After many years of use it’s finally time to do my long-term owners review of the Nikon 70-200 F4 VR lens. As with all my reviews this is based on real world observations.
Nikon 70-200 F4 VR Lens Versatility
The Nikon 70-200 F4 VR has a lot of versatility and I’ve found it particularly useful for weddings, travel, portrait and general family photography.
Their are a few contenders in the 70-200 range, Nikon’s 70-200 F4 VR stands out because of its weight. At 850 grams, its almost half the weight of it’s F2.8 competition. Nikon’s 70-200 F2.8 comes in at 1,540g. Offers from Tamron and Sigma comes in at 1,470g and 1,430g.
When you are carrying and using your camera for extended periods, the importance of weight cannot be overstated. Whether its in your bag when travelling or around your neck when shooting. A heavy setup can affect your ability to take great images by robbing you of the desire!
Landscape and Travel Photography
It’s weight makes the Nikon 70-200 F4 VR a great choice for landscape photography. whilst we often think of wide-angle lenses for landscape, a good zoom has its place. It gives you the ability to isolate compositions and change the perspective of relative distances.
In landscape photography we often shoot at smaller apertures and so the F4 limitation over an F2.8 becomes irrelevant. We are often shooting at F5.6 or F8. Throw in a 690 gram weight saving and its easy to see why its a great choice.
Wedding photography is another area the Nikon 70-200 F4 VR excels. When you are shooting for 8 hours or more, weight becomes a hugely important factor. It is perfect when you are taking images of people enjoying themselves around the tables during the meal or reception. It’s relatively light weight means you can focus and hold, waiting for that expression or smile without getting fatigued.
The only place I’ve found 70-200 F4 VR lacking is in dimly lit indoor sports events. Here the extra stop of light from an F2.8 would come in useful. That said, with the incredible ISO range of modern cameras I’ve found this limitation has been becoming less of a factor. An F2.8 would give me faster shutter speeds for any given ISO, but I can live with it.
It’s good. Certainly good enough for a professionals bag. If you don’t believe me look at the likes of Dxo Mark and other websites which run scientific tests on image quality. Optically it is very good.
Nikon 70-200 F4 VR Build Quality and Handling
Build quality is very good. The lens feels solid and well made. No wobbles, creeks or problems. Its a serious lens for a serious photographer. It must be said that the Nikon 70-200 F4 VR isn’t weather sealed, so don’t go spilling a flask of coffee in your camera bag. That can get expensive as I found out to my cost with a £630 repair bill!
On handling, I had no issues with focus which I found to be quiet, quick and snappy. Focus consistency also appears to be good.
The Nikon 70-200 F4 VR is a versatile lens. It’s not just the range, all 70-200 do a similar job, its the low weight and high image quality which earns itself a place in my carry on luggage every time.
If I was shooting indoor sports professionally I’d opt for an F2.8 model, but for everything else, I’ll take the F4, the weight takes it. If you are really concerned about having the shallowest depth of field for portraits you can add a Nikon 85mm F1.8g for a sharper image with shallower depth of field and still save money!