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Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by angel212, May 2, 2008.
It is worth the price ?
Is the 70-200mm VR worth the price? For many of us, yes, but it is an individual decision based on the type of shooting one does and the expectations one has of the gear....
Both are very fine lenses but IMHO the 70-200mm VR is the one to purchase if making a decision between the two of them.
I borrowed a 70-200 VR and now cant sleep till I get one!! It is the cats meow!
The 70-200VR is a fantastic lens on my D2H. On my D3...not so much. It suffers a little when asked to work in FX format.
Phil Askey has a review of that lens on DPR :
Bottom line...great lens on DX cameras, not so hot on the D3. Bear in mind that one tends to keep $1600 lenses a long time...also bear in mind that for your next camera, you might be considering a full frame sensor. Since FX will certainly be working its way into Nikon's upper level bodies, I think it's clear that the 70-200VR is most certainly no longer worth the current $1600 price tag.
That's got nothing to do with this particular lens. DX sensors have the sweet spot advantage as most problems (vignetting, sharpness, CA) increase exponentially towards the edges.
The 70-200 is a very good lens. The question whether it's worth it to spend more compared to the 80-200 is another one, it's a very good lens in its own right.
It's a great lens on a camera with a DX sensor. It's only a pretty good lens on a D3, and on any subsequent FX cameras that Nikon brings out. Likely, the people buying those upper level cameras are the same ones who are willing to spend $1600 on a lens. They will be unhappy with the vignetting and lack of corner sharpness that the 70-200VR provides (they already ARE unhappy).
That lens has served me well for almost 5 years...right up until I bought a camera with a full-frame sensor. Overall, it would be worth $1600 if it weren't for the fact that anyone willing to spend that kind of money on a lens is also highly likely to be looking at a FX format sensor at some point in the next few years.
It depends on what you're shooting
I know it's better for sports because I get more in-focus shots than the 80-200 stading next to me on the sideline.
For other things though, fast focus doesn't matter, and you're better off saving some bucks. I still love my 70-200. It's a great lens.
You're repeating what you've already said.
None of this is news. And none of this has to do with the 70-200 being a `particularly problematic lens.' Canon has to deal with this for a long time now. In all lens tests I've seen, Canon lenses have received worse marks on FF bodies than on crop bodies (commonly known as sweet spot advantage). This is not because Canon doesn't know how to make good lenses, but because their lenses respect the laws of physics. In some comparisons, the D2X even beat the Canon EOS-1 Ds Mark II in terms of effective resolution because of the sweet spot advantage. I don't want to regurgitate an old argument here, though.
If you dig a little deeper, then you also find out that digital sensors have a different behavior from film (which is more dramatic for wide angle lenses), so the same lens usually fares better on film.
Also, ever since switching from film to digital, people have become more attentive (or obsessive) with lens problems, thinking that they can't take good pictures. They forget that the lenses we have today are (on average) a lot better than what was available 15, 20 years ago or so. And that things like vignetting can be easily corrected (unlike 15 years ago), all I need to do is fire up Aperture and tell it to devignette. If someone needs more explicit control, they can use Photoshop or their favorite RAW converter. I don't want to sound like an old fart (mostly coz I still consider myself young ), but back in the film day, I don't think you would have seen such an uproar among enthusiasts. People today are spoiled by the IQ and the price/performance they get.
Lastly, even if you don't care about all what I've said, there is no better alternative available on the market today. Even if you look beyond Nikon, you will find that its direct competitors have the same problem and that their lenses don't fare substantially better in a full-frame vs. crop frame comparison (same physics applies).
I don't get your point. Maybe all of what you are saying is correct, but it doesn't makes the recommendation Hmac is giving incorrect. Whatever the cause of the slightly lower performance of the 70-200 in the D3 is worth mentioning when spending so much in one lens.
Maybe a little more info from the OP could help us see what his/her situation is.
I disagree- if there's a problem, and reports abound of one, then it's because of the particular lens design. This particular lens's optical design was done at a time when Nikon had committed to APS-C, and it's design may show that.
While you're always going to have more fall-off and other optical issues on a larger target than a smaller one, this lens's design isn't good at a 35mm image circle (43.21mm for FX, 43.27mm for 35mm film)- the lens mount and manufacturer are certainly capable of very good performance at that projection size- if this particular optical formula works very well on DX and poorly on FX- likely the angle of coverage is too small.
I've got a Canham MQC 5x7 view camera, with a 4x5 reducing back. The difference in image circle necessary for "full frame" 5x7 coverage is ~2.2"- well over the entire sensor size of a 35mm sensor. Some lenses do very well, and some do very poorly and some are in-between.
 I'm well aware that the 12mm difference between DX and FX is a much higher percentage of the image circle size- the point remains that some lens designs have a large angle of coverage and image circle and others don't.
Of course it does have an impact on the recommendation.
In my first post I was probably saying this more clearly (because it was shorter). Simply put, physics says that things like vignetting and sharpness typically decrease exponentially towards the corners. If your sensor sizes increases a little bit, the errors get a lot more pronounced.
So the 70-200's worse performance on full-frame bodies (not just digital, but also analog) is due to the increase in sensor size (ff sensors have approximately twice the area than crop sensors). This has nothing to do with the 70-200 in particular, but is something common to all lenses, because all lenses work according to the same physics. The 80-200's performance will also be worse on full-frame sensors.
This is commonly known as the sweet spot advantage (crop sensors are in the `sweet spot' of the lens which means they can deliver sharper images).
No, this is at most part of the story.
Incorrect. The 70-200 was brought to market in 2003 which was when the D70 (Nikon's first mainstream dslr) was released. Most non-pros were still shooting analog (my camera of that day was the venerable F80) and even many pros were still using film. Nikon's engineers did not design that lens for APS-C-sized sensors. Nor do I think did they abandon the heritage they have with their previous 80-200 lenses which have all been designed for full frame. I have yet to read a review that claims the IQ has gone down from the latest 80-200 to the 70-200.
I also think that Nikon has always had in mind to switch to FX sensors when they thought it was a good time. They have not released a 70-200 equivalent for crop sensors (and left the gap to Sigma and Tokina to fill with their 50-135/150 mm lenses). If they had abandoned the idea of going full-frame some day, in my opinion, they had released a pro-grade 2.8/50-135 lens. This last paragraph is pure speculation, of course.
Yes, I'm repeating it because I don't think you understood what I said (twice).
That lens is a great lens...well-made, and a brilliant performer IF you use the DX-size image circle. But that expensive, professional lens doesn't work well on Nikon's expensive, professional camera, nor is it going to be any better on Nikon's FX cameras-to-come over the next few years, because you get vignetting and corner-softness, and that problem is bad enough that it is unacceptable performance for a $1600 lens. I understand WHY it doesn't work well on a full-frame sensor, but that doesn't help justify the price for a lens with marginally-acceptable performance on a line of cameras that represents the future of Nikon's camera lineup.
I have understood very well what you've said.
And this is exactly what I was addressing in my first post. The perception of what is and isn't acceptable has changed from the film days up until when dslrs have become mainstream. People have become concerned with IQ a lot more, not just with lenses, but with stuff like noise and sensor size. (I'm all for techno babble, don't get me wrong )
Nikon's 70-200 has been developed for full-frame cameras and I'm not aware of a review that claims it's a step down from its immediate predecessors -- the various incarnations of the 80-200 were bread-and-butter lenses for the pros with highly acclaimed IQ (on 35 mm film, of course). This does not mean these lenses did not have their weaknesses, but simply that they were on-par (or better) than their best competitors (again on full frame).
Since the 70-200 is an improvement from previous-gen 80-200s, I don't think it's fair to say that this particular lens has a `full frame problem' or that its IQ is `barely acceptable' or even `marginally acceptable.' It somehow reminds of arguments that a certain amount of noise is `unacceptable.' Yet when I compare pictures from my D80 to a (professionally scanned) Ilford FP4 Plus negative (ISO 125) taken with my F80, you can easily see that any current-gen dslr has less noise than that particular film material even at much higher ISO.
In comparison with `the good old days' (read when we were all using film), people (in my opinion) did have less of an obsession with IQ and probably also lower expectations.
Am I the only one who understands what OreoCookie is saying?
Since ALL full frame lenses will perform worse on a full frame sensor, with allt he problems you mentioned above (ie: vignetting, corner softness), exactly which $1600 (and up) lens is worth its value? From your reasoning, no lens is. So where do you want pros to turn for lenses? Nothing suits you.
In that case, please stick with DX. Pros are happy with their 70-200 mm VR lenses, and all their full frame lenses, knowing full well that the sweet spot advantage is gone now that they own a full frame camera. Heck, those lenses may produce even better results in some ways. The pixels are so much bigger on a D3, that the lens doesn't have to be as perfect in order to get a sharp image.
No, that lens can be made to perform better, corner to corner. I agree that edge performance will likely suffer to some degree on a full-frame sensor at minimal focal length/wide open no matter what, especially given Nikon's relatively smaller-diameter lens mount, but the 70-200 suffers more from those problems than Nikon's flagship pro tele-zoom should on its flagship pro dSLR. And will likely suffer on the fleet of FX sensor-based F-mount dSLRs to come. Time for a redesign.
No Abstract, I am here with you. I doubt that many shooter that have this lens just got into the photo game with DX format. The 70-200 VR replaced the 70-200 AF-S, the $1100 many wanted but can't find now... only because the newer version added Nikon's (best in class) VR and jumped the price up $600.
Both lenses were made for the FX format (film at the time) and both lenses performed as expected on their film bodies. Oreo is right when mentioning that DX has the advantage since it captures only what is in the sweet spot of the lens, in essence cropping of what would have been the vignetting and other imperfections.
The lens isn't imperfect, or flawed in anyway, in fact it out performs any lens in it's class speed wise, IQ wise, and durability wise. Trust me, it's my work horse and has been dropped quite a few times. The biggest issue that most D2xs/D300/D3/D200/D80 users will find with this lens is that their sensors will out resolve it all the time. Those bodies are packing a lot of information and clarity into such a small space, and (like has been reported for months now) the lenses can't keep up, especially on the D3 which has out resolved even the venerable 50 mm 1.4, 85 mm 1.4 and the 35 mm, all FX lenses. The IQ is just more than film ever was and more than the lens was really made to handle.
Nikon put out a 24-70 2.8 even though they had the 28-70 2.8 which was just fine, but the 24-70 is touted as being a lens optimized for the D3 (which I nor many has yet been able to prove), same thing with the 14-24.
Nikon may make a new 70-200 fit for the D3 and other hi rez FX sensors, but you will pay for it.... and the current model IS worth the price if you NEED AF-S, and VR... (speed) if you don't, then why spend the extra $800?
Won't happen anytime soon, the 28-70 2.8 was at 10 yrs before new one, as was previous 70-200 af-s. 70-200vr @ 5 yrs. You're not wrong, just the part about the 70-200 being inferior all around.
p.s. To the OP, the 70-200 is heavy as well, make sure you have proper carrying solutions if going for that over the 80-200.
There's a lot of nonsense peddled here about the 70-200 VR - yes, it will do OK on a DX sensor, but it's a trash on an FX. Mind you, it doesn't HAVE to be trash - those who say "laws of physics" are full of it. You can do a lot better than the hideous flaws of the 70-200 on a full frame - examples: the new 24-70 and 14-24 lenses. Both those are vastly superior on a FX compared to the 70-200. Somehow the "laws of physics" didn't prevent a better design on those
Oh, and even on a DX, the 70-200 can be improved vastly - what about the horrendous flaring? Again, compare to the flaring on a 24-70... no contest. The reason is that the new coatings indeed do a much better job of controlling flaring - and the 70-200 is missing out on those.
Fact is, both the 24-70 and the 14-24 are newer lenses which are vastly superior. The 70-200 is overdue for a re-design so that it can equal the quality of the other two lenses. As it stands now, I wouldn't spend a fortune for the 70-200. I'd rather buy the (inferior but cheaper) 70-300 VR. At least this way you're getting a bit more reach for a heck of a lot less money. Wait to pay a premium for a redesigned lens that deserves the premium... the current 70-200 does not deserve a premium.
The photographer Bjørn Rørslett is widely respected in Nikon circles. He says it's an amazing lens on a DX camera, and still a good lens on an FX camera, in his review of the 70-200.
He does state that Nikon needs to fix some of the shortcomings in a "Mark II" version.
But to answer the original question - Bjorn thinks this lens is head and shoulders above the 80-200.
No offense but there is a post above that states just this, in a much more factual and not opinioated way. I don't mean any negative tone, Hmac's opinion and yours are justified, but they seem a bit skewed and over emphasized.
To say that the 70-200 is inferior is an over statement and very misguided. It's like saying the D300 is inferior compared to what is going to come out next.
We already stated that the 70-200 won't perform as well on FX bodies as DX bodies... as does ALL lenses, and that the problems with the lens can be fixed, ala the new FX lenses. The rest of the line of FX lenses perform the same way on the D3, sans the new set, which replaced 10 year old version.
Also, that the 70-200 won't be updated that soon (unless Nikon changes their game as they did with the D300) since there is usually a 10 year life span on their glass.
The 70-300VR isn't even in the same league as the 70-200 no matter how poor one thinks the quality of the lens is, sorry, I respect the opinion but it's just not an accurate or just comparison.
p.s. I am starting to feel an overwhelming amount of gear heads posting on the threads, and not actual shooters.
In no way do I think that it's "inferior all around". It's a fantastic lens, and I use it all the time on the D3. Mine has taken horrible abuse over the last few years and works as well as it ever did. But, just as the 24-70 came out, now (reportedly) a better lens on the D3 than my 28-70 f/2.8, it's time to start thinking about a real FX-optimized tele-zoom.
I took these a little earlier today. These are with Vignette control in the camera set to "Normal".
f/2.8 at 70 mm
f2.8 at 200 mm
It's not horrible at all, but the vignetting is most definitely intrusive
Plus, newer lenses get better. Lenses that are designed for digital sensors, not film.
In any case, I feel like taking out my old bazooka for a spin tomorrow (push-pull version of the 2.8/80-200 zoom)
I am sorry for mis-interpreting... I stand corrected. I too hope for an optimised short end tele for the D3 as well, amongst other things (AF-S primes, VR wide angles including the 24-70 2.8, a lot of other things) since the D3 or equivalent is in my purchasing future. I hope it comes sooner than 5 years, but I have a feeling it will take just about that long.
The fall off I see in the images mimic what I got with film and what I get with DX (D2xs/D2h/D200) to a lesser extent. I am just vouching for the lenses great performance all around... there are issues with IQ, but none that didn't exist in the previous version, the non AF-S version, and comparable versions from 3rd party makers and competitors.
I spent some time with the Sigma version and when I did get one that worked the fall off was about the same, especially on a bright day. When i shot Canon for a short while, there was fall off in even their plastic teles.
The 70-200 inferior? No way... needing improvement? Yes, what product in any camp doesn't need that? Deep down inside of my soul, the D300 needs it on the noise redux side. When I tested it above ISO 1600 the images got too soft and too under-saturated. It's still leaps and bounds better than the D200/D2hs/xs but not as good as the D3, making it hard for me to grab one as a backup once I grab that D3 in a year or so.
Yes! The big thing I am hearing from the imaging egg heads is that digital shows so much detail now that it's hit 10MP that the sensors are out resolving the lenses. Basically the sensors are showing much more clarity and detail than film ever could or would, even if scanned at hi res. The glass just can't match that detail, and imperfections show (like DUST!!!). Not that fall off deals with this, but as stated, it was typical in many lenses and expected back in the days of yore (film)
I have been reading that the new wide angles for the D3 came for just such reasons, and that they are far superior optically to the previous models, which were amazing for their time and now.
It's not a consumer lens, the D2H was released in 2003, and not long after, many Nikon executives were saying that Nikon was going to go full steam on APS-C. In fact, if the market hadn't wanted FX so bad, Nikon would probably have left it alone. In 1999, with the introduction of the D1, Nikon said they were committed to replacing film with digital, and while they always left the door open in terms of statements from Nikon Japan and 35mm sized sensors, many of the country execs were totally focused on DX and parroting the line that Nikon thought DX was the way to go (if you dig back, you can actually find 2003-2004 statements from Nikon Japan execs with the DX plan being a 5 year plan at which point they'd maybe do something FF- but in 2003-2006 most Nikon execs, especially Nikon Europe and Nikon USA were saying DX, DX, DX.