Nikon has a long history of making professional 70-80 to 200mm focal length zoom lenses, but aside from the very old 70-210 f/4 AI-S and AF lenses, it has never had an affordable and lightweight constant aperture f/4 model in its line. With its arch-rival Canon making a 70-200mm f/4L lens since 1999, and the high cost of the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II model, Nikon was often criticized for not providing an f/4 alternative. After many years of delays, Nikon finally announced a lightweight alternative to the f/2.8 version in October of 2012 – the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR, which is designed to work on both full-frame (FX) and cropped-factor sensor (DX) DSLR cameras.
With the introduction of the 70-200mm f/4G VR, Nikon completed two sets of lenses for professional and enthusiast/budget use. The high-end professional “trinity” is comprised of Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G, 24-70mm f/2.8G and 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II, while the enthusiast/budget set contains Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR, 24-120mm f/4G VR and the new 70-200mm f/4G VR – all stabilized constant aperture lenses, albeit with a little overlap. In this review, I will not only go over the features, specifications and performance of the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR lens, but will also compare it side by side with its bigger brother, as well as other third party lenses like Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro. Unfortunately, I was not able to obtain the latest Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD lens for a comparison, because the Nikon mount version was not available yet.
1) Lens Specifications
- Up to 5 stops of image stabilization compensation with the latest Vibration Reduction III technology
- Lightweight, portable and highly versatile, weighing only 30 ounces and measuring 7 inches in length
- 3 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements for maximum sharpness and minimum chromatic aberration
- Nano Crystal Coat (N) reduces ghosting and lens flare
- Silent Wave Motor (SWM) provides ultra-fast, ultra-quiet autofocusing with seamless manual focus override
- Internal Focusing (IF) lens construction, which means that the lens does not change in size during AF operation
- Focal length: 70-200mm
- Maximum aperture: f/4
- Minimum aperture: f/32
- Lens construction: 20 elements in 14 groups (with 3 ED and Nano Crystal Coat-deposited lens elements)
- Picture angle: 34°20’ – 12°20’ (22°50’ – 8° with Nikon DX format)
- Closest focusing distance: 1m
- No. of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded)
- Filter/attachment size: 67mm
- Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): Approximately 78 x 178.5mm
- Weight: Approximately 850g
Detailed specifications for the lens, along with MTF charts and other useful data can be found in our lens database.