Just posted! Nikon 70-200 lens review

By | June 5, 2018

Just posted! Our new lens review of Nikon’s top-end fast telezoom, the AF-S VR-Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8G ED-IF. This is the first in a series of reviews in which we’ll be comparing it with similar lenses from Canon, Sigma and Tamron, using both APS-C and 35mm full frame cameras. The 70-200mm F2.8 VR has long been a favourite of Nikon DX format shooters, but how well does it stand up on the new full-frame D3? Read on to find out.

Canon, Nikon, Sigma and Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 lenses compared

For example, the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 lens can be purchased for under $1000 new nowadays, which is half of the price of the modern Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II lens. The 80-200mm remains a professional lens though, despite its lower cost. Manufacturers typically combine enthusiast and professional lenses into one class, which simplifies matters. But in that case how would one distinguish between lenses such as 70-200mm f/4 and 70-200mm f/2.8, should both are considered professional? Instead of dividing the”professional” category into other sub-categories, I believed it would be a lot easier to simply present another one for”enthusiast” grade lenses. For the below explanation, however, I will combine professional and enthusiast lenses into one class as well, for simplicity sake.Production expenses and Quality of Components — one of the principal reasons for the high price of professional lenses, is manufacturing costs and high quality standards set by the manufacturer. Consumer-grade lenses are produced in batches at a mainly automated manner with very little human involvement. While each person glass/fluorite lens element goes through a really large excellent production process, it is okay to use lower-grade acrylic elements or glass with naturally-formed bubbles in consumer lenses. In comparison, glass elements used in specialist lenses go through rigorous testing and inspection, with only the maximum grade optics making their way to pro-grade lenses.

Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM

Nikon AF-S VR 70-200mm
F2.8 G

Sigma 70-200mm 1:2.8 EX DG Apo Macro HSM II

Tamron 70-200mm 1:2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro
Street price $1700 $1625 $800 $700
Date introduced August 2001 April 2003 December 2007 February 2008
Maximum format size 35mm full frame 35mm full frame 35mm full frame 35mm full frame
Focal length 70-200mm 70-200mm 70-200mm 70-200mm
35mm equivalent focal length
112-320mm 105-300mm

105-300mm (1.5x)
112-320mm (1.6x)

105-300mm (1.5x)
112-320mm (1.6x)

Diagonal Angle of view (FF) 34º – 12º 34º – 12º 34º – 12º 34º – 12º
Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C) 23º – 8º 23º – 8º 23º – 8º 23º – 8º
Maximum aperture F2.8 F2.8 F2.8 F2.8
Minimum aperture F32 F22 F22 F32
Lens Construction

• 23 elements/ 18 groups
• 4 UD elements

• 21 elements/15 groups
• 5 ED elements

• 18 elements/15 groups
• 2 ELD elements
• 2 SLD elements

• 19 elements/16 groups
• 3LD elements

Number of diaphragm blades

8, rounded

9, rounded 9 9, rounded
Minimum focus 1.4m 1.5m 1m 0.9m
Maximum magnification

0.17x at 200mm

0.16x at 200mm 0.28x at 200mm 0.32x at 200mm
AF motor type • Ring-type ultrasonic
• Full-time manual focus
• Ring-type ultrasonic
• Full-time manual focus
• Ring-type ultrasonic
• Full-time manual focus
• Micro motor
• Manual focus clutch
Focus method Internal Internal Internal Internal
Zoom method Internal Internal Internal Internal
Image stabilization

• 3 stops
• Dual mode – Normal and panning

• 3 stops
• Auto panning detection
• Active mode

• None • None
Filter thread • 77mm
• Does not rotate on focus
• 77mm
• Does not rotate on focus
• 77mm
• Does not rotate on focus
• 77mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Supplied accessories

• Front and rear caps
• ET-86 Hood
• LZ1324 Soft Case

• Front and rear caps
• HB-29 Hood
• CL-L2 Soft Case
• Front and rear caps
• Lens Hood
• Soft Case
• Front and rear caps
• Lens Hood
• Soft Case
Optional accessories      
Weight 1570 g (55.4 oz) 1470g (51.8 oz) 1390g (49.0 oz) 1330g (46.9 oz)
Dimensions 86.2 mm diameter x 197 mm length
(3.4 x 7.8 in)
87mm diameter x 215mm length
(3.4 x 8.5 in)
86.6mm diameter x 184mm length
(3.4 x 7.2 in)
89.5mm diameter x 194.3mm length
(3.5 x 7.6 in)
Lens Mount Canon EF only Nikon F only Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sony Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony

• Dust and moisture sealing
• Supplies distance information for E-TTL II flash metering

• Dust and moisture sealing
• Reports focus distance information to camera body
• Three AF stop buttons


Click here for our lens review of the Nikon AF-S VR 70-200mm F2.8 G