26th November 2010: Updated: Added resolution at f/4.0 shots.
NAS* is a terrible disease. One visit to the Nikon demo booth on a photo fair, and you just have to own Nikon’s Pro Tele Zoom, the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR II. I’ll have to auction off my Ebony SV45U2 large format camera in order to be able to afford it, but whatever. It gets too little use anyway.
There are lots and lots of reviews on this internet thingy, so I won’t try to add to that. Again, these will be my subjective impressions of working with a piece of gear and from looking at and editing the photos that come out of it.
The lens is 1.5 kilos heavy but well-balanced. The little D7000 body feels a bit like a rear cap to the lens. Just living up to it’s role: provides a sensor (a very good one, I might add!), a dark space in front of it and takes care of exposure. When I got the lens, I took off the tripod foot and attached that to my Leki Nordic Walking stick that doubles as a monopod. There’s a second tripod socket at the lens collar, I attached my Sun Sniper Steel & Bear strap there. This way, the combo was easy to carry on a hike over rugged and muddy terrain I did yesterday.
The lens is anything if not versatile. It will go from a far vista …
… to the medium long shot …
… to picking out nature details with shallow depth-of-field:
Sharpness, rendering and representation of tones are just gorgeous! This subject is boring, but look at the way the fern leaf is pictured. Again, all pictures are clickable for full-size JPEGS.
Here’s a photo that shows resolution at f/4.0, the industrial complex was framed at 135 mm.
The metadata are visible in these Apple Aperture screenshots. The photo was taken at dawn from a monopod, VR on at normal.
On the roof of the building at the left of the frame, one can just discern the foot railing. Can’t say I’m not impressed!
In use, the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR II leaves nothing to be desired. The VR II anti-shake works just fine. I never even once used the Leki monopod on my hike. I set Auto-ISO on the D7000 with ISO ranging from 100 to 6400 and a minimum shutter speed of 1/60 second. A mode auto, color-3d-matrix metering, AF-A with all focus points active, fire-and-forget. Except the results weren’t forgettable.
And it is rugged enough, too. When a hiking path turned into a river and I had to struggle out of a steep ravine whose sides logging machines had torn up, it got a bit muddy, but remained calm and carried on. This is a pro lens, after all!
* NAS: (Acronym) Nikon Acquisition Syndrome, an obsessive-compulsive disorder. A particularly virulent strain of GAS. Co-infection with CAS or LAS may render partial immunity, though that may wear off.