Picture this: you’re about to invest in a versatile telephoto lens that will elevate your photography game, and you find yourself torn between two outstanding options – the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR II and the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F4G ED VR.
These two lenses have been making waves in the photography world, praised for their performance and quality. But which one is the right fit for you? In this article, we’ll dive deep into an exciting comparison of these Nikon telephoto titans, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and unique features. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or an aspiring shutterbug, our comprehensive breakdown will help you make an informed decision, ensuring you capture your world through the perfect lens. Let’s get started and discover which of these Nikon gems will be the shining star in your camera bag!
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR II||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F4G ED VR|
|Focal Range (mm)||70-200||70-200|
|Max Format||35mm FF||35mm FF|
The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR II and the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F4G ED VR are 2 lenses that, while sharing a similar focal range of 70-200mm, have different maximum apertures. The 70-200mm f/2.8 has a fixed maximum aperture of f/2.8, while the 70-200mm f/4 has a fixed maximum aperture of f/4. Both lenses are designed for 35mm full-frame cameras.
The wider aperture of the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens allows for better low-light performance, enabling faster shutter speeds or lower ISO settings, which result in cleaner, sharper images. This lens also benefits from a higher optical quality, as fixed aperture lenses are generally designed to perform consistently across the entire zoom range. Consequently, you can expect less distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting. However, the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens comes at a higher price and is generally heavier due to its sturdier build quality, catering primarily to professional photographers.
On the other hand, the 70-200mm f/4 lens is more affordable and lightweight, making it an attractive option for amateur or hobbyist photographers who prioritize budget and portability. Although its image quality may be slightly inferior to the f/2.8 version, it still offers a solid performance. However, its smaller maximum aperture may limit its low-light capabilities, possibly leading to increased noise or motion blur.
Design and Ease of Use
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR II||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F4G ED VR|
|Diameter x Length (mm)||⌀87×205.5mm||⌀78×178.5mm|
|Filter Thread (mm)||77||67|
|Zoom Method||Rotary (internal)||Rotary (internal)|
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 vr2 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 are two lenses with different dimensions and weights. The 70-200mm f/2.8 lens has a diameter of 87mm, a length of 205.5mm, and weighs 1540g, while the 70-200mm f/4 lens has a diameter of 78mm, a length of 178.5mm, and weighs 850g. Both lenses use an internal rotary zoom method, which keeps the lens size constant during zooming and offers consistent balance.
The larger size and weight of the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens might make it more difficult to carry around, especially for extended periods, and could affect the overall balance of your camera setup. This lens might be more suitable for professionals who prioritize image quality and low-light performance over portability.
On the other hand, the 70-200mm f/4 lens is significantly lighter and more compact, making it easier to carry and store. This lens offers better portability and balance for photographers who prioritize comfort and discreetness, such as those engaged in street or wildlife photography.
Lens Mount and Barrel
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 vr2 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 differ in their lens mounts and lens barrels. The 70-200mm f/2.8 lens features a Nikon-standard dull chromed brass mount with a rubber grommet for sealing, while the 70-200mm f/4 lens mount is also made of dull-chromed brass but has a rubber grommet for extra moisture protection.
As for the lens barrels, the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens has a solid metal barrel with an epoxy coating, giving it a sturdy and professional feel. However, its heavier weight at 3.4 pounds requires you to use one hand to hold the lens and the other to hold the camera. In contrast, the 70-200mm f/4 lens has a plastic barrel with textured rubber on the focus and zoom rings. This design is more budget-friendly, lighter, and easier to handle in cold temperatures without gloves. However, it may not be as durable as the metal counterpart.
In conclusion, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II has a more robust lens mount and barrel, making it ideal for photographers who prioritize durability and a professional feel. On the other hand, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens offers a more lightweight and budget-friendly option, suitable for those who value portability and comfort. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on your specific needs and preferences as a photographer.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 vr2 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 differ in their weather sealing capabilities. The 70-200mm f/2.8 lens boasts full weather sealing, with a rubber grommet at the lens mount and a rear rain barrier. This design ensures that the lens is protected against dust, moisture, and light water splashes, making it suitable for various outdoor photography conditions.
In contrast, the 70-200mm f/4 lens features a weather-sealed metal lens mount with a rubber grommet. However, it is not recommended for use in heavy rain or extreme weather conditions, as the f/2.8 version would perform better in those situations. This means that although the 70-200mm f/4 lens offers some level of protection, it may not be as reliable in adverse conditions as its f/2.8 counterpart.
In conclusion, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II has superior weather sealing, making it ideal for photographers who often shoot in challenging environments or harsh weather conditions. On the other hand, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens provides some weather protection, but may require extra care in extreme situations.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II features 2 rings: a focus ring and a zoom ring. Its zoom ring, adorned with textured rubber, sits in the middle of the lens, while the focus ring, wrapped in a ribbed rubberized grip band, resides about 35mm behind the lens’s front. The focus ring boasts a generous 160-degree rotation between infinity and close-focus, with soft stops at the ends.
Meanwhile, the zoom ring rotates about 80 degrees as it moves between the 70mm and 200mm focal lengths. Although the focus ring lacks a windowed distance scale or depth-of-field indicator, the rings offer a fantastic tactile experience, requiring consistent force throughout the range.
On the other hand, the 70-200mm f/4 lens also has a focus ring and a zoom ring. Its zoom ring, located at the back, is around 1.5 inches wide and has a smooth, tactile feel. The ring offers slight resistance, needing gentle pressure from two fingers for about 90° of turning action.
The focus ring, positioned at the front and also 1.5 inches wide, has ample rotation room and soft stops at the ends. While the focus ring features a windowed distance scale and depth-of-field indicator, the zoom ring lacks an extension lock switch. Both rings are well-designed, easy to grip, and provide a superb tactile experience.
In conclusion, both lenses have well-designed rings that offer great tactile experiences. The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II provides a bit more rotation room on its focus ring. Choosing the superior rings ultimately depends on personal preference, but the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II’s consistent force requirements and additional rotation room on the focus ring may provide a slight edge for photographers who prioritize precision and control.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II features a quartet of convenient switches to enhance your shooting experience. The AF/MF switch allows you to swiftly toggle between autofocus and manual focus, while the focus limiter switch offers a choice between the full focus range or a limited 5 meters to infinity range, reducing focus hunting. Additionally, the VR switches enable activation or deactivation and transition between normal (2-axis, panning) operation and active (4-axis) operation. However, this lens does not have an aperture ring like some competitors.
On the other hand, the 70-200mm f/4 also boasts 4 two-position switches on its barrel. The first switch allows you to alternate between autofocus (with manual override) and manual focus, while the focus limiter enhances autofocus search times by increasing the minimum focus distance from 1m to 3m. The remaining switches control the VR (Vibration Reduction) module, one for turning it on or off, and the other for selecting between Normal and Active VR modes. The lens’ switches and buttons are well-designed, providing easy access to its features and functions.
In conclusion, both lenses offer a similar array of switches/buttons, allowing photographers to easily control lens functions.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens sports a 77mm filter thread size, a standard for most professional-level lenses. With its filter ring on the inner edge, it effortlessly accepts standard attachments. The filters won’t rotate during focus operations, making it a breeze to use with filters.
On the flip side, the 70-200mm f/4 features a 67mm plastic filter thread. Although this may necessitate additional adapter rings for those accustomed to using 77mm filters, the lens is more affordable and user-friendly due to the non-rotating front element. Like its counterpart, attached filters remain stationary during focusing.
In conclusion, the best filter thread size depends on your individual needs and existing gear. The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens offers a more common 77mm filter thread size, providing greater compatibility with other professional lenses and filters.
Meanwhile, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens, with its 67mm filter thread, is more cost-effective and lightweight.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens hood is a plastic bayonet with a metal pawl and pawl cover, featuring a press-in catch for easy fitting and removal. This petal-shaped HB-48 hood has 90-degree rotation points on the lens body, which can be tightened with a knob.
The hood is shorter than its predecessor, the HB-29, enabling access to the manual focus ring while in storage position. Despite not sitting flat on a table, the hood is effective in reducing veiling flare. However, it is not as proficient as a cylindrical hood in preventing off-axis light ingress.
In contrast, the 70-200mm f/4 comes with a plastic bayonet HB-60 hood. The hood sports a smooth black interior, is reversible, and can be attached to the lens for storage. Adding 2 inches to the lens’s overall length when attached, the hood is lightweight and feels sturdy.
In conclusion, both lens hoods have their merits. The 70-200 f/2.8 VR II lens hood offers a more versatile design with adjustable rotation points, while the 70-200mm f/4 lens hood is more straightforward and lightweight.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II features a non-removable tripod collar that can be easily rotated and locked in place with a large screw. This design allows for seamless switching between portrait and landscape orientation. The tripod collar comes with a detachable foot with two screw sockets for anti-twist plates and offers 360-degree rotation around the lens. The optional tripod collar is not Arca-Swiss compatible.
On the other hand, the 70-200mm f/4 provides an optional tripod collar (RT-1) that must be purchased separately. Some users have reported difficulty in securing the collar tightly enough to prevent wobbling, and its cost is relatively high compared to other options, such as the Kirk collar. Since the lens is lightweight, some photographers prefer not to use a collar, relying instead on a sturdy tripod system. Note that the optional tripod collar is also not Arca-Swiss compatible, which may be inconvenient for some users.
In conclusion, despite the lack of Arca-Swiss compatibility for both lenses, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II’s tripod collar remains superior in terms of convenience and functionality. However, for photographers seeking a lighter setup, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 may be a more suitable choice, even with its less stable optional tripod collar.
Focusing and Optical Stabilization
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR II||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F4G ED VR|
|AF Motor||Silent Wave Motor||Silent Wave Motor|
|Rotating Front Element||Does not rotate on focusing||Does not rotate on focusing|
|Min Focus Distance||1.4m||1m|
|Full-Time Manual Focus||Yes||Yes|
When comparing the focusing performance of the The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and the 70-200mm f/4, there are several key aspects to consider.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II boasts a swift, precise autofocus system with Silent Wave Motor (SWM), providing excellent performance even in low-light conditions. It has a focus acquisition speed of about 0.6 seconds from infinity to 1.4m, and its focus ring has a throw of around 130 degrees for easy and accurate focus. Furthermore, this lens offers full-time manual override in A/M or M/A positions, and its repeatability of focus is highly reliable with no outliers across a series of 40 shots.
On the other hand, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens also features a fast and silent autofocus performance with instant manual-focus override. It has a similarly quick focus acquisition speed and accurate focus wide open up to 130mm. However, the focus throw becomes almost too short for precise manual focus at 200mm.
The lens’s autofocus accuracy is generally excellent, but it may experience slight issues wide-open at 200mm at f/4 and close distances. The lens has an internally focusing design, ensuring a constant length and non-rotating front element. The AF-operation is relatively quiet, but it can be heard when recording video with a built-in microphone.
In conclusion, both lenses offer impressive focusing performance; however, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II has a slight edge due to its better focus throw, and more consistent autofocus accuracy. Nevertheless, the 70-200mm f/4 remains a strong contender, especially for those seeking a lighter and more budget-friendly option with fast autofocus and excellent accuracy in most situations.
When comparing the optical stabilization of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and the 70-200mm f/4, there are some key differences to consider.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II features a Vibration Reduction (VR) stabilizer, which provides around 2-3 stops of advantage, although the claimed 4 stops of shake correction may be somewhat optimistic in practice. This lens offers 2 stabilization modes: normal mode for general use and active mode for compensating more substantial, unpredictable shaking.
However, the stabilizer can produce a low-level humming that may be recorded on movie soundtracks. In tests, the slowest shutter speed possible with the 200mm focal length was 1/20 second, with a more realistic figure of two to three stops, depending on the number of pin-sharp shots required in a sequence.
On the other hand, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens boasts a third-generation VR system, offering up to 5 stops of advantage, making it one of the best stabilization technologies among its peers. It also has two VR modes – normal and active – catering to various shooting situations. Additionally, the VR system in this lens is notably quiet, and no sound is recorded from it.
In conclusion, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens has a superior optical stabilization system, offering more stops of advantage and quieter performance compared to the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II. This makes it an ideal choice for photographers who prioritize stabilization for low light conditions, slow shutter speeds, or video recording, while still delivering impressive image quality.
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR II||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F4G ED VR|
|Special Elements||7 ED glass elements Nano Crystal Coating||3 ED lens elements, 1 HRI lens element|
Analyzing the aberration performance of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and 70-200mm f/4 reveals some differences in their handling of chromatic aberrations.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens exhibits impressive control over chromatic aberration, delivering only nominal results even when tested with a camera lacking automatic chromatic aberration reduction. This indicates that the lens itself effectively minimizes color fringing and maintains high-quality images.
In contrast, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens does show some longitudinal chromatic aberration, with magenta coloration on the left and greenish hues on the right.
However, this aberration is well managed and decreases as the lens is zoomed towards 200mm. The lens performs excellently in terms of lateral chromatic aberration, as there is no noticeable color fringing even in high-contrast situations. Additionally, the lens does not exhibit saggital coma flare, contributing to its overall aberration performance.
In conclusion, both lenses handle aberrations commendably, but the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens has a slight edge, offering better control over chromatic aberration. If maintaining image quality and minimizing color fringing are top priorities, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens would be the superior choice.
When comparing the sharpness of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and 70-200mm f/4, we can see some differences in their performance.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens delivers exceptionally sharp images at f/2.8 from 70mm through to 200mm, with improvements when stopping down. At f/22, there is a minor drop in sharpness due to diffraction, yet the results remain usable. Edge sharpness is optimal between f/8 and f/16, while center sharpness is very good from f/4 onwards and stays high through f/16 at various focal lengths. Border sharpness improves when stopping down, and a Nikon 1.4x teleconverter has minimal impact on sharpness.
On the other hand, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens experiences a slight drop in sharpness at f/22 and f/32 due to diffraction but still delivers usable results. Edge sharpness is best between f/5.6 and f/16, with a minor lack of sharpness wide open at f/4. Center sharpness is very good from f/5.6 onwards, remaining high through f/16 at all focal lengths.
The lower focal length range sharpness is similar for both lenses, but the f/4 lens performs worse than the f/2.8 lens at longer focal lengths, particularly in extreme corners. Stopping down does improve performance, with the sharpest aperture varying by lens and focal length.
In conclusion, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens offers superior sharpness compared to the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens, particularly at longer focal lengths. For photographers seeking the highest image quality and sharpness, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens would be the better choice.
Comparing the bokeh quality of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and 70-200mm f/4, we can observe some distinctions in their rendering of out-of-focus areas.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens is known for its smooth and creamy bokeh, comparable to that of the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens. Its 9-bladed aperture diaphragm creates circular highlights with no obvious outlining or fringing at the 200mm focal length, contributing to the pleasing background blur.
In contrast, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens produces generally smooth and pleasing bokeh as well, thanks to its iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades. Background highlights remain circular throughout the aperture and focal range, except at the image borders where mechanical vignetting causes them to be cut off. This lens also generates soft and neutral bokeh, with blur circles appearing as simple discs, irrespective of focal length or aperture. However, at longer focal lengths and wider apertures, the lens may create a slightly nervous image blur in areas in front of the focal plane.
In conclusion, while both lenses provide pleasant bokeh, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens is superior in terms of bokeh quality. Its smooth and creamy bokeh, along with the absence of outlining or fringing, make it the better choice for photographers who prioritize capturing beautiful background blur in their images.
When comparing the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I and 70-200mm f/4 in terms of flare and ghosting performance, we can observe the differences in their handling of bright light sources.
When comparing the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR II and Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm F4G ED VR lenses in terms of flare and ghosting performance, we can observe the differences in their handling of bright light sources.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens boasts an impressive performance in managing flare and ghosting, largely thanks to Nikon’s Nano Coat. This lens can often produce images without visible flares, even when capturing bright light sources. However, the occurrence of flares and ghosts can still depend on factors such as the location and angle of the light source, filter usage, and the cleanliness of the front lens element.
The lens hood is also helpful when shooting with the sun overhead. Ghosting is minimal when the sun is outside the image or even when taking direct shots of the sun. However, including a bright light source in the shot, especially at the edge of the frame, can cause the lens to flare, even with the lens hood in place.
On the other hand, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens exhibits some ghosting when pointed directly at the sun, despite its Nano Crystal Coat element and coated optical glass elements. When compared to other lenses, the 70-200mm f/4G VR preserves colors better, but the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II manages bright sun in the corner more effectively, resulting in less noticeable and better-looking ghosting.
In conclusion, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens outperforms the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens in terms of flare and ghosting control. Its impressive handling of bright light sources and minimal ghosting make it the superior choice for photographers seeking better performance in challenging lighting conditions.
Comparing the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I and 70-200mm f/4 in terms of vignetting, we can observe differences in their performance, particularly at wider apertures and various focal lengths.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens exhibits noticeable vignetting at 200mm, with slight corner darkening visible at shorter focal lengths when shooting wide open at f/2.8. However, stopping down to f/3.2 almost entirely eliminates the issue, making it a non-issue for most users. Despite the presence of vignetting, it should not detract from the lens’s impressive performance and image quality.
On the other hand, the 70-200mm f/4 lens shows noticeable vignetting at wider apertures, particularly at 135mm and f/4. Stopping down to f/5.6 significantly reduces vignetting, but it still lingers around 1 stop at f/11-f/16.
Fortunately, vignetting is relatively easy to correct in Lightroom using the Lens Correction module. It’s also worth noting that vignetting is less of an issue on DX cameras and can be easily corrected with Vignetting Correction on recent DSLRs. Considering its price point, the lens performs well in terms of vignetting.
In conclusion, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens has a superior vignetting performance compared to the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens, as it almost completely eliminates vignetting issues when stopped down to f/3.2. The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II would be the better choice for photographers seeking minimal vignetting, while still providing impressive performance and image quality.
When comparing the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I and 70-200mm f/4 in terms of distortion, we can observe different characteristics in their distortion patterns.
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens exhibits typical distortion for a medium-range zoom lens, with slight barrel distortion at 70mm and noticeable pincushion distortion between 85mm and 105mm. At longer focal lengths, distortion increases, presenting a bit of barrel distortion at 200mm. However, distortion is largely invisible and should not be problematic for most subjects. It can be easily corrected in post-processing using software like Photoshop or Lightroom.
On the other hand, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens displays noticeable distortion, particularly at the long end of the zoom range, with both barrel and pincushion distortion present at various focal lengths. However, distortion is not a major problem and can easily be corrected in post-processing software or through the automatic distortion correction feature of some digital cameras. The amount of distortion is relatively low, with distortion values always less than 2%.
In conclusion, both lenses show some degree of distortion, but the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens has a slightly superior performance in terms of distortion control, with the distortion being largely invisible in most situations.
After carefully analyzing the various aspects of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lenses, it becomes evident that each lens caters to different preferences and priorities of photographers.
If you are a professional photographer, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens is likely the better choice. Its superior low-light capabilities, image quality, sharpness, and bokeh make it ideal for those who require top-notch performance for weddings, portraits, events, and sports photography. Additionally, its more robust build, better weather sealing, and advanced focus ring cater to professionals who demand durability and precision.
On the other hand, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens is an excellent option for amateur or hobbyist photographers, as well as enthusiasts who prioritize budget and portability. Its affordability, lightweight, and compact design make it suitable for those who enjoy travel, landscape, and wildlife photography, or simply want a high-quality telephoto lens without the hefty price tag and weight of the f/2.8 version. While its image quality may be slightly inferior to the f/2.8 lens, it still offers a solid performance, and its superior optical stabilization is a valuable feature for low light conditions, slow shutter speeds, or video recording.
In conclusion, the choice between the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lenses depends on your specific needs, preferences, and level of expertise as a photographer. Professionals will likely lean towards the f/2.8 lens for its exceptional performance and durability, while amateurs, hobbyists, and enthusiasts may find the f/4 lens more appealing due to its affordability and portability.