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Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR AF-S

First Impressions

Bald EagleI received the Nikon 70-200VR lens two days before I left for Homer, Alaska. Since I couldn't decide whether to take the 70-200VR or the 80-400VR, I ended up taking both of these lenses along with the 400f2.8 AF-S to photograph the Bald Eagles. As it turns out, the 80-400 never left the bag. The Nikon 70-200f2.8G VR AF-S lens is one sweet lens!

This was my second trip to photograph the eagles of Homer. And what an incredible trip it was! We had varying weather conditions every day that gave us many wonderful and unique opportunities to photograph the eagles. I came home with over 3,200 Bald Eagle images. The Nikon 70-200 lens enabled me to capture numerous flight shots that I might otherwise have missed with the 80-400. Why? The 70-200VR is a very well-balanced lens that is easy to handhold, focuses extremely fast and is tack sharp. I love this lens!

I set the VR to "On" and used the "Normal" mode. As you can see in the detail photo of the eagle below, the sharpness of this lens using proper handholding technique is excellent.

Bald Eagle in Flight

Bald Eagle
enlarged, detail view

Shooting Details: 1/ 1500s, at f/5.6 || E.Comp:0/6 || 140mm || WB: CLOUDY 0. || ISO: 280 || Tone: NORMAL || Sharp: NORMAL || Camera: NIKON D1H on: 2003:03:22 09:11:02 || Lexar Digital Media 512K WA || Handheld

Even though the Nikon 70-200 is slightly heavier than the Nikon 80-400, it is smaller in diameter and better balanced. The new tripod collar itself is not removable, but the tripod collar foot is removable. This makes it a joy to handhold. If you plan to use the 70-200 on a tripod, you'll be glad to know that the tripod collar is very secure and so very smooth when rotating the lens.

Will I sell the 80-400VR lens now that I have the 70-200VR lens? Most definitely. The 70-200VR is fast, can be combined with the 1.4 converter, is easy to hold and is tack sharp. It's everything I ask for and expect in a lens.

At nearly $1,700.00, the 70-200VR is not inexpensive. However, it is well worth the investment if you shoot any type of action where you need to handhold your lens or plan to shoot from your car or a boat. Whether it's photographing Bald Eagles in flight or White-tailed Deer running across a field, the Nikkor 70-200f2.8VR AF-S lens has earned an honored spot in camera bag. This is one heck of a fun lens to shoot with!


On another trip to Homer, we photographed Sea Otters and birds in and around Kachemak Bay. The 70-200VR performed superbly in the rocking boat when photographing these Red-faced Cormorants on the cliffs.

Red-faced Cormorants

Close-up of Red-faced Cormorant
enlarged, detail view - handheld from a rocking boat

1/ 125s, at f/5.6 || E.Comp:0 || 220mm || WB: CLOUDY 0. || ISO: 320 || Tone: NORMAL || Sharp: NORMAL || Camera: NIKON D1Hon: 2003:05:13 13:34:40 || Lexar Digital Media || Handheld || Active VR

Article & Photographs Copyright © 2003 Jan A. Allinder, All Rights Reserved