This is a beautiful lens, it took only seconds shooting with it to fall in love with this new style. This lens fills out the Nikon FX f/2.8 lens trilogy, 14-24AFS, 24-70AFS and the 70-200AFS. You can’t find a sweeter trio but then, you’re paying for that. Is the 70-200VR2 sharper than the original? Is it the sharpest of all the 80-200s/70-200 series? Yes, no, maybe so, who cares. In my lonely opinion, the VR2 is a tad sharper than the previous version and of all the lenses, it’s the one I enjoy the most and that comes from its cosmetics and overall design. For my current work in the air, this lens is killer and that’s all the counts to me.
The VR2 replaces a lens that was thought of as being one of the best, that’s until the D3 was introduced. Then the vignetting problem appeared. While easily dealt with in post, that’s not the point. Does the new version take care of this problem? Ah, well, not completely. When shooting against a blue sky or snow field, setting Vignette Control in the D3x/s to High is required to deal with the vignetting. So was the problem completely curried, I don’t think so.
This will seem like a little thing, but I find it incredibly annoying about the new design, and that’s the shade. Oh, it stays on OK, that’s not the issue. The issue is Nikon rounded off the corners so standing it up like you see here isn’t possible in the real world, it will fall over. The first thing McNally told me about this lens was not sharpness, not AF performance but rather that the lens would fall over. When you’re in the habit of shooting, changing lenses and setting them down on their shade, this is annoying.
Using the Arca Swiss quick release system, you need to add a plate to the tripod foot that comes with the 70-200. RRS makes a replacement foot the LCF-10 that not only incorporates the quick release, but also weighs less so that’s a no-brainer. Now when shooting handheld, I remove the foot completely.
What about teleconverters? Personally, I rarely if ever use a teleconverter use them on the 70-200. That’s only because I have other lenses that provide that length while keeping the DOF I required. Oh, they work great on the lens and produce excellent results, it’s just not my style to use them on this particular lens.