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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

Nikon 70-210 f4

Hey there, fellow photographers! Today I want to talk to you about one of my favourite lenses: the Nikon 70-210mm f4. This lens is a classic zoom lens that was introduced in 1986 and discontinued in 1994. You might be wondering: why would I use such an old lens on a modern full-frame camera? Well, let me tell you why this lens is still a great choice for many situations.


First of all, this lens is very sharp and contrasty, even wide open at f4. It has a nice bokeh and a smooth transition from in-focus to out-of-focus areas. It also has very low distortion and chromatic aberration, thanks to its 15 elements in 11 groups design. The lens coating is also very effective at reducing flare and ghosting.


Secondly, this lens is very versatile and useful for a variety of subjects and scenarios. You can use it for portraits, wildlife, sports, landscapes, and more. The focal range of 70-210mm covers a lot of ground, from medium telephoto to super telephoto. You can get close to your subject or compress the perspective for dramatic effects. The lens also has a macro mode that lets you focus as close as 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) at 210mm, giving you a magnification ratio of 1:3.9.


Thirdly, this lens is very affordable and easy to find. You can get one for around $100-$150 on eBay or other online platforms. That's a bargain for such a high-quality lens that can rival some of the newer and more expensive zoom lenses on the market. The lens is also very well-built and durable, with a metal barrel and mount. It feels solid and balanced in your hand.


Of course, this lens is not perfect and has some drawbacks. The main one is the autofocus speed and accuracy. This lens uses an older screw-drive autofocus system that relies on the camera's motor to drive the focus ring. This means that the autofocus is slower and louder than modern lenses with built-in motors. It also means that the autofocus performance depends on your camera's autofocus system. Some cameras may struggle to lock focus in low light or with fast-moving subjects. You may also experience some hunting or back-and-forth movement of the focus ring before achieving focus.


Another drawback is the weight and size of the lens. This lens is not light or compact by any means. It weighs 760 grams (1.7 pounds) and measures 149 mm (5.9 inches) in length when zoomed out to 70mm. When zoomed in to 210mm, it extends to 223 mm (8.8 inches) in length. That's a lot of lens to carry around and hold steady.


The last drawback is the lack of image stabilization or vibration reduction (VR). This lens does not have any built-in mechanism to counteract camera shake or movement. This means that you have to use a faster shutter speed or a tripod to avoid blurry images, especially at longer focal lengths.


So, is the Nikon 70-210mm f4 worth using on a full-frame camera? I would say yes if you are looking for a sharp, versatile, and affordable zoom lens that can handle many situations. However, you have to be aware of its limitations and work around them. You may also want to consider other options if you need faster or quieter autofocus, lighter or smaller size, or image stabilization.


I hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned something new about this oldie-but-goodie lens. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Thanks for reading!

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