Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/4 G ED VR (DX) - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
Article Index
Introduction
Analysis

Distortion

At 70mm the lens shows a small amount of barrel distortion. For most of the upper zoom range there is very moderate pincushion distortion, reaching a peak value of 0.8% at the maximum focal length.

Move the mouse cursor over the focal length text marks below to observe the respective distortion
70mm 135mm 200mm

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

Vignetting

Since the lens is designed for a larger image circle, vignetting is no issue on DX cameras.

MTF (resolution)

The lens performs on a very high level with excellent center resolution straight from the maximum aperture and very good borders and corners at all tested focal lengths.

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)

Chromatic aberrations (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are well under control with values of below 1 pixel at the image borders throughout the tested focal length and aperture range.

Please note that lateral CAs can easily be corrected in software or by the camera itself (most modern Nikon DSLRs remove CAs on-the-fly if you shoot JPGs).

Bokeh

The AF-S 70-200/4 VR is a moderately fast lens, but due to its close focus abilities combined with a long focal length it still allows you to separate the main subject from the background, so the rendering quality of out of focus areas is an important aspect.

The lens delivers a generally very smooth bokeh at all focal lengths, except for areas in front of the focal plane, where the image blur is a bit nervous.

Thanks to 9 rounded aperture blades, background highlights remain circular throughout the whole aperture and focal range, except at the image borders where they are cut off due to mechanical vignetting. They show a smooth filling with almost no outlining.

Bokeh Fringing

Bokeh fringing (non-coinciding focal planes of the various colors) is an issue often found on fast lenses. It's visible as halos of different colors in out-of-focus areas - usually magenta (red + blue) in front the focus point and green beyond.

With a maximum aperture of f/4 the Nikkor does not really qualify as "fast" glass, and consequently bokeh fringing is no real issue. There are minor traces of the mentioned colour casts in high contrast scenes, like the one below, but in most real-world subjects the fringing will be unnoticeable.

Move the mouse cursor over the f-stop marks below to observe the respective LoCAs
f/4.0 f/5.6 f/8.0 f/11.0

Flare/Glare

The lens is quite complex with lots of surfaces that potentially reflect light. Still, it handles backlight very well and keeps a high level of contrast in these conditions, which is party due to Nikon's use of Nano Crystal Coat. Under certain conditions, however, the lens produces a fair amount of haze at the image borders opposite to the source of the backlight.

Sample Shots

You can find some sample images taken with the Nikon D3x in our Nikon FX review of the lens.

Verdict

The Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4 VR is an excellent lens that performs on a very high level on the D7000. Resolution is generally excellent in the image center and very good at the borders and corners.

Distortion, vignetting and CAs are well controlled and no issue for most subjects. The bokeh is quite smooth.

The build quality is excellent, it's a bit anoying though that Nikon does not include the tripod collar with the lens. Thanks to the silent-wave drive the lens is compatible with all Nikon DX DSLRs and the AF is silent and very fast. The new third-generation VR module is impressive and works very well.

Which in summary means the same final verdict as in our FX review: a highly recommended lens.

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