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Thread: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

  1. #1
    robertraymer
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    D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    This is a question specifically for those who have used both the VR and VRII version of the 70-200 2.8. I went back in the threads to the D800 release and didn't find anything on the topic, so my apologies if I missed it.

    Given the significant price difference between the VR and VRII versions, I was wondering if anyone has seen any real world difference between the two lenses, not only in terms of image quality, but also in terms of use. Is there a significant difference in sharpness or AF speed between the two? Last time I used a VR I was happy with the speed and sharpness, but I was also using a D2Xs with significantly less resolution. Is there a big difference with the 36mp sensor or 51 point AF? Any other issues I should know about?

    For point of reference, I would likely be using it often in low light, shooting live music, indoor equestrian events and ice hockey, as well as at weddings in addition to outdoor use which isn't as heavily reliant on VR.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    The original VR version was found to vignette badly on the then new generation FX bodies (D3 and D700) - for this reason the VRII version was developed.
    I would imagine the situation to be exasperated on the D800.

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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    I've used both of them and agree with Swissblad you should go with the VR II. It's well worth the price difference.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    VR2 is head and shoulders better optically on the D800.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    If you don't need the VR feature (even the indoor shots sound like a lot of movement / action where VR won't help) and you want a less expensive alternative to the VRII, you might try to find a used 80-200 f/2.8 AF-S (not the AF-D, which is still in production). Unlike the 70-200 VRII, the 80-200 AF-S also has the benefit of little to no focus breathing when shooting at 200mm at near subjects (which may or may not matter to you).

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    Super Duper
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    Quote Originally Posted by dubes View Post
    If you don't need the VR feature (even the indoor shots sound like a lot of movement / action where VR won't help) and you want a less expensive alternative to the VRII, you might try to find a used 80-200 f/2.8 AF-S (not the AF-D, which is still in production). Unlike the 70-200 VRII, the 80-200 AF-S also has the benefit of little to no focus breathing when shooting at 200mm at near subjects (which may or may not matter to you).
    +1! I couldn't agree more with this assessment, espcially if focus breathing might be an issue for requiring reach at the 200mm end (depending on subject distance). The 80-200 AF-S is exceptionally good optically and can hold it's own quite well even on the D800 and one can still use the current AF-S teleconverters. Yes, it has no VR if thats a consideration but the only thing to watch out for with the 80-200 AF-S is the squeeky AF-S motor issue, similar to quite a few of the Nikon 17-35 f2.8 AF-S lenses. Both were early Af-S lenses and although sometimes the squeek disappears after autofocusing 1-2 times in a photo session, often times it can get much worse.

    Other than that an excellent suggestion and alternative to the 70-200 f2.8 VRII (which by the way, I too favor over the VR I version).

    Dave (D&A)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hulyss Bowman's Avatar
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    If you do not mind going (solid) prime, the AFD Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 IF ED is an exceptional lens even on the D800 (I tested him on the D800e and it is ... just the same as D700). This prime is a gem and I do not understand why ppl do not speak more about.
    180 ED and 85 G for the win. The Sharpest Nikon Lens Ever, <i>the Nikkor AF 180mm f/2.8D ED-IF</i> - Nikon AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D ED-IF Telephoto Lens - Epinions.com

    Kind regards - Hulyss - hulyssbowman.com

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    Super Duper
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    Quote Originally Posted by Hulyss Bowman View Post
    If you do not mind going (solid) prime, the AFD Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 IF ED is an exceptional lens even on the D800 (I tested him on the D800e and it is ... just the same as D700). This prime is a gem and I do not understand why ppl do not speak more about.
    180 ED and 85 G for the win. The Sharpest Nikon Lens Ever, <i>the Nikkor AF 180mm f/2.8D ED-IF</i> - Nikon AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D ED-IF Telephoto Lens - Epinions.com

    A truly lovely portrait Hulyss! I am one of those who have posted about being somewhat disappointed with the Nikon 180mm f2.8 when used on most DSLR's 12MP and up. I found multiple tested copies a little long in the tooth. For portraits as you've shown, it can excel, but for critical sharpness needed for cewrtain subjects, I found it was bested by the Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro, by a significant margin. Of course I probably wouldn't use the Sigma for portrait work, for obvious reasons. So for general use, I'd opt for the sharper lens in this case. Thats simply my imprressions after extensive testing but I know many others are big fans of the Nikon...and I can certainly respect that.

    By the way, it appears the article you included a link to, appears to have been written in 2001/2002. Optical performance and sensors have changed considerable since that time, although that's not taking away anything from how fine this lens is.

    Dave (D&A)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hulyss Bowman's Avatar
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    Hello Dave,

    Yes the article is from 2002 but the lens, (when you have a good copy) is very sharp at f2.8 (not critical compared to my Zeiss). I'm often a lucky man with material and optics so maybe I had chance with my unit. Anyway, I use this lens a lot and more I use it, more I love it. Just magical. (and it is a damn solid and lightweight lenses compared to sigma one)
    Kind regards - Hulyss - hulyssbowman.com

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    Super Duper
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    I can identify with how you feel. For example, the older Leica 50mm Lux pre asph (e46) draws a lovely image but most would agree that although it's a sharp lens, it is surpassed in this catagory (especially wide open and edge to edge) by the current Leica 50mm lux asph. Although not exactly an identical comparison, the Nikon 180 f2.8 does often evoke an image that renders in a lovely way, but if one needs for their purpose absolute edge to edge sharpness at the woder apertures, the Sigma is generally superior.

    One could say each lens has it's strengths and weaknesses and is applicable to somewhat different but overlapping purposes.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 4th February 2013 at 15:56.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    Little OT but I am having nice results with the new 70-200mm F4 and if i can find some time this week I may post some images with it.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  12. #12
    Senior Member Hulyss Bowman's Avatar
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    I can identify with how you feel. For example, the older Leica 50mm Lux pre asph (e46) draws a lovely image but most would agree that although it's a sharp lens, it is surpassed in this catagory (especially wide open and edge to edge) by the current Leica 50mm lux asph. Although not exactly an identical comparison, the Nikon 180 f2.8 does often evoke an image that renders in a lovely way, but if one needs for their purpose absolute edge to edge sharpness at the wider apertures, the Sigma is generally superior.

    One could say each lens has it's strengths and weaknesses and is applicable to somewhat different but overlapping purposes.

    Dave (D&A)
    You are perfectly right, this is a specialized lens who can't accomplish a lot of things, especially the modern sharpness/Telecentrism of actual lens and ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Little OT but I am having nice results with the new 70-200mm F4 and if i can find some time this week I may post some images with it.
    I agree with this. All the new AFS-G (China made ones) lenses have pretty damn good results on new sensors (as well on the oldest). Just the f1.8 trinity (28-50-85) is ... awesome for the given price ?

    The 70-200 f4 should output similar quality and I wait Guy to post some examples.
    Kind regards - Hulyss - hulyssbowman.com

  13. #13
    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    The new 70-200mm f4.o does indeed seem to be good: Natural Art Images: Voice: Brad Hill Blog

    If you don't need f2.8, it may be a good route.

    For fixed lenses, the old 180mm f2.8 is a stellar lens.

  14. #14
    Super Duper
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    [QUOTE=Hulyss Bowman;487464]You are perfectly right, this is a specialized lens who can't accomplish a lot of things, especially the modern sharpness/Telecentrism of actual lens and ...QUOTE]

    Again, I feel the 180 f2.8 Nikon is an extremely good lens, just getting a little long in the tooth if one is looking for an update in performance with regards to edge to edge sharpness. I know a few who love their Nikon 180 but when they had a chance to try out the Sigma (and a couple others near that focal length), they were quite surprised. Sometimes only when a comparison is made, that these differences become obvious. Besides, sharpness isn't everything, depending what the objectives are in capturing certain types of images...especially portraits.

    On a seperate note, I have to say how impressed I was with your website images Hulyss, espcially the portrait work. Lovely!

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 6th February 2013 at 07:53.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Hulyss Bowman's Avatar
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    Re: D800 and 70-200 VR vs 70-200 VRII

    Thank you for the kind words D&A
    Kind regards - Hulyss - hulyssbowman.com

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    D800 & the new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 G ED VR


    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post

    Little OT but I am having nice results with the new 70-200mm F4 and if i can find some time this week I may post some images with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swissblad View Post

    The new 70-200mm f4.o does indeed seem to be good: Natural Art Images: Voice: Brad Hill Blog

    If you don't need f2.8, it may be a good route.

    For fixed lenses, the old 180mm f2.8 is a stellar lens.

    Here's another positive review of the new f/4 version Tim Ashley Photography | Nikkor 70-200 F4 VRIII Field Review

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