Nikon 70-200mm f4 vs 70-200 f2.8

ok, so i ordered the new Nikon 70-200mm f4 from amazon and compared it to my older 70-200mm 2.8 VR II.   the results were pretty clear and simple, the 2.8 is a sharper lens.

i put my nikon d800E on a tripod.  i set it to iso 1000 since i was inside, just one overhead light.

i set it to aperture priority at f4 so i could have as little depth of field as possible.

i was about 4 or 5 feet from the subject (a post office box)  i set both lenses to 200mm.

took the same picture with each camera and did not move the tripod.  just changed lenses right on the tripod.

first was the strangest observation, as you can see in the pictures the f4 gets up closer in the image.  i’m sure there is a logical reason for this, but it makes no sense to me.

for the purpose of comparison i cropped the 2.8 image in lightroom so it would be the same size for comparison of sharpness

this first image is the regular 2.8 at 200mm uncropped

f2.8 (1 of 1)


this second image is the f4 lens uncropped.  notice the strange difference in size when both were set at 200mm??

f4 (1 of 1)


this last image is the f2.8 that i cropped so i could compare them at the same visual size.

f2.8 (1 of 1)-2


there is no doubt from these pictures that the 2.8 is the sharper lens.

the 2.8 also focuses much faster even when it is set at f4.

so i was hoping that the f4 would be sharper since it does weigh alot less and is smaller, but alas i’m still going to be using the bigger heavier and sharper 2.8 and back to amazon goes the f4.

if anyone has any different results i would most definitly like to hear about it and i’ll be conducting a few more tests since i still have 3 weeks to return it…..

you can email me directly at if you have questions or if you know why they looked different when each was set at 200mm??



One thought on “Nikon 70-200mm f4 vs 70-200 f2.8

  1. Looks to me like the 2.8 is just handling the low ligh better, which should be expected, even with the same aperture. It would have been interesting to see if a lower shutter speed would have compensated. Some comparisons in outdoor light may have yielded differen results.

    The issue with the 2.8 not being as close is a known issue with tis lens. Many people were upset when they switched from vr1 to vr2 and found this focus breathing limitation.

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