1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Nikon 70-200mm lens. F4 or F2.8?

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by DoubleCheese, 12 Sep 2013.

  1. DoubleCheese

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 26 Jun 2005

    Posts: 1,483

    I recently rented the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII lens for a trip to Rwanda and it was fantastic. I'm back to my 70-300 VR and unfortunately it doesn't come close. I've had some great images out of it, but the F2.8 is something else.

    So, I'm considering buying one but there's the F4 as well, which is significanly cheaper. Has anyone here got or used both to give a comparison and pros and cons of either?

    I'm going to try and test the F4 this weekend hopefully.

    Also, any good deals on these out there at the moment? I'm seeing £1579 for the F2.8 and £850 for the F4. Anything better or with cash back?
  2. D.P.


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 31,339

    The difference comes down to size, weight, cot and the 1 stop. Optically they are the same, painfully sharp.

    What I don't like about an f/4 zoom in that range is it is nt really very fast at all. I mean your 70-300mm over that range is not much slower and optically not too far behind up to 200mm. While the 2.8 makes for a very nice portrait lens at the shorter lengths and at 200mm is noticeably faster.

    The 2.8 when used ith a TC then because more versatile. With the f/4 version once you add a TC you might as well stick with the bare 70-300mm.
  3. James J


    Joined: 4 Dec 2002

    Posts: 14,518

    Location: Bristol

    Depends how much you need f2.8 as the f4 resolves an insane amount of detail and has the best be available. I've owned the f4 and have a few hundred good shots taken with it so far on my d600
  4. CGrieves

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 25 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,979

    Location: Sarf Lahndahn

    From a Canon perspective, I went with the f2.8 version. After playing with fast primes, I realised that f2.8, while the fastest available in that range, isn't actually particularly "fast" in the grand scheme of things, so it had to be the f2.8 for me. As I do a lot of low-light stuff, F4 would have held me back.

    You've used one, so you know if you can deal with the weight, I guess you know if you can afford it, so the real question is whether the f4 will be a photographic compromise for you or not.
  5. reygjabla

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 2 Mar 2009

    Posts: 1,653

    Location: London

    + 1 for F 2.8
  6. DoubleCheese

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 26 Jun 2005

    Posts: 1,483

    I thought the consensus would be to go for the F2.8. :)

    I don't trust that sort of money on the Bay so has has seen any good deals about?
  7. K.C. Leblanc


    Joined: 13 Sep 2003

    Posts: 8,145

    Location: Glocestershire

  8. Amp34


    Joined: 25 Jul 2005

    Posts: 28,867

    Location: Canada

    Buy a used one... Save a significant sum for no real negative.
  9. JBuk


    Joined: 28 Nov 2002

    Posts: 11,057

    Location: Cumbria

    Also consider that you may want to use a tc in the future, so it's better to have f2.8 imo
  10. sid-180


    Joined: 6 Nov 2009

    Posts: 553

    maybe consider Sigma 70-200 2.8 ex hsm os

    I picked up a grey import for £642.
    Last edited: 13 Sep 2013
  11. D.P.


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 31,339

    Also consider the first gen 70-200mm f/2.8 VRI, optically it is basically as sharp as the new one when used naked, the new one however holds up much better when using TCs.

    There are some internet myths that the old one had poor corner performance but that was really in the most extreme corners (the review on DPReview shows you that the old lens is superbly sharp right up to the last few mm of the extreme corners). Furthermore, the newer lens has a little more focus breathing so if you are shooting at closer distances backing the old lens off to 180mm will result in the same subject size and an even sharper image.

    Saying all of that, one nice thing about a 70-200mm f/2.8 is getting a 280mm f/4.0 out of it, in which case the new lens makes a little more sense.

    Lastly if budget comes an issue but you still want an f/2.8 lens consider the 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-D and AF-S. The AF-D is still sold new today but can be found commonly second hand - focus is very, very fast and very quiet for an AF-D design, I didn't really see a difference between my 70-200 AF-S and 80-200 AF-D!

    Optically both are pretty much as good as the latest 70-200.

    With the AF-D model you wont be able to autofous with a Nikon TC and similar degradation can be expected.