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Nikon 70-200 f4 upgrade?

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    TrailorSailor

    What is the consensus relative to upgrading from the Nikon 70-300 f4.5-5.6 VR II to the Nikon 70-200 f4 VR III? I am using the 70-300 with a D200 and D5000 and do not intend to upgrade to an FX format camera anytime soon. Is the improved IQ worth it? I've already switched to the 300mm f4 prime when I need a longer lens due to inadequate IQ of the 70-300 at its upper end. I also use a TC-14E II with my 300 f4 when I need a longer reach and can team the TC with the 70-200 to cover focal lengths between 200 and 280mm.

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    6 Feb 2013 - 6:57 PM

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    Nick_Hilton
    6 Feb 2013 - 7:11 PM

    Well it depends if you need F4 or and F2.8 version? The reviews say the F4 is very good but I would be tempted at a 2nd hand F2.8 model for the same price.

    LenShepherd
    LenShepherd e2 Member 62431 forum postsLenShepherd vcard United Kingdom
    6 Feb 2013 - 7:45 PM

    I think this is a good comparison of the pluses and minuses of each version of the lens
    http://www.naturescapes.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=226050
    Whether the f4 is an upgrade on you depends on your needs.
    As you have high quality options at 300 mm and longer this lens fits well. As it is newly launched it attracts a premium price. Ignoring the recent improvements of the UK pound against the yen within six months of launch it should drop to have rounded £920.

    TrailorSailor

    The E.J. Peiker Nikon 70-200x comparison article was quite helpful, far more to the point than others I have read. As a result I am leaning more toward the F4, although either lens would be a welcome upgrade. The deciding point reduces to new vs. 2nd hand and price. Is there any hope that the 70-200 F4 street price will drop anytime soon?

    Nick_Hilton
    6 Feb 2013 - 9:46 PM

    I would take a closer look at the ephotozine classifieds and the F2.8 version there.

    TrailorSailor
    6 Feb 2013 - 10:42 PM

    Thanks for the advice.

    LenShepherd
    LenShepherd e2 Member 62431 forum postsLenShepherd vcard United Kingdom
    7 Feb 2013 - 9:42 AM


    Quote: Is there any hope that the 70-200 F4 street price will drop anytime soon?

    This is difficult to predict. My guess is later rather than sooner
    The lens launched on Nikon's list at £60 more than the 16-35 and 24-120 which implies an eventual street price around £875-900.
    There seems little doubt Nikon UK would have taken a substantial financial hit with the Jessop's closure. Only Nikon's accountants know the exact figures but if we assume a loss of £500,000 and a Nikon UK net profit of 10% in an ideal world from Nikon's perspective it takes £5 million turnover to recover the debt. Because of this it is likely street price reductions will be later rather than sooner than if Jessop's had not ceased trading.
    On the other hand the pound has increased 20% against yen in the last six months. Importers absorb some of the highs and lows of currency fluctuations but nevertheless if the UK £ continues to rise we might see price productions around 15% on products that have been available for more than six months.
    To seven extent we are already seeing this with big reductions on the digital bodies and relatively few reductions on lenses. From Nikon perspective this is a smart move as most people who buy a new body go on to buy at least one new hopefully Nikon made lens.
    There does not seem to be any price competition from Canon and to some extent today Canon may even be moving in the opposite direction. This might be because Canon are very much into office equipment which towards the end of a long recession is unlikely to be making profits.

    Last Modified By LenShepherd at 7 Feb 2013 - 9:44 AM
    thewilliam
    7 Feb 2013 - 10:03 AM

    Many folk need lenses that are small and light rather than wide aperture. Now that I'm in my sixties, I just don't want to carry heavy equipment when I'm not working and there must be a lot of photographers who feel the same way. Many would be prepared to pay a premium for lenses that combined high performance and durability with low weight. We Nikon users can choose between the large and heavy Zeiss 21mm for best performance or the 20mm f3.5 for good performance with minimum weight.

    When Olympus introduced the OM1, it was accompanied by a range of lenses that was similarly small and light, to the delight of many photographers. Might this happen again?

    TrailorSailor
    16 Feb 2013 - 10:00 PM

    Since starting this thread I have spent significant time examining published Imatest data on both the 70-300 and the newer, faster 70-200 F4. I have found similar format data comparing the 70-300 mounted on the D200 and D3x, and the 70-200 mounted on the D3x and D7000. Both lenses appeared to give comparable sharpness on in terms of lw/pixel, relatively indepent of which camera was being used. Converting the data to effective lw/ph on either the D200 or D5000 indicates basically no upgrade advantage between 70 and 135mm other than less than one stop paster, and at most ~15% at 200mm. At this stage it seems I have more to gain by upgrading the camera than the lens.

    thewilliam
    17 Feb 2013 - 2:00 PM

    Many of the Nikon consumer lenses are very good by any standards and not just good value for money.

    Nikon can afford to sell consumer kit cheaply because they get an economy of scale. Not every user needs or wants the ruggedness of the professional series lenses because the premium price is in terms of weight as well as monetary.

    LenShepherd
    LenShepherd e2 Member 62431 forum postsLenShepherd vcard United Kingdom
    17 Feb 2013 - 9:09 PM


    Quote: At this stage it seems I have more to gain by upgrading the camera than the lens.

    Upgrading from 12MP to 24MP or 36MP will generally give you more extra image resolution than upgrading a lens.
    In your first post you said you did not intend to upgrade soon or to FX
    If you change your mind as of now Nikon have only the 12MP D300 with a similar build quality to your 10 MP D200 in DX format, though the just released 24 MP D5200 could be an interesting upgrade for your D5000 pending a likely D400 announcement.

    TrailorSailor
    18 Feb 2013 - 5:50 AM

    Thanks, all, for the advice.

    thewilliam
    18 Feb 2013 - 12:46 PM

    My first digital camera had just only 6 Megapixels and was followed by 12 and 24 Megapixel bodies. Each had the "normal" professional resolution and even the first was used to create 40 inch wide prints.

    Good results need a high quality lenses and good technique at every stage of the workflow. All the factors need to be in balance so improving just one will rarely give much overall improvement.

    TrailorSailor
    18 Feb 2013 - 4:04 PM


    Quote: My first digital camera had just only 6 Megapixels and was followed by 12 and 24 Megapixel bodies. Each had the "normal" professional resolution and even the first was used to create 40 inch wide prints.

    Good results need a high quality lenses and good technique at every stage of the workflow. All the factors need to be in balance so improving just one will rarely give much overall improvement.

    I started with 2 megapixels and am quite pleased with my results at 10 and 12 megapixels for almost all subjects, with up to 24 inch framed prints on the walls around the house. Retired, I now spend approximately half my time in Florida devoting a large part of my time there to photographing primarily birds. Away from the fishing docks, the birds do not stand and pose in the wild like I have experienced while birding in the Netherlands. As a result even at 420mm, the great majority of my bird photos require significant cropping in order to get the subject to the frame size I desire. With the 70-300 at 300mm, the resulting sharpness for the more significant crops was sufficient for 4x6 or 5x7 prints, but not for anything larger with any detail. Prior to purchasing the 300 F4, I had always assumed the relatively soft pictures were as a result of pixel count, and not the glass. When I began sharing photographs with members of the local Audubon society, the local experts in bird photography, I learned at the time I was limited more by the glass the the camera at that point. "Your shots deserve better glass." Hence the upgrade to the 300 F4. With that lens I have been amazed at the IQ improvement - color, contrast, sharpness - over what I had been able to achieve with the 70-300 at 300mm cropped. Even with the 300 F4 +TC, I am having to crop to where the resulting lw/ph are insufficient for anything much above 4x6 prints.

    I started this blog, hoping to achieve similar marked improvement over the 70-300 at shorter lengths with the 70-200 F4. However, after considering the advice in this thread and reviewing the technical specifics at some depth for both the 70-300 and 70-200, I've decided that there is more to be gained cost wise with a camera upgrade first. A camera upgrade would also allow me to take better advantage of the 300 F4, with or without TC, with more megapixels on the subject.

    Last Modified By TrailorSailor at 18 Feb 2013 - 4:13 PM
    TrailorSailor
    19 Feb 2013 - 2:46 AM

    Slight Correction: Most of my larger bird shots (osprey, hawks, eagles, etc.) generally require relatively minor cropping without loosing the level of detail I desire. I just can't seem to get close enough to the various local water fowl (grebes, merganzers, ducks, etc.) to get the picture compositions I want without significant cropping and the associated loss of sharpness and detail.

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