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Nikon 70-210mm f/4-5.6D AF

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20 99223 Jun 23, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $152.92
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.53
9.42
8.9
70-210

Specifications:
This is an all metal prosumer zoom lens that nikon made during the late 90s.

Very good lens, very fast focus, well made and good sharpness and contrast. You get this lens for a steal these days.


 


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the solitaire
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Registered: Jun 22, 2013
Location: Germany
Posts: 755
Review Date: Jun 23, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small lightweight lens, Aperture ring, very sharp and nice contrast and color rendition, fast AF
Cons:
Rotating filter thread, slight purple fringing in high contrast situations

The copy I own (AF-D version, bought used but in like new shape) is very sharp, even wide open.
Contrast and color rendition are very nice, which makes the pictures made with this lens really stand out.

At 105mm and at near infinity range up to about 20 ft itīs visually as sharp as the AF-S 105mm micro Nikkor. It loses a bit of contrast towards the long end of the zoom range and I do believe itīs slightly less sharp there as well.

Out of focus blur is, as typical for lenses in this class, not exceptional. Itīs ok though.

I also own the AF 80-200 f2,8D (two ring version) but I keep this lens as a light travel companion. Sometimes the f2,8 lens is just too bulky, and as long as there is enough light there isnīt much of a difference in optical quality between the two lenses.

There seems to be some sample variation, which doesnīt really surprise me as you wonīt find these new and some lenses have seen 20 years of use or more. If you can get a good copy, itīs a great lens to own and use.


Jun 23, 2013
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mohawk51
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Registered: May 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: Jun 4, 2013 Recommend? | Price paid: $140.00

 
Pros: Weight!
Cons:
None Noted

UPDATE:
Still using this 70-210 lens and sold my 80-200 F2.8 AF-D (Thank God!). What a tremendous weight difference!


Jun 4, 2013
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ericss
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Registered: Aug 22, 2012
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 22, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $95.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp, solidly engineered, small / lightweight (compared to 80-200 f2.8) and very cost effective to acquire used
Cons:
May lack the contrast or sparkle of the 80-200 2.8, and colouration slightly less warm.

I have just purchased the non D version of the Nikon 70-210 f4-5.6 to go with my D800.

I bought it because it was so cheap that it seemed crazy not to buy it - especially given many of the other positive comments here. Also I was looking for something lighter for everyday use to complement by 80-200 f2.8D (pull push version).

In a nutshell I was bowled over. This is a seriously good, superb value lens. Mine is very sharp wide open from centre to edge improving to bitingly sharp once closed down a stop. In terms of sharpness I can can hardly tell the difference from my 80-200. And whereas the latter needed some heavy AF fine tuning to get sharp results, the 70-210 seems spot-on with no adjustment. It also performs better (sharper from corner to corner) at the 70mm end than my Nikon 24-85 f3.5-3.5 (non VR) lens.

Moreover, I have no problems in terms of slowness of autofocus with either of these lenses - but maybe that's because I do not have the later fast focussing versions to compare against.

My only real dilemma is convincing myself why i should keep the 80-200. I guess the latter is just so solid, feels so good to use and performs so well even at f2.8 from edge to edge.

The lesson: some of Nikon's old lenses are real bargains and have a great deal to offer even with its latest cameras.


Aug 22, 2012
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mohawk51
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Registered: May 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Review Date: May 1, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $140.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Light weight, Light weight, Light weight. Good range. Great stiffness on the push-pull (No slop). It feels very solid.
Cons:
None Really Noted

I have the non D version. I really have no complaints about this lens whatsoever. I don't need the D version for faster focus I shoot manual cameras only. For the price I paid, it is in mint to like-new shape. No dust inside and the elements were crystal clean. I couldn't find a mark on it (I tried). Whoever had this lens before me took extra care with it. Like I do with my lenses. I still have my AF 80-200 F2.8D ED, but after carrying that awhile, it really does give my arm and back a workout (hell, I'm 65 years old). And then I put the 70-210 on my F3 or FM2N. Feels like a featherweight compared. Losing a little over a stop with the 70-210 is really not that bad. No complaints on the sharpness or contrast. Bottom line, "it's a steal for the deal".

May 1, 2012
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Marsellus W
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Registered: Jun 12, 2007
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Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very, very cheap second hand Great build quality (no wobble, no play, hefty, solid, mostly metal) Very good image quality across the frame Superfast AF on D700 (AF-S fast really) Metal lens hood included Metal filter threads
Cons:
Image in viewfinder jumps around a bit during AF @200mm Front element rotates during AF Focus ring rotates during AF Somewhat unusual 58mm filter size Some CA @200mm

For a long time this great lens has been a sleeper with very few people interested in it. When I went digital I switched to Canon (because of the affordable 300D) so I even sold mine back in the day, and I got almost nothing for it. I'm not a great telephoto user, but occasionally I missed the longer range when I recently got the D700. This lens immediately came to mind, and I got an absolutely mint one for EUR 100 within a day, they seem to be everywhere, and still there seems to be little interest in them.

Well, let me tell you: this lens is a gem.

It has a push-pull design which was the craze in the 80s, but few people like that today. An advantage of push-pull design however is that the lens takes up much less space in your bag; it's only 13cm (about 6") long, caps attached. This might save you from using a large bag.

This lens has very smooth, well-damped zooming action without any stickiness, wobble or play whatsoever. When you look at pictures of it you wouldn't tell, but it's really built like a brick / solid as a ROCK. The 70-300VR / 55-200VR can only dream of build quality anywhere near this puppy. It's built from the same materials as the older 20-35, 35-70 and 80-200 pro push-pull 2.8 zooms.

Image quality is very good wide-open and excellent stopped down. Compared to modern lenses it only lacks a smidge of contrast - sharpness is definitely up there. The most impressive part is how even the quality is across the frame. No corner softness or anything. Distortion is absolutely minimal, I can't remember adjusting for it in PP. AF is incredibly fast, near-instant and faster than many AF-S lens - it easily tracks sports, dogs, cars and the like. AF might hunt a little @200mm in low light. There's very little cyan-red CA at the borders at 200mm in your FX NEF-files, but it's easily correctable. It has very smooth bokeh, no hard edges - something I find very important. It comes with a very effective solid metal screw-in lens hood.

Drawbacks: front cap doesn't fit with lens hood attached, front element rotates during AF making use of a polarizing filter a PITA. It is chipped, so apart from losing AF it will work brilliantly on the d40(x),d60,d3x00 and d5000.

The non-D version is equally good but it focuses quite a bit slower.

If you're looking for a superbly built, fast focusing portable FX telephoto zoom this is the way to go. I tried many slow Nikon 70/80-2xx lenses but this one is head and shoulders above the rest yet one of the cheapest.

Just try it, when you get this quality for EUR/$ 100 you'll be stunned. You might save yourself a lot of dollars, a big bag and back pain. If you don't like it you can sell it on without taking a significant financial loss.


Nov 28, 2010
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yahyatahir
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Registered: Jun 19, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 19, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $165.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Speed, Smooth Zoom.
Cons:
Using manual focus is little tricky. Manual Focus ring feels really cheap.

Purchased this lens off e-bay for approx 165 dollars. Its the D model so had to pay 50-60 dollars extra. But truly worth the extra, because you get the fast focus and the flash meter recognition.

I did alot of research before purchasing this lens and I came to the conclusion that instead of spending 170 dollars on the 55-200mm VR which is a very sharp and very cheap lens. I rather get a well made, metal lens that works amazing on my D90. Using this 20 year old lens on the digital format cameras I get a range of about 300mm.

Great piece of glass, and if you keep a look out on e-bay your sure to find one selling for around 100 bucks the NON D version. If you can find a D model for around 150-180 GRAB it. Its worth alot more.

At first the push pull zoom was a lil hard to get used to but I find it really smooth and easy to use after a few tries.


Jun 19, 2010
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CGrindahl
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Registered: Dec 17, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13028
Review Date: Mar 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $185.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Wonderfully sharp with fine color and contrast
Cons:
A bayonet hood would be nice, but the screw on Nikon hood is certainly quite elegant.

I bought this lens largely based upon positive comments on the FM review site. I hesitated to drop $1,100 for a new Nikon lens in this focal range that I use occasionally and so opted for a used copy of this lens, a D version in mint condition, I found on E-Bay.

I'm very impressed with the lens which is built extremely well, much better than the consumer glass produced by Canon. It focuses quickly but at times seems to hiccup, missing focus or hesitating. That happens rarely, however, and doesn't pose a problem. Also, I've been playing with some of Nikon's GREAT manual focus glass and enjoying the experience immensely, so I occasionally do the same with other lenses, including this one.

This lens is very sharp with great color and contrast. Here's a shot I took the first afternoon I mounted the lens on my D700.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_YajwMTB6j0w/S5rDvYBfXnI/AAAAAAAABAk/ntmpRH3II20/s800/BlueIris.jpg

These lenses can be had very cheaply and at least from my experience, are outstanding performers. Since I use this range exclusively during the day out of doors, I don't need faster glass. This lens fits the bill perfectly. I couldn't be happier!


Mar 17, 2010
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nikonkid
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Registered: Feb 27, 2010
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 27, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp. Well built. Nikon!
Cons:
Heavy if you are fussy! Minimum focus distance.

Bought this lens very recently and I can truly say that this lens is as sharp as you can get (nikon D80 Fuji S3 pro). Very, very pleased with colour rendition and contrast. I have been into photography for 30 years and this is my most pleasing purchase! Mine isn't "D" type but I am finding it fast enough for general everyday focusing. Brilliant! All metal construction gives a good feel and a quality finish. Have spent the last few years trying Tamron, Sigma lenses etc but you just can't beat Nikon lenses provided you do your research! (Although I am pleased with my sigma 10-20)!
If you are here because you are thinking of buying, go back now and buy it!


Feb 27, 2010
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sparadise
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Registered: Oct 22, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 374
Review Date: May 28, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, AF speed, lightness, price
Cons:
None for me

I picked up a like new D model and I am extremely happy with it. I had previously owned a 70-200 VR and the 80-200 AF-D. This is not a focal length I shoot with very often so this lens fits my needs perfectly. For the comments that this lens is too heavy try lugging around the 2.8's
IQ on my D700 is excellent. AF is as fast as any AFS lens I own. I think this makes a great travel lens and would recommend it highly.


May 28, 2009
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NaturesEssence
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Registered: Aug 3, 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: build quality, fast autofocus, sharp, price
Cons:
little heavy compared to kit telephoto zoom now adays

Got a D version of this. I can say its really good! Its Built like a tank gun, metal everywhere thus the heaviness. Auto focus is EXTREMELY fast for such a low priced telephoto, its perfect for shooting birds at flight in daylight. Sharpness is good. I compared to my 28-200mmG @200mm f/5.6, the 70-210mm beats it in edges by whole lot. Centre remains nearly identical. The push and pull isnt that bad once u get used to it. Only thing i dont like is the weight, not very good if your going for a long walk, but then again its all metal so heaviness is expected.

Aug 3, 2008
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hakli
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Registered: Jun 11, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very usable wide open between 70-150mm . Looks soft at 210mm. Stepping down to F8 gives razor sharp photos at all focal lenghts. Build quality is very good. Push-and-pull is not for me, but still OK.
Cons:
@210mm images look soft at wide open, F8 helps a lot.

My lens is no D-model, but only difference is focus speed, non-D is slower.

Sunny day and aperture F8 gives a wonderful shots. Build quality is very high comparing to nowadays lenses.


Jun 15, 2008
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Dirk Hiemstra
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Registered: Nov 22, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 27, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Price on second hand market
Cons:
Not that sharp, lacks a bit of contrast

Nice lens, but can't compete the newer Nikon stuff. Especially sharpness and contract are a bit disappointing. In general the low cost plastic 80-200 gives sharper pictures and the 28-200G or 18-200VR is a far better choice.

Nov 27, 2007
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PJ Fish
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Registered: Nov 24, 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 18
Review Date: Nov 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: A very good zoom; Best Buy and very very fast AF(good for sports) i got the D model which is super fast and make awesome good pics.
Cons:
push pull design,little ackward.

This Nikkor 70-210 D model is a good zoom for the price.
Its not a Nikkor 80-200 or 70-200 of course but its better and more valuable than the 70-300 and 3 party manufacturers products ;its recomandable anytime and you will not be dissapointed with it.You can also use it for sports !
I use it with any Nikon DSLRscams when i travel or hike and find it very good.
Well made Nikon !


Nov 3, 2007
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Jon Delorey
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Registered: Oct 10, 2006
Location: United States
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Review Date: Oct 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: I've owned this lens for 16+ years and it is still working fine. Picture quality is excellent.
Cons:
autofucus can sometimes be slow ..or confused..

I was very surprised to run across any kind of review of this lens. I bought the non D version back around 1990 for the N6006 that I owned at the time. It was quite inexpensive but it fit my budget and the picture quality was just great.

I am now using it on my D200 and it still works great. I recently shot horses show jumping and the focus tracked them just fine. In situations where the autofucus does get confused I just make a quick switch to manual focus.

When I bought the lens many reviewers disliked the sliding zoom, but I have found that it can come in very handy when you need to zoom real fast during action shots. When I've done a very sudden zoom during continuous mode the focus and everthing kept up without a problem.

I don't know exactly what I did pay for the lens back in 1990 (around $150), but it has been a great value for the money.


Oct 10, 2006
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rootrider
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Registered: Sep 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 12
Review Date: Jun 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $110.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: good speed, good value, good quality, good feel, takes great pictures, decent bokeh, not too large or heavy. Just an overall great lens!
Cons:
Front element rotates while focusing. Weird filter size. Push-pull may be a bit of a negative. non-D focuses to infinity and back *very* slowly.

I've had this lens for just over a month now. I got it used on KEH for $130 shipped. I have the non-D version. The D version simply has a more quickly geared auto-focus motor which would be very nice to have, but I can live without it for the price that I paid for this thing. It seems like it takes forever for this lens to focus to infinity and back if it can't focus the first time around.

All I can say is that I'm very happy I bought this lens. I like it more every time I use it. The f/4 is quite acceptable at 70mm and f/5.6 isn't all that bad at 210mm. It's a relatively sharp lens with good color and resolution.

The lens is built well and handles well. I actually kind of like the push-pull zoom since it's rather smooth and quick to use. The filter size is 67mm which is kind of weird for a Nikon lens.

It's a great cheap lens.. but it's also a lens that can compete well with other options in the $500+ range today. If you're considering it just save yourself the time and pick one up. You won't regret it.


Jun 19, 2006
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Laurens
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Registered: Jan 15, 2005
Location: Belgium
Posts: 13
Review Date: May 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Cheap, very solid construction, I actually like the push-pull mechanism
Cons:
overrated

Ken Rockwell published a glowing review about the 70-210 on his web site and this is probably one of the reasons why this lens is somewhat overrated, if you ask me. I have the non-D version version which is optically identical to the D-version (which focusses faster).

I am actually happy with my 70-210. It 'feels right' and has a built quality that todays entry-level lenses don't have anymore. I bought a Nikon 70-300G, compared it to my 70-210 and got rid of the 70-300 within a week. The 70-210 was way better throughout its range, especially wide open.

When I compare the 70-210 with the 18-70 at 70 mm however, I think the D70 kit lens is a bit sharper and has better contrast and colour. I did some comparisons with my 180 mm Sigma macro as well and the Sigma is clearly superior. Both the kit lens and Sigma macro come with a nice hood, something that I only started appreciating after noticing the drop in contrast of the 70-210 whenever sunlight hit its filter. Fortunately I found a cheap 1 euro hood that solved that problem.

The 70-210 is an OK-lens if you are searching for a cheap second hand tele that is build well, offers decent performance through its range and will serve you until Nikon finally releases a 70-300 lens with really good optics. It is a fine lens but don't pay a ridiculous 'Rockwell-tax' for it.


May 28, 2006
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Nikon 70-210mm f/4-5.6D AF

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
20 99223 Jun 23, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
90% of reviewers $152.92
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.53
9.42
8.9
70-210


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