New NIKKOR AF-S 70-200mm f/2,8E FL ED VR – first photos and emotions (01.12.2016)


Text and photos: Aivar Pihelgas

When I first had the chance to try out the new NIKKOR AF-S 70-200mm f/2,8E FL ED VR lens, I got seriously interested in comparing this lens to the previous model. Both of these products are currently available and since there is a remarkable difference in the price, I am sure that many of you are interested in whether the technological developments can be detected on the photos as well. In order not to overwhelm this text with long product names, let’s agree on naming NIKKOR AF-S 70-200mm f/2,8E FL ED VR as the new model and NIKKOR AF-S 70-200mm f/2,8G ED VR II is the previous model. The focal length of 70-200mm is one of my favourites; I thought that the features of the previous model (sharpness, brightness, colour transfer and bokeh) were so good that it would be very hard to overcome it. This new lens is universal because it can be used in different genres and situations – reportage, portrait, nature photography, indoors and outdoors. I am sure that different photographers, who do use this lens in different situations, have different opinions about it. That is why you should take this writing as the opinion of a photographer who used it for a week.

Learning the technological data, I realised that I am not dealing with an enhancement of the previous model –this new lens has a totally new construction. I am adding a table where the most important technological differences are brought out:


NIKKOR AF-S 70-200mm f/2,8G ED VR II

NIKKOR AF-S 70-200mm f/2,8E FL ED VR


f/2.8 - f/22

f/2.8 - f/22







Closest focusing






Lens’ construction

21 elements in 16 groups

22 elements in 18 groups

The new lens is lighter and that is why, it is better balanced with Nikon D5 and smaller cameras. -110 grams in the travel bag is not much but grams turn into kilos quickly. My affection towards the previous model cannot be underestimated. I practically loved everything about it. But still, this new lens was able to surprise me with even sharper image when shooting with open aperture and the soft area is even! When I shoot the bare branches against the sky, I usually find a little chromatic aberration (purple shadows behind the branches). With new lens, this is almost non-existent. The autofocus of the new lens is fast, quiet and very accurate. Shooting in a dim studio was a true pleasure, especially when pairing it with Nikon D5. Finding sharpness in the light of the pilot lamp used to be a problem. Now, it is a pleasure! I recommend trying it. Since the closest focusing has been brought 30 cm closer, this lens can successfully be used with close ups. Of course, it doesn’t replace macro lens but it gives new flexibility to the usability of the lens.

This lens is said to be sealed and splash and dustproof, and I must try this out during my next trip. I cannot say that the previous model would have sucked in the dust but to be honest, I take care of my equipment really well.

Yes, it turns out that good can be made even better! I was also able to find a few disadvantages and it is only fair to name these as well so that I would feel better. Its’ price is in correspondence with its quality. The zoom and focusing ring have new locations on the new lens. Muscle memory does its job. Instead of zooming, you turn down the sharpness... Since most lenses work differently, getting used to this new one probably takes longer than usual.

It is worth getting to know this lens.



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