January 24, 2011

Nikon 70-210 f4 Review - A Nice Piece of Glass - Lightenupandshoot

A lot of sites review the latest gadgets and gear that supposedly will make you a better photographer.  I think it's time to do the opposite and review a great piece of glass from the past.   In 1986 Nikon released it's first AF telephoto zoom, the 70-210 f4.  The glass is just as beautiful today as it was back in 1986 and there are a few advantages of owning one of these gems.  Read more after the jump:

The 70-210 f4 has a constant f4 aperture, meaning that the f4 aperture remains constant even when zoomed out to 210mm.  In addition to the constant f4 aperture the 70-210 has fast autofocus, very little chromatic aberration, focusses closer than any other Nikon non-micro telephoto zoom, and as of Jan 2011 can be found for under $200.  If you are in the market for a fantastic telephoto zoom then consider the 70-210 f4 versus the new 70-200  2.8 VR (which is over $2,000 new).   Nothing against expensive glass and if you have the dough then be my guest to the latest gear,  but I have taken some wonderful images with this little beauty and I am not too concerned with being limited to f4.  A great piece of glass is a great piece of glass in my book!   Things to consider:  Nikon made the 70-210 f4 - 5.6 which has slower autofocus and different glass;  the quality is said to be considerably less, so be sure to make sure you know what you are buying.

The 70-210 is was also built like a tank;  really well made and hardly any barrel distortion.  Also,  I read a really funny review that said this lens has horrible lens flare and be sure to use a lens hood.  I am pleased when I can get some cool flare which is practically impossible on the newer lenses that have all that nano-coating jive!  Enjoy the video and feel free to comment if you have any questions.


  1. I have this lens for some time already and it is a nice one. Make sure you get one in good shape - mine is pretty beat up and it is not really sharp anymore.

  2. Iwan, what do you mean by not sharp anymore? Is there a problem with the lens? Mine is really beat up but I have no problems. See photos.

  3. The barrel itself is fine but rear lens element is in pretty bad shape - it has lots of tiny little scratches (tiny enough to be invisible on the picture that was on ebay) and the pictures I get aren't really sharp, like tack sharp, even at f8-f11.
    But I'm looking for another copy of this lens f4 @200mm for that little money is really great.

  4. You know what? I did a little testing with this lens... looks like I need to drink less coffee or use a monopod while shooting)) It is perfectly fine. It may be not 70-200 2000$ sharp, but it will do for me)

  5. I've bought this lens today!!! Hope, I'll Love it!