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| Nikkor AFS 70-200mm/4 VR - First impressions |
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i could not do any BIF shots. There was not enough time to extensively use the lens in different environments. I even forgot to use one of my TC\'s which wanted to test with the 70-200mm.
To sum it up: Even considering that I would have bought it anyway, the opportunity to use the lens and viewing the photos which were done in suboptimal conditions increased the certainity and the desire to get one. It is as simple as that.
I still do have all the 7 f2.8 models Nikon introduced in the last 30 years and the nice thing about the new f4 lens is basically the return to a size the 80-200mm family started a while ago. The added electronics like VR and AFS added weight and size to the f2.8 lenses over time. While the original AF models can\'t cope with the high resolution of the most recent DSLRs as well as the more recent models, the AFS 70-200mm/4 VR fills in this gap which grew over time. Considering the ISO capabilities of the all 4 FX sensors introduced this year, the light gathering aspect of an f2.8 lens isn\'t as needed as it used to be - imho. Combine this with the capability to have sharp images at f4, the gap to many of the 2.8 predesessors closes even more, as they needed f4 on the current high resolution cameras for comparable resolution and contrast.
It is a pitty, that I didn\'t use the lens with the TC14,TC17 and TC20 I had in my bag - I simply forgot. I\'ll do that when I will get mine later in November or beginning of december.
The way I would summarize the experience with the lens based on this short time with it:
1) The weight, its dimension and tacit feeling. It is considerable lighter and smaller than the current f2.8VR. Combined with the D600, it had perfect balance. Similar top the natural balance a D4 and the 70-200mm/2.8 has, just 50% lighter
2) It feels more solid than for instance the AFS 55-300mm, by itself a very good lens, but the shaky lens hood mount destroys the feeling of \"solid\" immediately. The AFS 70-200mm/4 VR feels solid. With or without the new HB-60 lens hood.
3) I was positively suprised about the lack of color abebrations in the night shots. Unless CNX2 computes them out automatically (which I did not check), the clarity of light spots is astonishing, given the many air/lens surfaces in the lens
4) It is hard to tell if the VR is really better. Only \"statistically\" observations in many different usages and scenarios will grow the confidence level with the new VR. I\'ve used the lens intentionally quite a few times with 200mm and 1/20sec or 1/30 sec, welkl below the classic formula. Even with high resolution cameras like the D600 or the current best of breed D800E, image sharpness is top notch. Funny to put the many internet gossip discussions about lens techniques into context when shooting with this lens. Don\'t get me wrong, good techniques will allways help, but overall the average success rate counts. And the new VR has the capability to get the average success rate up.
5) I did not do any sports photography, but for my static subjects, the speed of AF felt rather on the fast side than sluggish. Sport photographers will do the appropriate testing - i am sure.
6) The lens is of an internal focus type. It doesn\'t prolonge, neither with AF nor with the zoom setting. So there will be focus breathing at close distances. I\'ve read that it has 169mm at the 200mm at MFD. Which is better than the 2.8 VR II (ca..135mm). Combined with the short MFD, portrait photography should be a no-brainer.
7) Bokeh. If I would put a line of bokeh quality between the AFS 70-200mm/2.8 VR II on one end and the AFS 70-300mm VR on the other end, I would currently put the new lens closer to the VR II
8) The package. A lens is more than just one aspect. Its quality is determined by size, weight, IQ, coma, bokeh, contrast, micro contrast, LCA, CA, distortion, vignetting, field curvature, reflections (ghost/flare), af speed and accuracy, usability, effectiveness of the lens hood, etc .. just to call out some of those. In this regard, the AFS 70-200mm/4 VR was a pleasure to use, was in this package a significant step ahead to the AFS 70-300mm and very close to the 2.8 VR.
I really look forward to get my own one and despite the availability of a 2.8 VR lens, this lens will be a formidable sidekick in many situations.