Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 G ED VR II (FX) - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (full format)

Sample Shots

The following sample shots were taken with a D3x and RAW-converted via CaptureOne 4.8.

Click on a thumbnail to view the original file (opens in a separate window).

Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/3200s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 155.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/1250s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 155.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/500s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/640s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 100.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/400s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 70.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/1000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 98.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/250s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/400s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 170.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/1000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/800s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/400s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 100
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1250s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Exposure 1/1250s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/5.0
Exposure 1/160s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 70.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/320s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 70.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1000s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/640s
Make NIKON CORPORATION
Model NIKON D3X
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 200.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1000s

Verdict

The Nikon AF-S 70-200 VR II is a very good zoom lens that delivers excellent sharpness wide open already, at least in the image center. Vignetting is very well controlled and CAs as well as distortion are typical for a lens in this class. LoCAs are rather low and the bokeh is exceptionally smooth for a zoom lens.

For many the main question of course is: have the issues of the previous model, especially high vignetting and lack of border sharpness, been adressed. Well, yes, the vignetting is visibly lower at f/2.8 and the resolution figures in the image corners are also better compared to the mk I lens. However, in direct comparison these improvements come at the price of slightly reduced corner sharpness at f/2.8 at focal lengths below 200mm.

In addition, there's another issue we haven't talked about yet: the lens' maximum magnification. The 70-200 VR II increases the field of view with close focus. This is not uncommon, in fact any IF lens does this to a certain degree, but only a few do so at a similar amount. At minimum focus distance (MFD) at 200mm the 70-200 VR II provides an image angle equivalent to a 135mm lens.

This issue has been wildly discussed in the community after it was initially noted. While the lack of magnification is undoubtly a fact, anyone considering purchasing this lens should carefully check if it's really an issue for his/her kind of shooting. When shooting close to the MFD at the long end regularly the previous model is probably the better choice,since in this usage scenario its drawbacks, especially lack of corner sharpness, will hardly be an issue. For anyone usually shooting at longer distances the increase of the image field will be less of an issue since it's not much wider here compared to other lenses in this class.

There may be minor issues but the Nikkor is, nonetheless, highly recommended!

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