30 July 20098,412 views9 Comments

New Nikon 70-200mm & 18-200mm II

Hot on the heels of the D300s and D3000 announced recently are two new Nikkor lenses: a completely new 70-200mm f2.8 VR II and an updated 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 VR II. Both of the original versions are hugely popular – and any enhancements are bound to make their successors very tempting…

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f2.8 G ED VR II Lens

The Nikon 70-200mm VR II lens features a new optical design, aimed at producing sharp images even in the extreme corners of an image using a FX camera. The number of ED elements jumps from five in the original to seven in the new design, plus Nano Crystal coating has been added. These enchantments promise exceptional image quality.

The new Nikon 70-200mm mark II lens

The new Nikon 70-200mm mark II lens

The Vibration Reduction (VR II) system is capable of compensating for shutter speeds up to 4 f-stops slower than normal. As per previous Nikon VR lenses there are two modes – Normal and Active.

One area of interest are the autofocus tweaks:

The optical design has been completely re-mastered to meet the demands of today’s image sensors. It also works better at slow shutter speeds and is adapted to complement the latest autofocus technologies too. – Robert Cristina, Manager Professional Products at Nikon Europe

This quote suggests improved AF performance, presumably with the 51-point MultiCAM 3500 found in the D300/s, D700 and D3/x. The extended press release states the Silent Wave Motor (SWM) is designed to take advantage of 3D tracking, which is welcome news. The 70-200mm VR II features three focus modes – in addition to M (full manual) and M/A – there is a new A/M setting which allows you to give autofocus priority while holding the focus ring.

AF-S 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR II Specifications

  • 1.4m minimum focus distance (original was 1.5m)
  • 34 to 12 degree angle of view on FX cameras
  • 22 to 8 degree angle of view on DX cameras
  • 77mm filter thread
  • 87mm x 209mm diameter x length (original was 87mm x 215 mm)
  • 1540g weight (original was 1470g)
  • £1999 RRP

Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 G DX ED VR II Lens

The updated Nikon 18-200mm VR II lens has the same dimensions, weight and optical formula as its predecessor. This is no bad thing – the original is widely regarded as the best in its class. However the upgrade responds to customer feedback and improves certain functions: adding Super Integrated Coating, an improved zoom mechanism to prevent zoom creep, a zoom lock switch (+1 to the anti-zoom-creep battle), and finally Vibration Reduction II which is more effective at reducing camera shake.

The new Nikon 18-200mm mark II lens

The new Nikon 18-200mm mark II lens

The 11.1x zoom ratio and beautifully balanced form factor make it ideal for anyone on the move and travelling light. The latest modifications in the new 18-200 come as a result of valuable feedback from customers.– Robert Cristina, Manager Professional Products, Nikon Europe

Its refreshing Nikon have responded so well to customer feedback about zoom creep – the new focus mechanism and zoom lock will improve the usability and experience of using the lens.

AF-S 18-200mm f3.5-5.6G DX ED VR II Specifications

  • 0.5m minimum focus distance
  • 76 to 8 degree angle of view
  • 72mm filter thread
  • 77mm x 96.5mm (diameter x length)
  • 565g weight
  • £729.99 RRP
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  • http://www.talkurbex.co.uk Dave B

    Whilst a great walkabout lens, the old 18-200mm VR was a bit soft in places. Does anyone know if this lens has been enhanced in that aspect?


  • http://www.wexphotographic.com/ Oliver

    Hi Dave,

    The new Super Integrated Coating will reduce ghosting and flare, but in terms of sharpness it’ll probably be the same because the optics haven’t changed.

    Looking at the MTF curves for the new & old Nikon 18-200mm lenses seems to confirm this:

  • http://www.talkurbex.co.uk Dave B

    Oli, Hi

    Thought so, thanks for confirming – I wonder if its the lens or calibration, some people confirm a wonderfully sharp picture throughout the range.

    Thanks for the info

  • Richard c

    I have only just purchased the 70-200 f2.8 Mk 1 version for my D300, which is a cracking lens . Will I need to throw it away and get the Mk 2?

  • JG

    Hi Richard C

    I wouldn’t have thought so: dpreview.com reviewed the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR Mk. 1 (which I have, as do you.)

    They said that lens is superb for DX-size sensors, such as the D300, and I’ve certainly found it to be a stunning lens. The main reason Nikon are updating the lens is because it had problems on full-frame sensors. So until you get a D3, D3X, D700 or a subsequent Nikon full frame digital SLR you can stick with the lens you have.

    Good luck,


  • Colin

    Hi there, i have D40X with the standard 18-55 lens, i want to purchase the new 18-200mm mk2 lens, would the difference be noticable on the D40X?, as i am not to happy with the shots it takes at present.

    • http://www.wexphotographic.com/ Oliver

      Hi Colin,

      The Nikon 18-200mm (original) is a higher quality lens than the 18-55mm kit lens and the 18-200mm MkII will only improve on that. One consideration with any 18-200mm is that an 11x zoom is quite an ambitious design – so the optical quality will never be as high as a top end 3 / 5x zoom (like the 24-70mm f2.8) or prime lens.

      The 18-200mm is definitely a flexible option and higher quality than the 18-55mm, but a 50mm prime may be a good lens to compliment it when maximum quality is necessary.

  • Sam


    Cameralabs.com do a good comparison of the Nikon kit lenses here:


    Basically the normal kit lenses like the 18-55 and 18-105VR are fairly good optically but not as well built as the likes of the 16-85VR and 18-200VR lenses, although as stated above the longer the zoom ratio, the more compromises have to be taken. If you want to stay Nikon you have 3 options really (Something I’m deciding as I save up)…

    1:Keep your 18-55 and buy the 55-200VR. This is the cheapest option and actually the lightest to carry. Optically this combination is similar to the 18-200VR, slightly better at 200mm, but lacks the flexibilty, build quality and newer, more effective VR of the other options. Of course you can pick up the 55-200 for well under £300 and also use your filters for both lenses and the 35mm f1.8 too.

    2:Trade your 18-55 for the Nikon 16-85VR, then save for a 70-300VR. This option has the longest range of focal lengths (24-450mm 35mm eqiv’) and the best optical quality as both lenses are a bit better (We’re not talking night and day mind, just a bit sharper with less CA and distortion) at the same focal lengths than the other 2 options. This is also the most expensive and heavy/bulky option, but if you want to shoot indoors (24mm useful in tight spaces) at low light and shoot separately with a long lens for wildlife or whatever, this is an excellent option. You’ll need new 67mm filters and possibly a bigger camera bag though, as well as a spare £900!

    3:Trade your 18-55 for the 18-200VR I or II. This is the middle of the range option and has unique advantages. Cost wise it’s a big chunk of cash in one go, doesn’t give the range of option 2 but matches 1 and is better built than the cheaper 1st option. Optically it matches 1 but wont be quite up to the 16-300 twin lens kit, but unless you win the lottery and buy the 14-24/24-70/70-200 f2.8 Nikon pro lenses, you wont see a massive difference anyway. Size wise the 18-200 will actually be heavier than the 18-55 and 55-200 combined, but easier to handle as it’s all in one. The biggest advantage though is you wont need to change lenses, so it allows for more spontaneity and means you wont be exposing the sensor to dust very often. One thing to bear in mind too is the 16-85 wont replace a real wide angle lens like a Nikon 10-24mm or Sigma 10-20mm and as wildlife tends to be quick moving, faster glass (ie quicker shutter speed rather than VR+longger shutter speed) like Nikon’s 300mm f4 prime or Sigma’s 70-200 f2.8 (Only about £200 more than Nikon 70-300VR) may be better for wildlife and action.

    Personally I plan to trade my 18-55 for the 18-200 mark 2 for the flexibility, and get a 35mm 1.8, 60mm micro and Sigma 70-200 or 100-300 f2.8 for wildlife and action, but the choice comes down to what you need from your glass. I want a flexible walk around lens for general use with fast glass for specific purposes. You should also note that I’ve used my D40 and 18-55mm for 3 years now and I thought the kit lens was stopping me getting good shots early on only to find now that I’ve got some superb photos with the lens. None of the lenses I’ve mentioned will make you a better photographer, only practice and more practice! Good luck with whatever you decide on.


  • roshan.m.c

    i like nikon my faverit