A 70-200mm zoom lens is an essential piece of equipment for professional photographers all over the world. With a quick and constant aperture, it offers great telephoto reach which is perfect for freezing the action with fast shutter speeds. It also helps deliver a tight depth of field.
Extremely versatile, the Nikon 70-200mm lens can be an ideal solution for a range of photography options that may include sports, wildlife, wedding, and portraiture photography.
Along with a Nikon full-frame camera body, a compatible 70-200mm lens can also be used on APS-C format cameras, which gives you more reach with some extra benefits like a pro-grade build, great handling, and excellent optical performance.
The only downsides to a 70-200mm lens are its size and weight. Typically weighing at around 1.5kg, it may not seem excessively heavy, but if you put it in a bag that contains a full-frame DSLR and some other camera accessories, the weight can significantly add up.
Big names in the camera industry such as Nikon, Sony, and others have been competing against each other as the 70-200mm has become a mainstay of the lens line-up. Sigma and Tamron have also joined the race and produced some amazing Nikon 70-200mm lenses. Let’s explore some of the best 70-200mm telephoto zoom lenses compatible with Nikon camera bodies.
1. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports (Overall Winner)
It’s more likely that pro-level Nikon photographers would remain loyal to Nikon’s own glass, but the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports may prove to be a great alternative as it offers excellent handling and imaging performance.
Featuring 24 elements in 22 groups, the optical design of this Sigma incorporates nine FLD elements and one SLD element. Its aperture consists of 11 diaphragm blades. The four-stop optical stabilizer can be switched between static and panning modes, with the latter working in portrait and landscape modes – even diagonally! As with many other Sigma lenses, you can switch on the dual Custom modes.
This lens offers amazing sharpness and contrast throughout the whole zoom range, even if you are shooting at f/2.8. Autofocus is powered by a ring-type ultrasonic motor which is fast and accurate. While its size and weight are larger than other competing lenses, there is no match for its performance.
This lens can be a brilliant choice for Nikon 70-200mm lenses. It’s weather-sealed and has a solid construction.
2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR features a state-of-the-art optical design with six Extra-low Dispersion elements, one High Refractive Index element, one fluorite element, and nano-structure coatings. The whole package is enclosed in a sturdy and weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, which is reasonably lightweight.
Its upgraded Vibration Reduction system includes a switchable Sport mode and up to four stops of vibration compensation. You will be able to apply the stabilization during exposures, which makes it easy for the photographer to track unpredictable subjects through the viewfinder.
An electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism provides aperture control, and you get outstanding sharpness and contrast throughout the range.
3. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR
The NIKKOR AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR is a relatively compact and lightweight Nikon 70-200mm lens. It features an aperture rating of f/4 rather than usual f/2.8, however, you get the advantage of a full internal zoom along with focus mechanisms. Also, the barrel of the lens doesn’t move at any focus or zoom setting.
This lens weighs only 850g, meaning you can fix it on a tripod or monopod without using a mount ring. Unlike Nikon’s f/2.8 lens, it doesn’t come with a completely weather-sealed magnesium barrel but has a weather-sealed mount. Although it’s been mostly built with plastic, it still feels tough and very well-designed.
Sharpness and contrast are impressively splendid, thanks to the three Extra-low Dispersion elements and a High Refractive Index element. Nano-structure coatings do an exceptional job minimizing the ghosting and flare, and color fringing remains negligible.
The stabilization system with up to four stops of compensation works well, and the handling of the lens is smooth. Overall, this Nikon 70-200mm lens is an incredible performer.
4. Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (Budget Winner)
The Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is slightly more compact and weighs almost 300g less than the Sigma above. Additionally, you get a tripod mount ring with an Arca-Swiss compatible foot that can be completely removed if needed.
The autofocus system provides a fast and accurate performance while the Vibration Compensation system offers three switchable modes and up to five stops of image correction. Refined optical construction ensures you get increased sharpness and contrast. It also effectively minimizes color fringing, ghosting, and flares.
This lens can be used in all weather conditions and fluorine coating is applied to its front element that keeps the water drops away.
Although image quality is not as sharp as you will get with the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 above or the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E below, it’s still quite impressive. Overall performance and handling are outstanding and the best part is that it’s being offered for only half the price compared to its Nikon rival.
Final Thoughts on Nikon 70-200mm Lenses
The Nikon 70-200mm lens is the most versatile lens that you will find on the market. It’s perfectly suitable for shooting anything you want. Whether you are going to cover a sports event, shoot mesmerizing landscapes, capture incredible moments at a wedding, or beautiful skies at night, a 70-200mm lens won’t disappoint.
Now that we have outlined some of the top 70-200mm lenses for your Nikon camera, it would be easier for you to make your final pick.