Nikon 70-300mm VR Lens vs. Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR Lens? I recently bought the Nikon D300 and I am looking for a zoom lense to shoot sports photos. I am debating between the following two lenses:
1) Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR
2) Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR

I know there is a huge price differential but I am more concerned with taking quality shots. Which do you recommend?
asked by B. Garamella on November 29, 2007
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A
If money is not an issue, then the faster f2.8 lens would be the way to go.
cj dunne answered on November 29, 2007
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A
Just keep in mind that changing lenses takes time. If you need that longer zoom range for sports photos, it may be worth buying the cheaper lens as opposed to two 'better' lenses. Also Nikon makes an 80-400mm VR lens that may be better suited to those that really need extended telephoto zoom.

If you are shooting indoors or night games, the 70-200 f/2.8 is the clear winner. Image quality is best with the 70-200 f/2.8-- but all three lenses can make great photos in the right hands.

(No, sadly not my hands.)

Cheers.
Geoffrey Hamilton answered on December 23, 2007
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A
Thanks for your input... I think I'm going to go with the 70-200 lens and then purchase a lens with more focal length when I have the money.
B. Garamella answered on December 1, 2007
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A
The 80-400 is slow to focus. If you really need some more reach, get the 70-200 and get the TC 17E II. It will reduce your max. aperture to f/4 (still better than the 70-300 ) and will focus faster than the 80-400. You'll have a 340 mm lens at the long end...should be enough. BTW, get the Canon 500D 77 for the front end of the 70-200 and you have, not a macro, but a better than fair close-up lens.
Harry S answered on April 19, 2008
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I would not recommend the 80-400mm VR lens from Nikon because it is very SLOOOW to focus.
Randal Lathrop answered on April 19, 2008
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A
Apples and oranges...they are both great lenses for their respective prices. The 70-200 is a superior lens that will take better shots in any situation. All you give up is 100 mm of focal length; if that isn't an issue and you can afford it, get the more expensive lens.
Harry S answered on November 30, 2007
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A
If you can afford it and don't mind the extra size and weight get the 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR (keep in mind it's 8.5 inches long and 3 lbs). It's low light performance is great, it's built to professional standards, and has outstanding bokeh. Always invest the bulk of your money in lenses(they hold their value), not digital cameras(which depreciate like computers).
Amazon Customer answered on October 6, 2009
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A
I have both lenses and they kind of serve different purposes. The 70-200 is fast, great in low light and sharp at every f:stop but really sharp at the maximum apertures like F:4.0 and F:2.8. It's a pro lens and the reason it exists is to get, sharp sellable images in low light and / or with really shallow depth of field. That means the upper f:stops have to be sharp. This pro lens does it all - it is AMAZING.

The 70-300 VR is light, has a 100MM longer reach and is more compact, despite the longer focal length. But, it's 2 stops slower and, quiet frankly, not as sharp (but not bad). The price difference is there for a reason - it's an amateur lens. Perfect as a carry-around lens for your travel kit. And I keep it in the bag if I need a longer reach than I can achieve with the 70-200. But if you are not a pro and only want to shoot your kid's soccer game in good light, get the 70-300. If you are a pro and you need the best, hit the hip and get the pro glass.

Last point - I shot an auto race with a Nikon D70S (6 megapixels) using the 70-200 f:2.8. The shots were tack sharp and I sold several images - some used as cover shots - despite the less than pro camera used. Put that lens on a D3 or D700 or even a D300 and you'll be making amazing shots.
Dom Miliano answered on July 4, 2011
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I own the 70-300mm VR. It's reach (450mm equiv in DX) and weight and size are great. It's image quality is not always great past 200mm, and the poor IQ is compounded by high ISO settings required due to it's slownes (f/5.6 at 300mm). I am considering getting the 70-200mm VR just for the speed and image quality alone - I really do not like it's size and weight, but oh well, good glass is heavy. I've learnt my lesson. :(
Amazon Customer answered on September 27, 2008
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I have the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 (VRII) + 1.7x (VRII), and I may buy the 70-300mm too. I also sold my 80-400 mm. The issue is budget and purpose of the lens. If you can afford the 70-200 f/2.8, buy it (but VRII). It's probably Nikon's best zoom lens under $2500. It is also compatible with the televeconverter to give you up to 400mm (depending which one you get). Now the reason why I am planning to buy the 70-300mm is because of its size. I like to take pictures in pro sports photography, but unfortunately, they don't allow large lenses to games. It is also convenient for travel if you don't want to carry big lenses. You may also want to consider the 18-200mm (vrII), which I regret to have sold it, because I miss its size & convenience when I don't want to carry all my lenses. So, it is all about budget and what you are planning to use it for.
Carlos E. Erban answered on March 21, 2011
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