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Thread: Nikkor AF-S 200mm f/2 G VRII

  1. #1
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    Nikkor AF-S 200mm f/2 G VRII

    I've been spending the last 3 weeks evaluating the new Nikkor AF-S 200mm f/2 G VRII on my D7000, D2X and D2Hs, in the field wth my usual subjects.
    The lens also has been tested with the three Nikon TCs (x1.4EII, x1.7EII and x2.0EIII) as well as the Kenko 2x.

    I've never used the first version of this famous 200mm f/2 before I had my hand on the second version with Nanocristal coating and VRII.
    I have this fast prime for testing for 60 days (or even longer ! ) and try to evaluate the real benefit of such a fast telelens for some of my specific use.



    #1



    #2



    Aesthetically, the lens is very bulky, short and quite heavy for a 200mm. The built quality is outstanding with attention to every details. Handling is, in my opinion, easier than the 300/2.8 VR thanks to its short length. Handholding the lens with a pro body is possible for a few hours, but it's recommended to use it with monopod or tripod for fast action shots.

  2. #2
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    In the field, using it at its full aperture (f/2) is a difficult task, especially with moving subjects. Specific shooting techniques and appropriated camera settings are needed when using f/2.


    #3 : D7000, 1/250", f/2, 800 ISO, HH, VR On.



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    #4 : D7000, 1/2500", f/2, 100 ISO, HH, VR Off.



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  3. #3
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    Sharpness/Contrast/Saturation at wide open are outstanding, as expected, and at the same level as the AF-S 85/1.4 G @f/2, on the dense sensor of the D7000.


    #5 : D7000, 1/80", f/2, 3200 ISO, HH, VR On.




    #6 : D7000, 1/60", f/2, 6400 ISO, HH, VR On.

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    One of the qualities of this 200/2 is its buttery smooth and creamy bokeh. It's as good as the AF-S 85/1.4 G !


    #7 : D7000, 1/125", f/2, 400 ISO, HH.




    #8 : D2Hs, 1/400", f/2, 200 ISO, HH.





    #9 : D2Hs, 1/30", f/2, 400 ISO, HH.




    #10 : D2Hs, 1/30", f/2, 800 ISO, HH.




    #11 : D2Hs, 1/25", f/2, 800 ISO, HH.

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    #12 : D2Hs, 1/25", f/2, 200 ISO, HH.




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    However, the VRII on this prime is quite slow compared to the one on the 600 VR, even the stab. on the 200-400 VRI !
    At the beginning, I had a lot of blurred pictures because of the VR, especially when using TC.
    This vibration reduction system needs at least 5 seconds to completely stabilise an image and is not very efficient and reliable at higher shutter speed (faster than 1/250"). But at very slow exposure time, this VRII works really well.


    #13 : D7000, 1/15", f/2, 400 ISO, HH, VR On.




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    Love the bokeh in #7 and #9. The lens seems to pair well with your cameras. (#5,6 and 8 are great shots too - they seem well suited to the focal length, and the lens quality is apparent. Don't you love the high ISO on the D7000?.) However, I think the 600mm works better for your bird shots.
    Regards, Rob

    D600, AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX, AF-S 50mm f1.8G, AF-S 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G ED VR, AF-S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
    Photos: geeoverbar.smugmug.com Software: CS6, Lightroom 4

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    Great user experience review Sar. This is the only lens that I have been saving for. Thanks for taking the time to post your user review.
    Best regards,

    Glenn
    My flickr
    My Gear

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmer_rob View Post
    Don't you love the high ISO on the D7000?.) However, I think the 600mm works better for your bird shots.
    Yep, the D7000 high ISO is better than the previous DX bodies, but still behind (not very far) the D700/D3.

    The 200/2 is not a birding lens, but when attached to a TC it can be a very good tool for bird in flight shots. Obviously, the 600/4 is still the "King" for birding !

  10. #10
    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Congratulations on the new lens, Sar!

    These are some wonderful examples, especially that if your daughter's (?) portrait resting on the slide (?).

    We shall have to organise another days birding if you would like to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B View Post

    These are some wonderful examples, especially that if your daughter's (?) portrait resting on the slide (?).
    Hi Lance,
    Yes, she's my daughter playing in a playground.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B View Post

    We shall have to organise another days birding if you would like to.
    This coming Monday morning at Long Reef Surf Club carpark ?
    I will be there from sunrise to 10:30am, chasing little wrens and finches.

    I would be also interested to compare the combo 200/2+TC-14EII with your 300/2.8 on the D7000 !!


    Cheers,
    Sar

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    While the bare lens is very sharp, it does lose sharpness and contrast when attached to a TC. This is quite obvious on the 16Mpix sensor of the D7000.

    Of course, the best TC is the TC-14EII : at 280mm and f/2.8, overall quality remains very very good. I'm not sure that it is as the same level as the 300/2.8 VRII though (theorically, the 300/2.8 bare should be better wide open).

    #14 : D7000+TC-14EII, 1/50", f/2.8, 200 ISO.



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    #15 : D7000+TC-14EII, 1/80", f/2.8, 500 ISO.



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    #16 : D2Hs+TC-14EII, 1/160", f/2.8, 200 ISO.




    #17 : D2Hs+TC-14EII, 1/125", f/2.8, 200 ISO.

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    My first shots with the TC-17EII on a D2X were catastrophic !
    I will be using this teleconverter again next week...

    I have spent a lot of times shooting with the TC-20EIII and the Kenko 2x, then compared the results with the 200-400 VRI.
    In one word, the combo 200/2+TCx2 cannot reach the quality of the zoom at 400mm & f/4 (on the D7000) !
    The 2x converter does degrade the overall quality of the prime, especially wide open and one stop down. From f/8, the contrast and sharpness are excellent !
    At 400mm/4, this 200/2 can be a very pleasant lens for bird in flight !!


    #18 : D7000+Kenko 2x, 1/250", f/4, 100 ISO, HH.



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    To compare with the 200-400 VRI, @400mm & f/4 :

    D7000, 200-400 VRI, 400mm, f/4



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  15. #15
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    One stop down, the contrast/sharpness is a little bit better than wide open :


    #19 : D7000+TC-20EIII, 1/640", f/5.6, 100 ISO, HH.



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    Two stops down, the image quality becomes excellent again !

    #20 : D7000+Kenko 2x, 1/320", f/8, 200 ISO, HH.



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    When shooting with a good prime, I'm always tempted to stack converters on it !

    #21




    Even with two 2x converters on the lens, manual focus is quite easy on the D7000 !
    Image quality remains acceptable considering the effective focal length :


    #22 : D7000+TC-20EIII+Kenko 2x, 1/400", f/5.6 (f/11 effective), 400 ISO, HH.



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    #23 : D7000+TC-20EIII+Kenko 2x, 1/160", f/5.6 (f/11 effective), 400 ISO, tripod.



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  17. #17
    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sar NOP View Post
    Hi Lance,
    Yes, she's my daughter playing in a playground.



    This coming Monday morning at Long Reef Surf Club carpark ?
    I will be there from sunrise to 10:30am, chasing little wrens and finches.

    I shall see if I can make it as to get to Long Reef Surf Club car park at that time as it is clear across Sydney in peak hour!

    I would be also interested to compare the combo 200/2+TC-14EII with your 300/2.8 on the D7000 !!


    Cheers,
    Sar

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    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    I'm green with envy!!! Thanks for posting your usual excellent user reports.
    Cheers
    Nikon FX

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Really excellent report on this little seen lens.

    The stand out things are:-

    • #8 of your daughter is a superb quality image !
    • The wide open quality of this lens is far better than Mongo expected and had read about
    • Image #11 is very sharp for wide open – could it be the D2Hs body or is this just a great lens?
    • The IQ and sharpness of image #20 with X2 converter @f8 is amazing
    • The stacked converter thing – well, only you could pull that one off with very respectable results.

    If you have permanently acquired this Ferrari class lens, Mongo is very very pleased for you. From Mongo’s perspective, he has never been interested in the lens or sought to buy one. It is heavy and expensive and Mongo could never work out what it would be good for that other lighter cheaper lenses could not already do e.g while it can take a brilliant portrait, so can the 85mm f1.4. The 200-400mm probably does as much as this lens and as well and even more.

    Mongo used to think it could not be used wide open and therefore no point in an f2 if you had to stop the lens down. Your exercise has convinced Mongo he was wrong in that regard but still cannot see Mongo wanting one. But as with all beautifully crafted pieces of engineering optics, Mongo would still like to see it , handle it and admire it.
    Nikon and Pentax user



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    The wide open quality of this lens is far better than Mongo expected and had read about
    I knew that this 200mm was very very good at f/2. But shooting wide open with this lens is as challenging as with the 85/1.4 G at f/1.4 !!


    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    Image #11 is very sharp for wide open – could it be the D2Hs body or is this just a great lens?
    It's the combo of the 200/2 and the D2Hs, Mongo !
    Here's a 100% crop of the #11 :





    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    If you have permanently acquired this Ferrari class lens, Mongo is very very pleased for you. From Mongo’s perspective, he has never been interested in the lens or sought to buy one. It is heavy and expensive and Mongo could never work out what it would be good for that other lighter cheaper lenses could not already do e.g while it can take a brilliant portrait, so can the 85mm f1.4. The 200-400mm probably does as much as this lens and as well and even more.
    This 200/2 is an excellent complement for the 85/1.4 : it has more than twice the reach of the 85mm (perfect for indoor sport, shows, etc.), the CA are totally invisible wide open (unlike the f/1.4), the VR is extremely useful in low light conditions and when needed the lens can work perfectly with any TCs with great IQ.

    Last week, I went to see a school show in a big hall : the 85/1.4G was great for low light but too short to get some details on the stage. The 200/2 was really perfect for this kind of situation (I was shooting all the time at f/2 and 500 ISO in a poorly lit hall !!).
    On a local soccer field at night, this 200/2 is once again the king : you can easily get 1/250" at f/2 and 6400 ISO to freeze actions !

    With its focal length and very fast f/stop, this lens now offers me new opportunities to shoot a large number of events/subjects that I couldn't do with my other lenses. Even for birding, it can be very interesting too : in a deep rainforest, at dawn or at dusk, 200mm @f/2 and 6400 ISO (or higher) make you think of completely new possibilities to capture wildlife...




    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    Mongo used to think it could not be used wide open and therefore no point in an f2 if you had to stop the lens down. Your exercise has convinced Mongo he was wrong in that regard but still cannot see Mongo wanting one. But as with all beautifully crafted pieces of engineering optics, Mongo would still like to see it , handle it and admire it.
    A PM has been sent to Mongo...

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