Friday, November 18, 2016

Nikon 70-200/2.8E FL Review

I switched to Nikon in June and my first two lenses to pick up were in the 24-70/2.8E VR and the 14-24/2.8G. By early July, I had just bought a 70-200/2.8G VRII. Within less than a week, I came across the "reliable" rumor that a new 70-200/2.8 was coming by the end of the year. I promptly returned my 70-200/2.8G and spent the next four months renting a 70-200 when I needed one(which was often) and buying a 200/2G to pick up the slack. In hindsight, it would've been more cost beneficial to take the hit on selling a 70-200 than the money I spent renting and time spent AF tuning a lens each time I rented.

Nikon 70-200/2.8E FL
Fast forward to November 14th; I received the new 70-200/2.8E FL. Bogged down with a chest cold and a hole in my shooting schedule, I've been restricted to taking shots around the house and comparing to other images. Finally feeling better, I've had the chance to venture out and give the lens a test and trial.

I had a few reasons for waiting for the new release. I was so impressed by the speed increase of the 24-70 VR over the previous 24-70/G. Also, the overall sharpness of the newer 24-70 was significant enough that I had a hunch that this would be passed on to Nikon's newest 70-200/2.8 as well. Shooting primarily sports, sharpness and fast and accurate AF are paramount to me.

Was it worth the wait? So far... yes. Autofocus was good with the last version, but the new FL feels as snappy as the 24-70E. That's a great thing. Overall sharpness is improved too; to wasn't bad before, but it's better now. I've only gotten to shoot in less intensive environments that I'm used to, but the difference is already apparent.

Nikon 70-200/2.8E FL
Already, there's a mild uproar of the switching of placement of the zoom and focus rings compared to the previous version. I get that - people are used to a certain way of shooting and it feels funky. An hour of shooting and I was comfortable with a new way of holding and usage of the zoo and focus rings. The tripod foot actually works well for hand holding. I have the foot in the back of my palm and my fingers are free to adjust the zoom. I have a 200/2G and that requires a certain placement too, but we adapt to these things really quickly. That's done.

Sharpness? I still need to do a proper AF tuning with the lens and my D5 and D500, but just a few test shots, and it becomes clear that this is an incredibly sharp lens.'s Rick has already gone on record backing this up with the MTF charts to prove it.

The last complaint is the $2800 price. The previous 70-200/2.8G was $2400 when released in 2009. That translates to $2700 in 2016 US dollars. Sure, the price dropped down over the years since the release, as do most electronics. The bottom line is, if you need to fastest AF, the sharpest zoom wide open, and a lighter and shorter lens, an extra $100 is insignificant. If these aren't important to you, you can still find the previous version new, plus expect an increase of them in the second hand market, as well as the offerings by the 3rd party lens manufacturers. We have choices.

Nikon is keeping up with new technology and providing updates to their current line up (i.e. 70-200/2.8 E FL) and releasing new products (Nikon 19mm f4.0 E ED) to keep ahead of trends and the competition. New technology will trickle down the product lines and in a time of cameraphones taking a portion of the market, this is a good thing. Keep going...

Nikon 70mm-200mm/f2.8 E FL
Update: I've shot about 50 MLB games, and over that many college level sports with the 70-200/2.8E FL. I love this lens. The image quality rivals primes. The AF (auto focus) is even faster than the previous version. If you want the best 70-200/2.8, this is it. It's better than Canon or Sony's latest endevours. nIt does come at a price, but that's what you pay for across the board best in class.

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