Comparing the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 200mm f/2 Prime

A few years back, I rented the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and absolutely fell in love. The focus speed, stabilization, and sharpness of this lens are top-notch and make it a truly versatile, high-quality telephoto lens. For a while now, I have been drooling over Nikon's 200mm f/2G ED VR II prime, the type of lens dreams are made of. In this video, Matt Granger does a side-by-side comparison of the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 and the 200mm f/2. So, if you're a Nikon user thinking about getting your hands on either one of these, or just want to learn about a couple of great lenses, check out this video.

Granger goes over a variety of tests in the video, showing examples at different apertures from each lens. Ultimately, what Granger concludes is that while the 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II is still a great lens, the image quality, as well as the focus speed of the 200mm f/2G ED VR II is superior. The only problem is the 200mm f/2 is almost triple the price. So, the question is if it's worth it for you. For some photographers with specific needs, the 200mm f/2 might be a necessity, while for others, the 70-200mm f/2.8 will do much more than get the job done. For more details, check out Granger's video and let us know about any experience you have using either one of these lenses.  

[via ISO 1200]

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9 Comments

I only watched this because I had some time to kill while processing Canon RAW images. Seems like that 2.0 is pretty awesome, but do Nikon 70-200 owners ever really think "Man, this lens is just not sharp enough"?

I have both lenses and use both. The 70-200 is my bread and butter for most occasions but when I want to do a soft dreamy headshot, nothing compares to the 200 f2.

Henry Louey's picture

You mean it's as good as the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G?? :-P

Fritz Asuro's picture

Why so much hate for the Nikon 70-200 VRII? The lens produces sharp images (enough for me). I don't expect a zoom lens to outperform a prime one like the 200 f/2 anyway.
Does the 70-200 really that soft and make it not worth the money? I don't think so.

Michael Kormos's picture

*shudders* at the thought of shooting portraits at high noon.

Personally I don't understand these comparisons? How can you compare a zoom lens with a fixed prime lens? A prime is known to be (in most cases) sharper then a zoom based on the fact it has one focal length and less mechanical parts inside. Ok the max focal length is the same (200 v 200) but they really are different beasts completely. Why not compare two 200mm primes instead ?

Ben Perrin's picture

It's a fairly standard comparison to a common question. Lots of people ask "why should I buy the prime when a zoom does the same job". When you are first starting out it's hard to understand the differences and videos like this can make people see and understand the differences. If one is truly better than the other it may be worth the money. I don't think this video is aimed at people who have been in the business for a long time, it's more for the beginner.

Jason Radspinner's picture

Honestly, I was excited to watch this, mainly to see the focus breathing of the 70-200 compared against a true 200. Matt, of course, delivered, and compared the two at varying distances - that alone I think was worth making a video about.