Ken Rockwell reviews the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-20mm f/4.0 G ED VR Lens: It works great! It's about time Nikon made some reasonable tele zooms for digital, instead of just the f/2.8 pigs from back before we had today's hyper ISOs.

sharper than Nikon's 24-70/2.8 and about the same as Nikon's 70-200/2.8 VR II

A few notes: Ken tested this lens mounted on a Nikon D800E. Also, it is rather sad to see the 'Made in Japan" engraving go away from even high end Nikkor lenses, it kinda takes away some of the magic. 

"I don't bother with f/2.8 tele zooms when shooting digital. I use them only when shooting 35mm, otherwise, they're too heavy. f/2.8 lenses went out with 35mm film, which only went to about ISO 100 before it started looking ratty. With digital, f/4 and f/5.6 are more than fast enough. It's high time Nikon finally got with the program to make a practical tele zoom like this again so we don't have to hump the f/2.8 beasts.

If you want a Nikon tele zoom for FX, this is a great lens. If you worry about defocus blur, there is very little difference between f/4 and f/2.8; try it on your f/2.8 tele and you'll see. If you really want great background blur, skip zooms and go straight to the 135mm f/2 DC or 200mm f/2 or 300mm f/2.8, as pro portraitists use (or the perfectly good 135mm f/2 AI-s for you bargain hunters). 70-200mm zooms are for news, sports and landscapes, not static portraiture.

I wouldn't bother with this new tele-only lens if you already own the 28-300mm VR, 18-200mm VR or 18-300mm VR. If you do own one of those other lenses and get this 70-200mm VR, do not carry both at the same time. See Assembling a System.

Personally, I'm not buying one of these simply because I prefer my 28-300mm VR for when I need a zoom. Nikon makes a zillion equivalent lenses because we all have different needs.

I value portability and utility over ultimate laboratory performance. If all I wanted to do was shoot test charts, this 70-200/4 is the way to go for you tripod and NEF guys — it's undefeated for sharpness."

Selected Items
Click to close the selection preview
Compare List
Teleconverters: Click to see the selected items
Click to Compare the selected items
Flashes: Click to see the selected items
Click to Compare the selected items
Lenses: Click to see the selected items
Click to Compare the selected items
Cameras: Click to see the selected items
Click to Compare the selected items