Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens review

nikon-af-s-nikkor-70-200mm-f2-8e-fl-ed-vr-lens-review
This review of the new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens ($2,796.95) is by Bojan Stepančič (website: foto-info.si):

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR is the newest tele-zoom lens by Nikon. After seven years, Nikon concluded that it is time to renovate the very popular lens, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII. The resolution of sensors that are built into DSLR cameras increased significantly and with it came the need for newer, sharper lenses. The new Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR lens has been thoroughly renewed, which was visible in positive results on this test. I made most of the test photos with both lenses, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR and Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII and compared the results. 

nikon-af-s-nikkor-70-200mm-f2-8e-fl-ed-vr-lens-review-1 nikon-af-s-nikkor-70-200mm-f2-8e-fl-ed-vr-lens-review-2 nikon-af-s-nikkor-70-200mm-f2-8e-fl-ed-vr-lens-review-3

Quality of manufacture and handling

On the first impression, the lens seems somewhat smaller, however this is due to a thicker lower part of the lens. The weight of the lens is, compared to the earlier version, 110g lighter, which is felt while handling. The biggest change is the relocation of thefocus ring and the zoom ring. The zoom ring has been moved to the front side of the lens, and the focus ring is now found at the backside of the lens. Special functional buttons have been added as well, that can be found between both rings and with which we can control the focus action. 

Autofocus – AF

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII was already considered as an exceptionally fast and reliable lens regarding autofocus. Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR went in this sense even a step higher. During photography, I could quickly notice that the new lens is faster, so I decided to measure the time that each lens needs to focus from infinity to the closest position and back. Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR took between 0.40 and 0.45 seconds, while Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII took between 0.60 and 0.65 seconds. The difference is thus quite considerable. The lens is very reliable and precise in focusing. 

Vibration stabilization – VR

Both lenses produced sharp photos with up to 3 – 4 steps longer times, so there is not much difference here. However, there is a difference in response and speed of the vibration stabilization system, which is considerably improved in the new lens. The lens stabilizes the photo faster and photography is more intuitive with the vibration stabilization turned on. It is therefore not necessary to think much about the lens stabilizing the photo before we take a photo.

Ghosting and flare

While photographing into backlight there are, just like in the older model, problems with light reflection inside the lens itself, which is a consequence of a large number of optical elements and the fast aperture of the lens. However, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR does come out a bit better than the older model. (click on photo for full-size image) 

flare-70mm-f11fff flare-135mm-f2-8-fff

Cromatic aberation – CA

Also in this point, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR is a bit better than the older lens. On test photos, you can notice CA only in very extreme situations. (click on photo for full-size image)

ca-f

Focal length 200 mm and close-up photography

The problem that was brought to attention the most in the older lens Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII, is the angle of the photo that the lens covers in close-up photography. With a focal length of 200mm in close-up photos with the old lens, it was noticeable that the focal length 200 mm was really more one of 135 mm. This has been considerably improved in the new Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR lens. The differences between both lenses in close-up photography are visible in the comparison below. (click on photo for full-size image)

dsc_0151

Vignetting

I have to admit that the degree of vignetting with Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR, which appears at a focal length of 200 mm and an aperture of f2.8, somewhat surprised me. From the test photos it is visible that at 200 mm and f2.8 the vignetting is somewhat stronger than in the older lens Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII. What surprised me the most is that the vignette at this setting reaches deeper towards the middle of the shot than in the older model. But the vignette in an aperture of f4 almost miraculously disappears. From the aperture of f4 on, the new Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR is considerably improved regarding vignetting. (click on photo for full-size image)

01-vignetting

200mm f2.8 strong vignetting on Nikon 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR

vigneting-001

Sharpness and contrasts

This is the point I was interested in the most. A completely new construction of the lens and the use of fluorite optical elements brought advantage compared to the older lens, at least on paper. You can see in the test photos below how the new Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR lens turned out in practice.

For the test I used Nikon D810, I photographed with the use of a tripod and self-timer, while checking the focus I used live view and zoomed into the center of the photo for 100%.

200mm f2.8 (click on photo for full-size image)

200mm-f2-8-center

200mm-f2-8-corner

200mm f4 (click on photo for full-size image)

200mm-f4-center

200mm-f4-corner

135mm f2.8 (click on photo for full-size image)

135mm-f2-8-center

135mm-f2-8-corner

135mm f4 (click on photo for full-size image)

135mm-f4-center

135mm-f4-corner

70mm f2.8 (click on photo for full-size image)

70mm-f2-8-center

70mm-f2-8-corner

70mm f4 (click on photo for full-size image)

70mm-f4-center

70mm-f4-corner

 In test photos, the new Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR lens is considerably sharper than the older Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII lens at an aperture of f2.8. This is visible at all focal lengths in the center of the photo as well as in the extremity of the photo. This difference is, however, less visible from an aperture of f4 on. The fluorite optical elements and the new optical build of the lens have obviously contributed to better contrasts and micro contrast in the new lens. Also the color rendition of the new lens is somewhat different from the color rendition in the old model, which can be seen in the ghosting and flare effect tests the most.

Distortion

Here the difference between the lenses is not very noticeable; perhaps the new lens is slightly better at a focal length of 200 mm, while at other focal lengths the new and the old lens are quite similar.

distortion-70mm-f

distortion-200mm-f

Concluding thoughts

After seven years, Nikon made a new lens Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR, which will most probably suffice all needs for camera and sensor development for the next 7 years. I have to emphasize that the new lens is not only a cosmetic improvement but is, in all respects, a visible improvement of the older model Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII. To summarize, AF is faster and more responsive, VR is more up-to-date, more responsive and faster in operation, optically the lens is excellent, focus and contrasts are improved especially at an aperture f2.8. The control of ghosting and flare effects that appear in backlight photography is improved as well, while CA is almost indiscernible and it appears only in truly extreme conditions. The only remark regarding optic quality is concerning vignetting at 200 mm and an aperture of f2.8; vignetting at this aperture is stronger than in the older model Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII.

Photographers will have most scruples about lens handling. The change of position between both rings will cause trouble to many photographers.

The recommended price for Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR is about 3200 euro, which is much more than what Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII costs today, however, experience tells us that in a few months, the price will most probably drop under 3000 euro.

Here is gallery of photos taken with Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR:

This post was originally published here.

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  • My old VR-1 has started making clicking-clacking sounds when VR is on, occasionally affecting shots. Can anyone comment on repair costs for this problem? It was repaired under Nikon warranty in its first year for this same problem and a pink slip from Melville said “Replaced FPCB”. I shoot sports with the D500, so I am all-in on the new version just for the improved AF speed. I plan to keep the old one for my son to use if the repair cost is reasonable.

  • Wilson

    I’m currently comparing this new 70-200 to my Sigma 120-300mm OS and it is amazingly good. The autofocus blows away the Sigma focusing system. For shooting sports you can have someone sprinting directly towards you which is typically the hardest type to track and it nails it on every shot. The bokeh on up close portraits is excellent with the better max reproduction ratio allowing you to get very close. Also the handling with the new position of the zoom ring is in my opinion superior to the previous 2 generations, it is very fluid and easy to maneuver with your palm pivoting on the foot. I am still unsure if I will keep the lens at this point because I need to see if it’s increased sharpness and autofocus speed provide me with better results in sporting events than the Sigma can with it’s beneficial 300mm of reach.

    • Thanks. What body? I shoot the D500 / VR-1 combo and do miss focus on 1/2 the shots of runners coming at me up the 1st base line. The D500 is a big improvement over the D7200; the D300 is even superior to the D7200 in this situation, even though the D300/D7200 share the same focus system.

      • Wilson

        I have a D600 which the autofocus system is not near as good as the d500. I’m waiting to do some more test shots right now but I have my dads VR1 to compare it with also so I can let you know in a little bit what I think by comparison.

      • Wilson

        I did several real world comparisons of the types of things that I shoot and compared for myself the results and general performance of the three lenses 70-200 FL, 70-200 VR1 and my non sports version Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 OS. The purpose of these lenses for me would be almost exclusively indoor sports shooting as that is where I make the majority of my money in photography. I decided that the best lens for what I do still remains the Sigma 120-300 which honestly surprised me slightly. But I use a D600 full frame which doesn’t have near the central sensor resolution that the d500 has, which I would recommend the new 70-200 for as you get the extra reach and the new one is superior in every way if you can afford it.

        120-300mm os
        pros:
        Reach at 300mm (for me the most important factor)
        Bokeh and subject separation is the best of the three
        Great contrast (second to 70-200FL)
        fast autofocus speed (tied for second)
        Cons:
        Can’t go wider than 120
        Weight is double the other two
        No gasket weather sealing
        AF accuracy not as good as FL
        Sigma TC not as good as Nikon TC but it gives 420mm

        70-200mm fl
        Pros:
        Blazing fast autofocus
        Unparalleled sharpness among zooms
        Ergonomics phenomenal (I love the zoom ring honestly)
        Better macro than other two
        Contrast excellent
        Lightest of 3
        Minimal degradation with 1.4iii TC
        Best for portraits generally (300mm is usually to specialist to be useful)
        Cons:
        Price so high that it is now compared with 120-300mm

        70-200mm VR1
        Pros:
        Can be found cheap used
        Fast Af (about same as 120-300)
        Cons:
        Lowest contrast of 3 (bright points bleed into darker surroundings more)
        Autofocus can’t compete with FL
        Af accuracy not as good as FL

        This is obviously a fairly rudemenatary comparison but if you are using a D500 I think the new FL will live up to its cost of upgrading. Find a place with a good return policy and give it a try before selling current gear though. For full frame or D500 working with people such as weddings the 70-200fl would be my first choice as it is incredibly sharp and it’s focus breathing improvement allows close work in portraiture. If you are like me and a full frame sports shooter who can’t move his feet to get closer to the subject and need the reach, the benefits of pure sharpness don’t exceed the benefits of the extra reach even with the inconvenience of the weight. If you have questions let me know.

        • Thank you. This is great info.

    • MB

      You could add tc-14 if you need a bit of reach…

  • gharadmin

    First impressions: Fast AF, Silky Smooth Zoom, Sharp as tack, Buttons on lens barrel are awesome for AF lock (AF-L Default). Zoom Ring is perfectly balanced with the tripod collar in the palm of your hands. Made In Japan. RRS Tripod Collar fits on lens.

    • NicP

      Do you mean by ‘made in Japan’ it’s an advantage over other lenses that are made in China, lets say like the 105 f/1.4 ? …….:)

      By saying tripod collar in the palm, do you mean carrying it from there, or shooting. To me bigger more rounded contact patch like the barrel feels better than a pointy thingy sticking in my flesh for 6-8 hours.
      Or is it better on this specific lens because they decided to put the zoom ring further away from the user and suddenly the need for a closer support appeared?

  • fanboy fagz

    there is an increase in sharpness but not as much as it may seem. the vr2 looks less contrasty and hence less sharp. for instance 4th from bottom side by side, I added contrast to match the fl and saw little improvement. and did it to the first side by side of the 200 2.8 and saw a difference but not at all significant. who knows. could be the focal plane was off a bit in one lens. these are minor differences. but $2800..? no. nothing significant to pay $800 over the vr2. heavy 200 2.8 vignetting. bad decision to switch zoom/focus ring. would screw up my ergonomic workflow. best solution is wait for the vr2 to go down or go tamron 70-200 VC for less then half.

    these lenses are usually sent out to nps folks free of charge for testing btw.

    • Eric Calabros

      We know nothing can’t change your mind about these lenses. Why bother explaining?

      • fanboy fagz

        why bother replying?

        • Eric Calabros

          to tease you

          • fanboy fagz

            if you werent here, id be bored…
            good that youre doing youre job

            • Eric Calabros

              I’m Always here.

            • fanboy fagz

              were happy youre here. we need good soldiers like you

            • Eric Calabros

              Need advice from a veteran? Stop whinning and lets praise Nikkor again.

    • Proto

      yup… VR3 is not worth $1200+ more than VR1

      • koenshaku

        Depends on what you do, maybe not for a casual hobbyist but professionals depending on the highest quality and most reliable focus speed. It certainly is, less time in process and being sure of your shot is a lot to depend on. The sharpness looks like wearing smudgy glasses that were not prescribed for you then taking them off is what I thought of the images above.

        • Proto

          Here is a simple fact — many iconic photographs were taken with VR1 when that was the top pro lens in its segment. The new lens version will likely not make one a better “pro” photographer, particularly with the zoom ring far away… Most pro’s likely have the Vr1 or Vr2, and the tad bit of sharpness increase is not worth the upgrade. The Pro can rather buy something else with that money.. maybe fund a profoto TTL battery flash…. that I am eyeing : )

          • fanboy fagz

            Exactly. My vr1 is no slouch. Its very quick. Its been through hell and back. The performance increase is. Not such an increase to warrant such a huge jump in money. This lens is a fail. Bigher problem is the huge fail with the switched zoom/focus rings. Big no no

          • Andrew

            Couldn’t agree more, pro photographers simply don’t need the new 70-200 as evidenced by the fact that it is now the top pro lens and there is literally no iconic photographs being taken with the new 70-200. Shame on Nikon

            • HF

              Nonsense. What one needs or not is always subjective. Why not doing everything still with your old D700 and d50? Who are you to judge what is iconic or not? What one needs or not? After all, it is often determined in retrospect what is an iconic photograph.

            • Andrew

              haha you are looking at my comment quite literally. Perhaps you should chill and read again.

            • HF

              In that case, my apologies.

            • Vaggelis Atropus

              stop with the iconic photographs everyone , i bet that in this site 1 hardly 2 people have ever made an iconic photograph. The End , gear is gear.

            • ITN

              The lens is just coming on the market, where there are a million existing, older 70-200/2.8 Nikkors already in use. It will take a few years for the new lens to become common, and once it’s in widespread use, it’ll make its impact.

            • Ineluki

              100photos.time.com
              all taken with the new 70-200 lens 😉

            • KnightPhoto

              Thanks for sharing (the power of photography…)

          • HF

            So you are an other expert knowing exactly what people need, what is worth upgrading for, what is iconic and will become iconic? Many iconic photographs were taking with even older and slower lenses. Wht even upgrade to the vr1 version then? What is necessary to make you believe an update is justified?

        • Zenettii

          If a pro already uses the VR2, explain to me how upgrading to the new 70-200 is going to generate more money than thier existing lens……………

          Bugger doing your own post processing, you hire dedicated pro’s to do that slave work for you so you get to spend more time in the field doing what counts, talking to clients or taking photos.

          • CanSen

            It is difficult to judge what others need.

            I am a pro and I use some of my gear very heavily. I use them very carefully but they still wear out. I am not a fan of repairing lenses. So I try to sell and renew before they fail. For example I am at my third copy of 24-70.

            For me this is a good time to upgrade and renew my 6 year old VRII which has started to give signs of failure. I am glad that the new lens is superior and will surely get it soon.

        • NicP

          Please let me LOL. Pro

    • HF

      There is a significant increase in sharpness around 135mm (see my linked lens-rentals optical bench test above), the weak spot of the older vr2 lens. Lens flare (which bothers me quite often) is reduced significantly as well (at FM there is even one guy sending it back due to the non-existance of strong flare he likes to have). The center of mass shifted significantly towards the body, making the handling easier. AF is faset, VR is better. So it seems like a significant upgrade.

      • fanboy fagz

        no there isnt

        • HF

          LOL, you doubt optical bench measurements of R. Cicala? Based on what?

          • fanboy fagz

            dont visit his site dont care. graphs mean jack shit. been there done that. nought many lenses based on numbers and none amounted to what was specced. not one. numbers are nothing

            • HF

              Numbers are an important part, since they give an objective metric to compare lenses, something your eye often cannot. Why do you think all experiments in engineering and physics don’t rely on your visual ability and gut feeling subjectively but try to provide objective number being determined repeatably when repeating the experiment? In the field you may reach the potential a lens provides (often you don’t), and the upper limit will always be determined by what an optical bench test measured. And here it clearly shows the new 70-200 to have improved in sharpness. Nobody says that this is the only and most important metric. The way a lens renders etc. is of importance, too. But you specifically said that this is only an evolutionary upgrade in sharpness, which one can easily equalise by adding contrast. The measurements clearly tell otherwise at 135mm, for example (At 70mm the difference is much smaller and at this focal length I would agree with you). You can always add contrast in post to the new version, too. For me, using both real life results and measurements is the way to go.

            • Proto

              Question is – will you pay $1200 more to upgrade, based on a bench test? when getting off the bench and taking photos regularly does not show that value instantly?

              About harping the sharpness at 135mm… yes its sharper, but that is same as saying, page-59 in my car manual shows that at a 5% road incline at 65mph the car grips better on tire corners. So, the car will now cost 50% more… Will you pay up?

            • HF

              I would not have problems buying it considering what I see: much better flare resistance (my vrii is terrible here), sharper, center of weight much closer towards the body, faster AF, less CAs.

            • Proto

              HF, let me know when you buy it : )

              Curious what you will think when are actually paying that $2800 or have second thoughts

            • HF

              I will decide between this and the Sony 70-200GM, as we have both systems in parallel for weddings. Lacking a long lens with Sony, I tend to buy the latter. On the other hand, I like what I saw regarding the samples at Fred Miranda, for example.

            • KnightPhoto

              A 70-200 is a core (THE core) of many shooters kit. I don’t see where penny pinching is a big concern if one could sell the current version and buy the new.

              Mind you, am having no end of difficulty selling any Nikon gear these days (but I live in an oil producing region, so that exacerbates things, hope it improves)

          • bench tests CRAP this is the real world NO ONE shoots in a lab

            • HF

              Look, people can claim everything. Bench tests allow for getting a general idea of the potential of the lens, i.e. whether the lens is sharp at certain distances and apertures, how it objectively compares to peers at these settings, etc. This shouldn’t be the only criteria to buy a lens, of course, but it is one of many criteria to me.

      • NicP

        can you retrieve sharpness as easily and smoothly?

        • HF

          I am not sure what you mean. But with the damped shutter on the D810 (compared to the D750, for example) I can get excellent files wrt sharpness in general.

  • Geoff Neuer

    “From
    the test photos it is visible that at 200 mm and f2.8 the vignetting is
    somewhat stronger than in the older lens Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED
    VRII.”

    later on…

    “… in all respects, a visible improvement of the older model Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VRII.”

    • Member

      I’m afraid you skipped this part

      “But the vignette in an aperture of f4 almost miraculously disappears. From the aperture of f4 on, the new Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8E FL ED VR is considerably improved regarding vignetting”

      • Geoff Neuer

        “…in all respects”, no I didn’t.

  • Eric Calabros

    at DX area, its just perfect.

  • Tieu Ngao

    When a manufacturer makes a new model, it’s supposed to be better than the old model it replaces. That’s normal progress, therefore the price increase is unjustified if it’s more than the inflation.

    • fanboy fagz

      exactly. add inflation fine but fuck, these prices are jumps not in proportion to the performance increase.

      • koenshaku

        Vignetting is not horrible and can be corrected in process. The tamron vignettes just as much I would say.

        • fanboy fagz

          I highly doubt it. The tamron is less then half. At 2800 tgieving dollars it must be flawless

          • Eric Calabros

            Maybe fixing the vignette wide open would make it even thicker, and you would say at this price it shouldn’t be so fat 🙂

            • fanboy fagz

              I have no issue with size or heft and prefer it. balances very well with the single digit bodies. love the beefy new lenses all are releasing today. especially that fat ass sigma 85mm art.

      • Phil Harris

        I shot with one today in my local store. The differences are remarkable compared to the VRII, so much faster and much more accurate. The VR is also significantly improved. In my opinion it’s absolutely worth the cost.
        I take it you haven’t actually tried it yet?

        • fanboy fagz

          I was when nr announced it. Then found out about the switched zoom focus rings. No way

      • Adam Fo

        But you haven’t added inflation. The VRII launch price was $2400 in 2009 which is $2700 inflation adjusted. An incremental performance increase for $100.
        What is it you can’t comprehend about that ?

        • Proto

          Will you buy me one? its not much cash, just inflation….

          • Adam Fo

            Wait 18 months and even a burger flipper like fanboy fagz will be able to afford the street price….

            • Aldo

              Lol… wth

            • fanboy fagz

              is that another way of saying in doing you in the ass? cause im completely hetero.

            • Aldo

              Are you bi?

            • fanboy fagz

              read above.

            • Aldo

              When I read it said “Im not completely hetero” I guess I saw wrong

            • fanboy fagz

              just woke up.

        • fanboy fagz

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e9af87c58433d2bb54d733bcf69c2315a23d8c8c7d95a135e6985b7b72cfe48.png Bitch you didnt calculate properly. The vr1 was at a reasonable price. You calculated for the vr2. Which was an 800 thieving dollar increase. The 80-200 afs to vr1 was a 400 buck increase add 500 to the vr2 amd that “acceptable” but not 800
          Vr1 sold for 1600 new. New lens should cost less. ESPECIALLY with the weak yen

          When even jared polin says this price is ridiculous and NOT priced to sell then that shit is expensive as fuck. And it is.

          • Proto

            Now, this is a valid “Bench Test” that matters .. not just sharpness at corner at 135mm at f4 with sun at 45 degree left and photog is wearing jeans size 32L, 31W…

            • fanboy fagz

              Actually the 80-200 afs I had and the vr1 i habe now all are stellar in the 135 range. Im certain the newer ones are a tad better but the two before are no slouches. Every lens was evolutionary. Non stand out significantly over the previous. A bit fast a bit sharper. I highly doubt anyone lookibg at “fit to screen” size would tell the difference between them all. Im a 34 34 in bottoms

      • HF

        As I replied above, you rant is without substance.

      • ITN

        The FL version has the advantages of 1) lower weight, 2) better distribution of weight, 3) better handing (the zoom is right at my fingertips, perfect positioning), 4) higher contrast, 5) lower flare, 6) faster and quieter AF, 7) improved VR, 8) improved tripod mount, 9) higher MTF, 10) lower CA, 11) reduced vignetting stopped down, 12) less focus breathing, 13) shorter minimum focus distance, 14) E diaphragm, 15) easier to clean front element due to fluorine coating. Diadvantages: 1) initially higher price, 2) some more vignetting wide open. According to Roger Cicala, it is the best 70-200 by any manufacturer to date. The price will come down over time. Those 15 advantages will stay for a while until better lenses again come on the market.

        In practice those who use this type of a lens, want the best and don’t mind spending the money will buy it, and the rest will use something else. I don’t understand the complaint: this is one additional lens that photographers may consider using. Nothing is taken away from anyone.

        • fanboy fagz

          “Nothing is taken away from anyone”

          at that price nothing is added.

          • ITN

            You still have access to all the other options that were available before this lens was introduced, and likely their prices will go down faster now as some people unload the previous versions.

            And for those of us who buy the new lens, we can get a new level of performance.

            • fanboy fagz

              go buy it. but I promise you and willing to make a money wager that q4 financial results will be their worst ever. and im talking about the photography dept, not telescope imaging and such division. which saved the photo gears division big time.

            • ITN

              Nikon is not doing well financially speaking but this is influenced by a lot of factors. The quality of their professional cameras and lenses is not one of them. Nikon has trouble especially with software (Snapbridge as well as their desktop software) and consumer products (compact sales are down, and the DL series is not yet in the market) and these weigh down the sales of the brand and Nikon’s financial results. The 70-200 E, 105/1.4 E, D5, and D500 are absolutely superb products. Even if Nikon priced the 70-200 E at $1500, they would not sell any more copies of it by the end of the year because early production is unable to meet demand. So they would make far less money if they priced it low. Just wait for the price to come down, as it will. This doesn’t mean the initial price was wrong. It is what it needs to be for the company to remain profitable.

            • fanboy fagz

              cameras no, lenses yes. prices are too high, build is cheap plastic, slow af. im not buying the 70-200E. im waiting for a possible tamron 70-200VC revamp or maybe a sigma option. they price themselves not to sell and with tons of options breathing down their neck lower the prices. but you will see ITN, im predicting this quarter will be their worst. they shoot themselves in the foot. btw, I used to be the biggest fanboy. I walked around with many nikon lapel pins on my vest proud. theyve gone to the shits the last few years. $600 for a flash when a 3rd party flash does it all. ive sold all 4 nikon flashes I had. now use 8 chinese flash.

            • ITN

              Only the outer surface is plastic, which is excellent as it doesn’t feel cold in -15C…-25C. With a metal surface of a lens, or body, fingers would freeze touching it. Furthermore, all-metal lenses with tight tolerances can jam in the cold and become unusable. Nikon’s current material choices are better for use in different climates than, e.g., Zeiss who do impact testing but in my experience are poorly suited for a harsher climate. Inside, the lens barrels of most f/1.4 AF-S Nikkors are magnesium and very robust. I’ve unfortunately dropped some of them with no adverse effects visible in images or function, and NPS seem to think they’re built to last a lifetime, whether that turns out to be true or not, their build quality is excellent. Obviously with enough repeated abuse, anything can fail.

              The 105/1.4E gives near perfect in-focus rate of moving subjects at f/1.4 with the D5, as does the 24-70/2.8E at f/2.8. These lenses give excellent autofocus performance, and your complaint regarding that is not justified; in past f/1.4 lenses and older cameras I have not been able to get most shots in focus when shooting moving subjects in extremely dark indoor events at f/1.4, but with these new equipment it is possible. What’s more, the 105/1.4 gives its best sharpness at f/1.4, and LoCA is minimal. Such performance did not exist in Nikkors in the past, or any lenses in fact.

              The prices are reason for legitimate complaint as they are indeed quite high, but that problem is just temporary after each lens is introduced. The solution is simple: wait until the price comes down, buy something else, or keep using your current gear.

              Nikon is a business, not a charity. It is not their problem if their best stuff is expensive, as long as there is a market for it, which there is. I know already five people with 105/1.4’s, these seem to be selling well in circles who appreciate top performance. After a few years, you can buy these lenses for reduced prices. If Nikon started with $1500 for the 70-200/2.8E, they would end up making a lot less money, which would contrary to their shareholders’ best interest and reason enough to terminate the employment of those people who made those pricing decisions. Fortunately Nikon does understand pricing and market economy.

            • decentrist

              the 105E has the shitty, cheap focus motor and nylon gears. For 2200 US where’s the ring motor?

            • ITN

              The 105/1.4 motor is fine; the focus is very accurate. Plastic gears are quieter than metal. Ring SWM is different in each lens type and it breaks down too often, leading to some lenses becoming unrepairable after a too short usable life. Nikon has not been able to predict such a high rate of motor failures. Thus other solutions are needed. A motor by the side should be easier to replace (without resorting to the current practice of replacing the whole inside of the lens in one huge chunk) and the parts should be easy to find since they can be shared in many lenses.

            • decentrist

              Yes, the cheap micro motor is fine. The plastic gears/support arms will not take any heavy use. 1st gen ring motors were a problem, but the failure rate is much lower, now to be considered the best. This is dumbed down construction to save costs, no different than the Chinese labor play. The prices climb ever higher, the optics improve , but the long term viability of the lenses decline. Why give a pass on both the high prices combined with compromised construction, followed by outright lying by Nikon’s marketing?

            • ITN

              Chinese manufacturing isn’t just used because the labour costs are low; they have a great deal of manufacturing expertise nowadays as well, in some cases not available elsewhere (not necessarily in this case). Nikon factories in Japan suffer semiregularly from the impact of earthquakes; if anything I would try to move manufacturing to more stable ground where such problems can be avoided. We cannot deduce the durability of lenses by just looking inside; only time will tell how long new lenses last in use and how long they can be repaired. From my point of view the 105/1.4 is far, far superior to the 105/2 DC that it replaced in terms of autofocus accuracy, manual focusing ease, and reliability (the hood of the 105 DC can jam and the A/M switch can break, common problems in lenses of that era, some of which I encountered in my lenses). The only complaint I have is that they took such a long time to replace the older lens. The results is absolutely spectacular in optical performance and autofocus hit rate. The 70-200/2.8 E has a ring SWM and focuses very fast but the shots are not as consistently in focus as with the 105/1.4 prime, in my experience. The prime is simply more accurate. I give them a “pass” because I want to enjoy the spectacular results and have been doing that for a while now. I trust that Nikon knows quite well how durable various constructions are and are doing their best to improve these aspects. And if there is a problem, which is very rare, my experience is that the service is excellent (in my region).

            • decentrist

              You lose all credibility comparing the new 105 with the old DC. I have a 1993 DC that has been through hell and back, and it will most likely outlast me. Time has already told us the proper way to execute robust construction. These standards of quality and skilled labor are a thing of the past. So, to be clear, when Nikon lies to you about the nature of the focusing system, you are unmoved?. That is not rational. Reliability/hit rate on DC lenses, are in direct proportion to the knowledge of the operator. The hood is a thing of beauty. Yes, the A/M switch may break. Enjoy the enhanced sharpness, cheaper construction and higher price. I will pass. Nikon rep.?

            • ITN

              “Reliability/hit rate on DC lenses, are in direct proportion to the knowledge of the operator.” I’ve used almost all autofocus Nikkor primes up to 300mm focal length over several decades and the DC Nikkors are the least reliable of them in terms of autofocus, and caused the most pain in terms of lost images. I like the images when in focus, they are very beautiful, but the focusing is so erratic that I avoid their use nowadays. This does greatly depend on the camera body as well, unfortunately only a small percentage of Nikon DSLR bodies that I’ve used produced acceptable autofocus on the DC Nikkors. I love these lenses in terms of the way they render people but simply consider them unacceptable for any critical work where results must be delivered. It is embarrassing that they didn’t replace them sooner.

              Of the f/1.4 AF-S Nikkor primes, only the 50/1.4 has a ring SWM and it’s the only one I *didn’t* keep. As a user the motor inside doesn’t matter to me; actual performance does.

  • Pierre

    Simply…..to expensive for the difference!
    With such price increase for a classic lens….bye bye Nikon slowly!

    • Eledeuh

      This is entirely subjective, there are people like you all over the internet, but it doesn’t mean anything. The sharpness increase is extremely noticeable right now (notably corner performance), and will be much more noticeable on higher resolution bodies likely coming next year.

      We had the same people shitting on the 24-70 f/2.8E, saying the older ones or their [insert 3rd party equivalent lens] was better and cheaper, but if you take the whole frame into account on a high resolution body there is no comparison, the new one blows them all out of the water. It’s pretty much the same story repeating here.

      • Kim

        I don’t think there was any difference in the 100% crops but the corner-2.8 one.
        And corner performance in a tele-zoom image is seldom important.
        So I agree, there’s not much need to “upgrade” if you already have a 70-200mm

        • Eledeuh

          > I don’t think there was any difference in the 100% crops but the corner-2.8 one

          Then.. either buy glasses or it’s just that you don’t really care for the level of sharpness the new model introduces, which is perfectly fine. Just don’t complain it’s too expensive or isn’t an upgrade : it appears it wasn’t designed for you anyway.

          • Kim

            Yes; thus the operative word “I” in my post 🙂

            • Eledeuh

              Granted.

  • Nikon User

    Not only the 2.8E is a lot sharper which is fantastic news but why the 2.8G images look wash out in colors?

    • peter w

      This weekend I shot some photos with my ‘new’ old VR II. It looked more like the left pictures, than the right pictures in my remembrance: rich in colour, contrasty and sharp.

  • Aldo

    The veignetting may be due to the closer focusing distance… I wonder if it decreases as you focus something more at a distance.

  • Aldo

    Im going to declare this lens a winner… I am tight with my money but it is something I will consider to get one in the future second hand/refurbished. I think the nikon namebrand actually means something in this lens… Though it’s still early I do believe this lens will turn out to be something special.

    • Proto

      yup… buying used/refub is the only way I can justify paying bit extra

    • dclivejazz

      I got to recently handle the lens at our local photo store during its customer appreciation day sale and it impressed me more than I expected. My VR II has served me well and I won’t be in a rush to replace it but I probably will eventually.

      With lenses as expensive as this, I tend to buy used, too.

  • And from close up pictures one can see that the disturbing near bokeh of vr2 has been fixed nicely. ( At least in close up which should ideally relate to longer distance too.)

  • Scott M.

    I would like to see some comparative shots at distance for sharpness. 180-200mm from about 100-250 feet away.
    My VR2 is very sharp within 50-75 feet and then gets less so after that. If the new lens improves enough in this 100-250 and more range, then I am a buyer.

    • ITN

      Roger Cicala’s tests show infinity performance. Since the lens just came out on the market, it will take a few weeks before there are real-world images by well known reviewers but these won’t take long to come.

      • Scott M.

        Thanks I will check out lenrental site. I enjoy pretty much everything he writes.

  • Zenettii

    Seems to me that with the exception of the D500, everything nikon does these days is built on some weird internal decision making, and had nothing to do with what customers want which just further pushes away the number of people they sell to. Nikon is already as good as dead, they just haven’t realised it yet because they are blind

    • HF

      Could you explain why this update is built on some weird internal decision making?

      • IronHeadSlim

        Control ring flip flop

        • TheInconvenientRuth

          Me no like.

    • NicP

      How I see it, is they are Trying to do what customers want them to do with their madness for sharpness and this and that and buttons between focus and zoom ring and flare and bokeh and… they are loosing their character as a brand, that defines who the audience would be,without making everything right in the end

  • Wally Brooks

    I will stick with my 80-200 f2.8, non vr, heavy, built like a tank, pound nails, needs a mono pod, still in production after all these years, $500 used.

    • catinhat

      You’re missing $2300 worth of improvements. Actually, my bad, you’re finding $2300, but you’re still missing something, something very important, it is a long list. If you get the new lens, next time you shoot a brick wall from a tripod, you won’t believe the difference you’ll see, it will be worth every penny.

    • TheInconvenientRuth

      Aww yeah! High five! Been using that beauty (The 80-200/2.8 AF-S) since it came out, squeaks a little when it focuses, looks like a 10ft bulldog used it as a chew-toy, but still works brilliantly and sharp, sharp, sharp. 16 years of daily heavy use. Never broke down. Had one service, just cleaning after a desert trip. It’s a f*****g tank. I love that beast so much. When it came out people said it was too expensive… And you know what, if you’d put it side by side shooting walls, maybe the new one has lightly better sharpness and color, but if you saw the images on their own, you’d never know it was a 16 year old lens. I bought it the same day as the AF-S 17-35/2.8, which I also still use daily and has never failed me. Nikon expensive? Pfff… I haven’t needed an update or repair on these two in 16 years. That’s how I can afford my shoes and handbags.

  • Scott M.

    Thanks for info and link. Like what I see so far. I need a wildlife guy for distance, I guess.

  • peter w

    Haha,
    I love this new lens.
    There are so many second hand VR II to choose from… It’s a buyers market for an extremely good lens, that appears to be slightly improved.
    Optical quality could be practical when using convertors.

  • Kim

    The switching of the zoom and focus rings is long overdue!
    The old placement is only a habit inherited from the original small and light lenses. To support a heavy lens close to the mount is silly at best. Now you can support it in front, which makes much more sense.

    • dclivejazz

      Personally, I don’t think switching the zoom and focus ring is that big of a deal either way. I use a lot of equipment with idiosyncratic features and just get used to them.

      • Kim

        I to have gotten used to the old lenses! But supporting a heavy lens 25cm in front of the mount vs 5cm, makes for a much more rigid and comfortable solution. Simple physics.

  • I have a question. With a RRS foot for the G lens, will this fit the E? In other words are the feet the same?

    • Allen_Wentz

      Ask RRS.

  • NicP

    For me out of focus areas on above photos not to my taste, maybe are the places or aperture used or anything, no like.

  • Carleton Foxx

    Nice work…now, for we photographers who need to minimize the weight of the equipment we carry, how does it compare to the 70-200 f/4 when they are both shot at the same aperture. On a goodness-vs-lightness ratio, what do you get for the additional pound and a half of weight?

  • John_Skinner

    For me, handling is everything alongside image quality.

    So for this change over to reposition the zoom ring, and then the subtle changes between D3s/D4s/D5 bodies.. For me, it’s too much. I don’t want to fumble in my workflow when changing between 3 bodies while I’m on the sidelines or shooting through a photo-hole at an arena. It’s just another step I don’t need to stop….and think about.

    The optical quality is not so much improved that it was inspire me enough, along with the added $750+ in costs to move forward with this upgrade.

    It was a good attempt, but I fear the added features + the aesthetic changes leave me feeling less thrilled and enthused.

  • donpnz

    Yipeee, ALL reviews are indicating a winner! BUY, BUY BUY! (…start saving and stop whining). By the time I have my $$ in order if will have shed 10 -20% of the start price as well. Happy days!
    (..if you don’t like supporting the lens by the zoom ring go back to your pinhole camera)

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