Nikkor AF 70-210mm f/4 - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
Article Index


The Nikkor AF 70-210mm f/4 shows an unusually low level of distortion for a zoom lens. At 70mm there is slight barrel distortion changing to slight pincushion distortion towards the long end of the zoom range.

Move the mouse cursor over the focal length text marks below to observe the respective distortion
70mm 135mm 210mm

The chart above has a real-world size of about 120x80cm.


As mentioned the Nikkor is a full format lens which can take advantage of a sweet spot effect on the D200. The vignetting is indeed very low at 70mm and 135mm but somewhat more pronounced at 210mm (0.8EV). In critical scenes you may prefer to stop down a little at this setting.

MTF (resolution)

The Nikkor AF 70-210mm f/4 was able to deliver good resolution figures in the lab. At 70mm the quality is even excellent and about on par with fix-focal length lenses. However, at wide-open aperture the border resolution drops substantially at 135mm and 200mm accompanied by reduced contrast so it is advisable to stop down a little to overcome this weakness.

Please note that the MTF results are not directly comparable across the different systems!

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

Lateral Chromatic aberrations (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are quite well controlled with an average width of around 1px at the image borders.

Unfortunately the lens suffers from purple fringing in extreme situations which cannot be corrected as easily as lateral CAs.


The Nikkor AF 70-210mm f/4 delivered decent but not exceptional results. The resolution is excellent at 70mm but a little soft at 135mm @ f/4 and 210mm @ f/4 so the speed advantage compared to current consumer grade zoom lenses is somewhat relativized - stopping down to f/5.6 is advisable here. Despite the full format design vignetting is a little high at 210mm at wide-open aperture but otherwise it is well controlled. The level of distortions is unusually low for a zoom lens. Lateral CAs are moderate but purple fringing can be a problem in harsh contrast situations. The build quality is relatively decent although the approach is a bit dated.

Optical Quality:    
Mechanical Quality:
   What does this mean ?

Disclosure: When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network and Google Adsense.