New Nikkor 70-200 f/4 vs f/2.8

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cheese&Apple, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. macrumors demi-god


    There's a fair bit of buzz going around about the new Nikkor 70-200 f/4 FX that is now shipping. Without doubt, this is a great lens. But, I'm wondering about this lens compared to the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 FX VRII and Nikon's pricing:

    A new f/2.8 = $2,000 (now on sale from $2,400)
    The new f/4 = $1,400

    That's a $600 savings. But if I do decide to get the optional tripod collar from Nikon ($200) and have to get 2 new filters ($400) because my 77mm filters won't fit the 67mm f/4, the price comparison is:

    A new f/2.8 = $2,000
    The new f/4 = $2,000

    I know there is a VR improvement (VRII vs. VRIII) and the 690g weight difference between the two can be a factor but seriously, is the weight really that important given the advantage of f/2.8 over f/4? Just looking for thoughts as I've never schlepped a 1540g lens.
  2. macrumors 6502

    You can buy step down adapters instead of new filters to save yourself some cash.
  3. macrumors G3

    What 2 filters are you talking about being $400? (Canadian I presume since it said you are in Canada.)

    The Nikon 67mm NC (Neutral Clear) and Circular Polarizer Thin Ring are $140 (US) as a set from Adorama. And I'm sure shipping/taxes/etc shouldn't be that much. Although you may prefer other brands or may be talking about different filter types.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    The F/2.8 is an amazing lens, it's utterly worth it. Don't go the F/4.0, the F/2.8 can do amazing things in low light.

    I did a few shots with my friends D800 and 70-200 F/2.8 VRII nano lens and the results were stunning. Hand held photos of moving planes at night using settings as low as 1/10sec or 1/15sec and not needing to use ISO8000.

    Unbelievable, the F/2.8 made it so easy to take such photos without needing a tripod. And in daylight, the sharpness of the lens is just staggering.
  5. macrumors Nehalem


    Having rented the 2.8, I would definitely want that. It was most amazing in low light.
  6. macrumors 65816


    I've been using the 70-200 f/2.8 since July and it's one of the best lenses I've ever had (and I've had dozens).

    I haven't tried the f/4 but I don't see how it can match the f/2.8.

    If you can find the money, get it. As others have said, it's just spectacularly good.
  7. macrumors 601


    It really depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to shoot portraits or wildlife, then the f/2.8 lens is absolutely the better choice. For landscapes, however, the f/4 version is better for most people; anyone who is backpacking a lot will be conserving on weight and space in the bag as much as possible, and landscapers typically shoot with smaller apertures anyway.
  8. macrumors demi-god


    Thank you everyone for the valuable feedback. This passion for photography can get expensive so, like everyone else, I'm try to maximize my purchases and avoid costly mistakes. You know...the quest for the perfect do everything lens. :eek:

    This does make sense to me as my intent with this type of lens is portrait, indoor/outdoor sports and wildlife (wildlife with a teleconverter as there is no-way I can afford a $6000+ top quality lens). I do very little distance backpacking in this neck of the woods so, as I do have a great 24-120mm f/4 for landscape and such, the f/2.8 should be a perfect fit.

    Funny read about people selling their f/2.8's to buy the f/4. Maybe these people are doing a lot of walking/hiking where every gram counts.

    Anyway, I hope to be able to pick-up the f/2.8 while it's still on sale (maybe with a gift certificate or two, or three...if anyone here is asking what I want for Christmas :D).

    Thanks again to all.

  9. macrumors 65816


    I just got in the TC20E III teleconverter yesterday and made some shots with it today, using the 70-200 at 200, thus giving me 400 @ f/5.6.

    I was pleased but not blown away. Even tripod-mounted it didn't resolve detail the way the 200 does natively. It's true I've just started working with the TC20E, and I didn't experiment -- I just grabbed a few shots.

    And $460 is something my budget can handle, whereas $9000 (the 400 f/2.8) isn't.
  10. macrumors newbie

    I'm not much of a conspiracist, but it is not in Nikon's best interest to produce a 2x teleconverter that would produce results on par with 400mm 5.6 lens. They would rarely, if ever, sell a 400mm f/2.8 lens if they did (nor the 200-400mm f4, 300mm f/2.8, 300mm f/4 or 500mm f/4) as the prices would barely be justified.

    That said, keep in mind your shutter speeds when shooting at 400mm. VR aside, you can't expect to get the same results at the same shutter speeds (unless they were very fast to begin with). As soon as you drop the TC2 on you'll need to double your shutter speed for the new focal length (when hand holding). So, when you compare a handheld shot at 200mm, f/2.8, 1/200sec., ISO 200 against the 400mm handheld equivalent your shutter best be at least 1/400 at f/5.6, ISO 200. Why, VR aside, a good rule of them is the slowest you should handhold is 1/focal length with 1/60sec. being the slowest regardless of focal length (your mileage may vary based on how steady you are). So, at 200mm, 1/200sec and at 400mm 1/400sec. Next, your f-stop has been double which means you lose 2 full stops in light. So, to truly make this a side by side comparison when handheld, you'll have to have enough light when shooting at 200mm f/2.8 that when you drop on the TC2 you'll have enough light eliminate any possibility of camera body shake. How much light? No less than 3 full stops. 1 full stop for the change shutter speed due to the change in focal length and 2 full stops for the change in the aperture. So, if your handheld shot at 400mm, f/5.6 is 1/600 of a second at ISO 200, then your identical shot with identical light at 200mm would become f/2.8, ISO 200 at 1/4800sec!!! That's a ton of light!!! Again, this is ignoring VR!

    So, if you are hand holding your camera and you don't have that much light to begin with, you're pretty much guaranteed unsatisfactory results.

    Of course, the best way to draw a comparison with and without the converter is to use a tripod (VR off) and take a picture of something that only moves during earthquakes. Then shutter speed is irrelevant.

    After a fair comparison is made with out VR, turn it back on and check your results against those with it off. This will give you an idea of how successful you can shoot with VR and the amount of light needed.

    When used properly, most teleconverter / lens combinations are a great low cost solution for getting extra reach. As it happens, all of Nikon's latest teleconverters work superbly on the latest 70-200mm. Of course they can't compete with a lens with twice the focal length that doesn't need a converter, but that would be an unfair comparison to begin with. The best measure of effectiveness of a teleconverter, when used properly, is if you are happy with the results. If you are, then the money was fully worth it. If not, then you are either getting paid to shoot or, IMHO, are likely a pixel pusher.
  11. macrumors 65816


    All very good advice (and I have to say I learned those shutter speed rules 50 years ago) but this morning I was working with the TC20E, the 70-200, a D800, an MC36 release, all on a Gitzo tripod, Arca-Swiss ballhead and Wimberly Sidekick.

    Shutter speed, I think, was not an issue.

    How steady am I? Nowdays, pushing 70, not so much. Back in the day, though, I was successful with a Nikon F, a pistol grip, and the amazing 1000 mm mirror lens. I got some great handheld shots with it at 1/1000, a couple of which were published. Tri-X, Acufine, 800 or 1200 ASA. Lots of light (Solomon Islands).

    And anyway -- I wasn't complaining much. I never thought IQ would be identical to the 70-200. You don't need to hint at any conspiracy, either -- not Nikon, not anybody can produce a teleconverter that gives what a prime does.

    I had an early teleconverter back in the sixties. I don't remember who made it, but it was crap. This is the first one I've had since then, and it's absolutely not crap.

    I had only hoped it would be a bit better than what I saw. I'm glad to have the TC20 in my kit -- it's going to be very useful.

    You'll recall that I only mentioned it because the OP was wondering about a teleconverter with the 70-200 f/2.8 if he decided to buy that lens. I didn't mention it to complain about it in somebody else's thread.
  12. macrumors demi-god


    Thanks again for the feedback and the details about TC use...much appreciated.

    Oh for a lottery win! Forget the red convertible sports car and give me one of those long Nikon primes anytime. :)

    In the meantime, I hope to get the f/2.8 and add the TC2 (with the understandable constraints) later in the spring when the birds and bees come back to life.

  13. macrumors member

    Where did you see the 70-200mm f/2.8 for $2k?
  14. macrumors 6502a


    If you have $2,000 to spend, get the 2.8. You'll be glad you did.
  15. macrumors demi-god


    Henry's in Toronto: Henry's - NIKON-AF-S-70-200-F2-8-VR-II-LENS for $1999.99. Not my usual place to go but my guy at Merkle Camera (best in Toronto) price matches plus some. :)

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