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Two serious issues in Nikon 70-200/2.8G VR II

It can take time and effort to ferret out real-world issues, which is why I ignore by-the-number tests as a waste of time for real-world shooting.

Update: the replacement sample avoids the ugly hot spot of the problem lens.

I have discovered a serious issue with the new Nikon 70-200/2.8G VR II (or perhaps it’s one issue with two unpleasant side effects). For the details, you’ll have to subscribe to DAP, then go to this page of the review. I think it’s peculiar to the 70-200, because I do not observe it with the Nikon 200mm f/2 VR.

I will say here that it involves a hot spot and color shift, and could be a very serious issue for some users, perhaps the most troublesome lens fault I’ve seen in a long time, and one that affects a critical usage scenario: wide open at 200mm. I observed the problem in a variety of different field shots.

It’s always possible that it’s something peculiar to my particular sample, but I won’t know that until I get another copy.

Update — To be clear, I have no hesitation about use of the lens at f/4 and smaller apertures, and the problem might also be limited to specific conditions eg the long end at far distances. For that matter, I would choose it in a heartbeat over the original 70-200mm. I have a second sample coming to determine if the hot spot occurs as a design flaw. No lens is perfect, even the Coastal Optics 60/4 UV-VIS-IR APO macro has an issue under specific circumstances. But my concern is that 200mm at f/2.8 is an oft-used setting for the 70-200/2.8G VR II.

I’ve also added a brief bokeh page to my 70-200/2.8G VR II review, where I show some ugly bokeh of the 70-200VR2 — it’s often very nice, but not always.

Nikon D3x + 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II @ f/2.8
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