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Nikon AF-S 70-200 VR Lens Issues
April 2003
AF-S 70-200 VR Issues • AF-S 70-200 VR Issues (Continued) • AF-S 70-200 VR Summary

Nikon's successor to the AF-S 80-200, the AF-S 70-200G VR, is one of the hottest lenses you can buy. Detailed and sharp photos at lower shutter speeds have been posted on various photography forums, and in my opinion, they look great. I should say, they look great if you can get the lens to work...

The TC Issue

A few owners have already experience mechanical problems with the AF-S 70-200G VR, when using a TC (Teleconverter) with the lens. The type of TCs used with the AF-S 70-200G VR are both the newer "Type II" and older versions (don't have a "II" after the TC nomenclature).

The QC Issue

Some people say a lens for $1750.00 US dollars should have tight QC standards. I think Nikon does have strict standards, but unfortunately, when something so expensive has even a few problems, it raises questions. From what I have read, the glass is just fine and in excellent quality. It's the electronics that are giving DSLR owners headaches. So, let me say this again. Nikon makes excellent glass. However, it's the communication of the electronics with that glass, that is the problem.

Summary Of Problems

Below is a list of those who have purchased the AF-S 70-200, and have disclosed the problems they have had either through email to me, or through photography forums:

Name................. Experience
Duncan C
Lens 1: • AF worked (Store Demo) • VR worked (Store Demo)
Lens 2: • AF worked • VR did not work
Lens 3: • AF did not work • VR did not work

"I have many more problems when I try to use the TC than when I mount the lens directly to my D1x. Today, I could not get the lens + TC combo to autofocus at all (VR continued to work). The lens by itself also had problems with AF and spastic displays, but finally settled down and worked. I fear I am going to have to return this lens also, although I wonder if the TC is the root cause."

Steven B Forrest
1) First put on D1x and it was dead.
2) Noticed that there was just enough "play" on the lens for the CPU contacts to not connect.
3) The 70-200 VR lost all functionality "..especially when rotating the camera from horizontal to vertical, the lens occasionally lost it's connection again with the camera, and then once again, the lens refused to function."
4) Believes the "play" on the 70-200 VR is the reason for non-functionality.

"I can only say that it's an intermittent problem. Works most of the time with or without TC-20E II. Sometimes after I left the combo (D100 + 70-200mm) on a table for a while, the AF and VR won't work. Reset button, take the battery out, dismount the lens, will not help. It works as normal only after I mount other lens to my D100 or mount the dead VR lens to F5. There was one time when it works normal again with ease; I dismount and mount it back to my D100."

"I have had the lens for 2 weeks with one minor glitch. I use it primarily on my D1X. Haven't tried it yet on the F5. On one occation when turning the camera on, the lens was dead. I turned it off, removed then reinstalled the battery, and finally remounted the lens. It then worked fine. No problems since, although I haven't had the opportunity to use it very much the past week."

Darin Van Raes
"No problems to speak of. I have used with TC14EII and without and all functions work fine. Appears I have a winner!!"

Joe Jensen
"One time the lens didn't respond. I rotated [it sliding] on the mount and it worked fine. I then recalled that I had been rotating back and forth against the lens stop as I walked
the sideline. I use the TC-14EII most of the time."

Doug Hanks
"I've never had problems...since it says clearly on the 70-200mm VR box lid only to use TC-14/20 II I've never had any problems."

Joe Gruber
"Love my 70-200 VR. Not a single problem - love this lens - getting double the number of action shot 'keepers' than I had with the 80-400VR. It's my favorite lens!"

Oili Helenius
"Count me in to those who have not had problems. I have used my 70-200 VR with and without 14TCE II converter."

Kevin O'Neil
"I've been using one for two weeks now with both a TC14E and TC20E on an F5 and D100 without any problems."

Nick Reid
"1) The VR function is audible (this may be normal. It is much louder than my 80-400.
2) Some images sharp, others laughingly fuzzy with almost a double-print of the image visible when examined on a pixel level. Some of the worst images have occured at relatively fast shutter speeds (around a 1/400 sec) and some of the best at 1/15 or
1/30. Go figure. The malfunction seems to be intermittent and nothing I've been able to
invent has revealed the rhyme or reason to explain when the optics go beserk."

Al Btronics
"No problems, no converter."

Dave Harpe
"Over a month now with no problems (knock knock). I don't use a teleconverter
and that seems to be where the problems are occuring."

Joγo Salvador
"My second 70-200 Vr is perfect in every sense, although I will wait a bit more before I try it with the Af-s teleconverter due to the numerous complaints I have read about this combo."

"However, I am disapointed by the fact that my first sample of this lens had to be returned because one of its inner elements was flawed (after a few days I found a small but clearly visible indentation in the glass of an inner element - i.e. a bit of glass was simply missing!!). It was not evident in the pictures I made but it is something unnaceptable in a lens that sells by 2.300 Euro where I live and says
a lot about QC in Nikon these days."

John Albino
"I've had mine since March 6, and it works great. I've had zero problems with it -- I've used it on both a D100 and an F100, and even played with it some on an F4E. I've had the TC-14e II for a week, and they both work together so well that they make a natural complement. AF and VR remain fast and smooth on both the D100 and F100 using the TC-14e."

Gavin Cato
"Today AF + VR stopped working. Taking the lens off the camera and putting back on fixes it temporarily. There is actually a little bit of play (about half a mm) with the 70-200 on the lens mount that I didn't notice before. I put a few other lenses on and none of them have any play. bugger bugger bugger bugger"

Dirk Vermeirre

I just was reading the reactions from users with problems with the 70-200 VR lens and seeing that it happened with several Nikon bodies, I can add the Fuji S2 to that’s giving problems with that lens. Mine stopped working several times in the last weeks, and it wont focus anymore and I even can’t press the shutter. I also have the impression that the VR is not always working when I put it on ‘on’. Today I even had something new and not that funny, my lcd screen showed the message ‘FEE’, well well there even isn’t a ring for that. I don’t know what I have to do, I already missed really great shots because the lens suddenly stopped working. I’ve noticed that the only way in trying to push the shutter was by using the manual focussing ring. This lens is becoming a real nightmare.

With kind regards,

Dirk Vermeirre"

"Has anybody figured out the real reason behind 70-200 VR dying every once in a while? Is it poor workmanship or what? I'm really getting tired of this. it's otherwise a good lens but utterly unreliable. It looks like mine is dead for good now..." "...I wrote to Nikon Canada tech support myself, asking them when will they or their parent company address the issue with the lens publically, since there are quite a few customers that have issues with the lens and that are not happy with it, but they just closed my issue with them as resolved after my first contact with them..."

(USA - West Coast)
"Mine acted up last week-end also. Pulled it out of case to let another photog try it on his D-100 and he said it was not focusing.....oh shoot, not again. We tried it on both my D-100s and his F-100, same thing and sometimes this loud whirring noise. Camera on-off-batteries in-out-mount-remount. It finally started working. He really liked it as it focused much faster than his 80-400VR, but was not impressed with the antics. I guess we need to carry two of them to get one to work-not!!!

I just pulled it out to check-its dead again. No amount of fooling will get it to work. It is all fuzzy- it will occasionally focus lock and when you take the photo it is all blurry- I guess another 2-3 weeks and shipping charges to be without a $1500 PLUS lens. I agrree- this is getting VERY old. "

"I bought this lens on 5/24/03 from The Shutter Bug in Woodburn OR for 1712.00. They price matched another store and I was in that area, so I got it there. It first acted up in late July '03 at a wedding. It was fine when I set it up before ceremony on a second D-100 body and when I picked it up the AF was dead. I fooled for a few seconds and went to manual focus. Shots were OK. I fooled with it after and it worked again. Ok maybe I just did not have it attached right, whatever. A few weddings later, same scenario. Test it before ceremony and it works fine. Leave it on second body and pick it up to use it during ceremony and AF is dead, but manual works. Sent it in On 8/18/03 on they shipped it back on 8/29/03.

It has worked fine until last week-end. Now the whole viewfinder is fuzzy-the AF drives back and forth and sometimes it will actually show focus lock. If you take the shot it is very blurry. The VR also seems to be intermittant. Sometimes you can here it and sometimes not."

Rabon "I just purchased a used unit that has the problem of not focusing when fully extended. It seems to work fine at the other focal lengths. One thing I’ve also noticed is that the exif data for photos taken at 200mm (manually or on the rare occasion that it locks in after I manually assist ) indicates a different focal length than the actual. It might be 86mm, 135mm but never more than 140mm. To your knowledge are they now able to resolve these problems? What about warranty service? How long is the warranty? Is that a possibility for a second owner?


Received: 7-31-2004

Joseph Schneid
(Louisville, KY, USA)
"I have had my 70-200 lens since January of this year. I have used it with a D100 and my wife D70. I have used it with and without the TC-20EII teleconverter. I have never had a problem with the lens. If I were to experience the problems that I read about on your site I would think the cause was a poor electrical connection between lens and body.

I would apply some "Stabilant 22A" electrical enhancer to the electrical connectors. This is an outstanding product for intermittent electrical connection trouble.

Joseph Schneid
Louisville Ky"

Received: 8-23-2004

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