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Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 VRII review (testing VRII!!)

Recently I have got the chance to borrow a new 70-200 VRII for a try. Since this is a new lens, there aren’t many reviews about it yet, so I’d take this opportunity to share some of my thoughts about this lens. Do take note this article will not contains much technical aspects of the lens, you can get the spec here. Needless to say, image quality from corner to corner is much better compared to the VR I version.

What I was really interested was pushing the limit of the new VRII which Nikon claim to be able to support up to 4 amazing stops and i was even more intrigue by nikon’s recommendation to set VR to “Active” for in-car shooting. So i did a few trials. ๐Ÿ™‚

Shot taken with 1/60sec in-car with VR setting to “Active”. When you’re shooting in car, the shutter speed i can manage the shot varies alot depending on the road condition, but on a straight malaysian slightly bumpy roads, i still manage to get this shot at 1/60 sec shutter speed.

Take note that all the shots below do not have any photoshops, these are directly from camera, only photoshop done was to resizing, everything else is original shot.

1/60 sec at 70mm


Shot below is also 1/60 seconds at 120mm shot from inside a moving car on a malaysian slightly bumpy road. Most of the shots were able to nail it perfectly at a 1/60 shutter speed with VR set to Active.

An attempt at 1/30sec, the shake starts to appear. We can see some shakes in the image below yet again on a typical malaysian slightly bumpy road. ๐Ÿ™‚


and an attempt 1/60sec at 200mm,ย slight shakes kicks in.


As a conclusion, i can almost nail 3 shots out of 5 without handshake. But if you’re able to jack your ISO, getting a 1/100sec shutter speed, you almost can nail every shot without shakes.

Ok, enough with the in-car trying to shoot with a low shutter speed, lets take a look at static objects.

1/20 seconds at 200mm handheld.


yet another 1/20sec shot at 200mm handheld, very very mild shake.


a scenery shot from a high vantage point, 1/15sec at 80mm, for this shot, i had my hand leaning on wall for more stability.


a bad attempt to an even lower shutter speed, 1/13sec at 200mm handheld.


Bring it back up, ย 1/20sec at 200mm :).


Thats all folks for the sample shots i’d like to share. As a conclusion, the lowest shutter speed i could get down to handheld was 1/20 seconds. Cliff Mautner manages the shots down to 1/13 sec at 200mm, but i couldnt, i guess i have really shaky hands. ๐Ÿ™‚ But nikon claims the VRII is able to compensate up to 4 stops, if i were using 200mm, i should have 1/200sec, 4 stops below is 1/13 second, and i only managed around 3.6 stops! i have shaky hands! but then again, the lens is darn heavy to hold on.

Lastly, this is an awesome lens, its built like a tank, it is also weather and dust proof, having better IQ corner to corner compared to VR1, ย better vignette control and most importantly the VRII.

I personally love this lens and would definitely go for an upgrade. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy my small little review.

  • February 6, 2010 - 7:29 am

    Kong Chih Sang - For night scene,you cannot shot with hand hold method. You should use tripod. I have experienced on it, where VR mode must turn it off when you taking night scene. You know why? This is because the VR is trying to shift the image time to time. For slow shuttle speed exposure, the image is overlapping slowly,layer by layer, if the camera shake or VR mode on will cause the image overlapping in different position, so you get the picture burr and not sharp enough. Even you using tripod, if the tripod not rigid enough, slightly windy weather also cause the camera shaking.

    That is recommended to use small aperture, long exposure time for night scene, you will get amazing photo in the night. I prefer using 50mm/F1.8 lense to take night screen, where the photo very sharp and clear compare to my 60mm/F2.8 micro lens, 18-55mm/F3.5-5.6(VR) and 70-300mm/F4.5-5.6(VR) and also new brought Tamron 17-50mm/F2.8VR . Where I justify it on the incandescent light star, 50mm/F1.8 can give you very sharp star in night scene.

    I stop here, feel free to contact me or email. If you wish to taken photo with me just call my cell phone 012-465 8957.

  • February 6, 2010 - 9:04 pm

    Victor - Hi Kong,
    Thanks for your comments and inputs. In this test, i was interested to see if its really possible what nikon claim 2 things about, 1st VR active setting makes it possible for shooting in a car, 2nd, a 4 stop handheld shots, thats why i was handhelding always and did not use a tripod and crazily trying to shoot in a car. But you are right, night scenes are always best to use a tripod. ๐Ÿ™‚ My real night shots for that night are here.

    By the way,great series of photos you have on flickr. ๐Ÿ™‚ maybe someday we can have a shooting session together. ๐Ÿ˜€
    Thanks for dropping by.

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