sigma 120-300/2.8 into an Arca clamp, but I'm sure that's just coincidence, not design.

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Source credit: Prov 2:6
- Marianne

PerfectPoms
PerfectPoms Senior Member • Posts: 2,517
Re: 200/f2

Marianne Oelund wrote:

I can fit the tripod foot of my Sigma 120-300/2.8 into an Arca clamp, but I'm sure that's just coincidence, not design.

Hi Marianne.

Is the Sigma 120-300 zoom ring rotation direction the opposite of Nikon?  And is the lens varifocal?

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MOD Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,818
Re: 200/f2
1

PerfectPoms wrote:

Marianne Oelund wrote:

I can fit the tripod foot of my Sigma 120-300/2.8 into an Arca clamp, but I'm sure that's just coincidence, not design.

Hi Marianne.

Is the Sigma 120-300 zoom ring rotation direction the opposite of Nikon? And is the lens varifocal?

Yes, and yes. Focus variation is most abrupt towards the long end of the zoom range, unless the subject is distant.

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Source credit: Prov 2:6
- Marianne

PerfectPoms
PerfectPoms Senior Member • Posts: 2,517
Re: 200/f2
2

north w wrote:

Pro ; Fast AF. Ultra sharp, its optical as good as it gets.

Con; weight of 3kg, i am looking forward to the assumable lighter "FL" version if its not too expensive. The foot of the lens should had Arca swiss groves and been 1 inch longer, but RRS sell replacements.

Funny - but I don't find the AF on my copy of this lens to be really all that fast at all. But I bought a used version of the VR I.

IF/when Nikon puts out an FL version of this lens - it WILL be very expensive.

The Nikon foot on this lens is absolutely USELESS. It is so small - so very tiny and short and close to the lens that you can't fit a couple of fingers under it to carry the lens.

Replacing the Nikon foot with the RRS foot is absolutely required to use this lens: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1301036-REG/really_right_stuff_lcf_15_foot_foot_for_nikon_200mm.html

This RRS foot is long enough to get your fingers under it to carry the lens and camera, and, of course, it has a built in Arca Swiss set of grooves - but I've never used this lens on a tripod.  It's a pain to hand hold this lens - but possible.  It's just darn unpleasant - and the thing always seems heavier than it looks when you pick it up.  I think the FL version will be a LOT lighter and $$$   The existing versions of this lens are about 6.4 lbs.

And the RRS replacement foot allows the lens hood to be put on the lens backwards for storing the lens in your camera bag.  (I've seen a cheap version of the foot available online somewhere - but with that version you can't mount the hood backwards on the lens for transportation. How useless is that?)

And this lens will totally change the look of your photos - but it's a pain .. ... ... to carry and hold and transport.

And it may not come out of your photo bag all that often.  I knew before I bought it that it would be a headache.  I already started calling it my 'stupid lens' - even before I had it in my hands for the first time. 

But if you search the web for photos taken with this lens - WOW.

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PerfectPoms
PerfectPoms Senior Member • Posts: 2,517
Re: 200/f2

That's such a shame.  I bought the Sigma 100-400 lens - and I think it's sharp - but with rapidly moving subjects - there is absolutely NO WAY that I can use this lens side by side with a 70-200 on a second body, and switch back and forth between them - AND intuitively remember which direction to twist the zoom ring to follow subjects.

Have you been able to do so?

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MOD Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,818
Zoom direction
3

PerfectPoms wrote:

That's such a shame. I bought the Sigma 100-400 lens - and I think it's sharp - but with rapidly moving subjects - there is absolutely NO WAY that I can use this lens side by side with a 70-200 on a second body, and switch back and forth between them - AND intuitively remember which direction to twist the zoom ring to follow subjects.

Have you been able to do so?

Yes, but I don't use two cameras side by side; I only have the second camera on hand for backup.  I might change lenses once or twice during a competition, and haven't found it difficult to acclimate to the direction change.

Sometimes late in the day when I'm tired, I might start to turn the zoom ring the wrong way, but it's immediately noticed and corrected.

These days, with improved rink lighting and camera high ISO, it's not often that I will use the f/2.8 Sigma, preferring the 70-200 with a TC-14 instead.  Sometimes I can even get away with using the 80-400, which is nice for its wide zoom ratio, but the 70-200 is my favorite for handling with its nice light zoom touch.

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Source credit: Prov 2:6
- Marianne

Ian Stuart Forsyth
Ian Stuart Forsyth Veteran Member • Posts: 4,058
Re: 200/f2

Marianne Oelund wrote:

north w wrote:

Pro ; Fast AF. Ultra sharp, its optical as good as it gets.

Con; weight of 3kg, i am looking forward to the assumable lighter "FL" version if its not too expensive. The foot of the lens should had Arca swiss groves and been 1 inch longer, but RRS sell replacements.

Do any lens makers include Arca dovetails on their tripod mounts?

Tamron does

150-600 G2 and the 70-200 G2

I know Nikon doesn't.

I can fit the tripod foot of my Sigma 120-300/2.8 into an Arca clamp, but I'm sure that's just coincidence, not design.

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Source credit: Prov 2:6
- Marianne

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Rexgig0
Rexgig0 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,352
Re: 200/f2

north w wrote:

Pro ; Fast AF. Ultra sharp, its optical as good as it gets.

Con; weight of 3kg, i am looking forward to the assumable lighter "FL" version if its not too expensive. The foot of the lens should had Arca swiss groves and been 1 inch longer, but RRS sell replacements.

Congratulations; enjoy!

I certainly agree that the AF is quite fast, and the lens is, indeed, sharp. I bought a Hejnar foot, but have yet to install it. There is little need for the better foot, until I acquire a better tripod head, preferably gimbal-style.

The weight is somewhat mitigated, for hand-held shooting, by using the lens on an integral-gripped pro body, resulting in a better-balanced total package. Currently, this means my D3s. I have yet to decide whether to acquire a D4s or D5 next year. Being left-eye dominant, I can use Joe McNally’s technique, resting the base of the camera on my left shoulder, lessening the need for a tripod or monopod, a true advantage for left-eyed shooters when using gripped cameras.

One positive factor of the weight, is that my wife finds this lens far too heavy, so is unlikely to want to borrow it.  (She loves her 80-400G, and does not want to carry anything heavier.)

My next piece(s) of equipment to try with this lens? I look forward to acquiring one or more Nikon tele-converters, and a gimbal tripod head. This will enable us to try more wildlife/bird photography, before committing to the purchase of the really expensive super-tele lenses. (We have zooms that reach as far as 400mm, but at f/5.6, not f/4.)

My only regret is that I bought this lens a bit too soon, in late 2016. My opportunities to take advantage of its capabilities have been limited. I should have waited until 2018, after retirement from my present career*, and when my first grandson will be walking and then running. At the time I bought my 200/2 VR, a prime portrait lens in the 58mm to 85mm range would have been a better idea, saving the 200/2 for a later time.

*I do shoot some quite important images while on duty, as a public servant, but 200mm is often far too long; a 100mm macro lens, paired with a standard zoom, being a better choice of optics.

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bob elkind Veteran Member • Posts: 5,832
Tamron product page touts arca-swiss tripod foot

Marianne Oelund wrote:

Do any lens makers include Arca dovetails on their tripod mounts? I know Nikon doesn't.

Tamron 150-600 G2 ("2nd Generation") has Arca-Swiss-compatible tripod foot.

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OP north w Regular Member • Posts: 169
Re: 200/f2
1

Rexgig0 wrote:

north w wrote:

Pro ; Fast AF. Ultra sharp, its optical as good as it gets.

Con; weight of 3kg, i am looking forward to the assumable lighter "FL" version if its not too expensive. The foot of the lens should had Arca swiss groves and been 1 inch longer, but RRS sell replacements.

Congratulations; enjoy!

I certainly agree that the AF is quite fast, and the lens is, indeed, sharp. I bought a Hejnar foot, but have yet to install it. There is little need for the better foot, until I acquire a better tripod head, preferably gimbal-style.

The weight is somewhat mitigated, for hand-held shooting, by using the lens on an integral-gripped pro body, resulting in a better-balanced total package. Currently, this means my D3s. I have yet to decide whether to acquire a D4s or D5 next year. Being left-eye dominant, I can use Joe McNally’s technique, resting the base of the camera on my left shoulder, lessening the need for a tripod or monopod, a true advantage for left-eyed shooters when using gripped cameras.

I am also a left eye shooter and use the same technique as you do on the shoulder when possible. Regarding next camera choice i think one should consider an D850 or D4, depending on the mp needs. The D4 is the best sensor on the D-series for now, unless one is using extreme ISO primarily. I sold my D4 because the D850 have the same AF module and the additional AF chip as the D5. This is the first time Nikon have given the full AF capability to an non D-series camera, my D800 did not have the dual AF chips as my D4, the D800 was missing the second half of the brain for the AF. (The D500 does not have the dual chip either) I have not tested the D850 AF performance properly as i don't have the MB-D18 battery, there is a long waiting list for the battery grip even for NPS members.

The used D-series should be quite cheap now and that is an good argument for buying a used D-series, and its just as good picture quality ISO/DR etc. as D800/D850. (if one is not in need of high mp). I got the D850 to do everything, and it got the same pixel density/reach as an D500, but with the complete D5 AF system, so the D850 is a good deal actually that also can do high mp landscape.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRC6dhUF-H0&t=1265s

My next piece(s) of equipment to try with this lens? I look forward to acquiring one or more Nikon tele-converters, and a gimbal tripod head.

I use the 1,4TC all the time on the 200/f2 and it gives no loss in Quality as i can observe on any of my lenses, but buy a MK2 or a new Mk3 of these. I assume it can work well with 2x TC also but i have not tried it yet on the 200/f2.

Regarding gimbal head i opted for a Wimberly, and use a Sirui 5214XL tripod that can be placed anywhere. The Sirui is the best of of 3pods, i can not recommend it high enough i use it over Manfrotto or my Gitzo 2543L all the time.

This will enable us to try more wildlife/bird photography, before committing to the purchase of the really expensive super-tele lenses. (We have zooms that reach as far as 400mm, but at f/5.6, not f/4.)

If money is of object, i recommend trying out a used Big prime if possible. I bought my 400/f2.8 new, but its not necessary regarding picture quality. Big primes are super sharp even if they are old and not of the last generation. (Nothing wrong with a new super tele but its 12-16ooo $)

I bought 200/f2 used. It was in production from 2004-2010, but its ridiculous sharp, its sharper than my new Nikon 70-200/2.8FL and on par with the Zeiss 135/f2 i think, my point is that these lenses can be ex. 13 year old and perform as the new ones. I don't think that its worth the 3-4x money to buy a brand new one regarding picture quality.

sh0wtime
sh0wtime Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: 200/f2

not looking to start anything but curious as to why the D4 has the best sensor when obviously the 4S & 5 have followed....
what is the reasoning behind that ?

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OP north w Regular Member • Posts: 169
Re: 200/f2

sh0wtime wrote:

not looking to start anything but curious as to why the D4 has the best sensor when obviously the 4S & 5 have followed....
what is the reasoning behind that ?

The D4 is set up toward more my use, its better below 3200 ISO than the successors, particular the D5.

Dynamic range is best at the D4 as it have its strength where most of my shots are made. The D5 have a set up for the extreme ISO past 3200 until a gazillion whatever ISO...

but only journalists or a paparazzi etc. needs ISO 408ooo++ just to capture something for the 0,7mp image on web, or as a proof/documentation for something. So the D5 was not made for the bird shooter that wanted to print something at 1m. The D5 was hard core made just to get the shot at any circumstance, and for that purpose it is the very best camera in the world, but the bird shooter is better of with D4/D4s i think and that's probably why D4s still on sale from Nikon.

https://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-D5-versus-Nikon-D4s-versus-Nikon-D4___1062_945_767

OP north w Regular Member • Posts: 169
Re: 200/f2

PerfectPoms wrote:

north w wrote:

Pro ; Fast AF. Ultra sharp, its optical as good as it gets.

Con; weight of 3kg, i am looking forward to the assumable lighter "FL" version if its not too expensive. The foot of the lens should had Arca swiss groves and been 1 inch longer, but RRS sell replacements.

Funny - but I don't find the AF on my copy of this lens to be really all that fast at all. But I bought a used version of the VR I.

You are correct, after using my Nikon 70-200FL for a while the AF on 200/f2 is not that fast anymore, but it works ok and gives memories like this.

(and f2 gather light long after the other have left the mountain for the evening)

Hilifer
Hilifer Senior Member • Posts: 1,268
Re: 200/f2

T O Shooter wrote:

MartynD2oo wrote:

Love mine. Best lens I've ever owned.

I bought the VRII almost a year ago. Maybe I should take it out of the box, but not sure what to use it for.

Maybe it’s a good time to take your new D850 out of the box, too, and see if they can do something together... 

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snellius Senior Member • Posts: 1,172
Re: 200/f2

north w wrote:

The foot of the lens should had Arca swiss groves.

I modify the foot myself.

OP north w Regular Member • Posts: 169
Re: 200/f2

Did you make the "Arca threads" with a milling machine your self ?

I just bought from RRS, that it fits with the hood on backwards also.

snellius Senior Member • Posts: 1,172
Re: 200/f2
2

north w wrote:

Did you make the "Arca threads" with a milling machine your self ?

Yes, with my Aciera F1 Milling Machine.

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