On Friday I got my hands on the brand new Nikon zoom lens; AFS Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G II ED. Yesterday I held a bird photography workshop, and didn't get the chance to get any shots with the new lens even though it was almost burning a hole in my backpack. Today however, I took it for a spin.
The 70-200mm has always been one of my favourite lenses for both wildlife and landscapes, and especially the combination of the two. Therefore I was very excited when I got the news of an updated version of this lens. I have been using the 14-24mm and the 24-70mm with great joy for a while and have thrilled by the quality produced by the ED glass elements and Nano Crystal Coating. Together with the two lenses mentioned above Nikon has now completed their selection of high quality lenses sufficiently answering the demands of FX digital cameras like the D3x and the new D3s.
According to Nikon the improvements include:
- Vibration reduction (VR II) equivalent to increases in shutter speed by four steps
- A new optical design utilizing seven ED glass elements
- Ghost and flare suppression with Nano Crystal Coat
- A Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for superior autofocus that is smooth and quiet
- Three focus modes built in: M, M/A, A/M
- Aperture diaphragm utilizing an odd number of rounded blades (nine) for natural blur characteristics
- Shooting at distances as close as 1.4 m throughout the entire zoom range
- High-quality exterior design
The shoot to day was rather short and didn't involve very challenging light or subjects. However, my first impression is that this lens is SHARP!
I shoot a couple of landscapes just to check the overall sharpness of the lens at the edges and it looks very good. The conditions were not perfect as there was some mist in the air, softening the scene, but the result was still very pleasing.
All these images were taken on a RedGed RTC-332 tripod, but according to the Nikon performens test the new Vibration Reduction (VRII) stabilisation technology provide me the ability to shoot at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would otherwise be possible!
Now I can't wait to test it on wildlife!
PS! Click images to see larges versions!