Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens For Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
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646 of 663 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2009
I am writing this review from the perspective of someone who also owns the earlier version of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras. This new lens will be referred to as "VR2" in this review while the earlier version of this lens will be referred to as the "VR1".

Here are my initial impressions after using this lens and comparing it with the earlier version of this lens, the VR1.

This professional-grade telephoto zoom lens is very well-made. Its focus is lightning fast and it produces very sharp photos with very good contrast and dynamic colors even when shot wide-open at f/2.8. The increased sharpness at the corner is easily noticeable even at f/2.8 and now makes this lens suitable for landscape shots. I find this increased sharpness at the corner beneficial even for portrait shots when I shoot off-center rule-of-thirds portrait shots. The improved color and contrast is easily noticeable in certain shots in back-to-back comparison against the VR1.

The VR mechanism is very effective and helpful in keeping the photos sharp even when shooting at low shutter speeds in low-light conditions. The 1-stop improvement over the earlier version, the VR1, makes a very big difference, specially when shooting this lens from extended to maximum focal length with no monopod or tripod support. Being able to shoot handheld at 1/10th at 200mm is no easy task but it is possible with this new version.

The tripod leg support is nothing less than excellent ... slim yet very sturdy, with provision for two-screws mounting support. The tripod support can easily be rotated for shooting in vertical portrait position or downside up for easy hand carry. The tripod leg can easily be detached if needed for a less-obtrusive hold when shooting handheld.

Though this lens is heavier than the VR1, the added weight is not immediately noticeable. The shorter length and larger diameter makes for a more balanced hold when shooting handheld.

How does this lens compare with the earlier version, the VR1? Here is a quick and easy to read summary:

First, a definition of terms. The term "FX" refers to full frame Nikon camera bodies (D3x, D3s, D3 and D700). The term "DX" refers to cropped/APS-C Nikon camera bodies (D300s, D300, D200, D100, D2, D1, D90, D80, D70, D60, D40, D5000, D3000).


1. Sharp corners on FX and DX, even when shooting wide-open at f/2.8
2. Less vignetting on FX and DX when shooting wide-open at f/2.8 (vignetting on DX at f/2.8 now irrelevant)
3. 1-stop improvement in VR (1-stop improvement really makes a big difference when shooting at 135-200mm).
4. Improvement in the bokeh compared to the VR1
5. Improvement in color and contrast, specially when shooting backlit subjects against the sun
6. More resistant to lens flaring (due to nano-coating)
7. Shorter more compact length makes it easier to pack, carry and use in crowded spaces
(the lens and the hood of the VR2 are both shorter than the lens and hood of the VR1)


1. More expensive than VR1
2. Slightly heavier than VR1
3. Not as good as the VR1 when used with teleconverters in DX bodies for long reach
4. Shorter reach or magnification than the VR1 when shooting at close range
(e.g., shooting at 200mm focal length is equivalent to 164mm when shooting from 10 feet away)

For FX users who still do not have a 70-200mm f/2.8G zoom lens, go ahead and acquire this lens. The corner sharpness of this newer version is remarkable, specially when stepped down for landscape shots. Even for portrait shots, the increased sharpness at the corner is beneficial when shooting rule of thirds portrait shots.

For FX users who already have the VR1, you will need to gauge whether the advantages will be worth the cost of getting this lens. If you need to shoot at this lens maximum focal length of 200mm, the lower magnification or the shorter "effective focal length in terms of field of view" when shooting at near range may be a major concern for you. This is specially a concern for events or wedding photographers. Note however that some photographers have adapted to this and actually found it helpful that the magnification remain near constant which minimizes the need to zoom out as the photographer approaches a subject or when the subject gets closer to the photographer. For some photographers, the reduced magnification when shooting at closer range is thus something that one can adapt to and take advantage of. It would still be best however to try the lens first and see how this impacts on your shooting style.

For DX only users who already have a VR1, I currently see no advantages to upgrading to this new version unless you need the one-stop advantage of the VR2, and/or if you want even less vignetting (easily corrected in post-processing), and/or if you want a lens that is more resistant to flare ... and/or more importantly, planning to upgrade or to add an FX body.

For DX users who still do not own the VR1, I recommend that you seriously consider getting this lens. Not only do you get the benefits of the newer version as listed above, getting this lens means that you will be well-positioned when you upgrade or add an FX body. Once you acquire or add an FX body, it will not surprise me that you will be doing a lot more shooting with the FX than with the DX. Since this lens is optimized for the FX, then getting this lens over the VR1 may prove to be a good decision. With regard to the issue of a shorter effective reach when shooting at near ranges, this should not be an issue with DX due to the 1.5X field of view of the APS-C sensor. If anything, it may even be an advantage when shooting up close.

Ultimately, both versions of the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G have their strengths and their weaknesses and it is up to the user to decide which version best fits his/her requirements.

As an FX and DX user, I have bought this new version knowing full well its strengths and its one limitation. The VR2 improved on what is already an impressive performance of the VR1, and then some. Except on the issue of lower magnification or focus breathing which hardly matters for me, the VR2 is an impressive step-up from the VR1.

I did retain my VR1 but this is primarily as a substitute to using a Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 VR. Matched with my 3 kinds of Nikkor teleconverters, the The VR1 is my lighter (and less expensive) version of the Nikkor 200-400mm and I use this with my DX D-300. The excellent center resolution of the VR1 is an asset when used in this manner. The other time when I use the VR1 on my D300 is when my VR2 is already on my D700. For all other usages however, I use the VR2 whether on FX or DX.

EDIT: For those who need to shoot up-close at 200mm focal length for maximum reach, this bit of info will be helpful.

Distance of subject / Effective focal length in field of view of the Nikon VR2 at 200mm
(Nikon 70-200mm VR2 at 200mm compared against a Nikon 200mm prime/fixed focal length lens)

1.27m ............... 128mm
1.40m ............... 132mm
2.00m ............... 147mm
3.00m ............... 164mm
5.00m ............... 176mm
10.0m ............... 186mm

Credits: Marianne Oelund

Edit: Sept. 13, 2010: I sold my Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR and retained only the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR2.
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268 of 290 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2009
Speaking as a professional photographer - I have been using the original 70-200mm VR 2.8 for a while now and loved every moment of it. It doesn't matter how familiar I am with this lens, it still feels magical at times to be able to separate subject and background while pulling the background in as smooth bokeh. As most pros will tell you, the 70-200mm VR 2.8 "is" the bread and butter wedding portrait lens and more. That was then. This is now - as soon as I saw the announcement of this "new version", I pre-ordered it. While reading colleague Cliff Mautner's blog, I simply couldn't wait!! It finally arrived early this month(12/2009), I did some quick in-home test and was extremely impressed!! Not to reiterate on the amazing optical quality, the new version VR allows me to get a sharp image down to 1/5th!! and consistently at 1/15th. (The best $2400 I've ever spent!!). I packed up the original version and was getting ready to eBay it the following week!

I then took the lens for a real-world test few days later on my last wedding of the year. To give you some background - I always use this lens during ceremonies and in churches while knowing my movements are limited. I usually capture journalistic ceremonial actions as well as the reactions at either end of the pews at about 10-20 feet distance to produce intimate images. Something struck me as odd this day. I initially felt the reach was somehow inadequate, especially at 200mm, but, knowing that I should just love this lens, I quickly attributed this to the large church I was shooting in. However, after reading some reviews and complaints, I reluctantly compared this new version to my original 70-200mm VR 2.8 and then the 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 ED (as a second opinion) and found out that at 200mm, this lens indeed comes in shorter. It's like a 65mm-155mm equivalent at about 7 feet distance comparing to the other two lenses. The original 70-200mm VR 2.8 and the 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 ED was about the same at 200mm which the latter zooms in just a tiny bit closer. Unfortunately for those who doesn't owned the original 70-200mm VR 2.8, it would be hard to compare. But if you have the original on hand, please try it for yourself. Use a tripod and shoot a fix subject with all these lenses. It's easy to compare the older and the newer versions, simply turn both to 200mm and shoot it. As for the 70-300, dial the ring to 200 and align the middle zero to the indicator dot on your focal ring, you should get a solid 200mm reading from your EXIF data. The difference should be obvious. I am well aware that there's going to be variations between lenses, but as for the same manufacturer and essentially the same lens, the difference is simply too great. I will wait for the New Canon 70-200mm which I doubt would have this issue (Update 4/24/10 - The new Canon 70-200mm IS II is simply amazing - without the Nikon magnification shrink issue).

With the exception of a flimsier hood and the magnification shrink issue, this lens is overall slightly better in just about every other aspect than the Original (since the original is already a "CLASSIC", it's hard to do much better). Nonetheless, there's definitely improvements in color, vignette control, CA, distortion, and the VR is simply "incredible". Also, this lens is just a tiny bit shorter and it doesn't look like a "Bamboo" stick as the original:)

(It breaks my heart to rate this "new version" 4 stars not because it's performance and construction but simply because that it does not "replace" the lens that it's "supposed to" replace. The focal length changes with the distance so the 65-155mm is a rough average while shooting within 30 feet. The closer you are to your subject, the worse it gets. For instance, at minimum focusing distance, the new 200mm is about the equivalent of 130mm on the original!! And more unfortunate for me, I shoot most of my subjects within 30 feet distance. Here's the full comparison at under 30 feet distance(added 1/10/10) - I did the test personally using Manfrotto 190 CXPRO3 and a tape measure:

New 70-200 VR II........Original 70-200 VR

4ft. 200mm.....................130mm
6ft. 200mm.....................150mm
10ft. 200mm.....................170mm
15ft. 200mm.....................175mm
20ft. 200mm.....................180mm
25ft. 200mm.....................180mm
30ft. 200mm.....................190mm (even at 30 feet, it's still not a 200mm comparing to the original)

So picture this, if you are in a tight church 10 feet away from your subjects and crouched between a rock and a hard place, would you say that it's okay when you want to use a "200mm" lens for close-ups of a ring exchange(for instance) but realize that you only have a "170mm"?!! Sure you can crop, but that means you are going to lose 3-5 megapixels of resolution! This is exactly why I felt the reach was "inadequate" during my initial real-world test. Yes, if you move away far enough from your subject the effective focal length will eventually equate to the original but then again, it simply isn't the same application anymore.

Some has brought up the issue of magnification ratio (in comment, thanks to ATK!!) - everyone knows that one can get the same 1:1 ratio from a 50mm vs 60mm vs a 105mm etc.. But that's not really the issue "here". With macro applications, one can simply change the mag ratio/distance by moving a few inches to and fro the subject but with real human subjects, a few inches becomes a few feet!

Hence, if one normally use this lens at various distances within 30 feet, you will notice a huge change. The closer you get, the more severe it will be. While capturing moments as it unfolds in a fraction of a second, this lens' focal length just isn't as effective comparing to the original version. I love all my Nikons gears and this is perhaps the first real disappointment that I had to encounter for a while. (Perhaps another is the SB-900's overheating problem.) This focal length issue may not be too serious to many people but as far as my personal applications specifically assigned to this lens, and perhaps to many others like me, it is quite irksome.

One last thing, to capture normal human movement(not fast action), 1/100th of a second is a good start. I usually opt between 1/80th -1/160th as minimum - depending of the speed of the movement. So for this application, the VR will only keep your lens steady but it will not stop action. You will undoubtedly get a motion blur at 1/10th, 1/15th, 1/30th, 1/40th, etc.

Thanks - Sean Marshall Lin
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127 of 136 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2010
The original 70-200 AF-S VRI is a legendary optic that continues to be among Nikon's most popular professional zooms. We had all hoped, at least in professional circles, that the new version would eclipse the old in every respect. Sadly, this is not the case. The new lens is optically superior over the same focal lengths, but this new lens exhibits the strongest focal breathing effect ever seen in a pro lens of this type. No other 70-200 or 80-200 will be stunted in reach as this new one is. It's quite unique in that respect and this issue will be a deal breaker for some event, wedding and portrait shooters. It is not a small issue and it cannot be corrected. Stranger still is the voices of several prominent online reviewers who seem bent on masking or underplaying this significance of a 70-200mm zoom that falls 72mm short at close focus. It's hard for many of us to believe that they are not protecting a relationship with Nikon. Typically, when shooting a wedding, we found that the new lens was too short and images required cropping. At a children's party the same issue presented itself. At 10 feet away it was not possible to frame a face as the original lens could do. And yet this lens is absolutely state of the art in every other respect. Likely, this will be one of Nikon's most debated lenses, though those who shoot over typically longer distances will find this lens ideal. Still, Nikon has a clear error on their website. They claim that the 70-200 maintains it's full zoom range at minimum focus. And it most certainly does not. Any honest shooter should not debate this issue. It WILL effect some professional applications.

So let's have a look at this beauty!

The new lens is actually quite close to the size and weight of the original. I've put it on a D700, D3 and D90. I find it balances well on the D700 with grip as with the D3. On the D90 it's poorly balanced. Just for kicks I also put on my baby D40, which had almost absurd handling, but one could get used to it. The loss of the focus lock button was not missed by me. This is a heavy lens and it can tire a person out over the hours on a job.

Build Quality:
Well, I think we all knew what to expect and got it. I'm not sure that the 70-200 is built better than the old version, but it might be. It's 100% top notch.

The new lens focuses as quietly as my old lens, but the VR noise is cut by half or more. In fact you have to strain to hear it. Nice little improvement!

Thus far I find sharpness exceeds all of my other lenses and that includes a new Tamron 180. Previously I found the Tamron 90 and 180 sharper than the Nikon 200, 24-70, 105 vr, 28-70 2.8 and so on. But the new zoom is so stunningly sharp wide open, that it's truly a marvel.

This shot, wide open at 2.8 and set for 200mm, proves what kind of performance is to be expected...

Color, Contrast and Bokeh Rendition
It's difficult to say if the new lens exceeds the original for color, but the obvious improvement in contrast certainly helps. The nano coating is doing it's job and the results, even around strong stray light sources appear to be universally superb. Bokeh is also what we'd expect. At the same apparent focal lengths it's on par with the original lens, but the micro-contrast makes images pop more and that may lead some to think bokeh is improved.

Zoom Range
This is probably going to effect many people more than any other single aspect of the design. This lens exhibits severe magnification loss which may significantly effect your work, especially at distances below 15 feet. This has been discussed and outlined (at last), but to put it in a about 4.6 feet away you'll be at 128mm, which is a loss of 36%. While every other zoom of this range and caliber exhibit this effect, none have ever lost so much. This is unique to the 70-200 II and it will effect wedding & event shooters, not to mention photojournalists. It's significant enough that Nikon is seeing lenses returned. My source for that info is a Nikon rep and a saleperson at B&H photo. While some people are compelled to debate this issue, you simply need to say "135mm at 10 feet away is NOT the same as 190mm at 10 feet away." If you can say that and understand BASIC photography, then you already know that even 10mm makes a huge difference for some types of shooting. Sadly, we're looking at a LOT more than 10mm loss here.

Here is a series of shots taken at a party:

While the shots are passable, some also required heavy crops at distances where the original 70-200 would have required little to none. My usage of the lens on a job led me to a simple conclusion: The loss of magnification is a problem. But the lens is so good at close range at it's typical focal lengths that it's still worth keeping. Using with DX or with a TC are also viable options. I've seen one informal test showing that the 70-200 II with a TC 1.4 is still sharper than the older version and that's with both set for F4. That's amazing!
Still, people who enjoyed using this lens for heavy portrait work may be unhappy. The lens was known for it's flexibility in that regard and it's clear that some of that is lost. A major online reviewer actually dared to suggest that 135mm at 6 feet was "good enough because that's a classic portrait focal length."
Can you imagine anyone saying such a thing? With the original version of this lens, 185mm was a pretty classic focal length too! It's amazing what depths people will plumb to protect their interests.

I don't know exactly how or why, but my focus hit score yesterday was nearly 100%, which is on par with my 24-70. I was always closer to 90% with the old 70-200. So I'm going to say, rather offhandedly, that this lens has better AF. If's a BIG deal!

No huge surprise here. You can, with some good technique, hold this puppy down for sharp shots below 1/10. I could do that with the original but worked a LOT harder to make it work.

Well, you can kick yourself in the head every day and say it's fun, but a lot of people will call you crazy. The new version costs 2400.00 US and that's nearly 800 more than I paid for the VR I. But most people think the old one's price was insane, so why worry. High end lenses cost a lot of money. I paid 3K for my speakers and a lot of people would call that nutty as well. Tomorrow I'll do a job using the new lens that will easily pay for it, so for a professional it's much less of a question. Do we get 500 dollars worth of improvements? Heck no, not with the loss of FL! Is the new lens worth having? Heck yes, especially with the better IQ and VR! If I was a hobbyist shooter I'd probably stick with my old version and be happy.

The 70-200 VR II is a bit perplexing. It's IQ is really beyond most expectations. My copy shows sharpness that exceeds a stopped down 85 1.8 and my macro primes as well. But a good deal of people will be troubled by the loss of apparent FL at closer range. One fellow on another forum has already explained clearly why this hurts wedding work or even shooting someone standing at a podium from 12 feet away. If you typically used the previous version at closer distances, you'll either adapt or be unhappy. Adding a TC helps, but now we have a 2800 dollar lens! So if someone wanted a pro zoom for event work and they wanted to do a LOT of ultra tight portrait shots, this would probably not be a top choice anymore. In the end the ultimate value of this lens is somewhat diminished by the obvious advantages at MFD of the original. Yet we do get stellar state of the art IQ that's hard to pass up, even at 128mm MFD. My choice is simple. I've decided to keep mine and use a TC 1.4 or 1.7 and also learn to use it on DX more often if the situation demands it. It's not as sleek a solution as I hoped, but the resulting images should be better overall. I rate the lens at 4 stars. For it to hit 5 stars it would have come close or matched the MFD ability of the original. You simply can't ignore how good the original was in that respect and I'm disturbed by seemingly intelligent shooters out there who are content to present misinformation on this point. One of the most famous online reviewers actually said that the new 70-200 VR II exceeds the performance of the original in every way. Of course that's patently impossible when the new version can't even come close to the near focus focal range of the original. Whatever fuels this "Protect Nikon" position, it does only harm to the photographic community.
I'm hoping that mainstream reviewers present honest detailed reviews that pull no punches with a lens that is unique against every other 70-200 and 80-200 on the market when it comes to losing magnification at less than infinity. A reviewer should respect the full scope of applications for a pro lens, report on a products strengths and weaknesses and leave his own agenda at the door.
So: The new 70-200 VR II is going to be a fantastic upgrade for some shooters and a serious letdown for others. For me it falls somewhere in the middle. Based on your individual style and job requirements, YOU must make your own ultimate judgment.
It's a crying shame that Nikon failed to maintain the reach factor at close focus as in the original 70-200. If they had, then this would be among the greatest lenses ever designed. Failing that I rate as basically equal overall to the original version. which is really better for some types of shooting.
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152 of 171 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2009
When I was younger, my SLR whet everywhere with me. I was an avid amateur photographer and have books and books of negatives and contact sheets. I travel a lot and grew tired of two things, viewing everything through a lens and lugging tons of glass and gear. So I decided it was time to become a tourist, loose the gear and got Contax G1. The lenses were awesome, I could still change them if I wanted to, but it was small(er) and quickly became a great travel companion. I knew it would be the last film camera I would ever own.

Last year, we decided to Safari in Africa. Now the G1 is nice, but I needed some serious glass and it was time to go digital so I started researching. Nikon just launched the Nikon D90 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) and it looked like a good choice for the money, and while not as good as Contax or Leica, I always liked the Nikon lenses so I started looking for a few good lenses to take with me. I still want to travel light, so 2 zooms were the answer.

Back in the day I became addicted to low light lenses. I LOVE the ability to shoot in low light without a flash and to control depth of field. My favorite SLR lens from was a 55 mm 1.4. At 4 or 5.6 it shot better looking photos than the slower lenses. Once I decided that I wanted f/2.8 and a zoom, I started looking at what lenses would go with my D90. I also make up my mind to spend more on lenses than on the body for two reasons. I could always upgrade the body and get more features, but the lenses I would keep for a long time. Also, the lens has more of an effect on the quality of the photo than the body.

I knew I would be shooting wildlife, so 300mm seemed to be the minimum I could get away with. More on that later. The FX lenses give you a 1.5x boost in focal length on a DX body. So the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S NIKKOR Lens For Nikon Digital SLR Cameras actually works like a 105-300mm on my D90.

Before the trip I shot some shots around Park City and the results were stunning. I practiced on deer, elk, horses and even some landscape shots. I could not believe the quality at just about any focal length and f-stop. My biggest surprise came when my wife asked me to shoot a play the girls were in. I took my camera and armed with only a monopod, shot about 200 shots of the girls on stage with only available light. I know plays and shows look like there is a lot of light, but anyone who has attempted to shoot in that situation will tell you, there is simply not enough light. The detail and sharpness were stunning. Even shooting at f/2.8 the photos were clear and with and effective 300mm I could get very close. After my wife saw the photos, I was out of the dog house with the high price tag of the new camera outfit.

I needed one more wide angle zoom for snapshots so I got the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Zoom Lens and just for nostalgia i also picked up the 55 f1.4. I packed everything up into a Lowepro Fastpack 250 (Black) and set off for Africa. Read the blog at and view photos at View some Photos at: [...]

I shot about 4000 photos and while on Safari and either I am a better photographer now or a good camera can bring out the best in a person. Now I know people shoot photographs, not cameras - but I also know a musician will not use a beginner instrument to perform once they become proficient.

The photographs were excellent. The Vibration reduction came in handy and together with the wide aperture, allowed me to shoot clear photographs using a monopod or handheld. The color and detail were exceptional. I was able to get some wonderful shots of wildlife and the countryside. With one of the slower to focus lenses I would have missed about 20% of my shots.

The only negatives: The lens if heavy and long, so if you are not as concerned about quality you can get a DX lens for less money and save your back. But I wanted the versatility of f/2.8 and the sharpness of pro lens. I hiked tons of miles and do not regret having to carry this lens at all. It is expensive, but if you have the money, get the lens. If you decide like I have to upgrade to an FX format camera this lens will serve you well.

Here is my biggest recommendation, if you are going on Safari, 300mm is about the SHORTEST lens that will work. I found myself wanting more OFTEN. I would recommend going to 500mm if you are looking to shoot wildlife. The large game shots were good, but smaller game needed more, and if you are looking to shoot birds, I would say 500mm is the minimum. Who knew that Africa was so rich in bird life? I was not prepared and as such got very few good photographs of birds.

In summary, if you need to shoot sports or shows in available light, this is your lens. If you are looking for an excellent quality lens to shoot action or wildlife outside - this is your lens. If you are looking to shoot birds, go long - very long.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2013
I have always been a prime lens only girl because I felt that having a fixed focal length lens forced me to "move my feet" and get more creative with my shots. Lately though I'd been feeling the need for a good portrait zoom lens since it's not always easy to move around as much to get a good shot at various crowded events/locations, etc.

I had read so many great things about this lens that I was convinced to spend the money, which for me is quite pricy. It's such a popular lens among Pros that I had a tough time finding one in stock. I ended up buying it online from a vendor in NY and I shot with it this weekend.

My first impression when unboxing it was, how the heck am I going to hold that thing up for more than 2 seconds without shaking like crazy? Yes, it is incredibly heavy. I shot with it for the first time this weekend on a family portrait session. I knew the weight of it was too much for me to hand-hold for 2 hours without getting a lot of camera shake (even with the VR), so I used it with a monopod and it worked out quite nicely.

I am so blown away by the quality of the photos from that shoot. This lens, in one word, is AWESOME. On my Nikon D4, the lens focused lightning fast! The photos are sharp where they should be and the bokeh is gorgeous and creamy!

I'm happy to say that I am absolutely sold on this lens and can't wait to shoot again with it this weekend. I'm sure with time I will get used to the weight of it as well.

I still love my primes, but I am now sold on Nikon's pro zoom lenses and will definitely be buying the other 2 lenses of Nikon's "Holy Trinity" (the 14-24 and 24-70).
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2009
There are a lot of improvements for this new version.
1) very sharp...even at f/2.8, better than any 70-200mm zooms in the market now
Seriously,the image is clear and super sharp.
2) VRII works better as claimed. Shooting 1/10s at 200mm is so easy.
3) focuses to 4.6 ft throughout the entire zoom range, thinking about zoom in and out without refocusing the image again. It is huge advantage, and of course, no other lens can do this.
4) very compact design. Now you can easily put it in your camera bag.
5) Small and slim hood design, easy to keep on the lens (reverse the hood) You can even use the lens without removing the hood from reversed position.

However, all buyers should beware of some exceptional design.
The VRII has 1/8.3 maximum magnification ratio compared to the VRI (1/6.1).
So, it might be not a good idea if you want to take pictures very close to subjects, and expect good macro ability.

For me, maximum magnification ration at 1/8.3 is more than enough. I am talking about taking headshot of human.

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2011
Most would agree that it is indeed expensive so the only real question is if it is worth the investment. This is my take on it.

First Impression:
When the lens arrived and I opened the box I was surprised at its size and weight. I knew it was big but actually seeing and handling it seemed to drive home the point. This is not a comfortable lens to go puddle jumping and mountain climbing with. I do allot of travel photography and its portability (or lack thereof) immediately worried me.

The build feels amazing. Everything seems a perfect fit. Great attention to detail, excellent machining and raw materials are to thank (I am an engineer and tend to notice these things). The lens focuses very quickly and very silently. There is a focus limit switch that allows it to focus even faster. There is the normal Vibration Reduction On/Off switch and the Active/Normal switch. It also includes the Atuo Focus switch giving you the option of Automatic with a tougher manual override or Automatic with an easy manual override as well as the pure manual switch.

As I took it out and began taking some test shots indoors (it was pouring down rain) I quickly forgot about the size and weight of the lens and was marveling at its speed (f2.8 is a godsend when lighting is poor). This beast handles light in a very refined manner. The bokeh is breath taking and image quality is beyond what I considered possible. I was unable to notice any distortion or vignetting (I was using a DX body so I cannot speak for an image shot on a FX body).

When do I see the benefit of this lens?
When shooting my family and I want the artistic nuance of an even bokeh.
When I want that extra range to be able to zoom into my kids sports.
When the sun begins to set and the f2.8 becomes needed.
When I want to shoot wildlife that do not know how to model and I dare not venture close enough to teach them.
When I want to shoot ANYTHING indoors short of a greenhouse.

What this lens brings you is some additional tools for the photographer to use. I have a few lenses all of which cost less then this one does but almost all of them limit what I can do. That is to say that as light begins to wane I quickly have to resort to exceptional tools to get the shot including ISO, flash and tripod with longer shutter speeds. This lens allows me to forego those exceptional means for a little longer. This has given me more creative license and has allowed me to capture images that I would have otherwise miss with a quality of image that is beyond fantastic.

What this lens is not is a easy travel partner. Photojournalism (I use this term to refer to people shots in and around a city) would be a challenge with this lens. You can see this thing from a mile away and everyone begins getting self conscience about it. On the other hand a simple 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 is my preferred lens for that kind of photography and it does not give me the flexible zoom range that this one does.

This is the best lens I own. I will indeed take it traveling with me as the size and weight are a small price to pay for such a lens. There is a special feeling that I get when I focus in on a great shot opportunity with this lens and I KNOW that the picture will be excellent. With this lens on any camera and you run out of excuses for not shooting a great picture. As an unexpected makes me want to take more pictures! Is that worth USD 2,300....simply put...yes.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I am like many of you, read read and read review, check youtube review. My choice are, go for a cheaper Sigma ($1400) of go for broke for this Nikon lens. All the reviews said the Nikon glass is world class, a bit sharper than Sigma, etc. My friends told me, good lens last for a long time and I like the fact the Nikon has dust and moisture seal. I have the Nikon 18-200mm f3.5 to f5.6, at 200mm, I can't get a lots of light. I like to shoot sport, and living in Hawaii, I shoot a lot of surfing photo. Let me tell you, this lens is super sharp, the image that I capture is stunning, I went back to compare the photo that I took with my $900 18-200 f3.5 to f5.6 lens, I can tell the difference right the way. The f2.8 and the glass really opens up a whole new world for me. If you thinking about getting this lens, GO FOR IT !!! You will love it. I posted a few sample image that I took with this news lens. Regarding the weight, you know what you are getting into, so, don't complain. Don't buy a Porsche and expect to put regular unleaded gas. Bottom line, you only live once, get it and you will be very happy with this lens.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2009
I've had my 70-200 VR II for 2 weeks now and am in LOVE with it! I needed it for my 7 year old son's basketball games :) I know, "need" may not be totally true, but since I plan on keeping this through my 4 children's childhoods I believe it is money well spent! This lens has been an absolute joy to use, especially compared to the dark and noisy pictures that I got with the Nikkor 70-300 VR model that I had for a week before returning! This lens is WELL WORTH the extra money and extra weight! Since I shoot with a D90, I'm also glad that the reach is reduced on the close subjects as it helps avoid the need of switching to a wider angle lens when the action comes in a little closer. The only problem that I currently have with this lens is that I never want to put it down!
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR ii - ah this is one fine lens indeed, talking about the build, speed, the clarity and definitely the quality of the imagery that this baby delivers. Truly a Nikon Legendary Lens. Since, I am not very knowledgable on the technical tic tack talk about this lens - I will stay away from those topics and (Good for you) give a more everyday words description for this Jewel. Getting excited? I am just by thinking about shooting this lens again.
Pros: What has not been said about this lens? It looks pretty cute? Solid feel, Strong in my hands (you will not crush this with your hands), produces good enough (kidding there) insanely great photos, this Professional Grade lens - when handled correctly will produce photos that are sharper and clearer (insert more adjectives for that). Right off the box, after you open the box, you would already feel the Aura that this Jewel has- one touch and you know that it is not your give-away kit lens. Love the f/2.8 - as I recently understood how to use it and how to use it for the good of photography. The price is not a con, even though it really hurts my pocket to say it - the price is actually a plus - this way only the Professional, only the Serious and only those that can save money - are the only ones to purchase such a glass of this caliber, thus giving it the respect that it deserves. I would love it if more people get to use this glass, but sometimes, people are just not ready to use this yet. There is a learning curve, and I may say I have not gone through the whole of it yet. Even in that state of knowledge and lack thereof, this lens focuses faster than any lens I have and gives me that buttery-creamy Bokeh, that never ceases to give me and my clients the chills. The lens has some weight on it, must be all that metal thing that is found around the glass and stuff, this means your lens is very well protected from the elements, it is made from ... which country again... doesn't matter, what matters is by the feel of it, this is a serious gear, not a flimsy flamsy - I do not know why people consider this as a con? Truly - you are here because you are possibly looking for a way to produce the best possible imagery with no less than the best possible camera gear (the funds will allow). Of course the best photos need the best sacrifice sometimes, and that is what it is. Many "photographers" and "enthusiasts" out there and here in Amazon, want the best but are not willing to shell out the big bucks nor the physical sacrifice for high quality imagery that they seek, and that my friends is quite sad. Photography is not about convenience - it is about (insert what photography means for you)... Of course talent plays a part as well, do not forget however that we have the technology now, we have the good technology and we have the not so good, what you are looking at today is the best technology and it is at the tip of your fingers, come and get it! CLICK ADD TO CART NOW.

Cons: huh? (other reviewers say price, weight, and some abnormal aberrations) - I do not believe that those are too bad. (read the Pro statements above) - the negatives that people talk about is actually about themselves. Lens too heavy? go work out! lens too pricey, save up for it! some kind of a technical mumby jumby i dont understand non- normal word usage jargon - i refer you to 1-800-Geek squad, and you can talk to them who has a what and a what. Thing is, there is a con for everything - it is up to YOU my online reader to figure a way around it. Do no be a stick in the mud (Stuck and will not budge). You are better than that my online reviewer... so go on and read some more.

Reviewer: Josh - I am an amateur photographer - I work full time as something that does boring things, I do however - shoot business portfolios, engagements sessions and wedding days - Yes, am getting paid to do it as well. I would not call myself a Professional as I am not being paid as much as my boring job. Obviously, I shoot with Nikon DSLRs - (D80, D2Xs & D7000), thinking maybe time to move to Full (FX) cameras huh? I appreciate testing new products (rental or actually buying to own). Oh yeah, I do not work with NIKON or any of its affiliates ever in the past or present (I wish however that they send me the newest stuff to try out). If anyone can get me in touch with their group, pls leave a comment. Thank you in advance.

I have actually gotten the chance (prior to my purchase of this lens from Amazon), to rent this lens from a popular camera gear rental online company - I used it for a few days and I liked it, it is a solid work horse that looks good and feels good to use. After a few days, I used this for a Wedding Gig and I was very impressed by how fast I was able to work with it, wondering what I was using and thinking on the prior weddings that I shot. The reception was at a penthouse of this hotel and as the sun went down, there goes our natural light - we had to depend on the speed of the lens and technical know-how. This baby delivers! ( the 70-200mm f/2.8 was attached to a D7000 and I had another D7000 with a 17-55mm f/2.8). Yes, after sometime at that very evening my body (my ankles and lower back) was feeling the weight of all these wonderful gear hugging my body comfortably as a run and chase the excited bride and groom of this day, I started working out more. A day after the shoot - I went and upload the photos from the 32 Gig memory cards to my Mac - I shot about 3,100 ++ photos. The first thing that popped in my mind... awesome photos Josh - are you sure you shot these? Yes! That is a wonderful shot, aah I got the shot, Yes, this is the one, we can put this on the cover and such. After an hour I knew that I must buy this lens (70-200mm), we wants it, we needs it, we must not be separated anymore, My Precious (sorry creepy moment there).

Recommendation: Please, if you have the means, and I mean by means, is funds. If you have the funds - I urge you, actually I implore you to go ahead and take the plunge and purchase this lens. I use the word please to imply the importance in a little more subtle way. If you are like me, want to shoot with the best of what the creators of Nikon & Nikkor gear can come up with and want to create the best humanly possible imagery that your senses + your camera gear + your computer = can produce - come and get this precious, I mean lens. Something worth noting is that there are cheaper alternatives out there (Tokina, Tamron, or instagram) I will not be recommending any of those (3rd party) brand as I have 0 knowledge about them other than the fact that they exist. I will however recommend this lens again to you, my good online reader friend - I will recommend this to a friend, I would recommend this to an enemy, I would even recommend it to rival wedding photographers who shoot with Nikon bodies. Yeah, it's that good. What else can I say to make you buy this precious, I mean lens.

I thank you for your time in reading this - and I do hope that this review helps you make your purchase/review. Pls click the thingy if you think this review helped you out (so that other seekers will be able to find) Please feel free to leave any cool comments or any rocking questions -

~ Josh
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