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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    748

    Nikkor 70-300 VR 4.5-5.6 vs 70-200 2.8 - Optics

    Hey everyone

    Been ages since i've started a new thread here (or posted really either) but was after opinions.

    Bought myself a 70-300 VR 4.5-5.6 recently, got it relatively cheap and was going on holidays and decided I really wanted a greater focal length than 70mm. Before that I was quite keen on 70-200 being a big fan of the 24-70 f2.8 I currently own, the optics are simply brilliant in my opinion.

    Anyhow as someone who loves the optical quality of the 24-70 I am still considering getting the 70-200 and keeping the 70-300 just for travel photography (yes I have enough money to buy both...). But given that I already own the 70-300 now I wished to see what benefit others felt I would get buying a 70-200 as well?

    I primarily use the 70-300 in the 70-200 focal length range anyhow, at that focal length the majority of situations I use it is in outdoor environments so the low-light aspects aren't so vital (compared to the primes and 24-70 that I do use indoors).

    I also use the lens primarily stepped down, minimum f5.6 in most situations, but go to f4.5 where I want the shallower DOF. I do however quite like the DOF of f2.8 so this is a limitation I have to work with in the 70-300 but once again what I am shooting with it often benefits from f8-f11 anyhow so it is not so vital here either but would've been handy to have still.

    According to comparisons by Thom against the 70-200 VR(1) the AF speed in daylight between the two is quite similar, how are others experiences with this?

    Which leaves to the one remaining advantage I can think of, and its one of the reasons I love the 24-70, optics. Amazing detail / sharpness. The quality I can achieve with it is unmatched across any other zoom I own and so this is something that appeals to me, how do others feel the 70-300's optics compare to the 70-200 in this regard?
    Cameras: Nikon D300, Panasonic Lumix G2, LX3 & FZ20
    Nikkor Lenses: 24-70mm f2.8 - 70-300mm VRII f4.5-5.6 - 50mm f1.4 G - 35mm f1.8 G - 50mm f1.8 - 18-200mm VR f3.5-5.6
    Other Lenses: Tokina: 11-16mm f2.8, Sigma: 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 Macro, Lumix: 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 & 20mm f1.7
    Other: Nikon SB 600, Vivitar 1/2/4 Close-up Lens, Cokin Graduated ND Filter and more...
    Computers/Software: MacBookPro 2.8ghz, Dell Latitude D630, Lexar CF UDMA FW800 Reader, Nikon Capture NX 1+2, Adobe Lightroom 1+2+3

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,893
    People like the aforementioned Thom Hogan and Scott McNally regularly praise the 70-300VR as a great lightweight good light or travel lens. I've never seen anybody saying anything particularly bad about it so if you can afford it go for it.

    As a 70-200VR owner I doubt that I would buy one mainly because of the focal length overlap, I'd probably look at either a dedicated 300mm prime or something like a 200-400 zoom if I could afford either. If I just wanted a lightweight travel lens the 55-200VR would do me and save about Aus$800.00 over the 70-300VR cost.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Terra Australis Incognita
    Posts
    3,866
    I own both and intend to keep both.

    Until the 70-200, the 70-300 was my favourite lens but as you own one you'll know why I like it.

    The 70-200 is well worth getting as an extra option if you can afford it. It gives nice isolationist images and doesn't suffer from the funky bokeh you often get with the 70-300 (In used to mask and guassian blur it's shots quite often in PP). The colour it get's is great and images look good throughout the range - unlike the 70-300 which I never liked to open up if I could help it.

    I've got the older 70-200 and it's slower focussing than the 70-300.

    The 70-200 is darn heavy and so I don't carry it round just in case like I did the 70-300
    Last edited by Dread Pirate Roberts; 06-10-2010 at 06:01 PM.
    D800, D300, D90, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200VR f2.8, 300 F4, 105 micro, 16-85VR, 50mm 1.8, Tammy 90 macro, 70-300VR, SB900, 2xSB600, MB-D10, 055XPROB 322RC2. New computers to run photoshop faster. C&C always appreciated. PhotoGallery
    Pressing the shutter is the start of the process - Joe McNally ... Buying the body is the start of the process - Dread Pirate

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,929
    Quote Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Roberts View Post

    I've got the older 70-200 and it's slower focussing than the 70-300.
    Really? That really surprises me. I figured the 70-200 would be faster due to its f2.8.
    Jason

    "A coward dies a thousand deaths, a soldier dies but once."-2Pac


    A bunch of Nikon stuff!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,893
    Quote Originally Posted by jcon View Post
    Really? That really surprises me. I figured the 70-200 would be faster due to its f2.8.
    Thom Hogans take

    "Autofocus: just what you'd expect from an AF-S lens, though because the maximum aperture can be as high as f/5.6, you don't always get snappy performance in low light. But in bright light this lens focuses almost as fast and sure as the 70-200mm. Just don't expect that performance to hold up in low light. "

    Here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    748
    Thanks for all the comments so far!

    One thing I am still curious on though is aside from bokeh how does the sharpness / resolution of the lenses compare? (as this is one of the reasons I really like the 24-70 is that it seems the lens can outresolve what my D300 is even capable of capturing)
    Cameras: Nikon D300, Panasonic Lumix G2, LX3 & FZ20
    Nikkor Lenses: 24-70mm f2.8 - 70-300mm VRII f4.5-5.6 - 50mm f1.4 G - 35mm f1.8 G - 50mm f1.8 - 18-200mm VR f3.5-5.6
    Other Lenses: Tokina: 11-16mm f2.8, Sigma: 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 Macro, Lumix: 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 & 20mm f1.7
    Other: Nikon SB 600, Vivitar 1/2/4 Close-up Lens, Cokin Graduated ND Filter and more...
    Computers/Software: MacBookPro 2.8ghz, Dell Latitude D630, Lexar CF UDMA FW800 Reader, Nikon Capture NX 1+2, Adobe Lightroom 1+2+3

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Terra Australis Incognita
    Posts
    3,866
    the 70-200 is sharper
    D800, D300, D90, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200VR f2.8, 300 F4, 105 micro, 16-85VR, 50mm 1.8, Tammy 90 macro, 70-300VR, SB900, 2xSB600, MB-D10, 055XPROB 322RC2. New computers to run photoshop faster. C&C always appreciated. PhotoGallery
    Pressing the shutter is the start of the process - Joe McNally ... Buying the body is the start of the process - Dread Pirate

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