Nikon 70 200mm F 2.8 Lens

By | 21/10/2022

bythom nikon 70-200f28s

What is It?

The 70-200mm f/2.8 South is the second in Nikon’s speed zoom trio (the 24-70mm was the outset, the 14-24mm the latest). In terms of establishing the Z cameras more fully in the pro realm, this f/two.8 trio of zooms is both necessary and watched closely. The 24-70mm f/two.8 S is a superb lens. You’re probably wondering if the 70-200mm f/2.eight lives up to that (encounter operation section near bottom).

While Canon went a different route with their RF 70-200mm f/two.8 pattern—collapsing for travel—Nikon stuck to the bones shape and formula established past the 70-200mm f/2.8E FL. The Z-mountain version is slightly longer than the F-mount version, but retains the “does not extend or rotate” blueprint that we’re all now comfy with.

Lengthwise we’re at viii.7″ (220mm), while the diameter is 3.5″ (89mm). The included HB-92 lens hood extends the length by 2.v” and the max diameter to about 4″. The F-mountain lens is 8″ x three.5″ past comparing. Weight is as well very similar between the DSLR and mirrorless versions of the lens: 48 ounces (1359g) for the footless Z lens, 47.ix ounces (1357g) for the footless F lens.

The 70-200mm f/2.eight S includes a removable tripod human foot. This foot is a trivial lighter than the one for the F-mount (and I too institute information technology a lilliputian more secure). When you add everything up (lens, foot, hood, FTZ if needed), the Z version of the lens does drop some weight from your bag: 53.1 ounces (1504g) versus 57.iii ounces (1624g), but that’s non specially significant.Nikon makes a point about the human foot of the tripod neckband being bigger than previous models, but it’south a modest change and still doesn’t quite brand the foot into a conveying handle, in my stance. Most of us are going to replace the foot with an Arca plate foot, such equally those fabricated past RRS and Kirk Enterprises.

Overall build quality is typical S-line Z: a sturdy polycarbonate outer shell protecting the inner metal-body chassis. Extensive seals are used to proceed thelens grit and “drip” resistant.

Optically, the new lens is both a new design and an old design, which explains a lot of the similarity. The front seven elements (of 21) pretty much capture and present the scene the aforementioned as the F-mountain version (22 elements total). Information technology’s what happens afterwards that which is quite different. The change appears to be driven (pardon the pun) by the dual autofocus motor setup, which also changes the VR elements positioning some. The dual STM focus system is repose and fast.

The lens has built-in VR (though no switch to command information technology). Nikon claims up to v.five stops (CIPA), though doesn’t specify if this is also true for a camera that doesn’t have sensor VR, such as the Z50.

21 elements in 18 groups is circuitous, just not overly circuitous. What’s more circuitous is that we accept two aspherical and 10 (!) low dispersion elements. Curiously, Nikon doesn’t make much marketing noise nearly it, simply the S version too has the aforementioned FL element up front end to save weight. That also shifts some of the weight balance closer to the photographic camera from the before Nikon 70-200mm designs.

Coupled with optical design is a range of coatings. At different points in the lens it has Nano coating, ARNEO coating, and on the front element Fluorine coating to shed water and grit. How do Nano and ARNEO blanket differ? It has to practise with the angle of light. ARNEO suppresses ghost/flare on nearly vertical incident light, while Nano suppresses it on light coming at a diagonal. Nikon doesn’t specify where the coatings are used inside the optical pattern, though.

This lens also features an SR lens element, which is used to correct on-axis color aberrations for brusk wavelengths. This is similar to Catechism’s BR elements, simply Canon uses resin for those elements, while Nikon uses a new glass formulation. Nikon makes claims about dorsum light resistance on this lens compared to the contest. They also claim that this helps achieve college resolution performance than the F-mountain version of this lens.

Up forepart nosotros have a 77mm filter band, which can be used at the same time as the lens hood (though Nikon hasn’t thought to make a lens hood door to control polarizers, equally Catechism has).

Nikon designers claim that control of VR is “easy” from the camera menu arrangement, which is why they left off any switch for VR on the lxx-200mm f/2.eight S. We do become ii unlike L-Fn buttons and a push to control what’s shown (if anything) on the small OLED display on the top of the lens (I’ll discuss this more in handling). A A/M switch and a focus limiter switch round out the controls on the lens itself.

The multi-motor focus system has 2 basic benefits. First, the speed to move focus position is improved, but by separating the focus elements Nikon has also been able to keep the minimum focus distance low.

The zoom ring is upwards front on the lens and rotates 80°. It is marked at 70mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, and 200mm.

The focus ring is the centre ring on the lens, and as with all current Z lenses other than the NOCT, is focus by wire. Close focus changes with focal length. At 70mm you tin focus to 19″ (.48m) and get a maximum magnification of i:4.7, while at 200mm y’all tin can focus to 38″ (.96m) and get a maximum magnification ratio of one:4.6. As suggested by the this data, there is minimal focal length animate with this lens. Nikon had initially said the lens would have no focus animate, either, but that has changed to “virtually no focus breathing.”

The lens has a DISP push button that controls a modest OLED panel that can brandish focus, depth of field, focal length, and aperture. This brandish is off by default; you must press the button to come across electric current data (see handling, next). A focus range limiter allows you to set up 5m-infinity instead of the full range, should yous desire. The lens too has an A/M button to ready autofocus or manual focus.

We get two (actually five) function buttons on the lens: L-Fn only backside the focus ring, and 4 L-Fn2 buttons arrayed at 90° effectually the lens merely backside the zoom ring. Plus the lens has a 3rd customizable control ring right virtually the camera body. Overall, there’s a lot of customization that tin be washed to controls on the lens, and serious shooters are going to need to study that carefully and figure out which changes work for them.

The 70-200mm f/two.8 S is made in Thailand and sells for Us$2599, but only includes a light material swaddle (CL-C3), not a full case. Moreover, Nikon doesn’t offer an accessory carrying case (the F-mount lens comes with one). Both the contempo TC-1.4X and TC-2.0X tin be used on the lens (I’ll have more than to say virtually those in another, after, review, only for at present just let me say that the TC-20X provides a very shut focusing, seriously good 140-400mm f/five.half-dozen lens that doesn’t exist in the Z lineup at the moment).

Source of the reviewed lens: purchased via NPS Priority Purchase

Nikon’s Spider web folio for the lens

How’southward it Handle?

Having now used some of the top Canon RF lenses, I’m going to exist edgeless: Nikon needs to upward their game.

Let’s offset with the “third” ring. Not just does Canon provide more possible customization of that ring on the R5 and R6, but the Canon rings have a subtle set of detents to them. This means that an adventitious brushing either doesn’t tend to happen, while the ring provides feedback to the user when it does happen. Nikon’s extra ring is freewheeling, though a scrap stiff. Still, it’s easy to bump it and not know whether yous’ve changed something without looking at your settings. Since the only things we tin set with that ring are aperture, exposure compensation, and ISO, I’d rather accept the feedback that the Canon setup provides than Nikon’southward freewheel.

The OLED display on the acme of the lens is an interesting touch, and definitely like shooting fish in a barrel to run across in depression calorie-free when agile. But I question its usability. Commencement, if the camera has gone into standby, the display won’t light. To conserve power, information technology doesn’t stay lit as long as your Standby setting. Pressing the DISP button on the lens doesn’t bring the camera out of standby or lite the lens brandish when the camera is in Standby. These all seem like complete pattern misses to me.

What you can run across is focal length, discontinuity, and focus point (with a DOF indicator that is not specified as to CoC value; equally a certain politico might say, “come on, man”). Of these capabilities, only the latter seems particularly useful on this lens. Sure, I can run into that I’1000 at 79mm instead of somewhere closer to 85mm than 70mm on the zoom ring, simply of what practicality is that, and I have to press a push button to run across it in the first place. Maybe even press buttons multiple times (yuck) due to photographic camera standby. I suppose Z5 users who don’t take a Top LCD on the camera will appreciate being able to see discontinuity setting, but over again, this is a push button-intensive operation for an important setting that should be e’er visible.

Finally, we have the focus point and DOF scale. Given that we’re talking nigh a telephoto zoom and i that is likely to be used oft at fast apertures, it isn’t especially likely that you’re going to be considering depth of field. And if you are, I dubiety that y’all’d use Nikon’s “loose” standards for that, let alone be able to read the line that appears accurately enough to know anything useful.

There is
time when the OLED brandish on the lens shines: when you’re using a teleconverter. You guessed it: it shows the corrected discontinuity and focal length (and DOF, merely again, not to the precision I’d want it).

To me, the “extras” on this lens—OLED brandish and extra ring—are more than gimmick than useful. They don’t solve user bug while creating new ones. Yuck. On the wide angle and mid-range zooms, the DOF capability comes more into play, just for a telephoto zoom I’1000 not seeing how I’d always use that given how imprecise it is.

The removable pes design is the aforementioned as with many previous Nikon telephoto zooms, though seems a little more sturdy. With the locks fully in place, I see no real vibration caused past the tripod neckband, as I have with some previous Nikkors. We’re however all going to replace the foot itself with a third-party pes that has an Arca-style plate, though ;~). Do we non take any photographers in the Nikkor design teams?

Finally, that missing VR switch: sorry, just that was a mistake. VR is buried either in the Quick bill of fare or deeper in the full menus. If VR were able to be assigned to one of the customizable buttons, I wouldn’t complain about this, as nosotros’d even so have a finger-level-control. But while removing the switch allows for slightly better weatherizing and less manufacturing complexity, information technology removes a office that many of united states used.

How’s it Perform?

: silent and fast. If you’re seeing anything that isn’t fast, information technology’due south due to the camera and itsresponse to low light, not the lens. In other words, in depression light, the Z5 isn’t as snappy with this lens as the Z6 is. But that has cipher to exercise with the lens.

Image Quality:

Nikon makes the merits “
Ultimate aberration correction—virtually zero flare, ghosting, coma or chromatic, spherical and axial aberrations, even at the far edges of the frame.” Virtually null is not zero, so let’s run across how they did…


This isn’t as like shooting fish in a barrel to draw as it might seem. Obviously, I was comparing my F-mount FL version with this Z-mount S version. But in doing so, the differences are small plenty that it isn’t always clear who the winner is. That’s especially truthful since I used the discussion “superb” in my F-mount FL version review. I don’t have a college category, nor practise I have any practiced words to suggest nuance at that level. So the short version is this: the 70-200mm f/2.8 Due south is again overall superb. Again, it’s sharp for a zoom, sharp for a prime, sharp for whatsoever lens.

Nikon’s MTF charts suggest that the Z-mount S version is slightly meliorate in the corners than the F-mount FL version.

In that item nosotros do have some small things to talk about. At 70mm, the lens is excellent in the centre out through the DX crop and very good in the corners wide open. The corners continue improving to accomplish splendid by f/5.half dozen. In the mid-range, the lens is very good in the eye and corners, and improves to excellent in both cases past f/5.half dozen. Worst case seems to exist around 135mm. 200mm is probably the second weakest, but still clearly very good in the heart through the DX crop and good in the corners wide open up. By f/5.6 the telephoto terminate just snaps into acuity that’south above my rating expectations.

On my samples, the S version is clearly better than the F-mount FL version in the corners at 70mm wide open. That’s true of the mid-range, too. At 200mm, my two versions are much closer, though my S version still is e’er then slightly better. One thing that does need to be taken into account is focus distance. My comments and then far are based on more close in and exam chart focus. At infinity focus I run across a slightly weird reversal of some of my comments: the mid-range becomes slightly worse in the center and slightly better in the corners on the S, for example. At 200mm, the corners likewise soften a bit wide open, though central area stays sharp on the South.

While I can discover focal length/aperture combinations where my F-mountain FL is better at something, it’s rare; generally the S version is ameliorate.

I don’t find any articulate focus shift, though it does appear that at 200mm there might be a smallish shift forward, simply I suspect this isn’t focus shift merely some spherical aberration. Field curvature as well seems to exist very well controlled. Coma is very well controlled (better than the F-mount version).

bythom US PA LVNC Oct18-2020 Z6 0499 crop

Chromatic Aberration:

With lens corrections enabled, yous’re not going to see any. Even longitudinal chromatic aberration is really well under control on this lens to the point where it is ignorable (200mm has a bit more than than 70mm, only it’southward still depression). Put simply, the S version is better than the F-mountain version in all aspects of CA, and the F-mountain version was already quite good.


If the S version has a drawback compared to the F-mount one, I’d say it’southward probably in this category. I was hoping for improve operation. The congenital-in corrections do an first-class job at 70mm. By f/4 at that place isn’t any vignetting apparent (still a scrap at that place that tin can be measured). At 200mm, the same is basically truthful, but the overall base of operations vignetting is quite loftier in the corners (and elliptical).

Linear Distortion:

A slightly complex but low barrel distortion at 70mm, and clear (>1.5%) pincushion baloney at 200mm. The in-camera corrections do a adept task with both.


Near-frame-edge light sources produce some articulate, though somewhat faint ghosting and scattered color components.


At 200mm and f/2.8 focused in shorter distances it’due south very easy to provoke full-out out-of-focus areas, so it’due south worth paying attention to bokeh attributes. Good news and bad hither. The adept news is that while there’south a bright rim on out of focus highlights, information technology has no real coloration. There’s also very little onion skinning. The bad news is that the lens definitely produces cats-eyes equally you lot move to the corner, and not merely mild ones. Also, as I go on finding with Nikkors, some stopped down apertures show not-symmetric blade shapes.

A word of circumspection: my comments here apply to my samples. Because they were supplied nether NPS Priority Purchase, it is possible that Nikon ruddy-picked the lenses I purchased. What’s a little disturbing is that I’one thousand seeing some sample variation with the South lenses that I’g not used to in Nikkors. Y’all tin find reviews of the 70-200mm f/2.eight S that don’t completely agree with what I wrote to a higher place, particularly where it is compared to the 70-200mm f/two.8E FL version. Likewise, note that if you apply test charts at closer focus distances, the corners don’t look most as good with this lens. So many of those just running a quick test nautical chart check aren’t necessarily reporting this lens correctly.

Final Words

This is a tough telephone call. The lxx-200mm f/two.8E FL is an excellent lens, the best I’ve seen in that focal range from anyone until the lxx-200mm f/2.8 S came along. But I’d say the two Nikkors are within a hairbreadth’s distance of one some other in terms of optical performance, and what I see in differences could very well just exist sample variation.

In that location isn’t a existent size or weight reward to the Z-mount version. The OLED display is by and large contemporary. The lack of a directly VR command switch is a fault. So at first in that location doesn’t seem to be an advantage to choosing the S version.

Well, there is 1 fairly clear advantage: the teleconverters. Obviously, Nikon was designing the lens and converters in tandem, and it shows. If you’re the type that’s going to put a TC on your 70-200mm, get the Southward version and sell your F-mount version. Three sets of connectors (FTZ, TC, lens) is simply request for problem, and the new TCs are better on the Southward lens than the sometime TCs were on the F lens. Not perfect, mind y’all, but clearly better.

Of grade, if you don’t accept the 70-200mm f/ii.8E FL, your pick is far easier: get the Z mount lens.

Which brings me to a foreign final position.

I highly recommend this lens except when I don’t.

In the case of the 24-70mm f/two.viii S I could conspicuously say “go out your F-mount version behind.” I tin can’t say that with the seventy-200mm f/2.viii S. Some of you should only stick with using the F-mount lens on an FTZ Adapter, peculiarly if yous never utilize teleconverters.

I’ve rushed this review a bit for a reason: right at present Nikon has the F-mount lens on sale for US$700 less than the Z-mountain version. That’s a pretty broad discrepancy for lenses this skillful. For some of you it very well may be the correct thing to do to buy the F-mount version and use it. The just significant thing you lot’re giving upwards is the native teleconverters.

Highly Recommended (2020, 2021, 2022)
(simply some should stick with their FL F-mountain version)

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