Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR – Incredible!

I know that many of our readers have been patiently waiting for me to publish my upcoming Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR Review (Update: the review has been posted right here). While the review is under way, I have a lot of gear in my hands that I need to test and hence, it is a little delayed. Thanks to my friend David Bassett, I had a chance to play with the 70-200mm f/4 for the last couple of days until I receive my copy from B&H (should be arriving later this week, along with the Sigma 70-200mm and Tamron 70-200mm). One of the first things I did after I got the lens, was mount the lens on my D800E and test it in a lab environment for its resolution capabilities. As you can see from the below comparisons with my beloved Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II, the 70-200mm f/4G VR performed incredibly well. I am stunned and seriously in love – wife said that she doesn’t mind :) Once again, Nikon produced an absolute winner, a true gem that will quickly become a favorite lens by many. First, we had the 50mm f/1.8G, then the 85mm f/1.8G and now the 70-200mm f/4G. As I have said before, it is a good time to be a Nikonian! Superb camera bodies, excellent lenses – a great system overall.

Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR

So here is the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR @ 70mm:

And the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II @ 70mm:

The Nikon 70-200mm f/4G looks a little weaker in the center, but take a look at the corners – it clearly resolves more details in comparison.

Zoomed in to 105mm, we get the following results from the 70-200mm f/4G:

And the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II @ 105mm:

Once again, the 70-200mm f/4 shows excellent performance throughout the frame that outresolves the 70-200mm f/2.8 in the mid frame and the corners.

Lastly, here is what 200mm looks like on the 70-200mm f/4G VR:

And the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II @ 200mm:

And it gets even better at 200mm, with excellent all around performance. The 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II seems to resolve more details in the center, but its sharpness falls off quickly towards the extreme corners.

Please note that I have not fully completed performing other tests such as bokeh, vignetting, distortion, flare, etc – I am saving those for the final review, which will be posted within the next few weeks. Also, these are preliminary test results that I performed very quickly, so the final results in the review might look a little different. Is the new Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR perfect? No, of course not. It has its share of problems with heavier vignetting, more distortion (especially at 200mm), twice more chromatic aberration than the 70-200mm f/2.8, etc. But considering its weight, price and sharpness performance, it sure looks like another winner.

Meanwhile, for those of you who are impatient to see my review, B&H has just received a new stock of the 70-200mm f/4G VR lens for you to enjoy during the holidays.


  1. December 18, 2012 at 4:42 am

    Looks like it’s going to be an amazing lens. I wonder if I should sell my 2.8g.

    • December 18, 2012 at 4:47 am

      No, don’t sell the 2.8G – why lose so much money? The 70-200mm f/4G is excellent, but it has its share of problems. Lots of distortion at 200mm, twice more CA, inferior bokeh (f/2.8 vs f/4). If you were shopping for a new 70-200mm lens, then I would tell you to weigh in your priorities. But since you already have the 70-200mm, then why worry? This one is the same debate as 85mm f/1.4G vs 85mm f/1.8G – I find the latter to be better overall as well. But I kept my 85mm f/1.4G nevertheless…

      I have not completed the bokeh tests yet. I hope the 70-200mm f/4G will look pretty good there as well.

      • 1.1.1) Oded Shopen
        December 18, 2012 at 4:51 am

        Yeah, I guess your’e right. some of my best shots were with the 2.8g, and I love how it feels while shooting. I don’t mind the weight at all.

      • 1.1.2) Stefan
        December 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        Hey Nasim,
        can you also check the lens breathing, comparing to 2.8.
        I have the 2.8 VR2 and it suffers quite a lot from breathing, never used the VR1, but people say it was better in this aspect.
        So how is this VR3 lens compare to the old 2.8 versions

    • 1.2) Roberto Salvi
      December 18, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Don’t do it…as Nasim suggests.

      I did kind of the same when I was in Canon camp. I owned 70-200 f/2.8 for years and sold it just before I purchased its f/4 little brother based on reviews and lab performance tests. Boy had I been kicking myself ever since :(
      Canon 70-200 f/4 proved to be a great performer, but it sure ain’t up to bigger f/2.8 version in many respects.

      I’m now fully Nikon-geared, own the fantastic 70-200 f/2.8 and looking to add the f/4 variant, but certainly not planning to sell the f/2.8 lens, I learned my lesson the hard way in the past.

      • 1.2.1) Stefan
        December 20, 2012 at 9:36 am

        I didn’t have your bad experience but I feel I’ll feel the same way if I sell the 2.8
        Can you tell us in details what did you find you miss on the f/4 vs. f/2.8?

  2. 2) Chris K.
    December 18, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Thanks and will be looking forward to your review, but isn’t the 70-200 2.8 VR II more useful for wedding work?

    • December 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      Chris, by a full stop and faster AF – so yes, it is more useful for weddings. However, personally, I rarely take it with me because it kills my neck and back! So the weight is its worst problem :(

  3. 3) gregorylent
    December 18, 2012 at 5:14 am

    auto focus speed is what i like about the 70-200 2.8 … it rips … heavy weight is the downside of daily use, as we all know

    • December 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      Gregory, I will surely put the 70-200mm f/4 to test in all kinds of environments to see how much slower it is in AF than the f/2.8 version.

  4. 4) Roji Jacob
    December 18, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Awaiting your detailed review. I am yet to decide on the zoom…. Nikon / Sigma…… In Nikon.. I have one more to choose from :)

  5. 5) Sue
    December 18, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Amazing lens!!!

  6. December 18, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Dear Nasim,
    excuse me for a foolish request, I’ m an italian photographer, my best shots tare travelling and street life.. and BW …

    Now I have a D300, waiting for a new Dx camera or a Full Frame, I work for archive and the crisis is strong, so I’ m working as chemist too … No photo no money, in Italy every one can sell a picture without license or Professional Free Lance as I am…
    Mala tempora currunt, latins said..
    Ok, my request for you, I read from many months and I need 2 replies directly:
    Sold Nikkor 70-200 f 2.8 VR I for autofocus problems: Using D 300 and having nikor tele converter 1,4 could you suggest me between New Nikkor 70-200 f 2.8 Vr Ii and the last f.4 ???
    Second: Sold a Tamron 28-75 2.8 not bad, I’ m thinking about New Tamron 24-70 2.8 Usd … You wrote it’ a good lens…
    In January 15th I’ ll be a photo trip to Myanmar for two weeks with my Nikon 50 1,8 and 12-24 …
    Bad lens like 24-120 4,5-5.6 and touristic 18-200 at home..
    Thanks for resolving my big problem, you are a special people and photographer, in Italy I know only Maestri that are only Teachers because they shows their best photo, no comments, no help ;(
    Sincerely from your fan Claudio from Italy
    Thanks Nasrimi, you are a great teacher and a great teacher :)

  7. 7) FrancoisR
    December 18, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Stabilised f4 lenses won’t replace the f2.8 for specific tasks but for a traveller, it’s a godsend. Weight and price are their main features (and decent glass too). Until recently I swore only by my 24-70 L f2.8 mkI or 24-70G. But the 70-200 f4 IS (and now 70-200 f4 VR), 24-120 f4 VR II and new 24-70 f4 IS, aren’t they terrific? I’m not too keen about Tamron or Sigma with their so so focus, initial price might be attractive but IMHO you get what you pay for, like rice and Porsche lloll. Canon has even come up with a stabilised 35 prime! Now I’m seriously looking into mirrorless for size. Their future looks “bright” lloll.

    I’m salivating about that 70-200 upcoming test Nasim.

    many thanks!

  8. 8) David B
    December 18, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Hey Nasim it is not clear from ur review are u testing 70-200/f4 and comparing it to 70-200/2.8 at f/2.8 or at f/4? I assume u are comparing to 70-200/f 2.8 stopped at f/4 but u have not indicated anywhere the aperture on f/2.8 u r using

    Have u considered comparing it to a comparable canon 70-200/f4 is or u see no reason to?

    • 8.1) Pete Johnson
      December 18, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Good question, rather important to know if stopped down or not.

    • 8.2) Roberto Salvi
      December 18, 2012 at 10:18 am

      It’s all there. Specific aperture values at particular focal length are listed in the graphs.

      • 8.2.1) David B
        December 18, 2012 at 10:33 am

        You are right, I should have looked at the graphs closely.

        • David B
          December 18, 2012 at 10:38 am

          so Looks like 2.8 is slightly better in sharpness than 4 at F/4, with exception of extreme corners, which are better at F/4. Plus with F/2.8 you get the benefit of shooting at F/2.8. But the current new (used price for F/2.8 is significantly lower) price difference of $1000 is to consider.

  9. 9) Neil
    December 18, 2012 at 8:52 am

    The key thing is that the 70-200 f2.8 performs far better at 2.8 :) Still, it’s great to know that the 70-200 f4 won’t disappoint anyone who gets it. I have the 70-200 f2.8 v1 from 2007 before currency devaluation. Amazing to think that this f4 lens costs about $100 or so less than what I paid for the 2.8 back then!

  10. 10) Shel
    December 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Looks like a great lens for landscapes..even with distortion it should be easily correctable. I wonder though is it that much better than my 70-300 VR?

    • 10.1) Kevin
      December 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm


      If it’s not too much to ask, I’d like your thoughts on this comparison too (when you write up your final review). I purchased the 70-300 when I first got my D600 because I wanted a telephoto zoom but wasn’t ready to drop the case for the 2.8. With the f/4 got released, I’m contemplating staying with the 70-300, sell then buy the f/4, or keep both.


    • 10.2) Kevin
      December 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm


      If it’s not too much to ask, I’d like your thoughts on this comparison too (when you write up your final review). I purchased the 70-300 when I first got my D600 because I wanted a telephoto zoom but wasn’t ready to drop the cash for the 2.8. With the f/4 got released, I’m contemplating staying with the 70-300, sell then buy the f/4, or keep both.


  11. 11) Bob F
    December 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Love to shoot wildlife and need economical options …. Will it work with a teleconverter like the 1.7x or 2.0x?

    • December 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Bob, it will, but its AF and IQ will suffer greatly. I would get the 1.4x TC, but would stay away from 1.7x or the 2.0x.

      • 11.1.1) Stefan
        December 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm

        I have the 2.0 TCIII converter and there is NO sharpness loss at all. At least visible.
        Yes, you lose 2 stops of light, but besides that I didn’t see any other difference (at least visually).
        You may see something with your equipment as you have better way to check the IQ/sharpness, but again visually I do not find difference.
        Tested on 70-200mm and 105mm micro. The new TCIII is very good quality teleconverter.

      • 11.1.2) Allan Wood
        January 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        Hi Nasim.

        In your review of the 70-200/f2.8 VRII you noted that the TC-20E III worked very well with that lens. However, in your review of the TC-20E III you noted that “though the lab tests show that the sharpness is relatively good with slower f/4 lenses, I personally would not recommend using the TC-20E III with any of those, unless you will be heavily stopping down and focusing manually on a tripod”. Does your conclusion still ‘stand’ with respect to the 70-200/f4 VRIII? I am curious, as I am considering the 70-200/f4 VRIII (as it is way lighter and ‘cheaper’ than the 2.8) to replace an old 70-210 1:4-5.6 D. The 2.8 is a beast, and likely more useful if one really need the extra stop. I look forward to your complete review of the new 70-200/f4 VRIII, and, if possible, any further comments on using it with teleconverters.

        Thanks, Allan

  12. 12) KSPGM
    December 18, 2012 at 9:23 am


    Do you have an idea yet how autofocus responds comared to the 70-200 f/2.8? Is the f/4 broadly comparable in speed of acquisation?


    • December 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      KSPGM, AF seems to be fast, but I have not done any side by side comparisons. The 70-200mm f/2.8 is insanely fast – I do not think the f/4 is going to be as good. However, I will do some tests in various environments and will let you know.

  13. 13) JFarinha
    December 18, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I own a Nikkor 80-200 2.8 D (last version). I use ir with my D800.

    No VR, no nano, but for me, a very good lens!
    And, until now, it was the only real alternative (price vs weight vs performance) to the 70-200 VRII (or VRI) – I usually don’t consider third party options.

    This lens is still at Nikon’s catalogue – so, I think it would be interesting to included it in your review.

  14. December 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Great to see you are writing reviews and articles again! Really looking forward to this review.

  15. December 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I always look forward to seeing your reviews and thank you for promptly posting your initial review on the 70-200 f4. We know 70-200 VR 2 2.8 has focus breathing issues when shot in close you see any similar issues with the 70-200 F4? If not, 70-200 will be a compelling choice for some users ..

  16. 16) Ismatullo
    December 18, 2012 at 10:36 am

    it’s an expensive lens in terms of aperture.
    Canon’s 70 200 f4 L IS is cheaper but has similar overall quality.

  17. December 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Nasim, I’ll glad to see the compare with 80-200 and 70-300 VR! ;)

  18. 18) Shak
    December 18, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Nasim, quick suggestion. Please consider to open the hyper linked pages in new browser tab in your posts.
    We keep on navigate to other links in target page and missing the actual post.


    • 18.1) June
      December 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Right-click. Open in a new Tab.

  19. 19) Chaks
    December 18, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Hi Nasim … Appreciate if you can compare 70-200 f/4 to 70-200 f/2.8 VRI. VRI is at great price point …. even cheaper than f/4 version.

    • 19.1) B!
      December 20, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Great Idea.

  20. 20) Dan
    December 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I came over from Canon to Nikon for the user interface and construction of the D700 and 14-24mm. I am happy with my switch. The hardest part of transitioning was selling my Canon 70-200 f/4 IS. It is an amazing lens and sharper than the Nikon 70-200mm VR 2.8, which I learned. Frankly, I was never happy with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII due to the PRICE, weight and corner sharpness. I sold the the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 for the f/4 version. The Nikon 70-200mm f/4 is a better lens for my needs: increased sharpness, less weight and size, and cost saving (After tough negotiations on CR). Sell your 2.8 and you can still buy the f/4 & the 85mm 1.8 and have better performance overall.

    • 20.1) Stefan
      December 18, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      let’s calculate here:
      You bought the 70-200mm VRII for $2400.
      you can sell it now for around $2100 on Amazon and eBay. They charge you 9%, which is about $190.
      So $1900 left.
      If you sell on eBay and it goes to your PayPal – they charge you 3% more – $60, then you pay for shipping, preferably with insurance, because you don’t want to risk your lens. Let’s say this adds $50 (shipping plus insurance)
      So you left with $1800 in the best case. You lost $600 from the sell.
      The new lens is $1400 and the collar is not included. If you add it it’s $200.
      So you left $1600 vs $1800.
      You gain more sharpness probably, but lose speed AF and you have more CA, as Nasim stated above.
      Does it worth to sell???
      I will not do that myself. May be the next generation 70-200 will do any bigger difference…

      • 20.1.1) Dan
        December 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm

        I am glad you like your 2.8. For me the switching to the 70-200 f/4 makes for a better experience and i put $ in my pocket. Nasim also mentioned in his 24-120 review that he would rather carry that lens due to the weight and close focusing focal length issues of the 70-200mm 2.8. Some people feel more comforted with a 2.8 lens, but I enjoy the 70-200mm f/4.

        • Stefan
          December 18, 2012 at 11:44 pm

          Hey Dan,
          I completely understand your point of view, and i agree with what you say. I also see the potential of the new lens and I’m very much tempted to have it in my arsenal. I think out will be a great landscape lens (for some situations of course) & i would rather carry it instead of the heavy 2.8 brother. As i see it will excel in landscape, and it will be still very good for portraits. I want to wait for the full review to see ask this, but i believe 2.8 well have faster AF, and the stop difference will make it definitely better for shooting sports and any kind of action. Also i use a 2x teleconverter sometimes and i end up with 5.6 aperture. With the f4 lens I’ll end up with f8, which is not enough for almost anything.
          Since my shooting style is quite versatile and because of losing those about $600, as i mentioned above (for a completely wonderful lens as the 2.8 is) i think i will simply stay with it.
          the lower weight is tempting though. May be some day i would be able to justify having both. :))
          I wish you to enjoy your new lens and I’m sure you’ll be very happy with it. Nikon has some really good glass, and i believe this new addition to the family is one of it.
          Everything best!

      • 20.1.2) Drazen B.
        December 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm

        Yeah, pretty much the same $$ equation many of us came to in the end.

        I’m also keeping my 70-200 f/2.8 VRII, and might add the f/4 variant in the furure depending on my shooting requirements.

  21. 21) Leighton
    December 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I’m glad you liked it!

    How’s the vignetting at 70mm wide open?

  22. 22) Julian
    December 19, 2012 at 3:40 am


    To combine my D800 with a good quality telephoto lens I am seeking advice. Recently when I was in the Amazon on spotting a Jaguar I was unfortunately outgunned using a 18-200 on my D300 as it was a little too far away. I was thinking about buying a 70-200 2.8 VR2 with a 1.7 teleconverter but is that now sensible over an F4? My uses would be wildlife, aviation and landscapes. I personally do not mind the weight but being an accountant I do not want to make a costly mistake! Any advice greatly appreciated……


    • 22.1) Martin
      December 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Julian – Might I suggest that you research the Nikon 300 f4 with the TC14E teleconverter, certainly for the wildlife shots? That will give you 420 f5.6 on your D800, and 630 f5.6 on your D300.

      You will probably agree that most of your wildlife shots are taken with a zoom lens at its maximum (certainly when attempting to take pictures of a jaguar). The 300f4/TC14 combination may be purchased more cheaply than a high quality zoom lens; it fits (just) inside the case supplied with the 70-200 f2.8, and is of a similar weight; and the quality is remarkable. Nasim has commented on it, as has Thom Hogan – who goes as far as suggesting that the combination has NO discernible loss in quality compared with the wonderfully sharp 300 f4 used on its own.

      The 300 f4 delivers the full 300mm; unlike the 70-200, there are no “breathing” issues with it, used alone, or with the teleconverter.

      I carry this particular kit when I go on wildlife trips, and I think that it’s terrific. The only qualification that I might suggest is that you wait for the rumoured 300f4 VR – but whether or not that will appear in the foreseeable future I have no idea, nor can I predict if it will be as good with the TC14E.

  23. December 19, 2012 at 6:51 am

    I’ve had this lens for going on three weeks now. I shoot sports for a good portion of my income and decided to try it after using the AF-Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 D for years. The more I shoot sports the less I end up shooting wide open at f/2.8, opting instead for f/4 for a still fairly wide aperture with additional room for getting more of the subject(s) in focus. Wide open being only f/4 with this lens therefore wasn’t a big negative for me, nor for studio work usually shot at the middle apertures. The light weight, quicker focus acquisition, and the additional versatility the VR offers were deciding factors leading to my purchase.

    So far, after use in the field at various recent running events as well as a portrait session and some personal shooting, I’m very impressed with the image quality. I can’t compare with the 70-200 f/2.8 VR I or II lenses, which I never invested in, but looking at my results I can assert that the bokeh is just as nice as the 80-200 f/2.8 D lens, which I really don’t find much fault with apart from the weight and focusing issues.

    Switching between D700 and D7000 bodies during a recent event, and shooting between f/4 and f/5.6 at most times, I barely missed a shot of moving athletes. Meanwhile, having the excellent VR allowed me to hand hold at shutter speeds as low as 1/8 sec. for certain motion blur effects. Maybe I’m not that much of a pixel peeper, but so far I haven’t noticed serious distortion or CA issues.

    Still, despite all those positives in favor of this lens, I’m considering selling it while the market is hot and availability is low, because the lack of true weather sealing and the plasticky finish lead me to worry about its durability. It fogged up inside the lens in very light drizzle last week, forcing me to shoot an entire event with wide angle lenses, and I’m afraid it might not withstand the coming winter of outdoor events, whereas there are no such worries with the 70-200 f/2.8 VRII lens.

    Hope to read more comments from other new owners soon.

  24. 24) Dima
    December 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

    I don’t follow all this enthusiasm. I got 18-70/3.5-4.5 for 100$ with D70 and it was quite decent zoom lens. Then I bought 70-200/2.8 VR for 1400$

    Now 70-200/4 is 1400$ and any reasonably good normal FF zoom is around same price like 24-120 VR

    I would say Nikon forgot about amateurs, who are not going to spend 5000+ bucks just to get some decent system. Canon 70-200/4 is TWICE cheaper.

    • 24.1) David B
      December 19, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Yes, but Canon 70-200/4 is a very old model. You can make an argument that you can get a Nikon’s very good 70-210 F/4 for $120 (I did at least) except that that lens was made in 1986

      • 24.1.1) Dima
        December 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm

        Old but in stock.

    • 24.2) Drazen B.
      December 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      “Canon 70-200/4 is TWICE cheaper.”

      Not if you compare likes for likes. The existing Canon lens you shoudl compare this new Nikon 70-200 f/4 VRIII lens to is Canon 70-200 f/4 IS USM which actually retails for $100 more than Nikon variant.

      Canon 70-200 f/4 IS USM – suggeted retail – $1,499
      Nikon 70-200 f/4 VRIII – suggeted retail – $1,399

      Also, the new Nikon’s VRIII is supposed to add the benefit of an extra stop stabilization, so at least in theory a higher featured product than Canon’s f/4 IS USM lens.

  25. 25) Paul
    December 20, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Nissim, hello!
    I was interested to see you added to compare the lens Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR and also examined the effect of the lens with DX-camera (Nikon D7000).
    Thanks in advance. Paul .

  26. December 21, 2012 at 3:41 am

    The 70-200 f2.8 has been selling for $400 off lately. Either retailers who stocked up on the f2.8s think a lot of buyers will go for the f4 and they’re moving stock, or Nikon will revamp the f2.8 with VR3 and bump the price up $500 in the process. That would make sense to me because there’s only $500 between the two right now.

  27. 27) Joe
    December 21, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Does the lens can be used with the AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III?

  28. 28) Ric
    December 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm


  29. 29) Braden
    December 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Well this seems like great news Nasim, thank you for your initial thoughts on the lens. I appreciate the time you take out of your day to help others through this website. Coupled with some other early reviews by Camera labs here and the lens seems to be performing just wonderfully.

    I actually am probably going to be ordering mine within the next week. I was initially going to wait for your final review but I feel confident that the lens will match and probably exceed my expectations. Very excited to add a tele-zoom to my kit (so far just an 18-55 F/3.5-5.6G VR and 35 F/1.8G). It also seems that the prices (at least here in Canada) are coming down to an even more affordable price point

    Just wanted to share some thoughts. Happy holidays everyone.

  30. December 22, 2012 at 10:44 am

    More good impressions on this lens to report. Just did a studio session yesterday, and shot this lens between f/8 and f/10. Focusing was flawless and the images are as sharp as anything I’ve used. Between this lens and the 50/1.8G lens I was all set for any type of shot I sought to capture.

  31. December 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    This is horrible. just when I thought I was done with my lens collection.. something comes up like this… argh!!

  32. December 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    You can’t do without this lens. I was lucky enough to get a copy early on. I never owned the earlier f/2.8 version, but it beats just about every other lens in my stable. Of course it clobbers my Sigma 70-200 f/2.8. At f/4 and 70mm it’s at least the equal of my Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 at 70mm, and it edges out my Nikon 24-120 f/4. But the beautiful thing is that you actually can carry this lens on your camera without collapsing early in the day from fatigue. It’s the perfect companion for the D800, which is very fussy about its lenses.

  33. 33) Mirky
    December 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I just got the Nikon 70-200/4 a few days ago and I have a couple issues with it that I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced.

    1) Auto focus fails sometimes. It tries to focus and then stops while it is still way out of focus. Sometimes trying AF again will fix it, but sometimes I have to manually move the focus ring and try AF again to get it to work. I’ve tried it at both close and far distances with the 3m-inf switch off and on where appropriate.

    2) Comparing this lens to my Nikon 70-300mm VR, at 70mm and f/8 focused at the same point, the 70-200/4 has significantly softer corners on the foreground part of the image. I’m trying to figure out if this is a field curvature issue on one of the lenses, or if my copy of the 70-200/4 is soft.

    Not a huge deal to exchange it for another one and see if I get a better copy, but I’m curious if anyone else is having the same problems.

    • 33.1) Mirky
      December 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      I should clarify that by “foreground part of the image”, what I mean is that I’m shooting a simple test scene in my backyard, and the part of the lawn closest to the camera in the shot at 70mm and f/8 or f/11 is out of focus on the 70-200/4 but in focus (or at least a whole lot sharper) on the 70-300, and the lenses are focused on the same tree.

  34. December 26, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Mirky, you didn’t mention what camera you’re using with the lens. I’ve had this kind of problem with several lenses on my D3, but I’ve concluded the source of the problem is a lack of contrast in the focus target. I’ve never had the problem on my D800 — with any lens, including the 70-200 f/4.

    • 34.1) Mirky
      December 26, 2012 at 8:13 am


      I’m using a D800E. In the test I mentioned above, I’m not using a focus target. This was a test in my backyard with trees and lawn. Focused at the same point when zoomed in, and then set to 70mm and f/8 or f/11, the 70-300mm lens ha more of the foreground in focus than the 70-200/4, especially in the bottom corners (lawn). I haven’t done a proper focus target test yet, but a brief test with a focus target seemed to show that the 70-200/4 had great focus in all the corners at 70mm, so it might be that the 70-300 has field curvature bringing more of the foreground in focus, but I’m not sure yet.

  35. December 26, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Hi MIrky, That’s not good news. I wasn’t talking about a focus-testing target. I was talking about whatever point (target) I focus on. I normally use center focus with AF-ON only so I can frame after I focus. So far the D800 has been flawless in its focusing, including the left and right focus points.

    • 35.1) Mirky
      December 26, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Russ, yah I haven’t had any issues with focusing with the D800E or with this 70-200/4 lens. Focusing on the target isn’t the issue. It’s either a DOF issue (field curvature) or soft corners at 70mm. Hopefully I’ll have some time to test this more now that the holiday is over.

      • 35.1.1) Mirky
        December 26, 2012 at 8:33 am

        Oh also, I am doing what you’re doing — use the center AF point since it will be the most accurate, then reframe (if needed). Although in this particular test I just centered on a tree and AF’d on that and didn’t need to reframe.

  36. 36) Chris Harrison
    December 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Are there any size comparison images knocking around for this lens, i.e. next to the 70-300 VR, 70-200 2.8 VR etc?

    I couldn’t find any, which is odd as it’s surely one of the major selling points along with the price.

    • 36.1) Braden
      December 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      Hi Chris,

      Here is one photo for size difference

      I actually picked up my copy Boxing Day. I made sure to handle both the F4 and F2.8 on my D3100. With that being said the 2.8 felt like a monster! I feel much more comfortable with the weight, size and handling of the F4 version. However on an FX body I’m sure it balances better. I did test the autofocus speed on both and my observation was that both lenses were super snappy and quick to bring the frame in focus, the D3100 autofocus system here was probably the limiting factor.

      So far I have been very happy shooting with the 70-200 F4, very sharp, very contrasty and the VR works well. Money well spent in my opinion, and the prices are good here at least in Canada.

  37. 37) Mike
    December 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I have both the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 and the 70-200 f/4. I love both lenses but for different reasons. The 70-300 is a steal for the price and the 70-200 is just crystal sharp. At any of the shared focal lengths, I find the 70-200 to be the better lens, as it should be for the price. What I find interesting is the numbers being generated here using the Imatests. Nasim used a D800e and Photozone uses a D3x. I expected the numbers to be higher using a D800e provided the camera was not out resolving the lens. Photozone’s results for the 70-300 are here;

    The 70-300 appears to be the sharper lens if you just use numbers but that is not what I see with both lenses. Is there a better way to intrepid the results when both are using Imatests?

    • 37.1) Lex
      April 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      For me this proves that sample variation is not negligible on any lens you buy nowadays. I’m not a Leica addict nor do I own any Leica, but when I visited their factory in Germany in the late nineties as a Physics student, I was impressed when they told me that each and every component they source is measured and verified before it’s used in their assembly. Each sub-assy is then tested. And finally, as all brands do, the complete assembly is tested. This manufacturing process definitely reduced tolerance stackup and variation. But also makes Leica gear almost unaffordable for average hobbyists like me. For us the only way out is e.g. to compare three lenses at your dealer and pick out the best one.
      How’s the the sharpness at the 300mm end with your lens? On par with 200mm?

      • 37.1.1) Mike
        April 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm

        After reading up on the Imatests tests, you can’t compare lenses without using the same camera body. Thus the reason Photozone, always tests FX lenses with the D3x body. DxoMark, doing their own type tests, still tie the test results to a camera type body.

        As for comparing the 70-300 vs the 70-200 at the long end of both lenses, there is no comparison. The 70-200 is much much sharper. This is no surprise since the 70-300 is known to be best between 70-200 and falls off between 200-300.

        • Grimbot
          April 22, 2013 at 6:50 pm

          I had a Nikon 0-300 VR and it was a very good lens to 200 mm…..after that it was noticeably soft and I tried not to shoot at the longer focal length if I could help it. I bought the 70-200 f/4 VR and there is no comparison at all. This lens simply kills the 70-300 VR… I sold my copy and used the proceeds to buy a TC-17E II Nikon teleconverter.

          I have been using the TC-17E II with my 70-200 f/4 VR and have been extremely happy with it. The focus with my D600 is fast and accurate, and there is very little loss of IQ. I used this combination to shoot some hummingbirds and other birds during a recent trip to St. Lucia and I was able to get some great shots. This combination easily outperforms the 70-300 VR.

          The 70-200 f/4 VR is a fantastic lens for the money…..and pairing it up with an excellent body like the D600 produces stunning results.

          • KSPGM
            April 23, 2013 at 1:42 am

            I can agree totally with Grimbot. I am using the 70-200 f/4 with the x1.4 and x1.7 TC’s on both a D7100 and a V2+FT1. I can confirm his findings . . . so much so that I have sold my 70-200 f/2.8 VR (toooo heavy! and the one stop advantage does not seem so important with modern DSLR’s) and my 70-300 (also found the same result -sharp up to 200 then falling away). I have also owned in the past the 55-200, and 55-300.

            I would say that the 70-200/f4 + TC’s – coupled with a 16-85 on DX or 10-100 f/4 on CX, can replace all of the zooms in the 18-300 range. It is sharp thoughout, very colourful and contrasty, light enough and small enough to carry anywhere . . . only downside (as usual) is the cost relative to the others. But Nikon have produce a future classic here I feel.

  38. 38) Johan
    January 1, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I’m also really interested in this f4 lens. Unfortunately I’m not as cool as you other guys, using full frame. I’ve got a D7000, but still want this lens. Any thoughts from you, me using this on D7000?

    • 38.1) Mike
      January 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      You’ll love this lens and because DX only uses part of an FX lens. You’ll get the sharpest areas of the lens plus you’ll have an investment if you decide to move on to FX.

      BTY, nothing uncool about DX. I still use some DX lenses on my D800 and at times, I use the DX mode with my FX lenses.

      • 38.1.1) Johan
        January 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        Hi everyone.
        I went to my local dealer today, for some testing. Hmm…think i’m in love again. :)
        Tested the f4 against Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX OS HSM.
        The VR is completely marvelous. I handheld every shot in bad store light at 1/10s and they were all supersharp. Autofocus slightly faster than Sigma and quiet. Sharpness top class on my D7000, from edge to center using f/5.6-f11.
        Almost the same unfocus bokeh as the Sigma. I’m satisfied for portrait.
        Very little dist and CA, nice colors overall. And very little focus breathing, compared to Nikon 70-200 2.8.
        Nice feeling and lightweight. Good balance with D7000 + grip.

        Sure, i’m a happy amateur, not an expert lens tester.
        But i liked the Nikon lens a lot more than the Sigma.

        • Bitanphoto
          February 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

          Did you end up purchasing the 70-200 f/4 lens?

          In December when my 2nd body was a D7000 I shot a few sports events with this lens, alternating between D7000 and D700 bodies. It was fabulous on the D7000 body and I can barely recall a missed shot. And you’re right about the VR – it’s astounding.

          • Johan
            February 6, 2013 at 12:21 am

            Yes, i bought the lens and i’m still very satisfied.

      • 38.1.2) William
        January 6, 2013 at 3:22 am


        I’m also a D7000 user and am considering this lens… does it work well with the TC-14E II teleconverter?

  39. 39) Larry
    January 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I got this lens during just before Christmas. I am so impressed with the VR III. I can shoot (D7000) at 200mm at 1/10 handheld and got sharp images. unbelievable!

  40. January 4, 2013 at 7:19 am

    the lens is OK. base on the MTF chart.. I hope the chart is not from a 12 meg crop censor.

    • 40.1) Mike
      January 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Hmmmm, never read all that was said? Just looked at the charts? He used a D800e to test the lens. The lens is better then just OK. When all the reviews are said and done, it will probably be in the top five of Nikon’s zoom lenses.

  41. 41) Grimbot
    January 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    I just bought the 70-200 f/4 and the 16-35 f/4 to enhance my video capability with these constant aperture zooms. The VR on the 70-200 is simply incredible to help stabilize handheld video.

    I already own a Nikkor 70-300 which I originally bought for my D7000 as it was a ‘step above’ the DX alternatives and was still affordable for me, plus gave me the additional benefit from the 1.5 crop factor. Sharpness is good to about 200mm and it does get softer as I zoom out…but all in all a pretty affordable alternative when shooting nature with a crop sensor camera.

    I’m wondering if I should sell it and perhaps augment the 70-200 f/4 with a 1.7 or 2.0 Nikon teleconverter….and if that would give me better overall image quality when shooting at 340mm to 400mm in FX….and what the potential impact would be when using that combination with my D7000.

    Your insights are always appreciated.

  42. 42) Shabbir Hussain
    January 23, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Sir, I am going to buy Nikon D600 + new Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR with TC 20E III how this combination for birds and wild life photography.



    • 42.1) Sonny
      January 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Shabbir: I think the camera choice is Good for birds. But I personally would recommend a different lens/teleconverter combination. You could obtain the Nikon 300mm f/4 + TC 1.4 for cheaper. And this would take better pictures of birds. You would get 420mm at f/5.6 whereas the 70-200mm f/4 + TC 20E would cause you to loose two stops of light from f/4. Therefore: your autofocus performance would struggle when compared to the 300mm f/4 + TC 1.4 combination.

  43. 43) Preston
    January 24, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I’m anticipating your full review of this lens. I would very interested to know how it compares to the f2.8 VR II version, in term of build construction, handling, sharpness, bokeh, AF speed, AF accuracy, vignetting, distortion, chromatic aberration and etc. Before this lens comes out, I am saving to get the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II, but after this lens announce, and after reading your article, I wanna to see comparison between these 2 lens before I make my final decision. Whether it is justify to get the f/2.8 VR II or get this lighter f/4 VR version of 70-200mm.

  44. 44) Grimbot
    January 27, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Link will take you to a short test of the VR III function when shooting handheld video with the Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR. Video shot in 1080 at 24 fps with a Nikon D7000. Lens was set at 200mm for an equivalent field-of-view of 300mm. Footage is straight out of the D7000 with no adjustments what-so-ever. I was very surprised with how much of a difference that the VR III made….this lens will be excellent for folks needing a 70-200 to shoot video with a DSLR.

  45. 45) FrancoisR
    January 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm


    I just bought my tripod mount from eBay @ $25.59 free shipping. At that price, it’s worth trying…

  46. 46) Mark
    February 2, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Why does this test have so much better results compared to Cameralabs and Photozone?
    Because of your results, I bought the lens and did some tests myself. I myself came to the same conclusion as Photozone and Cameralabs… Namely that the 70-200VRII is the better of these 2. In the center it’s almost indistinguishable but in the corners and sides the VRII is much better.

    What was your test setup. and if your F4 is so much better, can I buy yours :-)


    • 46.1) Mark
      February 6, 2013 at 5:26 am

      I wish the original author of this pieve would shed a light on things.

    • 46.2) Mark
      February 6, 2013 at 5:26 am

      I wish the original author of this piece would shed a light on things.

  47. 47) Daniel
    February 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Check out the DXO Marks for this lens, it outperforms the VRII there as well!

  48. 48) Mark
    February 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    DXO Marks has no review/test for the VRII.

  49. 49) Binny
    February 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Ok how much longer until the full review?

  50. 50) FrancoisR
    February 21, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I’m just back home and the collar was in the mail. Unfortunatly I did not have it for the trip. It’s as good as it can get (for $26.00 or $200.00 lloll). It will be very useful on the monopod. I had the 70-200 F4 VR in the bag all the time and we shot a few pictures with it. As soon as I have done all my homework (shoveling the snow, sorting the clothes etc…), I will have a close look at the pictures. But one conclusion comes to mind right away. Even if it’s a lot lighter than the 2.8, it’s use is marginal compared to the 24-70’s (for us). A small 16-17 century city like Trinidad Cuba is much better seen at a wider angle. The combo 24-70G / D800 is like a magnifying glass on life and if given proper attention, will beat the h… of the 24-70L / 5D3 for details. I would compare it to a sniper rifle against an assault rifle. I had a few shots of a waterfall (w/D800) where my wife and some pretty chicas were bathing and they are jaw dropping (humm …). For every single composition on the D800, I have three ones on the 5D3 out of which at least one will fare pretty good (but wow the sensor on the D800). All in all, we’re getting to like our Nikon gear. But because of the AF, (IMHO) the D800 is terrible for videos while the 5D3 is just IT. Just point, AF-ON and shoot, perfect ALL the times. No tic a tic or anoying perpetual focussing.

  51. February 22, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Still hunting for a new telephoto for wedding work… the weight savings of the f4 really appeal to me considering the long days work, as does the (slightly?) better VR… but losing the speed and bokeh of the 2.8 really concerns me. Considering (roughly) the same price, what does everyone think about the Nikon F4 vs. say the Tamron 2.8 VC which just came out in the fall? Seems to be getting some pretty stellar reviews…

  52. 52) Grimbot
    March 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Here is a short video shot with a Nikon D600 with the Nikkor 70-200 f/r VR….hand-held in available light. No processing of any kind done to the raw footage. I found this combination produced quite good video with the 70-200 f/4 able to focus at very close distances of just over 3 feet. Unfortunately this was a very fast test that I was doing with my D600 (my second copy of same) after just getting it back from Nikon Service where it had been for almost 7 weeks. After a few dozen shutter actuations the oil/dust has returned…so back to Nikon it goes.

  53. 53) pj elbi
    March 11, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Hi Nasim,
    does this mean there will be soon a Nikkor AF-S 24-70 f/4 with Nano crystal coating?

  54. 54) Desmond
    May 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    I intending to get a 70-200mm lense but not quite sure whether to get the f4 or f2.8. Well, I heard many of my the professional said that the f2.8 is a one of the popular portrait lense and f4 is for landscape, does the above mentioned are true? Does f4 can consider as a portrait lense as well?

    Beside that, I am shooting more on landscape during my holiday trip with my 14-24mm and hence I going for 70-200mm lense is allow me to get the shots which its range is beyond that and also some candid/portrait shots. Any advise?

  55. 55) Nguyen
    August 23, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Hi Nasim , I have Nikon 28mm F1.8g and 85mm F1.4g . Should I get this 70-200 F4g or an old AFs 80-200 F2.8 ? And I cant afford the 2.8 VR2 !

    • 55.1) FrancoisR
      August 26, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Hello Nguyen,

      If I may answer to your question…

      I had the old 80-200 f2.8 and now own the 70-200 f4 VR and no contest the latter beats the 80-200. The VR III is great for videos. Okay it’s a slower lens but it’s versatility, optic qualities and light weight make up for that. I tried a TC 1.4 on it with surprising results (w/D800 body) making it a stabilised 280 5.6 . If you really need 2.8 aperture the 70-200 2.8 VRII is the best solution (IMHO). But it’s heavy, but it’s big, but it’s expensive….

  56. 56) Ravi
    June 5, 2014 at 2:06 am

    Hi Sir,

    I have recently bought a D610 Nikon with 24-120 f/4 vr . I am looking for another lens that can shoot the sky stars in night . please suggest

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