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Nikon’s Newest Telephoto Zooms – Which one is right for you?

AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G VR IF-ED

AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G VR IF-ED

In the past year, Nikon have released two extraordinary lenses: the AF-S 70-200mm f/4G VR and the updated AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR. But which telephoto zoom is right for your needs? It is a question we are often asked and hopefully can shed some light on here.

Released at the end of 2012 just in time for Christmas, this small and mighty 70-200mm has changed day-to-day photography for many. Even those who already own the 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR have changed up for the newer lens, mainly because it is half the weight, more compact and performs outstandingly when it comes to performance above f/4.

If you are a wedding photographer or portrait photographer, or even sports photographer who likes the added depth-of-field and will occasionally need to use f/2.8 in a pinch, you should stick with the 70-200mm f/2.8G VR.

In contrast, the 70-200mm f/4G is ideal if you need a lens that outperforms any of the cheaper tele-zoom lenses, if you are looking for something to use to compliment your 24-70mm f/2.8G or 24-85mm VR, or even if you love hiking, walking, photographing flora and fauna on a day out but don’t want to carry a lens that is 1.5kg. It will still allow the use of the current Nikon teleconverters to add flexibility as well (although some bodies will struggle to focus at f/8 in anything less than bright daylight).

Generally the 70-200mm f/4G is a fantastic alternative if you don’t think you will often or ever need f/2.8, which is even more the case if you have a D7100, D800/E or D4, as the low-light capabilities of these cameras, coupled with the new lens’s VR III technology allow one to hand-hold two to three stops more than one would have thought possible.

The AF-S 70-200mm f/4G VR is in stock at Grays of Westminster and currently on special offer for £1,075.00

Nikon D4 with a 70-200mm f/4G AF-S Nikkor: 120mm, f4, 1250″, ISO 400

Nikon D4 with a 70-200mm f/4G AF-S Nikkor: 120mm, f4, 1250″, ISO 400

Crop of above image at 90%

Crop of above image at 90%

AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR IF-ED

AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR IF-ED

On many occasions prior to the release of this lens photographers were looking for something to take on safari, or to photograph wildlife or sports with without going to the weighty (on both camera bag and wallet) AF-S 200-400mm f/4G VR. Don’t let the variable aperture of this lens put you off, as what it lacks in aperture it makes up in quality.

Nikon have certainly upped the game on their newer lenses, and whereas the previous version of the 80-400mm was slow to focus, slightly clunky in design and quality fell off at the extremities, the newer version has covered most of these points. It’s still a large lens in the hand and weighs a little short of 1.6kg, but in comparison to the 200-400mm f/4 weight of 3.3kg it’s a welcome addition to any travelling photographer’s kit bag.

Another one of it’s beauties is that on the current range of pro and semi-pro Nikon cameras, the 1.4x and 1.7x teleconverters are useable, giving one up to an effective 680mm at the longest end. Although a 2x teleconverter is still absolutely useable, most of the high-resolution cameras are not the best performers above f/8 (due to diffraction), and the lens does slow down at f/9-11 in poor light.

Overall this is a good solution for those who don’t want the weight or expense of a 200-400mm VR, though dedicated professional wildlife and sports photographers would likely go that route, and understandably so.

The AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR is in stock at Grays of Westminster and currently on special offer for £2,239.00

Nikon D4 with a 80-400mm AF-S VR: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/250", ISO 400

Nikon D4 with a 80-400mm AF-S VR: 400mm, f/5.6, 1/250″, ISO 400

Crop of above image at 75%

Crop of above image at 75%

If you need any further assistance with choosing a lens or wish to place an order, please contact Grays of Westminster on: +44 (0)207 828 4925 or info@graysofwestminster.co.uk

Kindest Regards,
Becky

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