Nikon has just announced the Nikon D7100, an update to the existing Nikon D7000 camera that was released back in September of 2010. After more than two years of waiting, many DX shooters are quite anxious to see what features Nikon added to the already excellent DSLR. Many Nikon fans and existing D300/D300s owners are also probably wondering if they will soon see an update to the high-end DX line in the form of a D400 that has remained nothing more than another rumor. With today’s Nikon D7100 announcement, we can mark the death of the high-end DX line – read below on the reasons why I think we might never see a D400.
Nikon has been promoting its lenses with rebate programs for a while now, but all of those rebates required purchasing a DSLR to qualify. Since many of us already own DSLR cameras, those incentives were not very useful, as we could not take advantage of those offers (myself included). Starting from midnight tonight, February 17, Nikon is launching a lens rebate program that does not require purchasing of a camera body. This lens rebate is one of the largest I have seen, with savings up to $350 on select Nikkor lenses. Participating lenses include everything from the budget 50mm f/1.8G lens to professional glass like 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II. The rebate program ends on March 2, 2013.
In this article, I will do a comparison between the new Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR and its bigger brother, the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II. This comparison is expanded even further in my Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR review. I have been using both lenses for the past month, along with two other similar lenses from Tamron and Sigma, so the review will include direct comparisons between all four lenses, along with bokeh and other lens feature comparisons. Let’s take a look at the detailed lens specifications, along with a side by side comparison to the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II:
Lens Specifications and Comparison to Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II
|Feature||Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR||Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II|
|Mount Type||Nikon F-Bayonet||Nikon F-Bayonet|
|Focal Length Range||70-200mm||70-200mm|
|Maximum Angle of View (DX-format)||22°50′||22°50′|
|Minimum Angle of View (DX-format)||8°||8°|
|Maximum Angle of View (FX-format)||34°20′||34°20′|
|Minimum Angle of View (FX-format)||12°20′||12°20′|
|Maximum Reproduction Ratio||0.274x||0.12x|
|Compatible Format(s)||FX, DX, 35mm Film||FX, DX, 35mm Film|
|VR (Vibration Reduction)||Yes||Yes|
|VR Technology||3rd Generation||2nd Generation|
|Nano Crystal Coat||Yes||Yes|
|ED Glass Elements||3||7|
|Super Integrated Coating||Yes||Yes|
|AF-S (Silent Wave Motor)||Yes||Yes|
|Minimum Focus Distance||3.28 ft.||4.6 ft.|
|Focus Mode||Auto, Manual, Auto/Manual||Auto, Manual, Auto/Manual|
|Accepts Filter Type||Screw-on||Screw-on|
|Dimensions||3.1×7.0 in. (Diameter x Length), 78.0×178.5mm (Diameter x Length)||3.4×8.1 in. (Diameter x Length), 87×205.5mm (Diameter x Length)|
|Weight||30.0 oz. (850g)||54.3 oz. (1540g)|
|Supplied Accessories||LC-67 Snap-on Front Lens Cap 67mm, HB-60 Bayonet Hood, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, CL-1225 Semi-Soft Case||HB-48 Bayonnet Hood, CL-M2 Case, 77mm lens cap, LF-1 Rear lens cap|
There are a couple of differences worth noting here. While the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G has a maximum aperture of f/4, its minimum aperture is also smaller at f/32 (versus f/22 on the 70-200mm f/2.8G). Next, it obviously has a simpler optical design with 20 elements in 14 groups, while the 70-200mm f/2.8G has 21 elements in 16 groups. The new Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR also comes with a brand new, third generation Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, which Nikon claims can provide up to 5 stops of image stabilization. This is interesting, because while the new 70-200mm f/4 lens is one stop slower than the 70-200mm f/2.8, in some situations it regains the light loss with better VR control. After playing with the lens for sometime, I must admit that the VR on the 70-200mm f/4 is in fact better. I am sure Nikon will be using this new VR system in all future lenses, because it really works. The number of ED elements in the 70-200mm f/4G lens design is fewer: 3 versus 7 on the 70-200mm f/2.8G. A big advantage, in my opinion for the 70-200mm f/4G is its closer focusing distance of 3.28 ft versus 4.6 ft on the f/2.8G version. Because the barrel size is smaller, the filter size is also smaller – 67mm versus 77mm. And lastly, it is a smaller and significantly cheaper lens. But what about everything else? Looks like the rest of the features are pretty much exactly the same. Both lenses have a 9 blade diaphragm, both are coated with Nano Coated glass, both have Super Integrated Coating, AF-S motor and Internal Focusing.
MTF and Sharpness
Thanks to all these optical features, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR performs extremely well compared to the f/2.8 version. Take a look at the MTF chart of the 70-200mm f/4G compared to the MTF chart of the 70-200mm f/2.8G at 70mm (wide):
Along with the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens, the Nikon 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens has also been announced (the first announcement was posted here). Initially, I wanted to post both announcements in a single article, but after reading about the new 800mm lens in detail, I decided to do a separate post on it. Why? Because the new 800mm has a lot of new technological advancements that I believe will make their way into future Nikkor lenses. At a jaw-dropping price of $17,899.95, the Nikon 800mm f/5.6 is surely not for everyone. However, considering what this lens has to offer, there is no other equivalent lens on the market today in terms of optical performance – more on this below.
Until the 800mm f/5.6 came out, Nikon’s longest super telephoto lens was the Nikon 600mm f/4G VR. To get longer focal lengths, one would have to use teleconverters – 2.0x with the 400mm f/2.8 to get to 800mm f/5.6, 1.4x with the 500mm f/4 to get to 700mm f/5.6 or 1.4x with the 600mm f/4 to get to 840mm f/5.6. Unfortunately, no other TC combination resulted in acceptably good autofocus performance and accuracy. So why do we need a dedicated 800mm f/5.6 lens, if one could get to 800mm with teleconverters? Because teleconverters degrade image quality, AF performance and AF accuracy, whereas properly arranging optical elements inside the lens can yield maximum performance. So a true 800mm lens will always yield better results than a shorter lens with a teleconverter attached to it. In addition, with the latest generation Nikon DSLRs that can autofocus at small apertures up to f/8, one could get even longer focal lengths with a separate teleconverter. Which is exactly what Nikon did with the 800mm that ships with the TC800-1.25E teleconverter that provides additional magnification to get to 1000mm. Sounds like an overkill, but it has its uses – whether in sport, news, wildlife photography or other special needs.
Along with a slew of new point and shoot cameras (which we at Photography Life do not particularly care about), Nikon announced an updated version of the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 lens – a budget lens designed for both DX and FX cameras. The new Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED replaces the 13 year old 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D lens, which had never been a popular lens to begin with. So it was about time to update the lens with better optics, AF-S and other newer technologies.
So what does the updated 18-35mm bring to the table compared to the previous model? First of all, the focus motor has been replaced with the latest generation AF-S motor, which means that autofocus will work on any modern Nikon DSLR, including entry-level models like D3200 without a built-in motor. Second, the optical formula has been updated – the new 18-35mm has 12 elements in 8 groups, versus 11 elements in 8 groups on the AF-D version. More ED and Aspherical lens elements have also been added for better clarity and contrast. Third, thanks to this updated optical design, the minimal focus distance has also been shortened to 0.28m from 0.33m. Fourth, the new lens is of “G” type, which means that the aperture ring is no longer there. Fifth, the lens exterior has been completely redesigned to make it look just like all modern AF-S lenses and the typical M/A / M switch has also been added. Lastly, the new 18-35mm is slightly larger than the old version and also weighs 15 grams heavier.
The Vello Screen Protector for the Nikon D800, at $24.95, is an attractive alternative to the Nikon BM-12 protector, which sells for $16.95. At first glance, I wondered why a third party was offering a product that was priced higher than the Nikon equivalent. I soon realized why.
1) Initial Impressions
I have used a number of Vello products over the years and found them to offer solid value for the money. The Vello Screen Protector package actually contained two screen protectors – one for the main LCD, and the other for the top Control Panel. Both are manufactured with multiple layered optical-quality glass – a noticeable difference from other options, including those from the OEMs, that provide plastic LCD protectors and nothing to guard the Control Panel display.
2) What’s In The Box?
2 black-rimmed LCD glass protectors and installation instructions.
UPDATED WITH PRE-ORDER LINKS.
Having been launched in Europe countries a while earlier, the new Nikon D5200 has just become available in USA, too. The 24 megapixel camera slots nicely between Nikon D3200 and D7000, gaining the latter’s great 39-point AF system. Articulated screen, 1080p/60 video, Expeed 3 image processor ad 100-6400 ISO range completes the attractive package for beginner photographers and those wanting a small, lightweight DSLR.
One notable difference from the previous European introduction is the price. In the first announcement, Nikon claimed a $1,150 MSRP price, which was staggeringly high for such a camera. We were right to doubt such price policy, luckily. The camera will cost around $900 with the 18-55mm VR kit lens. Click here to see image samples from the 24 megapixel APS-C sensor, and here to read our D5200 vs D5100 comparison.
You can pre-order Nikon D5200 from our most trusted reseller, B&H, by following these links:
- Nikon D5200 body only (black) for $796.95
- Nikon D5200 body (black) paired to a 18-105mm VR kit lens for $1,096.95
- Nikon D5200 body (black) paired to a 18-55mm VR kit lens for $896.95
- Nikon D5200 body (bronze) paired to a 18-55mm VR kit lens for $896.95
- Nikon D5200 body (red) paired to a 18-55mm VR kit lens for $896.95
One topic that many of us Nikon shooters often discuss between each other in local groups, online forums and various photography clubs, is lenses that we wish Nikon had. Sometimes a desired lens comes from our experience from using a lens from another brand, sometimes it is something that does not exist, but we wish existed to make our photography easier, more fun, etc. While Nikon has been doing a great job filling in the holes during the last several years, with lenses like >Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR, 24-120mm f/4G VR, 28mm f/1.8G, 50mm f/1.8G, 85mm f/1.8G and 70-200mm f/4G VR, there are still plenty of lenses that Nikon should have in its arsenal. In this article, I will go over the most desired future Nikon lenses, the ones that have not been released yet, but I really wish to see come to life soon. I guess you can also call the below a “wishlist” of unannounced Nikon lenses.
1) DX LENSES
I will first start out with DX primes. While I believe the DX market will probably go away sometime in the future (as I pessimistically shared in my “why DX has no future article“), thanks to the fast growth of the mirrorless market and lack of attention to DX users from Nikon, there are still a lot more DX cameras out there today than FX. If Nikon wants to keep its DX line attractive for the next 5-6 years, it should not only develop great DX camera bodies, but also great DX lens options.
One of the best last generation full-frame cameras, the Canon 5D Mark II, has been officially discontinued. At its time the successor to the original 5D was only rivaled in its popularity by Nikon D700 in the full-frame market. Also, along with Sony A900 and A850, it was the cheapest high resolution full-frame camera (at a time when Nikon D3x would set you back a preposterous $8000) and the first to do Full HD video good enough for Hollywood.
After Nikon D800 was launched, I’ve talked about how D700 is not obsolete. The situation is quite the same with 5D Mark II. It doesn’t have the best AF system, true, but is still used by many professional photographers to deliver stunning images. Very nice high ISO performance coupled to a high amount of resolution and excellent Canon lenses makes 5D Mark II as tempting as it ever was. When you consider it to be better built, with roughly same sensor and AF as the new budget Canon 6D, and for less money at that, the 5D Mark II is one of the best and cheapest ways into full-frame territory.
Fetch it new while stock lasts from our most trusted reseller, B&H, for a bargain $1599 (with $400 instant savings when added to cart). You will find great deals in the used market, too. If you’ve never bough used gear, read our detailed guide on “How to Buy Used DSLR Cameras”.