Amid a series of announcements late last night, Nikon just officially announced the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S for its Nikon Z cameras. This lens wasn’t exactly a surprise, since it has been on the roadmap for over a year, but it is a very welcome addition to Nikon’s mirrorless lineup nevertheless. The new lens is expected to start shipping in February.
Aside from the DX-only 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3, this is Nikon’s first Z lens that goes beyond 85mm. That – plus the wide f/2.8 aperture – makes it an excellent choice for sports or wildlife photography with the mirrorless system.
Nikon’s 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses have always been expensive, although they justify the price for many photographers because of their image quality, zoom range, and bright aperture. This time around, the price is actually a nice surprise. At $2600, the 70-200mm f/2.8 S is still far from cheap, but it is less expensive than the F-mount version (which is currently selling for $2800). Some photographers were speculating this lens would be closer to $3000, so thankfully that’s not the case.
Before going any further, here are the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S’s specifications:
- Focal Length: 70-200mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
- Minimum Aperture: f/22
- Aperture Blades: 9 rounded
- Lens Construction: 21 elements, 18 groups
- Aspherical Elements: Two
- ED Glass Elements: Six
- Fluorite Elements: One
- SR Elements: One
- Image Stabilization: Yes, 5 stops
- Fn Buttons: Two
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 0.50 meter (1.64 feet)
- Maximum Magnification: 0.2×
- Focusing Motor: Dual STM (stepping motor)
- Internal Focusing: Yes
- Filter Thread: 77mm
- Weather Sealing: Yes
- Size (Diameter × Length): 89 × 220 mm (3.5 × 8.66 inches)
- Weight: 1440 g (3.17 lbs) with tripod collar, 1360 g (2.99 lb) without
A few things may stand out if you read the specifications closely.
First, this lens has vibration reduction with a claimed 5 stops of stabilization. The Z system’s two DX lenses so far (the 16-50mm and 50-250mm) have vibration reduction as well, but none of the other FX lenses do. We’ve already seen excellent image stabilization from the Z system; perhaps this lens will take things even further.
Another interesting note is the SR element. SR stands for “short-wavelength refractive,” and the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S is one of only two Nikon lenses at the moment with SR glass. (The other is the 120-300mm f/2.8, which was also just announced tonight.) This new element refracts shorter wavelengths of light, such as blue and violet, in an effort to minimize chromatic aberration.
Many photographers were also wondering about weight before the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S was announced. In theory, one of the nice benefits of a mirrorless system is the potential for lower weight – with both the cameras and the lenses. However, the Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 weighs almost exactly the same as its F-mount counterpart. That lens (the newest FL version for F-mount) weighs 1430 grams (3.15 lbs) versus 1440 grams (3.17 lbs) for the Z version. There’s still a bit of weight savings if you consider that the FTZ adapter (another 135 g) is needed to use the F-mount lens on a Nikon mirrorless camera.
The MTF chart is nothing short of excellent:
The rest of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S’s specifications are about what you’d expect for a high-end Z telephoto. It has two programable function buttons and an OLED information panel. It comes with a removable tripod collar, though, like usual, you’ll probably want to replace it with something Arca-Swiss compatible. And it has weather sealing, including a water repellant front lens element.
If you want to get this lens sooner rather than later, I recommend pre-ordering, as it has a good chance of being backordered initially:
Official Sample Photos
And here is Nikon’s press release for the new lens:
Nikon Asserts Commitment To Optical Superiority With The Announcement Of Cutting-Edge Z Mount, F Mount and COOLPIX Products
NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S Redefines a Quintessential Photographer Favorite for the Z System; AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR is a Ground-Breaking Pro Super-Telephoto Zoom Lens; COOLPIX P950 Packs an 83X Optical Zoom to Bring the World Closer
LAS VEGAS – CES BOOTH #14018 – Today, Nikon Inc. announced three new innovative products that affirms the imaging brand’s commitment to bringing optical excellence to all levels of customers. First, the new NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S is the latest in the ever-expanding Z mount lens line, giving users of Nikon Z series mirrorless cameras an indispensable workhorse lens for capturing action and portraits. For professional sports and wildlife photographers, the new AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR is an enticing high-performance, professional super telephoto F mount NIKKOR lens. Finally, the COOLPIX P950 is a powerful new addition to Nikon’s superzoom bridge camera lineup, offering creators a spectacular 83x optical zoom and a myriad of innovative features to take their creativity to new heights.“Nikon continues to innovate and push the boundaries of what’s possible in imaging and lens technology,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “The new NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S takes advantage of the next-generation optical system offered by the Nikon Z mount to create a versatile 70-200mm lens with astounding sharpness and clarity, cementing this S-line lens as a staple for those who demand only the best from their lenses.”
The NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S – Astonishing Details, Uncompromising Zoom
An essential pro-level telephoto zoom lens re-imagined to take advantage of the optical potential of the Z series, the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S is the latest addition to Nikon’s rapidly growing lineup of mirrorless lenses. The NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 represents a pivotal lens for the Z series and a must-have for those shooting action, weddings, events, news, wildlife and portraits. Equipped with a versatile focal range, fast f/2.8 aperture and an impressive 5 stops of built-in optical VR image stabilization1, the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm gives mirrorless shooters the flexibility to capture astoundingly sharp images and videos in a variety of scenarios. Additionally, multimedia and content creators using the lens will appreciate the stepping motor (STM) for extremely quiet autofocus operation and reduced focus breathing.
The NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S demonstrates the technological benefits of the Nikon Z mount to reinvent a classic lens, while including new features to make this photographer favorite even more superior for Z series users. Parfocal support maintains focus when zooming, while a reduced minimum focus distance (0.5m wide, 1.0m telephoto) vastly increases versatility for photos and video. When used in combination with the in-body stabilization of the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 promises unparalleled stability with additional optical stabilization. Like other S line lenses, the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 boasts a premium optical design complete with a 9-blade diaphragm as well as Anti-Reflective Nano Crystal and ARNEO coatings for maximum image quality in any light, with a Fluorine coating that resists dirt and smudges. In addition to a rugged weather sealed design the lens is ready to tackle any assignment with a dedicated Info Panel, two customizable Function buttons and an additional custom control ring.
The new NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S and AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR are the first Nikon lenses to feature the newly developed SR (Short-Wavelength Refractive) lens element, a specialized-dispersion glass lens featuring characteristics that greatly refract light with wavelengths shorter than that of blue. By controlling short-wavelength light that is difficult to compensate, the lens can more effectively collect light of various specific wavelengths and achieve highly precise chromatic aberration compensation.
AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR: Impressive Reach, Incredible Speed, Absolute Versatility
The all-new AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR is a versatile, professional lens for the Nikon F mount with a large focal range and fast constant aperture. It’s ideal for sports, wildlife and portrait photographers seeking a bright and fast telephoto lens that offers sharp image quality across a wide range of focal lengths. Thanks to its extensive 120-300mm focal range, the NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8 provides users with a pro-level single lens solution, replacing the need to carry multiple lenses. With Nikon’s reliable weather-sealed construction, the NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8 is equipped to handle any shooting scenario whether on the sidelines or in the wilderness.
Users will appreciate the constant f/2.8 aperture which offers incredible low-light capability and depth of field that draws emphasis to a subject. The impeccably sharp image quality, beautiful bokeh and enhanced AF performance of the NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8 offer speed and sharpness reminiscent of a prime. Engineered with Nikon’s cutting-edge technologies, the AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR is the first NIKKOR F mount lens to adopt Nikon’s new SR lens element as well as Nikon’s anti-reflective ARNEO coat to deliver superior chromatic aberration compensation and effectively reduce ghost and flare. The built-in VR function provides an effect equivalent to a shutter speed 4.0 stops1 and includes a Sport VR mode for rapidly moving subjects.
Ready for professional use, the lens is sealed to resist the elements and is engineered for maximum usability, even when handheld. The zoom ring, focus function buttons, tripod collar ring and controls are all designed to ensure superior operability for more comfortable shooting.
COOLPIX P950: 2,000mm Zoom Power, 4K UHD Video & More
With an unbelievable 83x optical zoom NIKKOR lens, the 16-megapixel COOLPIX P950 is a powerful new addition to Nikon’s superzoom bridge camera lineup, which delivers unprecedented image quality from extreme distances. Beyond the staggering 24-2000mm lens, the COOLPIX P950 packs an advanced feature-set complete with Nikon’s renowned NIKKOR optics and advanced stabilization technology with 5.5 stops of VR image stabilization, allowing stargazers and birdwatchers to capture high-quality photos or 4K UHD videos at extreme distances with ease. Plus, by using the COOLPIX P950’s 166x** Dynamic Fine Zoom for far-away subjects and Macro Shooting capabilities to get as close as 0.4 inches, adventure-seekers can bring the unimaginable closer than ever.
Users can rely on the P950 to photograph life’s most unique subjects with incredible accuracy and focus thanks to its Target Finding AF capabilities, 7 fps continuous shooting and ISO sensitivity up to 6400. A great option for photographers of all skill levels, the COOLPIX P950 features user-friendly controls alongside an intuitive menu system and a 2359k-dot EVF, making it easier to review and capture one-of-a-kind shots. Using dedicated Bird-Watching and Moon Modes, photographers can effortlessly snap photos of their world and beyond. The new P950 also adds RAW (NRW) photo recording, an enhanced high-resolution electronic viewfinder and Nikon SnapBridge2,3,4 to seamlessly share images or remotely control the camera.
The COOLPIX P950 is also equipped with an accessory shoe to enable compatibility with a variety of useful accessories, including the optional DF-M1 Dot Sight, which helps users locate subjects and compose shots from far-away distances.
Pricing and Availability
The new NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S lens and COOLPIX P950 will be available in February for suggested retail prices (SRP) of $2,599.95* and $799.95*, respectively. The AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR lens will also be available in February for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $9,499.95*. For more information about Nikon and their latest products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.
Nikon Inc. is a world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo and video capture technologies; globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for an award-winning array of equipment that enable visual storytelling and content creation. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories, Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras and Nikon software products, as well as the revolutionary Nikon Z series of mirrorless cameras and NIKKOR Z lenses, which achieve a new dimension in optical performance. In 2018, Nikon Corporation, the parent company of Nikon Inc., announced the production of 110 million NIKKOR lenses, creating a new milestone in Nikon’s heritage of superior optics. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers and visual storytellers to the Web’s most comprehensive learning and sharing communities. Connect with Nikon on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo and Flickr.
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Specifications, equipment and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.
1. Based on CIPA Standard. This value is achieved when attached to an FX-format digital SLR camera, with zoom set at the maximum telephoto position.
2. The camera’s built-in Bluetooth® capability can only be used to connect the camera to a compatible smart device running the SnapBridge app, and to take advantage of SnapBridge features.
3. This camera’s built-in Wi-Fi® capability can only be used with a compatible iPhone®, iPad®, and/or iPod touch® or smart devices running on the Android™ operating system. The Nikon SnapBridge application must be installed on the device before it can be used with this camera.
4. Using the SnapBridge App System Requirements:
– Android 5.0 or later or 6.0.1 or later
– A device with Bluetooth 4.0 or later (i.e., a device that supports Bluetooth Smart Ready/Low Energy) is required.
– The SnapBridge app is available for compatible iPhone®, iPad® and/or iPod touch®, and for smart devices running the AndroidTM operating system. The app can be downloaded free of charge from Apple’s App Store® and GooglePlayTM. SnapBridge can be used only with compatible cameras.
-Android™ and Google Play™ are trademarks of Google Inc.
-Wi-Fi® and the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo are registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance. The N Mark is a trademark or registered trademark of NFC Forum, Inc. in the United States and in other countries. The
Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Nikon corporation and its Affiliates is under license.
*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
** At the maximum image size. The maximum zoom ratio varies by image size. Dynamic Fine Zoom magnification is calculated from the maximum wide-angle position of the optical zoom.
Nikon now saying the lens is not parfocal
Eagerly awaiting delivery! Finally I can put my old 70-200 VR I to rest.
the marketing department’s MTFs shown here are not what matters; what matters is the performance in the real world. It is questionable whether there is even a difference to be seen. It would be interesting to see how the comparison between the FE Zoom and the new ZS Zoom would look at the f-stops 2.8, 4, 5.6 and 8 at image sizes of 1:10, 1:20 and 1:50. And how big are the differences in focusing speed.
Many greetings from Germany
Well, the MTFs show better performance in the corners. If someone doens’t use / compare the corners on a regular basis, I agree: differences might be small.
But there’s a bit more with this lens: Although I don’t know, if or how I’d use the additional Fn buttons – these are extra.
There’s another multifunction ring – so anyone who likes to change aperture or exposure compensation on the lens could do so. I do find the dials on the Z… less grippy and harder to move than the ones on D…
The close distance is shorter than on the F-version, that opens up some nice possibilities.
The lens is supposed to be cheaper than the F-version. But the F-version can be used on both systems, while the Z version is in front of a light, small body. I don’t think I would like the weight proportions. I have a Sigma 70-200 Sports which is rather heavy and balances well with a D850+grip. I like this combo not “although”, but “for” being heavy – I could handheld 1/20 @ 200 mm with OIS on.
Nikon simply doesn’t learn how to make a tripod foot with Arca-dove-tail, one reason for me to pass. The main reason is: I’m no big fan of this 70-200 range. I wasn’t when I had the 70-200/4. The Sigma is better, sharper, faster focusing, but I still don’t like the range better.
Impressive minimum focusing distance with 50cm only. That will be the one big advantage over the F-lenses (at least 1.1m) which really does make a difference.
50cm is for 70mm focal lenght only. Focusing distance increases step by step to reach 1m at 200mm.
But anyway, it’s a really interesting feature.
Thank you. I was not aware of that. Comparing to the AF-S VRII with its 1.4m it is still a big win. Sometimes one had to switch the camera/lens-combo to the 24-70 f/2.8 just because of that. And if you’d go wider with your second body, e.g. 17-35mm, you would be lost if you could not move backwards with the longer lens. – Well done Nikon. This may very well be the advantage of the Z-mount and a reason to switch to the Z-bodies (later).
COMPARISON: Nikon 70-200mm
In size, the Z-mount is micro-wider and a bit longer.
G 3.40 x 8.10″ (86.4 x 205.7mm)
E 3.48 x 7.97″ (88.5 x 202.5 mm)
S 3.60 x 8.70″ (89.0 x 220.0mm)
G 1540g (with tripod collar)
E 1430g (with tripod collar)
S 1440g (1360g without tripod collar)
In lens coating, glass elements and MTF Chart, the S version is the best 70-200mm that Nikon had ever made.
The S also has a bit more features such as 2 lens function buttons, a 3rd customizable lens control ring (aperture, exposure compensation, ISO), lens information screen display.
Focus breathing is very well controlled, minimum focus distance is improved (0.5m (W) – 1.0M (T)), lens focus auto-adjust to achieve parfocal effect while zooming, plus 5.5 stops stabilization on 5-axis all make an optically excellent zoom even better.
Lens filter diameter is the same for all at 77mm.
Relevant for adapting the G & E on a Z:
G 1675g (with FTZ, tripod collar)
E 1565g (with FTZ, tripod collar)
S 1440g (1360g without tripod collar)
Really 70 grams, about 15 nickels or 70 paperclips. Still a heavy lens to carry around all day.
Hi Spencer, according the weight there is a mistake in your review. Z‘s 1.360 kg weight is without the tripod collar. With the tripod collar it wheights absolutely the same as the F-Lens (E Version.)
The main reason for me to change from dslr to mirrorless was saving weight. For me the much lighter 70-200mm f/4G lens with adapter already feels unbalanced on my tiny Z6. You will need a good grip for the 2.8 but the grip for Z6/7 is overpriced and lacks buttons. I think better wait for the hopefully small and light f/4 version and for low light and bokeh use the new lightweight fantastic 85mm 1.8S lens.
For Z users who historically have used 70-200mm f/2.8 zooms, I have no doubt this lens will be a hit. The price, MTF chart, and even weight combine to make a very interesting package overall.
That said, I’m with you. I went with mirrorless in part for the weight savings, and I’d have hoped for a lightweight zoom in the 100-200mm range to make that possible. I’m currently adapting my F-mount 70-200mm f/4, and though it works all right, it’s certainly not optimal. The two Z lenses I have so far (14-30mm and 24-70mm f/4) are absolutely perfect for my needs, but it looks like a while before a telephoto counterpart arrives. None of the Z lens roadmap options look like they’ll fit the bill.
I agree, the 14-30mm and 24-70mm f/4 combined with the z cameras are great and I use a lot. I like to combine with the 85mm 1.8 and/or 50mm 1.8 but for telezoom unfortunately there is nothing really ideal if you want to stay light. Hopefully the coming 24-105mm f/4 will be light and optically great. It could reduce the need for a telezoom.
The 70-300 AF-P offers solid reach and IQ and, at 680g (not including the FTZ) is quite light. Not to mention affordable.
Thanks, I have been thinking about that lens but just 170 grams difference and, although very good, not as good optically as my 70-200mm f/4 (+ extra costs) made me decide not to switch.
Same here: Z6 + F4 14-30, 24-70 for hiking and FTZ+70-300 for reach. Latter is smaller, has more reach and at least for my samples better performance. I have to admit that I don’t like the handling of the FTZ when shooting from a tripod as changing lenses can get messy.
A lightweight 70-200 or better 100-300 would be very much welcome.
I like to go with the Z6/FTZ/28-300 combo for walking around. It is reasonable weight, covers a wide zoom range and works quite well for me. Having said that, the 70-200 f/2.8 S is a real beauty with great specs and looks interesting for my Z6. The wide aperture and close focus distance, with focus shift would be very useful in flower photography. Couple with a good close-up lens like the Canon 500D for even closer focus would allow for beautiful close-ups! This is a purchase I will consider carefully – probably later this year.
Looks like a great lens but as a retired senior I was hoping for a lighter and less expensive f4 (The af-s f4 is 850Gr )to pair with the 24-70.
Same here, Steve. The lack of a lightweight telephoto zoom is one of the few odd omissions in Nikon’s mirrorless roadmap, but it is a pretty big one for a lot of photographers.
SR is lens element not coating
Thank you, David! Just fixed it.