ASK COREY: What’s Your Favorite Telephoto Zoom Lens?

by Corey Rich


I have a Nikon D750 and I’m looking to build out my lens quiver. What is your favorite telephoto zoom lens? 

Keep up the good work!


I’m a guy who wants the right tool for the job. You can use a handheld skill saw for most cuts. But when you’re building furniture or cabinetry, a table saw—while much heavier and more expensive—is going to do a much better job at making those cuts.

The same idea applies to my two favorite telephoto zoom lenses: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Lens and the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens.

2202-AF-S NIKKOR-70-200mm-f4G_front_cropIn this case, the f/4 is like the skill saw: about two pounds lighter, cheaper by about $1,000, and suitable for most shooting situations. If I’m going to be hiking with a backpack in the mountains, where I have to carry a lot of weight, and I’m mostly shooting still photography and minimal video, the f/4 is fantastic.

2185_AF-S-NIKKOR-70-200mm-f-2.8G-ED-VR-II_front_cropFor video applications, I prefer the f/2.8 because its manual focusing is much, much better than the f/4. Plus, I get an extra stop and more stability.

If I have the luxury of bringing both lenses, I will. I often find myself shooting on the f/2.8 and then having the f/4 set up for a time-lapse. Or, I’ll use the f/4 on a second camera for tight shots during interviews.

If you have to choose just one, I’d say go big and get the f/2.8. You can do some cool stuff with that shallow depth of field. But I bet that within a few months, you’ll be wanting to add in the f/4, too, so you can give yourself that extra bit of light-and-fast versatility.

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Totally love my 70 - 200 2.8. on worn out 610. Also great with 2x teleconverter December 11, 2015 - 12:22 pm

Have a hard time taking that 70 – 200 2.8 off my 610. Shooting lots of action . Even with 2x teleconverter. Gets the shots.

Chic Scaparo December 17, 2015 - 6:03 pm

Hey Corey I’ve recently discovered your work and can simply say that I am inspired, very inspired! I am going to purchase a D7200 for motion (after watching your videos) but need to find a solid lens, or two, that could get me started in the $200-500 range. I know that the glass plays a huge role in image quality but I am not able to afford the higher end lenses at this point, so I’m hoping you might suggest a few options that would be a good jump off point. Thanks for your help, Corey and I look forward to seeing more of your work!

-Chic Scaparo

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