Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR vs Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II
As I pointed out earlier in this review, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II suffers from a focus breathing issue, which made it a bit difficult for direct comparisons – I had to readjust the camera to test target distance every time I changed lenses and re-calibrate my setup. Here is what Imatest measured from both lenses at 70mm:
Without a doubt, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II is a great lens for resolving detail in the center. However, it is clear that it does not do nearly as well in the edges of the frame when compared to the newer 70-200mm f/4G VR. Only when stopped down to f/8 and smaller do the two lenses start looking similar.
Zooming in to 105mm, we can see that the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR does a bit worse in the center, but edges out the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II in the corners. Stopped down to f/5.6, it outperforms its bigger brother in the center, but not at the extreme edges. Both lenses perform similarly at f/8 and smaller though.
Finally, let’s take a look at the performance of both lenses at 200mm:
While the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR loses in center sharpness, its corner performance is very strong, even at the widest aperture. Stopped down to f/5.6 and smaller, the 70-200mm f/4G VR outperforms its bigger brother in the extreme edges.
As you can see from the above graphs, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR showed impressive performance when compared to the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II lens. At all focal lengths I tested, it either matched or exceeded the performance of its larger, heavier and much more expensive counterpart. The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II does provide more resolving power in the center at some apertures and focal lengths, but its sharpness is not uniform and the corners suffer more, especially at longer focal lengths.
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