Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR vs Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II
How good is the sharpness of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR when compared to its predecessor, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II? Let’s take a look at each focal length individually and compare the two lenses side by side:
We can clearly see that the new 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR has better sharpness not just at the center of the frame, but also in the extreme edges. Once stopped down, the older 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II definitely shines, but still lacks quite a bit at the edges of the frame.
Zoomed in to 85mm, the new Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR continues to dominate. It produces much better sharpness throughout the frame and its center performance is remarkable at all apertures. Note how much worse the previous generation 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II is, especially at the edges of the frame.
The new Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR continues to impress at 105mm, showing superb wide open performance – there is simply no comparison here.
And at 135mm, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR is at its best, significantly surpassing its predecessor at every aperture from the center to the edges of the frame.
Lastly, at 200mm, we can see that the previous generation Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II performed slightly better wide open in the center of the frame. The mid-frame and the corners, however, are still lacking. Once stopped down to f/4 and smaller, the two lenses are comparable in the center of the frame, with the 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR outperforming its predecessor by a huge margin in the mid-frame and the edges.
If we summarize the results of this comparison, we can conclude that the new Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR sets a new benchmark in terms of overall sharpness performance.
Use with Teleconverters
As expected from the above sharpness numbers, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR performs very well with all three teleconverters. The Nikon TC-14E III teleconverter has very little impact on lens sharpness, so if you want to extend the reach of the lens to 98-280mm focal length, definitely add the 1.4x TC to your camera bag. The Nikon TC-17E II teleconverter works pretty well as well, as long as you use the latest generation Nikon DSLRs that can focus better in low light conditions. The 1.7x teleconverter results in a 119-340mm f/4.8 lens and once stopped down to f/5.6 can make another attractive combination with very good sharpness. The Nikon TC-20E III is a mixed bag (140-400mm f/5.6 resulting focal length) – stopping down to f/8 results in acceptable sharpness, but the lens will hunt in low-light conditions and might end up focusing inaccurately. So keep that in mind when using the lens with teleconverters. Overall, I would say that teleconverter performance with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR is pretty similar to what I experienced with its predecessor, with slightly better sharpness results.
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