Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

The 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR II Nikkor is a quality lens featuring Nikon’s Vibration Reduction II image stabilisation with normal and active modes. A Silent Wave Motor delivers fast and quiet autofocus, and minimum focus distance is 140cm. The lens is made up of 21 elements in 16 groups, and features a Nano Crystal Coating designed to reduce ghosting and flare. A focus range limiter ensures faster autofocus in situations where subjects are 5m or more away from the lens. Then there’s a rubber mount seal to help stop dust and moisture entering the camera body. This lens is only available with a Nikon mount.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

With clear controls on the left-hand side of the lens you can quickly change focusing modes, image stabilisation and limit focus range. An instant manual focus override (M/A) switch provides the best of autofocus and manual focus in a single setting. The focus ring sits towards the front of the lens and provides just the right amount of resistance when turning, and is very smooth. The zoom ring sits in the middle of the lens and is equally smooth with slightly less turning resistance than the focus ring.

The Nikon lens is a very able performer although is just behind its Canon and Sigma counterparts in terms of sharpness. Many Nikon users would not worry about this very slight deficiency, which is more than made up for by the superb handling. There’s a small amount of barrel distortion at 70mm, but at 200mm there’s no distortion at all.

PA verdict: Nikon has made a fantastic lens that handles like a well-tuned machine – fast, silent and reliable. Image quality is very good and can’t be faulted, although at many aperture settings it’s not quite as sharp as the Canon and Sigma 70-200mm lenses. This shouldn’t put you off if you’re a Nikon user if your budget stretches this far, but if you are looking for something more affordable then the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM is a great alternative.


  • Street price: £1799 (As of July 2016)
  • Mount availability: Nikon F
  • Image stabilisation: Yes – Normal & Active
  • Max. aperture: f/2.8
  • Min. aperture: f/22
  • Minimum focus distance: 140cm
  • Construction: 21 elements in 16 groups
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter thread: 77mm
  • Weight: 1540g
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This review was first published in the September 2012 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.