Nikon 70-200mm VR I and VR II

whatisnextwhatisnext Posts: 2Member
edited February 2013 in Nikon Lenses
I know this is probably an old topic but I did my research and still want to hear some advices. I recently switched to Nikon now using D3s bodies and I am considering a 70-200mm ranged lens. I do not plan to use any DX bodies unless the rumored D400 actually comes out with good specs, so this lens will probably solely stay on a FX body. I do sports (mainly) and travel photography and I generally slap on a 24-70 and the Sigma 120-300mm OS but sometimes I want the 70-120 range which is missing here.

My take on the VRI and VRII:
Some online reviews (ex. Photozone) showed that there isn’t any significant difference in IQ between the VR I and the VR II
Corner Sharpness: this is where I am getting that the VRII is much better than the VRI but I don’t do enough telephoto landscapes (however I do plan to buy a D800E sometimes probably for wide and standard landscape)
VR compensation and AF speed: I have used the EF70-200mm IS and IS II and I have to say that the difference between a 3-stop and 4-stop isn’t really big to me but the AF and IQ of the IS II completely blows the IS I away, I wonder if this is the same case with the Nikon ones
Focus stops: sometimes useful for sports photography, never used one in the zoom range though
Long end range shortening??? I do not know how to put this but the VRII apparently becomes shorter at the long end according to many reviews (from 200mm to ~170mm?) This is a big ‘-‘to me if it is true.

In conclusion: this will be used mostly wide open for sports so if anyone want to drop by and give me some advice with reasons to support, it would be very helpful.



  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,337Member
    Have a look at donaldejose's photos on this month's PAD thread; many terrific indoor sports shots. Not sure which version of the 70-200 he has, though.

    I'd suggest renting both versions of the lens and see if any of the features are deal-breakers for you.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    I had the old VR II and have the new VR II also have the d3s and d800 and...
    - d3s - pretty much no difference between both of this lenses in good lightnings; little bit more vignieting @ 2.8 but nothing that couldn't be desired. af speed pretty much the same - both are fast and work nicely with TCs (1.4 & 1.7 in my case). the true difference is in VR, so when the lights go down the VR II is the king with app 1.5 stop better low-light handling.
    - d800 - here is a different story. the VR II simply delivers much more to the 36Mpx sensor and the IQ difference is visible (especially when You pixel peep). the difference is even more visible when You add TC to this set.
    summing up, both lenses are great and it's not like the 1st gen gonna disappoint You as it's much sharper than anything You may have in Your bag, the 2nd gen gonna give You even more spectacular experience especially on bigger Mpx bodies.

    OMT: the focus lock button on 1st gen is the only one feature I really miss on the 2nd gen. for me the update was unintentional as I smashed accidentally my 1st gen on a concrete ground.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I have the VR I, tried the VR II but didn't see enough improvement to make the move. Adamz has the better experience with comparing them on the D800. For me, on the D800 it is amazing. I love the focus lock button as well. ;)

    I like the Nano coating and I think it helps, but there again I didn't think it was worth the upgrade.

    I have read the Long end range shortening but from what I have understood, it was actually the FOV on close focus subjects (<10ft) was actually at 135-150mm. Maybe Adamz has done some tests to know where that kicks in at. At long range, it is 200mm.

    In all, if you are concerned about money - the VR1 will not disappointing at all. If it is your bread and butter lens or you have the funds and starting from scratch, I personally would go with the VR II just because it is newer and better.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    edited February 2013
    On my VRII, the long end when focused to about 2 meters subject/focal plane distance, calculates to about a 170mm lens.

    I am planning on a test, having the lens focused at infinity, shooting a target 2 m away to see what this works out to be. All this "breathing" is in my opinion, necessary to maintain the f/2.8 aperture, as at a closer focusing distance the amount of light needed is increased and the front element obviously cannot get larger.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • CorrelliCorrelli Posts: 135Member
    Just a quick note regarding the focus breathing: this happens on most lenses that use IF or RF (internal or rear focusing) to some extend. It is not needed to maintain the maximum aperture but to keep the length of the lens constant when focusing at the same focal length. Just to give you an idea: if you wanted to get a 1:1 magnification with a lens you would need to extend it by its focal length if it does not use IF or RF. So the 105 mm Micro lens would become 105 mm longer which for sure would change the center of gravity for the camera-lens-setup.

    Unless you use a lens for video (where this focus breathing can be annoying when changing focus between two objects) or for scientific reproductions I would not worry about this "issue".
  • Benji2505Benji2505 Posts: 522Member
    I have the VR I and tested the VRII. The difference is only obvious if you shoot wide open and is almost down to zero after pp/lens comp in LR4. For me it wasn't worth the extra money to upgrade.
  • birdmanbirdman Posts: 115Member
    edited February 2013
    A Nikon expert, if you will, told me the only difference was one lens element and possibly more lens coatings on the newer VRII - basically, the same optics. I know corners are better based on dozens upon dozens read online about both. If I shot 16MP or below, I'd go with the original, or the newer 4.0 VR III, and that's just because I don't think there's a noticeable difference at less than ultra-high resolution.

    As such with my D800, I'll probably get the newest 4.0 VR III. Makes the most sense to me.
    Post edited by birdman on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,494Member
    @birdman, The new lens has a new optical formula, just look on Nikon's website. It focuses closer, which created the dreaded "focus breathing" issue that was totally blown out of proportion.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    In the center,the difference between the VI and VII is probably within sample variation on a lens this complicated.

    Since I think I have a very good sample of the VI, and in my usage (wildlife, theater, and sports) the corners are almost never intentionally in the plane of focus, I am keeping my VI.

    If I had neither and was buying new, I would go with the VII.

    Regards ... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    never done any test... I use my gear not the charts :)
    my V1 was really an awesome lens and if I wouldn't drop it I would never change in to the V2. if You have V1 than stay with it, if You don't have any considering getting the V1 from 2nd hand or look at the new f4 as it's more compact and lightweight.
    if You looking for the optimal performance from one corner to another on high Mpx sensors than You have only one option V2. if You don't care about the corners (who cares) get V1. if You wanna use TC on d800 and N70-200 get V2.
  • whatisnextwhatisnext Posts: 2Member
    @adamz Thanks for the advice. I would be using it on D3s and later will probably go on a D4 once I upgrade so corners is not a concern for me. I haven't worked with any f4 lens and I am doubting that it will sometimes be too small of an aperture for me as I do go to ISO 6400 on a regular basis. I think I will go hunt for a nice VI but if I find a good deal on a VII I think that would be my choice.
    @Msmoto I think I will shoot subjects >3m away, it is sports afterall. Did you see any focus breathing at a distance greater than 3m?
    @birdman I would only go for one 70-200mm and I would really like a f2.8 over the f4.0 since most of my work will be under tough light conditions.
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    Sorry to dredge up a dead thread, but it is not without good reason (to me any way :) ) I am in a similar predicament now. I bought a very lightly used VR1 back in October for a decent price (right about $1500 IIRC.) The lens was/is practically new and on my D7000 I wasn't concerned in the slightest with the soft corners. But now I have a D4 and I have to wonder, how does focus speed differ between the two? Aside from soft corners, is this lens good enough with a 1.7TC or 2.0TC for my African safari in May?

    With the current rebate on the VRII, is it worth it to try to sell my VRI for a couple hundred bucks less than I paid and pick up a VRII? I *just* bought a 24-70/2.8 before the rebates hit (kills me...) so I'm somewhat torn on whether it is worth it or not.
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    Focus speed...I would test this out...maybe even do some cars on the street coming at you about fifty miles per hour, see how well it works in C-nine point. If it works for the cars...probably will be OK with the animals. Also, try the 1.7 and 2.0 TCs and see if it is OK for your use. I suspect they will be great. I would suggest about one f/stop down, i.e, with the TC-20, about f/8.
    Msmoto, mod
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    Testing with cars, not a bad idea Msmoto! I know the game reserve we're going to is absent lions but they do have cheetahs and I will definitely be pushing my pan and zoom skills already (especially since I am still getting used to being back at full frame.) AF-C 9 is what I use about 90% of the time and unless I absolutely need to (low light sports) I find I'm not running it wide open as it seems significantly sharper at f/4 minimum.

    I've got an order in to borrowlenses for a TC-17 and the TC-20. Based on previous experience, my hunch is that the 1.7 will be my preference. Maybe I should rent a VRII and compare? Is that worth the time, or will I just be disappointed with my VRI....
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
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