When photographing wildlife, you might not always have the freedom to move about as you please, and you may find yourself in situations with less than optimal lighting. In such scenarios, the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II allows you to adjust your focal length and shoot at a wide f/2.8 aperture while retaining crisp and sharp image quality. This lens’s ability to draw out the full imaging potential of the Nikon D850 also makes it a hit among D850 users. (Photo and report by Shannon Wild)
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II/ FL: 200mm/ Aperture-priority Auto (f/2.8, 1/1000 sec)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto
In addition to the flexibility of a zoom lens, I also find the wide f/2.8 aperture essential as I often work in low light environments such as forests and need a fast shutter speed to capture moving animals. In this shot, I photographed this Sambar Deer using an f/2.8 aperture to obtain a faster shutter speed without increasing ISO speed too much, as well as to defocus the background and creating a nice overall aesthetic.
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II/ FL: 400mm (with 2x AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-20E III)/ Aperture-priority Auto (f/5.6, 1/800 sec)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto
Whenever I need more than 200mm focal length, the 2x AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-20E III proves to be extremely handy. It effectively doubles my focal length while not adding on much weight to my set-up, making it easy to shoot handheld. While the maximum aperture is doubled to f/5.6, it is still enough to create a defocused background. The image quality also holds up exceptionally when shooting in backlit situations, such as in this photo of a Serpent Eagle.
The AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II is Nikon’s flagship telephoto zoom lens that offers many features in a relatively compact package. As I am constantly on the move filming documentaries and photographing wildlife, the last thing I would need is a lens that adds too much weight to my backpack. In that regard, the compact and lightweight AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II fits snugly in my backpack without slowing me down.
The ability to zoom allows me to vary my compositions depending on the kind of shot that I am aiming for – I can zoom out to 70mm when shooting animals that are closer to me, and zoom in to 200mm when they are further away. In addition, the Nano Crystal Coat helps to eliminate ghosting and flare when shooting against backlight, and the ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) Glass helps to eliminate most chromatic aberrations, resulting in top-notch image quality. The Vibration Reduction (VR) function and large f/2.8 aperture also allows me to obtain sharp and crisp images even in dimly-lit places.
Whenever I find myself needing more focal length, I turn to my trusty AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-20E III, which provides a 2x increase in focal length (equivalent to 140-400mm) while only adding an extra 330g to my setup. This is crucial for me as I usually prefer to shoot handheld, and a heavier lens would be harder to hold over long periods of time. Combined with the D850, I am able to capture spectacular wildlife shots at 45.7 megapixels with minimal loss in detail quality.
I’m glad that I picked the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II as my wildlife lens, and would highly recommend it to any D850 photographer looking for a versatile and lightweight telephoto lens.
ED lens elements
For more details, click: AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
Working as a wildlife photographer and cinematographer for the last 15 years, Shannon has always been passionate about wildlife and their conservation long before she started capturing wildlife with her camera. She travels across the globe to photograph her subjects, and is motivated to create images that ignite a sense of fascination and appreciation in the viewer, but more so to encourage involvement and responsibility in their preservation.