Nikon 70-200 VR on film

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by LiamG, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. LiamG

    LiamG Member

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    Anyone used this lens (70-200 f/2.8 VR II) on a film body? From what I've heard, the general consensus is that these "optimized for digital" lenses are great for the 'more forgiving' film medium, but I'm not really convinced of this without some evidence. I was just trying one of these out at the local photo emporium, I really could use the AF speed, and was pretty impressed by the (fairly) light weight; still, I'm not so sure- my other options are the older models, or switching to Canon for the 135 f2/200 f2.8 combo. I really wish Nikon had some more prime choices, not just 'portrait' lenses... Any thoughts?
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I do that. I have the 70-200 VRII and F-100 combination.
    I also have a 105VR Macro.

    What would you like to know?
     
  3. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    My GF has that lens and I used it successfully on my N80 with no problems. Worked fine, no problems at all. :smile:
     
  4. LiamG

    LiamG Member

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    Good question. I don't really know- does it work, has anyone had problems?

    It's expensive, it's not really the lens I wanted, but alas, it probably the lens I need.
     
  5. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    The "optimised for digital" can mean a couple things. In the case of some lenses (Sony 50/1.4 vs Minolta 50/1.4), they changed the designs slightly so as to prevent inter-reflections between the rear element and the sensor, since a digital sensor is much more reflective than film and would cause a bright spot in the middle of the frame in some situations. So no problems there with film, the lens is just as sharp etc and the new design fixes a problem that film doesn't have.

    However, one particular Nikon 70-200/2.8 (I think) was infamous somewhere around 2005 or 2007(?) because a particular revision had the sharpness optimised in the centre (APS-C region) at the expense of sharpness in the rest of the (35mm) frame - this was before Nikon released any full-35mm digital bodies and expected to sell a lot more APS. Made a lot of people pretty angry, too, because the lens performs noticeably worse on any 35mm body (film or digital) compared to the previous revision. I assume with Nikon now selling a lot of high-end 35mm digital that they've released a fixed version since then and (not being a Nikonian) I don't even know which specific revision of the lens was bad. You'll have to ask on the Nikon forums.

    So: it depends.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I had absolutely zero problems either with digital or film body. It's fast. It's sharp. It's predictable. It's wonderful. When manufacturers say "optimized for digital", sometimes it's a marketing thing, and another time it sometimes mean there's pretty bad distortion which can be easily corrected on digital body but not on film. On this lens, distortion isn't a problem. I don't use it all that much but I have no regret in getting it.

    I'm not sure what your concern is, but if you can think of one, ask away....
     
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  7. Kaouthia

    Kaouthia Member

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    I don't use my 70-200mm f/2.8VR on the N90s, because you only get P and S mode on that body with G lenses. I have used my 300mm f/4 AF-S, 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor and 50mm f/1.8D AF lenses with it though. Anything that has an aperture ring, I'll happily use on any of my Nikons. My 300/105/50 also work on my Nikkormat FTn and FT-3 bodies (manual focus, obviously).

    Eventually I'll pick up an F100 or an F5, and I'd have no hesitation in using the 70-200mm f/2.8VR with it.
     
  8. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa Member

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    I used one for a while on my Nikon F5 and had no complaints. Fast auto focus and the VR was helpful.
     
  9. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    A correction there: there isn't such a thing as 35mm digital bodies. 35mm is a film width and, by extension, designates a film format.
    If you want, you can give the name that Nikon gives to that D format: FX format or full-frame 24mmx36mm.
     
  10. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    One other thing about "digital" lenses: digital sensors are a lot more sensitive to chromatic aberration than film is. Film captures colours atop one another; digital captures them beside each other, three different pixels being required to capture colour. That means a lens that may not have CA on film can have it on digital. Still, no harm in having it corrected because it will result in a little extra sharpness on film, too.

    That problematic 70-200 was the first-gen f/2.8 (note 70-200 not 80-200; the 80-200s are fine). I understand it was really only soft in the corners at the long end of its range and not so much at the short, but I've never shot it. Still, it seems wise to avoid that lens if you shoot film. On the other hand, the old 80-200s are magnificent on film. I shoot the first-gen AF version from the late '80s and aside from slower autofocus (and it's not bad, really), it's as good as any of them.
     
  11. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I had the first version 70-200 and now own the VR-II. The first version was not really all that great on either film or digi, they really blew it with that one. Aside from being a big a$$ lens, the VR-II just rocks on either medium, ├╝ber sharp!
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I shot with the first generation 70-200 VR also but I really didn't have any issues. I think the softness in corner "thing" is a bit blown up out of proportion in the true Internet fashion. Who really places important subject way in the corner anyway??

    I had to really think, if I ever had any "issues". The only concerns I ever had were two and they are quite minor. One, the way I hold my lens, I tended to turn the focusing ring and it being a full-time manual override lens, it can shift the perfect auto-focus out of focus. Two, it's quite handful to hand hold, and the tripod bracket (even if I remove the shoe) gets in the way.

    But really, it's a great lens.

    For portrait, I tend to use 105VR f/2.8 Macro more. It's also a heavy and chunky lens but much more suitable for hand-holding. Again, it's wonderfully sharp, fast, and predictable.

    What's your goal? You said it's probably the lens you "need".... how did you determine that? Do you have a chance to borrow or rent one? I did before I made my purchase.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2013
  13. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Exactly. I should probably keep my mouth shut since I haven't used either version of the lens in question, but I have a hard time believing the first gen is a dog. It isn't a DX lens; plenty of people were still shooting film when it was released, and it sold extremely well. I think people started complaining around the time the D3x came out which unfortunately made it possible to examine corners in an unprecedented, unhealthy way.

    Thom Hogan's review states that while the new version is indeed sharper, the focus breathing is much worse (paraphrasing).

    I agree with what others above have stated about how lenses behave differently on digital than on film. All of my old lenses perform better on film than on my D200 (which was/is notoriously picky), but I've never known the opposite to be true.
     
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  15. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    me! subject-centred composition gets boring pretty quickly and I often find that I compose an image with something sharp in a corner and framed in some way by a bunch of unfocused stuff. Particularly true when you have leading-lines going on.

    Sounds like the OP has the VR II version which is probably the good one. So nothing to worry about wrt image quality.

    The whingeing that I recall about this lens was in the D200 era so the only people who could tell that the lens had issues were film shooters. Given that they noticed problems, there's a good chance you may too...
     
  16. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Member

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    I have an F5 and 70-200 VRI that I plan to use this weekend for the first time. I'll post a few results next week.
     
  17. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    I have as many VR lens ask I can afford. I'm getting old and shaky! Nothing but a step up in all my Nikon glass (50mm & 60mm macro excluded).
     
  18. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I shoot a lot of compressed landscapes including aerials with the 70-200 and at 200 it was pretty bad in the corners, my $69 75-150 3.5 series E being a good bit better. Not what you want when you have a client paying $4,000 an hour for a helicopter charter...

    The VR-II crushes it in every regard, including VR...

    It still kills me to this day to walk by the ticket office of the ski area that is one of my top two clients and see a 25 foot wide overlay window mural of an awesome shot by yours truly with soft corners...
     
  19. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    Interesting post. It made me think how important it is to remember we're all taking photographs of different things, using different techniques, and we all have different end-purposes. Personally, I photograph solely for myself, I print small (I'm currently limited to 8x10), and I'm a huge fan of formal (symmetrical) composition. Even when things aren't symmetrical, I still naturally place the focal point in the middle, sort of like Eggleston (it took years, but I successfully managed to unlearn the rule of thirds that was drilled into my head in community college). I use a 15x loupe for viewing film, but a 25' wide mural easily beats that!
     
  20. LiamG

    LiamG Member

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    I'm shooting cycling sports, objects and people are flying. Lighting conditions are often far from ideal, only sometimes is flash okay. I want a focusing speed improvement over the 105 DC on the F5; I would ideally like an f/2 lens, but Nikon just doesn't make anything in the 100-180 range that is a fast (focusing) prime. The 85 1.8 I think is mostly too short, and the 200 f2 (besides costing >$5k) is mostly too long. I'm considering just sticking it out with the 105, I like what I get with it; I just wonder if I could get a shot at those "moments in between." I can rent a VR II and probably will this weekend.
     
  21. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    I've shot the 70-300 VRII on my F4, F5, N80 and N90 with no issues. Also, the 14-24 on the F5 just destroys my 17-35. just say that all of my newer lenses perfom very well on my film cameras.
     
  22. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    I'm pretty sure almost everyone here knew polyglot's meaning. And I'm certain he knew his meaning. :wink:
     
  23. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Good idea. It's an incredibly good lens. Focusing is very QUICK especially when you pre-focus it. If the focusing mechanism has to travel full distance, it can take a bit so when speed is absolutely critical, I typically have it focused in approximate distance. You can do this either by pointing to something and hit the focus button (shutter half way) or turn the focus ring. Then little bit of tweaking autofocus has to do is pretty much instantaneous.

    Your decision will likely come as finding out if this lens is suitable for you and your needs, rather than is there a "better" lens....
     
  24. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I agree, VRII is better. It's some meaningful amount sharper even in the center. I dunno, I must have had a "good copy" or something... I didn't particularly have any complaint about VRI either. VRII was better but VRI was good too.... Then again, I don't make mural size prints. At 11x14, it's perhaps a moot point.
     
  25. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I see differences at 11x14 as well. But yeah, a mural will tell all. Attached is one that is currently up, 10 feet high from a TMY-2 scan, F100, same lens....
     
  26. mweintraub

    mweintraub Subscriber

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    Like those "Digital Photo Albums" I see at the local camera shop. :blink: