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Nikon updates 70-200mm, 18-200mm zoom lenses  
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | by Rob Galbraith
Improved optical performance headlines the new AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, while the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II travel lens gains a zoom lock.

AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

The AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR, which first shipped in 2003, has taken a bit of a thumping for producing photos on FX-format Nikons that have a crispy centre but mushy, vignetted corners. The new AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II is designed to better the optical capabilities of its predecessor through an all-new lens design that utilizes a healthy seven ED lens elements, up from five in the earlier model. It also incorporates Nikon VR II stabilization, which promises to enable shake-free handheld shooting at up to four full shutter speed steps slower than would otherwise be possible.

nikon_70_200_ii.jpg
Glass Eye: The AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II (Photo courtesy Nikon)

The 21-element lens also includes Silent Wave Motor technology, a rounded nine-blade diaphragm, ghost and flare reducing Nano Crystal Coat, internal focusing, a 77mm filter size and a close focus distance of 4.6ft (1.4m). Its barrel design is both a bit shorter and a bit beefier through the torso than the lens it replaces. It's a touch heavier too at about 3.4lb (1540g), vs 3.2lb (1470g) for the 2003 version.

The AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens is scheduled to ship in November 2009 at an expected street price of US$2399.95.

AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II

The earlier version of this lens, which a press release describes as Nikon's "all-time best-selling premium high-ratio zoom," is a dynamite part of a minimalist travel kit. We expect the new AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR II to be as compelling for pro shooters wanting to head out on vacation with a single lens in their bag, since the primary change in the new model is the addition of a zoom lock to prevent zoom creep.

nikon_18_200_ii.jpg
Creep-Free: The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR II (Photo courtesy Nikon)

The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR II is otherwise darned similar to the lens it replaces. It features a design comprised of 16 elements (including two ED and three aspherical), Silent Wave Motor autofocus, a seven-blade diaphragm, 72mm filter size, a close focus distance of 1.6ft (49cm) and a weight of 19.8oz (560g).

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR II lens is targeted for release in September 2009 at an expected street price of US$849.95 in the U.S.

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