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Conclusions

The Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 200mm f/4.0D IF-ED has some drawbacks, but image quality is very high both close up and at medium and far distances, and build quality is excellent (especially the robust tripod collar).

Will there be a “refresh” of this lens soon in 2010 or 2011? I suspect so, as a number of aspects are dated compared to Nikon’s current designs, and both the 60mm and 105mm designs have been refreshed. I expect that Nikon will use the same poorly designed tripod collar and lens foot approach found on its newer designs, a pity, but superior coatings and AF-S focusing would offer recompense. But excepting the lens coatings, it’s hard to see optical performance improving by much.

Sharpness

Excepting depth of field, there is little reason to stop down beyond f/5.6, with f/4 already providing very crisp results. Using f/11 shows a loss of contrast due to diffraction; optimal performance lies in the f/4 - f/8 range.

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Nikon 16-35/4 VR and 17-35/2.8 (not to scale)  
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