Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S By Spencer Cox 57 CommentsLast Updated On July 16, 2021«1. Overview and Specifications2. Build Quality and Handling3. Optical Features4. Sharpness Comparisons5. Verdict6. More Sample Images7. Reader Comments»Table of ContentsOverview and SpecificationsBuild Quality and HandlingOptical FeaturesSharpness ComparisonsVerdictMore Sample ImagesReader Comments
I have a Z 70-200 2.8 that I just bought and the lens seems to be underexposing at F2.8. Is this normal or is this lens defective? At 2.8 the image is noticeably darker, perhaps by a 1/3 to 1/2 of a stop. Stopping down to F4 seems to clear up the problem, and there is consistency in exposure from F4 to F11.
Completed my Z trinity, with the purchase of the Z 70-200 f2.8 VR S, today. Actually I have a quartet with the 14-30, 24-70 f2.8S, 70-200 f2.8 VR S, and the 100-400 f4.5-5.6 VR S.
I asked a question regarding the Imatest scores of this lens vs the FL version below. Scanning through these comments I see that it’s the second time I asked. The first time was in November, but maybe you didn’t see it as it was buried down the page. Here is the question copied and pasted from my comment below:
Am I to understand that you tested the FL again for this review? The Imatest numbers for the FL are slightly different between your original review and this one. You also said in your original FL review that the first two samples of the lens had “all kinds of problems”. So, if you did retest the FL, was it a good copy? Thank you very much in advance.
Thank you for the review. I am an amateur with aspirations of taking better photos, dreaming of medium format quality. I am upgrading from a D7200 to a Z9 (when released) and shopping for a zoom lens… knowing I am going to have to pay up to get to that quality level. Your review really inspired confidence in my future purchase of this lens, specifically using a 2x converter, and it will be my next step now. Thank you again.
I use the E which I’ve found to be a major improvement over the VR II. It’s more reliable, the VR is much better, it doesn’t seem to struggle in any way with very cold weather, the controls are smoother and nicer, and it is much sharper at the 200mm end while improving slightly on other focal lengths too. It is, in short, the first time with a 70-200/70-210/80-200 type of lens that I’ve just been able to put it on the camera and forget about it and shoot.
But there are still a couple of deficiencies in the E design which are obviously cleared up with the S given this review. There’s some field curvature at the 70mm end; there is some focus breathing, opposite to the VR II in that it gets somewhat more telephoto as you focus closer instead of much wider; and the close-up performance beyond 150mm isn’t great.
What’s interesting is that optically, the front approximately eight elements in both lenses — the entry oculus and the zooming group, basically — are identical in form and spacing. But the back end — the focusing and VR groups — is significantly changed in the S.
You are looking st two lenses with different mounts and sensor distance from lens and are surprised about a difference close to the mount?
Dear Spencer, great review, I use this lens since Nov 2020 with a Z7 and full spectrum converted Z6. This lens also excels in astro even wide open and this says a lot about sharpness and contrast. There are virtually no blue or purple halo’s around stars, lacking coma / astigmatism, /LOCA it earns the APO mark. It is (close to) perfectly corrected for multiple abberations. This also shows off in daylight subjects. Next challenge for Nikon is to make a perfect 180 mm f2.8 optic while trying to use less than 10 glass elements.
Comparing this 70-200 at 70 km to the 24-70 mm f/2.8 at 70 km, well it isn’t even close. Sharpness is noticeably better. I have used it on a Z7 II with the 1.4 TC for larger shore birds and mammals. The detail is awesome. While it is a good portrait lens, I still prefer my 105mm f/1.4 adapted to my Z6. It is not quite as sharp, but the overall look, especially at 2.8 is more pleasing to me. Great review. Been waiting to see this.
Not sure why auto correct changed some mm to km.
That’s a relief. I was trying to visualize hand-holding a 70,000,000mm lens and having to send out scouts to find the tripod mount.
To completely not be technical because everyone else is… It is an awesome looking lens and I’m a Sony shooter! If, I picked gear because of looks instead of budget I would have gone with Nikon. Also, those function buttons have got to be sweet!
And last of all, your sample photos are amazing, great job Spencer!
Thank you, Clancy! The function buttons are a very nice touch. Hope you’re enjoying the Sony, too – that’s another great system (very few duds these days in full-frame mirrorless).
Where were the images taken? Really good stuff there!
As a Nikon digital shooter since the D80 I was a slow convert to mirrorless, my 500 PF is still firmly attached to my 850, that said, when I put this lens on my Z7 I sorted of wanted to be disappointed because of the weight, but its quickly winning its way into my standard shooting, I shot it yesterday vs the MC 105 (outdoor portraits) and the results of the zoom are fabulous, couldn’t tell when I switched lenses. Shot with both today, lotus blooms and dragonflies, and the zoom again stayed on the camera ~80 % of the shoot!
my 70-200 is a keeper!!!
Glad you’re enjoying it so much! It’s a really impressive lens. Sounds like you’re getting some great photos with it.