Nikkor AF 70-210mm f/4 - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published June 2006

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Ulrich Grothaus!


Introduced back in 1986 the Nikkor AF 70-210mm f/4 was the first AF tele-zoom lens introduced by Nikon. The constant aperture is an attractive feature of the lens but for whatever reason this affordable Nikkor was only manufactured for a few years so you will only find it on the used market these days. Surprisingly Nikon did not release any new constant f/4 tele zoom lenses in this range ever since which is regrettable regarding the very popular Canon options in this class.
Regarding its age it is, naturally, a full format lens. All local Nikon tests are performed on an APS-C DSLR where its field-of-view is equivalent to 105-315mm on full format camera.

On first contact the build quality is feels good thanks to quality plastics. The very broad zoom ring operates very smooth. However, the tiny focus ring located directly on the inner lens tube is a little substandard. The physical length of the lens does not change during zooming but the inner tube extends/retracts a little when focusing (see also the product shots above). Unfortunately the front element rotates so using a polarizer is quite cumbersome.
The Nikkor has a rather long focus path which is nice for manual focusing. On the downside the AF (via the slotted drive screw operated by the camera) is slow and noisy. The AF accuracy was a little soso in field conditions with slight tendency to front-focusing at the long end of the zoom range.

Equiv. focal length105-315 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction13 elements in 9 groups
Number of aperture blades7
min. focus distance1.1 m (max. magnification 1:3.9)
Dimensions77 x 156 mm
Weight760 g
Filter size62 mm (rotating)
HoodNikon HN-24, barrel-shaped (screw-in)
Other features