Author Topic: NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED - Version I or Version II Best??  (Read 384 times)

BruceSD

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I just purchased a used NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED  (version I).   

I have not yet shot it, but did just watch this YouTube interview where the photographer who has owned and used both versions (VR I, and VR II) said that the VR II version is clearly sharper and has better contrast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQBrrudHeAs&list=LL&index=2

I also had previously read that both versions have the same optics, and the image quality between the two versions is minimal.

For those of you who have shot both versions, what's your take on the image quality differences between these two versions?


Roland Vink

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Re: NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED - Version I or Version II Best??
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2022, 01:50:29 »
The newer version has Nano Crystal Coat on selected lens surfaces, and possibly improved multi-layer coatings elsewhere. In backlit situations the newer version should have better contrast and reduced ghosting and flare. Otherwise the performance - sharpness, bokeh, contrast and colour - should be very similar between the two versions. That's assuming the lenses are both clean. If one copy has a lot of dust, which is possible with an older well-used lens, then the dust may lower contrast and increase flare. Lower contrast can also reduce the perceived sharpness, even if the two lenses are recording the same amount of detail (note: I have not used either lens)

BruceSD

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Re: NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED - Version I or Version II Best??
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2022, 03:44:13 »
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Roland, thank you for taking the time to respond and sharing your expertise! 

Since making the original post, I have made a few images with this lens on my Z6.  Very happy with the results, and doubt that I'll every purchase the second version.

I did not realize that dust in older lenses can have such an adverse affect on image quality!   Fortunately, my new 200/2 lens, while being the older version, has less dust inside on its' optical glass than some brand new lenses that I have purchased.

I bought the lens for just $1,600 USD.  Along with the lens I received the original lens hood and original soft case.  Everything is in great shape and works perfectly EXCEPT for the auto focus.  The lens does not auto focus at all; but that is not a problem for me because I only shoot manual focus lenses. 

Birna had previously told me that both of the AF versions of this lens have better image quality and bokeh than the older manual focus version.  Given that, I figured that for the price of one of the older manual focus versions, I'd get myself one of the newer versions and just manual focus it.

Roland Vink

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Re: NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED - Version I or Version II Best??
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2022, 06:04:59 »
If you can imagine looking through a pair of glasses, a few specks of dust won't affect your viewing experience. If the lenses are quite dirty you will notice a loss of contrast and more glare when looking into the light. It's the same with photographic lenses :)

MILLIREHM

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Re: NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED - Version I or Version II Best??
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2022, 11:41:30 »
I am afraid, i have only used the VR II one of my best lenses and the right one for a "bokeholic". Given reports the VR I meets the same needs. of course I cant say anything about direct comparison and differences (and whether the obvious differences in construction are relevant). IIRC Birna has reported that the tripod mount was a very weak design in VRI and was improved in Versoin II. I have exchanged the tripod foot (impossible with the Collar as with all Nikon big glass) against a RRS-Plate and so far was satisfied with stability.

So enjoy your first shooting with this very special lens!
Wolfgang Rehm

Birna Rørslett

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Re: NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED - Version I or Version II Best??
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2022, 14:32:21 »
It is likely true the image quality of the VR2 is better than that of the VR1. Contrast is slightly higher and the corners a tad sharper. However, as the VR1 already delivers imagery on a stellar level, I would say the version is moot. Take whatever version you have, or can get at an acceptable price, and use it without any worries. OK, the tripod foot of VR1 is Nikonesque poorly designed and should be improved,  but again, most people would not complain(?). I decided after test shooting both version that I should keep the existing VR1 as the improvements were not commensurate with the extra expense incurred. And I had done my best to strengthen the tripod mount.

Making sure the manual focusing is smooth is paramount as sooner or later the AFS motor may fail and spare parts are unobtainable. I always use my 200/2 lenses in manual mode, which of course for the pre-AFS version is the only option there is :)

Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED - Version I or Version II Best??
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2022, 13:06:07 »
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I just purchased a used NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED  (version I).   

I have not yet shot it, but did just watch this YouTube interview where the photographer who has owned and used both versions (VR I, and VR II) said that the VR II version is clearly sharper and has better contrast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQBrrudHeAs&list=LL&index=2

I also had previously read that both versions have the same optics, and the image quality between the two versions is minimal.

For those of you who have shot both versions, what's your take on the image quality differences between these two versions?

I owned both, currently have the II version. The II has the nano-coating (original version does not) which increases contrast noticeably at f/2. By smaller apertures there doesn't seem to be much difference. It's not completely flare-free even with the new version's coatings but the image quality is really, really good at f/2.

The other differences include a less flexible, stiffer tripod mount so the lens, when mounted on a tripod doesn't stay vibrating (the old version had vibration issues on tripod). And the new version has the newer VR II technology, and an additional AF mode selection option which allows the user to select different priorities of MF vs. AF i.e. how easily a slight touch of the manual focus ring affects the lens focus when it is being used in autofocus.

I thought gettting rid of the vibrating tripod mount was a help, gave peace of mind with regards to the occasional use on tripod. Most of the time I do use it hand-held (for sports etc.). I thought the nano-coating in this lens (II version) also gave a significant improvement in wide open image quality.

One of my very favorite lenses, by the way. I later got also the AF-S VR 300/2.8 G II and while it's a nice lens, it doesn't feel quite as magical in terms of the resulting images or handling, which is more difficult than with the shorter lens.

BruceSD

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Re: NIKKOR AF-S 200mm f2G VR ED - Version I or Version II Best??
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2022, 20:19:31 »
Wow, handholding the infamous 200/2 lens, you're certainly a tougher photographer than I am.   I use a monopod instead.

I'm happy to have the earlier VR version because it's all that I could afford. 

Glad to hear the VR II version has even more magic in it.  If I hit the lottery and win lots of money in the future the first thing I'll buy is the new VR II version (in my dreams)...