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

70-210
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.