Unveiled: Nikon Announces a Super-Tele Zoom, Fast Prime, and Adds VR to the 24-70mm f/2.8


Nikon’s newest additions to their line of professional FX-format lenses are sure to please a variety of photographers as all three lenses have very different applications. Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR is an update to one of their most popular zoom lenses with this version seeing the addition of Vibration Reduction to reduce the appearance of camera shake, providing up to 4 stops of compensation. Also new to the 24-70mm is the inclusion of an Aspherical Extra-Low Dispersion (ASP/ED) element which works with Aspherical, Extra-low Dispersion (ED), and High Refractive Index (HRI) elements to minimize flare, ghosting, coma, and aberrations to deliver sharp, high-contrast imagery. Additionally, it benefits from the implementation of an Electromagnetic aperture diaphragm, which ensures accuracy and consistency among exposures.

Completely new to Nikon’s lineup is the AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Lens, a new super telephoto zoom which adds 100mm on its long end compared to their existing 200-400mm f/4 lens. Vibration Reduction provides up to 4.5 stops of compensation, a welcome addition for shooting stills or video at long focal lengths while a dedicated Sports Mode is useful for camera pans often used when tracking fast-moving subjects. ED glass helps reduce glare, while a Silent Wave Motor powers fast, quiet autofocusing. This lens also features an Electromagnetic diaphragm, which will benefit high continuous shooting rates and shutter speeds, even when an optional teleconverter is in use.

Alongside these two zooms is the AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.8G ED lens, Nikon’s sixth addition to their FX-format f/1.8 line where it fits perfectly between the 20mm and 28mm.  It features Nano Crystal Coating to minimize flare and ghosting, Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass, and Aspherical (AS) elements to help reduce chromatic aberrations and contribute to sharp, high-contrast imagery.


In addition to the three lenses, Nikon is also releasing a host of accompanying accessories, most notably an 82mm Circular Polarizer II Filter, and an 82mm Neutral Color NC Filter for the 24-70mm, as well as a 95mm Circular Polarizer II Filter and a 95mm Neutral Color NC Filter for the 200-500mm lens.


It depends what you want for results.  For wildlife photography you will need a telephoto lens of some kind and probably in the 400mm range.  However, like all lens you get what you pay for.  Do you need/want VR, f2.8, zoom capability, 400mm, 500mm fixed, etc.?  I recently purchased the Nikon 80-400mm lens and it is fantastic.  I can zoom in during post processing and get incredible resolution down to the individual hairs on the feathers of a bird.  But this all comes at a big price and one that you may not want to pay.  Also you should consider the resolution capability of your camera.  You don't want to spend a lot on a high end lens if you have a mid range camera.  

I have a Nikon D610 and am looking for a lens, either a Nikkor or Tamron, to do some macro photography of botanicals.  What lens to you recommend that will work well with my D610?

I have always liked the 200 mm focal length for macro work because of the way you can control the background.

I also have the 105 mm VR and it works very well with tele-extenders so in effect you get multiple focal lengths with the 105 and one or more tele-extenders. It's what I would do considering Nkions current lens offerings.

Joan...One the best lenses for macro is the Nikkor 105mm micro.  I've been using the lens with a D7000, and I have been happy with the images I get. The Tamron is  a little less in price as is the Tokina ( another good choice).

I use the 200mm f/4 micro, it is so sharp and accurate that I suggest using mirror up with exposure delay. And use a tripod or have it locked down. I've seen people complain about this lens, but it's because they didn't do the above. I also got a super nice capture of the blue moon using this lens, with a teleconverter it will be fantastic for long shots. Just know you'll have to shoot a a pretty high f stop as the DOF is razor thin for macros at f/4.

Hi Joan,

Both the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 and 200mm f/4 macro lenses are lovely: I’ve enjoyed using both.  The Tamron f/2.8 macro lens would be another option, and is a solid macro lens.  Between all of these, though, I would personally lean towards the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR.  For botanicals, I think the 105mm would be a great focal length, and when given the option, I would go Nikon over Tamron.  While Tamron does have some lovely lenses, Nikon’s build quality is second to none.  I’m still using lenses that my father purchased in the 1970’s, to great result.   

Will the new Nikon 200-500 zoom telephoto work with my D5300?

Art, yes. The new AF-S 200-500mm is a perfect match with your D5300. Any AF-S lens is perfectly compatible. The equivalent focal length, of course, will be approximately 300-750mm on your D5300, due to the cropped framed sensor.

As Karl mentioned above, the new AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6 lens will be fully compatible with your D5300, this would include autofocus.

I currently have a Nikon D3100 series with an ED 18 to  55 mm (1.35  - 1.56 Gll; and a ED 55 to 200 mm lens (1:4 - 5.6G). 

My question follows:  what would your experts suggest for the novice photographer who would like to do some wild life photography and perhaps and occassional high quality portrait. 

PS:  I am quite new to the "Digital Age" as much of my photography experience is with SLR (Pentax and a variety of Takumar Lenses and filters including strobe flash.  Would appreciate any advice / suggestions.  Also I still have my old dark room setup and very much enjoy Black & White film and picture developement.  Thanks.


Ken H.

Hi Ken,

I loved my Pentax, Takumar lenses and spending a lot of time in my darkroom making B&W prints.  Welcome to the digital world, it smells better, even if we do like the smell of fixer in the morning. :)

Your D3100 is a great little camera.  I look at your question and at your camera and the world of wild life photography.  Unless you are blessed with excess cash I would think the logical lens for you is the 75-300 VR.  If you were able to hand hold the old Pentax at low shutter speed and get sharp photos you should still be able to hand hold the 75-300 VR.  This lens is fairly affordable and fairly sharp.  Anything longer than 300mm and you will most likely need a tripod.  Renting before you buy is a good way of finding out if this is really what you want.  

As for your high quality portrait lens.  The DX camera sensor gives the 50mm lens a 75mm equivelent on the 35mm negative.  So if you are on a budget consider the 50mm f1.8 AFS.   Great little lens for just over $200

Hi Ken - I also started with the D3100 before moving onto the d600 and d800, in fact still have and keep it as a handy point and shoot with thr 50mm 1.8 lens suggested by Stuart, a very good value lens.  I followed an upgrade path that sounds similar to what you are doing, bought the high quality full frame lenses first and using them with the d3100 before i could afford to upgrade camera bodies.  I specialize in equine, landscape and some other wildlife.  My favorite lens for horses is the 70-200 2.8, for subjects that you can a little closer to.  I am eyeing the new 200-500 for serious wildlife imqges, since the 70-200 sometimes just can't get the shot, too far.  A very handy inexpensive accessory that is extremely helpful is a monopod - even the cheap $20 ones work quite well.  A challenge when putting these very large lenses especially on a smaller body like the d3100 is that it can make a very unbalanced hard to handle unit.  The monopod can be attached to the lens base of those longer lenses and makes it easier to carry.  I find a monopod often bettervthan a tripod for some fast moving animal subjects since you can quickly swivel and move and yet still stabilize the camera for your shot.  Good luck!

1. 55-300 DX VR. It's not known for portraits but a very cost effective way to accomplish what you want for under $400. I have gotten great portrait and wildlife shots with this one.

2. 70-200 f2.8 VR. This is a classic that will work on full frame cams too. It's not cheap at 2400 but will serve you well for years.

I don’t know if my suggestions would differ too much in the ones already offered.  If you have the budget for it, one of the 70-200mm options on the market would be an excellent way to go for both portraits and wild life shots.  There are less expensive options than the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 from both Tamron and Sigma.

That being said, if you are just starting out with a limited budget, you might consider looking at the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G.  It’s an amazing little lens, and would be great for portraits.  If it’s in your budget, you might also look at the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G.  It is a truly fantastic lens, excellent for portraits, and likely the best value in terms of optical quality vs price found in Nikon’s lineup.

You could then look at a zoom lens with a bit more reach such as the Nikon AF-S 70-300mm or AF-S 55-300mm lenses.  The AF-S 70-300mm will have slightly better image quality, is faster, and as the advantage of being an FX format lens for later upgrades.  Though, the 55-300mm is a bit less expensive while still being a nice lens.