Nikon 70-200/2.8VRII vs. 105mmVR sharpness

birdmanbirdman Posts: 115Member
edited April 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I acquired the 70-200/2.8VR a few weeks back, and within a week upgraded to the 2.8VRII. As I've told Golf007SD (we both live in Cali), I also recently acquired a 105mmVR macro. But it had a few issues...the rear mount had been taken off, so I'm ordering screws for it and had to realign the mount ring. Otherwise, it looks brand new -- and I paid a mere $450 for it from a pawn shop that didn't want to fix it (Note: lens, hood, and caps only; no box, no warranty card, no manual included). I have shot SPARINGLY with it, but am afraid it may get stuck on my D800. Yikes!!

Anyway, I've read some folks on other sites claiming the 70-200 is actually the SHARPER lens (at 105mm and F/2.8 of course). believe. I got an incredible deal, and before I get the repair parts put together (ordered from England) to test for myself, I'm itching to get some feedback. I know the 105 is primarily designed for close-up work and it's strengths are pairing it with a ring flash, tripod, and stopped down for max DOF. I had the 100mm (non-IS) macro with Canon so I know how and when to use a macro. But if sharpness is very similar b/n the zoom and this lens, wouldn't it make more sense to sell for a profit and buy the still-formidable 105mm (non-VR) ? For further clarity, I have the 85/1.8g and the 70-200/2.8 if portraits or short telephoto were another "use" I considered for this lens.


  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    I sold my 105G as I don't shoot macro and didn't find it sharper than the 70-200VRII.

    I would say they are the same in sharpness. Tack sharp is tack sharp after all. But I use a D700 not a D800 so your results may differ.

    The 70-200 has a very long minimum focus distance, and this is obviously where the 105 is useful.
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    birdman; I'm trying to understand your post; you say you ordered new screws to "realign the mount"; then you are expressing concern about the lens "getting stuck" on your D 800; Before or AFTER you accomplished this realignment ? (We're talking about several different things here, and I'm trying to understand them separately.) First.......I'm trying hard to "imagine" anyone taking the mounting off of an apparently new $1,000 + macro lens, and then the lens ending up in a pawn shop ! ( I doubt if I'll ever understand that.)

    As for "some people" saying either one of those lenses being sharper, or less sharp than the other...........not knowing anything about these "people"'s really a speculation....but I do have an opinion about this; my opinion is, I think there are about 1,000 times as many people making idle comments relative to "lens sharpness", than there are people qualified to perform meaningful lens sharpness tests. And when you start attempting to compare the two lenses you're talking's a little like comparing oranges to plums, to see which one tastes "best"; obviously, I think they BOTH taste great ! But "taste" is an individual thing; in reading what a lot of people say about different lesses being "sharper" or "softer".....I sometimes think "sharpness" is an individual thing; at least to some people. In reality though, sharpness really isn't individual; it can be very accurately measured......( IF one has the proper tools and knowledge to do so ) Many of the people commenting on lens sharpness have neither. (IMHO)

    Equally obvious is, the two lenses you mentioned were designed to accomplish two very different tasks; all true macro lenses have a much longer focusing range than just about all regular lenses; they must be able to accomplish what they are designed for.

    If I'm understanding your post correctly, I think you're trying to decide on the wisdom of selling this lens you paid $450 for, and buying a 105mm, f2.8 non-IS Nikkor macro ? If that's what you're seeking feedback on, here's my opinion on that; it's ALWAYS wise to buy something for one price, then sell it for a higher price ! (after taking into consideration all associated costs of course) And "IS" vs "non-IS".........(please understand, I'm looking at this issue only from MY perspective; others may vary) If I was planning to buy a new macro lens, it would be almost completely to do macro work with; I do very little hand-held macro; and that's the key right there; if you normally like to shoot flowers, bugs, whatever........hand all means, buy the lens WITH "IS"; only you know what you do hand-held, as opposed to having the camera supported. I don't currently own a macro lens with "IS"; At this point, I'd say it's unlikely that will change anytime soon.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    The 70-200 has a very long minimum focus distance, and this is obviously where the 105 is useful.

    I have the 105vr and the 70-200vr1, but took a ton of test shots with the VR2 again and didn't see any real difference in sharpness between vr1 & vr2. To my eye, the 105vr is only second to the 60mm macro in sharpness and the other lenses come behind those. But we are talking about being able to tell a difference in very specific, controlled (i have better stuff to do, but need a break) tests. Printed, I have never been able to see a sharpness difference. I did notice the Nano coating helps make a "crisper" more saturated, contrasty image in situations - many misconstrue this as sharpness. As Garth said, tack sharp is after all, tack sharp.

    By all accounts the 105vr is a better lens than the old 105.

    I'll echo Gitzo with the lens mount, do it yourself repair thing. Doesn't seem wise to me or have an outcome that will produce optimal results. Hearing that, I would at a minimum send it to Nikon to be checked after you are done, or off load it with disclaimers, and buy another one new.

    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...
  • birdmanbirdman Posts: 115Member
    edited April 2013
    edit: accidentally reposted same long response as below
    Post edited by birdman on
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Looking forward in meeting with you soon buddy and seeing your new toy and going over its functionality. Lets wait for the screws to come in from Nikon UK and we will go from there.

    As for some test shots of the 105 2.9 VR vs, the 70-200 VR are two sample shots to consider in our discussion about it.

    70-200 2.8 VR II (D4 1/1250 ISO 100 @ f/2.8 taken at 200mm

    105 2.8 VR Micro (D4 1/1000 ISO 100 @ f/3.0
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
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