Category Archives: Gear

Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.G AFS VR II first impressions

I received my new 70-200mm AFS VR II Zoom Nikkor lens last week from Roberts Imaging after being on the waiting list since day one. Here are my first impressions using the new lens.

General Handling
The new 70-200VR is slightly shorter and fatter than the VRI, but doesn’t seem too big.  In fact, I think it feels just right in the hand.  The MF ring is smaller, and this feature, combined with a new A/M AF mode, means that you’ll be unlikely to accidentally engage MF during AF usage by bumping the MF ring.  Gone are the AF activation buttons on the end of the lens barrel (I didn’t use those on my old VRI, anyway).  The tripod foot is the same as the original, and can be replaced with an Arca-Swiss foot from RRS or Kirk— I was able to use my old foot on the new lens.
More after the jump…

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New Nikon D3s, 85mm DX Micro announced

Well, it’s official.  The much-rumored Nikon D3s has now been announced, along with a new DX-format macro (micro) lens. 

The big news on the D3s is that the sensor has been tweaked to offer an in-spec ISO range of 200-12,800!  The Hi-range mode now goes to Hi-3, or the equivalent of ISO 102,400!  Of course, keep in mind that the “Hi” range in all Nikon DSLRs should be considered an “emergency” mode– good for low-res or black and white images when ANY shot is better than no shot at all.
Other cool features of the D3s:
  • HD (720p) movie mode
  • Integrated sensor cleaning (sonic)
  • “Quiet mode” release– I agree that the original D3 is pretty loud compared to other Nikon DSLRs
  • Expanded buffer supports 42 NEFs in continuous shooting
  • 1.2 (8MP) crop mode
  • Better battery life (4200 shots)

Also announced today is a new 85mm VR macro lens dedicated to DX shooters. The 85mm focal length is approximately equivalent to a 127mm angle of view on 35mm cameras, so this new lens is not a 105mm replacement for DX shooters. However, the lens has VR II image stabilization. Because it is a DX lens, it will not cover the full-frame FX format unless you use cropped mode on a D3/D700.
Editorial commentary after the jump.

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