Nikon AFS 200mm f/2 VR http://users.pandora.be/LVN/images/Nikon200mm.jpg I have both manual 200mm f/2 and AFS 200mm f/2 lenses. The new AFS version is a bit heavier but more compact than the manual version. The new hood (HK-31) is also very well designed, and altough it is not a carbon one I like it a lot. In my view a bit too heavy to handhold so I use it all the time on a monopod with VR active. I try to use this lens wide open all the time as that what it is designed for... When there is too much light I do not hesitate to put a neutral density filter in the therefore designed filter drawer (52mm thread). When used wide open the contrast is great and sharpness is never an issue, of course the narrow DOF contributes to the nice "bokeh" of this marvelous tool. The autofocus is lightning fast (AFS) and the image in the viewfinder is very bright (f/2) for a 200mm lens. I was already very happy with the "old" manual 200mm f/2 (ais) but this one is really great when used on a D2H (AFS+VR)
A new button has re-appeared on this lens: The "Memory Set" button witch allows you to come back to a pre-set focus point. I still have to play with that feature a bit to like or dis-like it.
What a lens! Thank for sharing your notes. If you don't have the time to make it an article, can you please send me all of them and I'll do the product review? A comparison between lens versions would be nice too. And since you have them all...
And, this is after you have drunk that whole bOttLe and tRyiNg to tAke picuTures? Good shot!
This last one seems to indicate that the Dynamic Focus (with VR) works well with a subject traveling directly towards the photgrapher with varying distance. I remember having focusing issues with my F5 some time ago trying to shoot the same type of scene with a peregrin falcon flying directly at me (in a zoo show) and I missed the shots. I was using my 70-200mm VR. But, I guess, the falcon's speed is quite a bit faster. The estimated speed of the falcon was around 50mph in that show as opposed to 60-70 mph in the wild.
It is not a pre-release item, but I must admit that there are not many around here neighter... My lens serial is 200183 I ordered it pretty much the day it was announced... plus I'm a good Nikonian with severe NAS
Beautiful environmental portrait of the guy in front of the train. But I am afraid the other comments are right, you DO have a severe case of NAS!
I am lucky enough to have JUST USED the new 200mm f2.0 VR AF-S Nikkor at a small-town high school football game in Texas last night (boring game, home team La Vernia won 47-6 over inter-county rival Floresville).
Anyway, the guy who owns the web site that I shoot for just bought a 200 2.0 from Canada about a month ago. He was out of town last night and let me borrow his new lens and D2H. I was quite impressed with it, though the photos are only so-so because of the HORRIBLE lighting at this small-town football field.
But I got started thinking that the darker-than-dark conditions I was shooting in last night are going to be this lens' top selling point. The lighting was so awful last night that had I not had the f2.0 option I would've had to pack up and go home after the first quarter of the game. By the start of the second quarter I was at 1600 ISO 320 shutter and f2.0. Granted, 200mm is not ideal focal length for football, but had I been out there with my own 300mm f2.8, then I would have had NO CHANCE to get useable action photos at 160/f2.8.
What strikes me as somewhat sad about all of this is that, while the 200/f2.0 delivers remarkably sharp and beautiful photos, I'll bet 80% of the photos taken with this lens will be like mine (just good enough to get by) because many will treat this lens as we do - a last resort when you simply MUST get a photo under horrible lighting. I honestly don't see much other reason for buying this lens. It is every bit as sharp and as fast as my 300mm f2.8, and faster than any 70/80-200mm. But it is so darned bulky (much "fatter" than a 300/2.8) and heavy that, even with VR, I wouldn't even consider hand-holding it. And if I'm going to use a lens exclusively on a monopod/tripod, then I'd rather have a 300mm or 400mm focal length anyway. So I wonder what place this lens will serve other than to take photos doomed to mediocrity because it is the only lens that can get even a mediocre shot out of a bad situation.
Food for thought. Would love to hear others' ideas.
Another truly great lens from Nikon, although I still think that I prefer the lighter and smaller MF version. I love his explanation of getting round the headache of having too many switches, buttons and options on the lens barrel..."I found a useful set-up for myself and then just glued the controls into a fixed position using epoxy glue..." - A simple solution, I guess, but it will of course I think degrade its second-hand value! Although I know that Bjørn tends not sell his entire favourite old lens stock and likes to keep them cluttering up his cupboards!
One important problem that keeps cropping up with the Nikon lenses tested in Bjørn's reviews is the almost completely inadequate tripod collars and mounts. The tripod mount on the AFS Nikkor 200 mm f/2 VR seems to be better than most, but it is sobering to see that Bjørn still has got his old electric drill out again to fit this lens with an even better and more stable tripod mounting.
Another important point that he makes in the review, is the lack of sharpness when trying to use this lens on a tripod with the VR switch to “ON”.
I would have liked to have seen some photos showing the actual true sharpness rendered by this lens (instead of just the photos showing soft moving water, or moving background leaves with pleasant 'bokeh') and maybe also some comparison photos taken with the older MF 200mm f/2 ED version, but it is a good review from someone who tends to 'tell it how it is' with all the positive and negatives attributes that can be found in even some of Nikon’s very best chunks of glass.
Interesting. As an owner of the MF version, I was alittle confused when I saw the placement of the tripod collar on the VR version. It would seem to me, with a professional body attached, the tripod foot is well forward of the center of gravity. This creates a stability issue as well as an issue with manual focus. With the MF version the tripod foot rests perfectly in my hand and the focus ring naturally falls between my finger tips. The foot is at, or near, the center of gravity, so the lens balances well and is relatively easy to hand hold.
This is the only drawback I can see to the new lens, but it is enough for me to wait until I can actually handle one before thinking about an upgrade.
The new VR lens balances every bit as good as the older MF 200/2. Do remember it's significantly shorter and the internal mass distribution is different, too. Nikon decided this lens for the professional bodies so for example with a D70, the balance is not equally optimal. Similar observations are found for the manual lens.
Using the 200VR hand-held is much easier than with the MF lens, and with VR engaged I have managed to get very sharp shots at 1/10 sec and with some additional support, at 1/5 sec.
Balans is a minor problem, considering what quality this beauty can provide, but I find the tripod foot not long enough and too close to the lens, preventing me to carry the lens the same way I carry my AFS 300mm f/2.8 and AFS 500mm f/4
Plus the center of gravity is NOT where the thread for the tripod is... (with the D2H). This is a bit ackward but like I said: This is realy a fantastic tool to work with.
I mounted a longer Wimberley "Arca Swiss" style plate in order to attach the lens to a monopod or to a sidekick just above the center of gravity.
Center of gravity easely determined by putting the lens with the body attached on a pencil on a desk.
Handholding is not an option for me, at least not longer than 5 minutes anyway. I choose to use the monopod with VR on.
It is nice to see some information about this interesting lens as well as some cool shots!!! Do you also maybe own the 200mm f/4 Macro lens as well??? I know that the new 200mm f/2 AF-S is not a macro lens, but how do the lenses compare, if at all??
Would you say that this might be okay for nature work???
I loved what this lens has done to the background in your pictures! Couldnt have asked for more. Am I jealous? You bet I am!! But then its useless to invest so much if other photographers wont even envy you
- I do not have the AF 200mm Micro, so I cannot compare with that one. - You could shoot wildlife but I guess it would be a little bit short, the quality is still acceptable with the TC-20E II converter though... - Background blur is the most appealing feature of this lens, I agree - Nas is not about jealousy, it is about using the finest equipment