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  1. #1

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    Nikon 70-200 VR on film

    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. #2

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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?
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3
    mhcfires's Avatar
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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.
    Michael Cienfuegos


    If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    What would you like to know?
    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. #5
    polyglot's Avatar
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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. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by LiamG View Post
    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.

    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....
    Last edited by tkamiya; 03-20-2013 at 11:49 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Corrected a typo
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  7. #7

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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. #8
    drkhalsa's Avatar
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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. #9
    Ricardo Miranda's Avatar
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    Nikon released any full-35mm digital bodies
    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.
    Fed 2, 4, 5
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    Olympus OM-1N, OM-2N, OM10, OMG
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  10. #10
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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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.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

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