I recently purchased this lens. The first one I had was not tack sharp in all zoom ranges. I tried micro adjustments but was not satisfied. I exchanged it after using it for a week and the new lens is stellar. I have a Nikon D500 and adjusted it to plus 2. It is just spectacular.
The zoom is very smoooth and I like the fact that I can autofocus from the push buttons on the lens. It adds to the stability when shooting images. I know some have complained about the zoom being on the end of the lens and the focus ring in the middle, but this doesn’t bother me. My Nikon 200-500 also has the zoom on the end of the lens. I do not even use the focus ring on this lens as the.Autofocus is superior to my own manual focus.
The lens has zero focus breathing and I like the fact that the lens moves internally and does not extend further as I zoom. It is tack sharp. I use it for shooting wildlife, sports and portraits of my new grandchild. I shoot at F 2.8 indoors and a shutter speed of 1/80 second. I am able to get extremely fine detail on the eyes. The eyelashes are well defined. The bokeh is superlative.
The contrast and color are just outstanding. Yesterday I shot my son-in-law’s softball game. The photos were beautiful. I shared the photos with him and he shared them with his teammates. They all marveled at the quality of the images. It was easy to use and effortlessly tracked very well with the D500’s autofocus system.
I have also shot photos of some herons that hang out in my neighborhood. They take to flight whenever you get close to the so I am well prepared for this. I shoot in manual settings at 1/2500 second at 5.6. The lens tracks very well and the eyes of the herons are so clear. The lens blurs the background well so that anyone viewing the imagss will look only at the birds. Incredible photos. Professional quality images. I will share a few below.
I borrowed my friend’s Tamron 70-200 G2 to test it. It shot very good stills and nice bokeh but it couldn’t match the performance of anything that iwas moving quickly. It just doesn’t track and focus as quickly. It might have just been his lens. I dont know. Frankly, the Nikon70-200 focuses so quickly that I don’t even see it hunting and changing focus. It’s instantaneous. I like the fact that I can lock out the range of focus to beyond 5 meters for shooting action, since I can never get close enough to the birds before they take off.
The lens is lighter than the Tamron and I noticed the extra weight. The other lens seems heavier in the front of the lens so it was harder to steady. The Tamron did have excellent VC but there was a bit of a delay before it stabilized. The Nikon instantly stabilized.
The only downside to the lens is that it is super expensive; twice the price of the new Tamron. But, the Nikon is much smoother. The zoom ring is effortless. I really wanted to buy the Tamron and save the extra $1500 but it didn’t compare in my opinion. I tried micro adjustments but there was such variation that when I adjusted at 200 mm, the lens was soft at 70. I did not have the Tamron tap-in system which might have corrected this. So I cannot comment on it.
The Nikon is sharp throughout and the minimal front focus adjustment I made allows for superlative image quality throughout the range of this lens. Also, the Nikon feels smoother and I believe that it will last longer. Just my opinion.
So this lens if for a professional or an enthusiast, like myself, that wants the best lens in this category.. The photos are so sharp that cropping the images to a reasonable extent do not degrade the image quality. I am really pleased with it thus far. The images are so good that my friends have suggested that I share them with others. They look professional. That’s all I needed to hear.
The Nikon lens is super quiet. I don’t even hear it when it is focusing. It’s just outstanding. Very pleased with this purchase. I did not consider the Nikon VR 2 in the same focal length. It’s about $600 less so I figured if I was going to spend that much, the extra cost didn’t seem to matter to me. It has some focus breathing issues which the new Nikon lens doesn’t not have, I didn’t care about spending the extra $600 bucks to get the new glass.