Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II now available for pre-order

Another update: Amazon is now also taking pre-orders.

Update: CalumetJ&R and Abes of Maine are now also taking pre-orders for that lens. Ritz aslo takes pre-orders now (search for 541533931)

Adorama so far is the only major retailer that takes pre-orders for the new Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens. It is still unclear if the new lens has a AF lock buttons on the lens barrel. Here is a comparison between the old and the new model:


Lens construction comparison

and a direct comparison of the MTF chart:

Old Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens

Old Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens

New Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens

New Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens

Picture 4

For more pre-order options click here.

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  • According to Nikon Sweden it does not have the AF lock buttons, since a lot of customers didn’t use them and they were in the way when the lens was used with glows in the north and in cold conditions.

    • RThomas

      Looking at the photo on the Nikon USA website,. it appears to have a third ring towards the front of the lens (in the same general place the AF buttons used to be). I once owned the older version of this lens, and found the buttons were never where I wanted them; a ring would solve that problem nicely.

  • alex

    charts look good!

  • STJ

    Like a “few” others I look forward to a test of this lens…. MTF sais even less about the quality than the fact that the new one uses 7 special glass elements in my opinion. With such a significantly different, and my I say impressive, optical formula my guess is that Nikon will finally complete the outstanding quality of the (as so many have dubbed it) zoom trinity…. Not saying the old one is bad, but I guess that only few expect the new one not to be even better. Throw in a few extra grams, VR II, shorter barrel (which I think is nice) and slightly shorter minimum focus distance (always appreciated) and it almost cannot be anything but excellent… 🙂

  • magnification ratio is the only thing that got worse from previous model and which I found distracting for closeup photography

    before: 0.16x, 0.17x (manual) or 1/6.1 or 1/.5.6 (manual)
    now: 0.12x or 1/8.3

  • zzddrr

    The only thing that got worse is that we may have to wait lightyears to obtain this beauty.

    I wonder, what sense does it make to introduce a product 4-5 months from today? I am not sure what Nikon’s intention was with this. Options:

    (1) They do not know how to use a calendar
    (2) They want to give us time to save for this new lens (Considerate Nikon)
    (3) They screwed up something and want to save time to fix the batches wefore release (After the D5000 maybe they became paranoid)
    (4) No capacity due to catchup on items currently out of stock
    (5) Trying to build some momentum – or pre-lock loyal users because they know the competition is coming out with something (Sony A850 – 24MP @ below $2K)
    (6) They smoked too much weird stuff

    Honestly, it’s kind of weird what Nikon is doing. Let’s collect all the possible reasons why we have to wait for Santa to get this lens. 🙂

    • northy

      lightyears is a measurement of distance, not time 😉 so what you’re saying is, we have to walk really far for this lens?

      • David C

        Isn’t it both a measure of distance and time. From a time perspective, a light year = exactly a year (since light has nothing to do with the time portion) 🙂

        Or am I looking at this wrong? (always possible -> my wife would leave off the “possible” 🙂 )

        • Lawliet

          Mr. Einstein makes this a not so easy thing.
          Something along the lines of “as long as you don’t move that relation works – but it won’t get you anywhere” 🙂
          But then if anything moves it gets quite counterintuitive anyway.

        • geoff

          No, it’s a measure of distance.

          distance = speed * time
          1 light year = speed of light * 1 year

    • Ken Elliott

      Actually, this might make sense from a production standpoint. If they get a lot of pre-production orders, dealers will order more and Nikon will keep the production line running longer. Nikon has trained us well in this regard – look at the number of times that a new lens model sells out and becomes unavailable. I suspect many pros will pre-order to insure they get one sooner (this year) than later (next year).

    • zzddrr

      Northy – it was figure speech. But I guess you got the idea of waiting forever.


  • Dan

    Adorama is horrible for pre-orders, don’t use them. I’ve tried to pre-order three high-priced items from them over the past two years and they dropped the ball every time. They screw up the sequence of pre-orders, other retailers start shipping WAY before them, thye can’t provide any information on what’s going on, etc.

  • James

    Now another question, is this an Internal Focusing lens or NOT?

    I got the old one and I prefer the IF.

    Well, I will buy this anyway no matter what for my FF nikon body.

    The other one will still be used as a backup.

    • STJ

      As stated many times now – it IS an IF lens. 😉

    • Siletto

      Hard to believe at this price point it would be not an IF lens.

  • Bonzo that is vital info about the magnification ratio being worse. I used to use my 70-200 VR with the Canon 500D to do close-up photography. Does this mean the new lens will not work as well? on the other hand the new lens closest focusing distance is a little better than the old one so does that even things out for close-up?

    What do you guys think?

    • Daf

      As both are 70-200 I would have guessed they had the same maginifiaction.

      Then as the new one’s closest focusing is 1.4mm rather than the old 1.5mm – I’d expect that the new one would be marginally better.

      • Daf

        oops 1.4/1.5 m not mm

      • yes it autofocuses 10cm nearer than older model (which goes also to 1.4m in manual)

        BUT magnification ratio is much lower at 1.4meters 1/8.6 now, 1/5.6 before, that is 1.5x ratio, which means that the new 70-200 WITH TC14-e will have the same magnification ratio as older one WITHOUT TC at closest distance!!!

        • STJ

          How can it focus closer, but have smaller magnification? I’m not saying I’m sure at all – but this sounds more like an error in the published numbers to me.

          • Internal Focusing and variable focus lenght at closer distances.

            lens is 200mm at normal distances to infinity, at close range all internal focus lenses “change” real focal length thus magnification.

        • pardon new is 1/8.3, but still it is 1.48 ratio difference with older one at 1/5.6 at 1.4m, which is a big minus for my style of shooting.

          I rather take photo with older one without TC, get same magnification as with new one + tc14-e and get much better image quality for not using a tc, not to mention further enhancing of magnification ratio with tc14-e, which gets you to 1/4.2 ratio. which is quite decent for closeups.

          • STJ

            Thanks for clarifying this. That just means that Nikon needs a new 70-180 micro zoom 😉

    • As far as lens + 500D diopter go… Diopter doesn’t change magnification of the lens by itself (like new lens design vs older) just shortens the minimal focus distance, which results in bigger magnification.

      You must take into account original lens magnification than add diopter effect. Canon 500D shortens focal length of all lenses to approx. 0.5meters.

      To put it short, yes, older lens with diopter would produce much better magnification (1.4ratio) than the new lens at 0.5meters with Canon 500D or at 1.4m without any diopter.

  • J&R has this for pre-order as well. Which is better? Adorama or J&R for Pre-orders? My 35mm f/1.8 preorder at Adorama took months…

    • I would go with Adorama – the earlier you place the order the better

      • PJS

        I go the other way. JR has always beat Adorama in my experience. I have no affiliations with either.

        • JONG

          will jr charge the credit cards now? adorama will only charge when the item ships. it sucks to pay $2.4k now and get the item in dec/nov.

          • Big D

            Bump for an answer to this question:

            Does JR charge for pre-orders?

          • [NR] admin

            I will tell you once I get my confirmation – just put my order at J&R – I will try them this time (I used them before, but never for pre-orders). Actually I think it should not be a problem putting pre-orders on more than one store – the moment one store ships it, you cancel the other order. Even if you don’t cancel, you can always return it.

          • JONG

            called jr and was told preorders wil not get charged until items are shipped.

    • Theodore

      I tried to order a body from Adorama once. I put my order in right after the announcement. I was assured that they had a good size order in and would get it with the first deliveries. A month later when dealers were getting stock, I contacted my sales rep. who insisted that places like B&H and Ritz probably really didn’t have the bodies. I called Ritzs who said “yes, they’re physically here” and I canceled the Adorama order and Ritz overnighted me one. Adorama also accidentally charged the whole pre-order to my bank account rather than a holding percentage and that took some time (and stress) to work out. But in general I order from B&H (although Ritz got a gold star that time) who have been excellent and honest (especially about their stock) over more than 15 years of business with them.

  • Siletto

    Uhmm… not sure if I’m reading the chart right, but isn’t the new one worse? The new lines drop quite soon and dotted and continuous lines aren’t very close together.

    • D40-owner

      In an MTF, you want:
      – Values as high as possible (max=1)
      This is a LOT harder in zooms, but if you check a super-telephoto MTF you’ll see them up there close to 1in all graph.
      – All lines to be as smooth as possible; ie either straight or a smooth curve.
      In the new lens, curves a a lot smoother than in the old one, so this is good.
      – Solid and dotted lines of the same color to be as close as possible to each other.
      This is also better in the new lens, and it translates in less aberrations in the image. If you check the old lens MTF at 200mm, you’ll see why the corners sucked: the dotted and solid lines diverge a lot going ot to the frame corner, causing the weird aberrations (that most people called “not sharp”).

      All in all, the new lens seems to be:
      – Center: marginally better at 70mm, the same at 200mm.
      – Corners: better at 70mm, a lot better at 200mm.

      • SoCal Dave

        However, on a DX sensor which only goes out to the 15 line, doesnt it appear that the old version is actually superior?

        • geoff

          The old lens will be a bit sharper at 200mm on DX, the new lens will be a bit sharper at 70mm on DX. However, the bokeh of the new lens will be a lot better, even on DX. That said, if you shoot on a DX body and don’t plan on going FX anytime soon, buy the old one – the difference is minimal!

  • R

    James, of course… you seriously needed to ask that?

  • Daf

    I want’s it. Wants the precious…

    (although not in such a hurry that I’m willing to wait for the price to come down from RRP)

  • Bluecow

    Oh well, I’ve been wanting a 70-200mm for a long time now. I had heard a few months ago that a new one was coming out, so I waited. I pre-ordered it yesterday from Adorama before it was posted here. I just happened to be looking at Adorama and it was up. I figured if I’m going to get it anyway, I might as well get it as soon as possible since I’m sure it will be difficult to find available once it’s released.

  • Rob J

    Can we tell by the MTF charts if it will be sharper?/what do the MTF charts tell us?

    nub question

    • D40-owner

      Read my August 4, 2009 at 8:59 post, above.

      • Rob J

        thanks a bunch. that made my life easier right there.

  • Jay A

    I sold my VR-I yesterday and preorder the VR-II from CALUMET. Per CALUMET saleman, each Nikon dealer will get a portion of the first batches. So it will depend where your positioned in the order list.

  • Snicker

    I actually managed to place an order for the new AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II on the 30. July (07:00 GMT +1). Number one the the queue 😀

    • Bluecow

      At Adorama? I looked for the lens shortly after the announcement and Adorama didn’t have it listed. August 3rd was the first time I had seen it listed at Adorama and the other sites I frequent hadn’t mentioned it being available before then.

      The reason people probably have to wait long when pre-ordering from Adorama is because so many more people order it from them. So say every dealer gets 100 of the product, Adorama probably had 300 people pre-order it and other dealers had less. So it all just depends on where you get on the list. I would hope I’m early on the list at Adorama.

      • Snicker

        No, GMT+1 = Norway. I’ve actually sent the biggest Nikon pro dealer an e-mail stating that I _wanted_ the new 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II, with link to the press release from Got the order confirmation after the official press conference with price, and information that my order was the first one registered by them, with delivery set to November.

  • Ubiquitous

    Not for me. I like my VR I version. No need to upgrade.

  • Pretty good MTF.. i am sure i will upgrade some day 🙂

  • Jose

    It seems like the tripod foot has higher clearance from the lens. That will help when removing it from the lens, which I find a little difficult with the old model, specially when mounted on a tripod. Hopefully it will also be strenghtened to compensate for it being longer.

  • R

    Fast f/2.8 Zoom-NIKKOR lens
    Perfect for sports, photojournalism and wildlife photography.
    Nikon VR II (Vibration Reduction) image stabilization
    Vibration Reduction, engineered specifically for each VR NIKKOR lens, enables handheld shooting at up to 4 shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible, assuring dramatically sharper images.
    7 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements
    Offers superior sharpness and color correction by effectively minimizing chromatic aberration, even at the widest aperture settings.
    Nano Crystal Coat
    Further reduces ghosting and flare for even greater image clarity.
    Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC)
    Enhances light transmission and offers superior color consistency and reduced flare.
    Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
    Enables fast, accurate, and quiet autofocus.
    Rounded 9-blade diaphragm
    Renders more natural appearance of out-of-focus image elements.
    Internal Focus (IF)
    Provides fast and quiet autofocus without changing the length of the lens, retaining subject-working distance through the focus range.
    Focuses to 4.6 feet
    Close focusing provided throughout the entire zoom range for extended versatility.
    M/A focus mode switch
    Enables quick response to changing situations between manual and autofocus operation.
    Flower-shaped lens hood
    Included HB-48 lens hood—shades the objective from unwanted, image-degrading light.

  • skb

    is it the same lens foot?

  • Check out Canon’s MTFs. Their 70-200mm/f4 IS curves look so much better (wide open vs. wide open — Nikon does not publish the MTFs closed down). Different definition/testing methods? Remember these MTFs are from theory and can only go worse in reality.

    • SimonC

      You’re comparing the MTF’s @ f2.8(Nikon) vs. f4 (Canon). Perhaps a better comparison is to have the Nikon’s MTF’s @ f4 compared with the Canon’s (or compare it against their f2.8 zoom).

    • low

      why not just shoot canon?

    • STJ

      Now that really is a silly comparison…..

      • These are silly, rude, and uncivilized replies usually associated with Canonians. I shoot the both systems, and had to return the Canon 70-200mm/f4 IS because of hot spot problems with infrared photography I am known of. But otherwise the f/4 Canon lens is a steller performer over the visual spectrum. Canon and Nikon AF systems are different and the Nikons can not be adjusted easily (until someone figures the way out) for IR compensations so for IR I have to shoot Canon even I hate them and if you search my records on I has been a rigor Nikon promotor. For more about the IR focusing issue check out’s digital IR guide to which I was a contributor.

        Thanks for the constructive replies.

  • Anonymous

    I think MTF of New Nikon 70-200 looks better than Canon’s. (black = wide open, blue = f/8)
    – Canon’s solid lines and dotted lines start to split quite early.
    – center at 70mm, Nikon is sharper than both Canon’s at f/8

    Canon 70-200 f/4L IS

    Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS

  • MTF charts are not comparable between different systems. Specially between Canon and Nikon, first sensors are different, and specially the high-pass filter on thé sensor… (or maybe it’s a low-pass filter, excuse my mistakes I’m french).
    So the MTF are only comparable when you compare two nikon lenses or two canon lenses.

    Source : Photozone, and other sites who measure lense’s MTF

  • I’ll add that beeing a Canon shooter for years I shot concerts with a Canon 40d and the Canon 70-200 2.8 L IS, now I shoot Nikon with a D700 and a Sigma 70-200 2.8 HSM and my pics seem clearly sharper with the nikon system, even in all day photography, even if the lens is said to be worse than the canon. I suppose with the new nikkor my pics would look much sharper than with my 40d plus the Canon Lens.

    • Simon

      You are comparing APS-C with fullframe, no wonder your D700 look sharper than your 40D.

  • Brian

    why isnt B&H taking preorders yet?

    • Rich L

      B&H usually only have a notification e-mail sign up, not a formal pre-order process… When they get them, they send out a batch of e-mail and the lucky folks who are online at the time get the item.

  • Simon

    We will find out how this new Nikon lens perform in due course when online reviewers get their hands on it. I would ignore Nikon’s MTF charts and all its claims because the company has a history of exaggerations and double talks.
    I wouldnt trust Dpreview as they are Nikon bias and maximising all its good points. Photozone reviewed Nikons new 50mm f1.4 and dont consider it that great an improvement optically and an average performer wide open.

  • Simon, you shall explain us why some users find their 70-200 sharper on their D300 than on their D700 and why MTF charts always give better results when lenses are tested on apsc sensors…

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