The Nikon 70-200mm zoom lens is a bit of an oddball lens. For years, I loved the lens and used it all the time for a short telephoto lens and with teleconverters if I needed a little more reach but didn’t want to carry the weight of the bigger lenses. On my old digital cameras like the D100 and the D2X, this was a great lens. However, if you put the lens on the newer cameras like the D3, D3X, or the D700, it can be a little underwhelming, primarily in the corners. Here’s why…
Cameras like the D2X are crop cameras, meaning that the physical sensor is smaller than traditional 35mm film and therefore a smaller portion of the image circle produced by the lens is used to create the photograph. This increases the effective focal length of your lens by 1.5x. Nikon’s newer cameras like the D3 are full frame sensors and now use the entire image circle, just like back in the film days. Unfortunately, the edges of the image circle produced by the 70-200mm lens just aren’t as sharp as I’d like. This doesn’t mean I don’t use the lens, it just means that I ensure I don’t need critical sharpness in the corners if I’m using the lens on the D3.
Nikon has recently released a new version of this lens and this corner sharpness issue has been addressed. I have not used the lens or read any in depth reviews but this new lens may be the solution for a short telephoto zoom. I also know that a lot of people have started using one of the 70-300mm zooms as a replacement since it gives you a little more reach and is much less expensive.
Despite the issues that this lens has, it still is a valuable lens and one that lives in my bag. I have created some beautiful images with this lens and I particularly like photographing wildlife with it. Since it is a short telephoto, I can isolate the animal but still include some of the environment in the frame.