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Nikon 300mm f/4 ED-IF AF-S Nikkor

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Reviews Views Date of last review
31 124422 May 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $1,031.35
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.52
9.32
9.7
1909NAS_180

Specifications:
Super fast, super quiet lens using Nikon's Silent Wave motor technology
Compact super-telephoto lens for travel, sports, wildlife and stock photography
M/A switch for fast transitions from AF to manual focus
No power drain when manually focusing

Filter Size 77mm
f/Stop Range 4-32
Minimum Focus Distance 4.8'
Magnification 1:3.7
Zoom/Focus Control Not applicable
Angle of View 8 Degrees
Groups/Elements 6/10
Tripod Collar Yes
Length 8.8"
Maximum Diameter 3.5"
Weight 3.10 lb
Usable Nikon Teleconverter TC-14e (maintains autofocusing)
or TC-20e, TC-14b (both manual focus only) & TC-201 (manual focus only and occassional vignetting)


 


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PHPhotography
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Registered: May 22, 2014
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 22, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp wide open, great bokeh, great build quality, very fast and accurate focus
Cons:
No rear element so susceptible to dust ingress, no weather sealing

This is a great lens, once youíve used it you realise what a compromise variable aperture long zoom lenses are. I used to have a Sigma 120-400mm OS and the 300mm f4 is in a completely different league.

It has really nice build quality, the focusing is fast and reliable, the image quality at f4 is superb and the bokeh is really nice too. Also, you might think 300mm is a step down from 400mm but if youíre photographing at close range this lens doesnít focus breath at all so itís actually longer than the Sigma 120-400mm was at 400mm at distances up to about 16 to 18 feet. Iím pretty sure focus breathing will be an issue with most other longer zoom lenses too.

So in summary a great lens that completely delivers on what it promises. The only real negative (other than a lack of weather sealing), which is more something that just makes you nervous than a real problem for most people, is the lack of a rear element so if you get dust in this lens itíll stay in there. Not a great feature if youíre changing lenses in very dusty conditions.


May 22, 2014
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trenchmonkey
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Registered: Oct 21, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 35119
Review Date: Sep 6, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Light (handholdable) sharp wide open, takes a TC well
Cons:
Don't care for the plastic sliding hood (replaced w/metal)

Had a couple of these over the years, along w/ the 300 f2.8 VR
on hand. Kinda relegated to 2nd fiddle and under appreciated.
The f2.8's gone and when I need 300 vs 70-200 VR II/TC (280)
this now gets the call. Great AF in low light and I can shoot for
hours w/o tiring. IQ is excellent, bokeh really pretty sweet @f4
Give one a try if on the fence, grew a beard waitin' for the f4VR Wink


Sep 6, 2012
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PeepingTom
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Registered: Aug 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 609
Review Date: Jun 19, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,369.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 1) Optically clean, sharp and colorful 2) Nice ergonomics for a long lens, Quick AF and easy to handle 3) Great Bokeh for portraits, nearly as good as the f2.8 version
Cons:
1) Does not have VR (unlike competitor Canon) 2) Price has gone up to $ 1369 (from about $ 1200)

For many years I tried to get by with the 70-200 f2.8 and TC 17. On paper it is a more versatile option than the fixed 300mm F4 AFS lens. But I found that I did not pack the 70-200 as often as i would have imagined. After many sporadic evaluations of the 300 F4 over the years, I decided to bite the bullet and found a new US version from Adorama.

This lens is wonderful (optically) if you can use the focal length. It tracks birds effortlessly (like my beloved Canon 400mm f5.6L lens, which Art Morris called a great birding lens); it takes the TC without obvious degradation in quality but with some loss of AF speed. It is very easy to pack, handle and use for a lens of this size and quality.

It can take a 77m filter in the front (like other Nikon lens 16-35, 24-70, 70-200) and we can share filters, polarizers, ND filters etc. This is a nice feature of using the current version of this lens. Prior version has a drop in filter with an 82mm front element.

This current AFS version of the 300mm F4 has a rotating tripod collar which is detachable (unlike previous AFD version which has a non-detachable collar). That lens is also a good option optically. Others have complained about the tripod mount, but I do not see a need to upgrade with a replacement foot (rotating tripod collar) from RRS or Kirk and spend an additional $ 175 (approximately). The current Nikon foot seems quite adequate to me (perhaps Nikon has improved it recently? I am not sure)

In my opinion, this is a 'must have' lens for a pro or advanced hobbyist who wants to shoot outdoor sports (in daylight) or birds, concerts, political events etc.

The only downside is the lack of VR (does not bother me as I tend to shoot at over 1/300 sec and it is quite adequate for sharp images, particularly since we can crank up iso to over 3200 without any loss in quality with a Nikon D700 or D800 body). The other problem is it relative lack of availability.

What is Nikon thinking, a new VR version perhaps?

Bottom-line- the number of keepers from the lens is very high compared to the 70-200 coupled with a TC 17 (at a maximum effective focal length of 340mm).

I love this lens, and you may like it too Smile

Go get one if you can find one!


Jun 19, 2012
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SasRelic
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Registered: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jun 4, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Extremely sharp wide open, AF very accurate and fast.
Cons:
None

I got this lens because the Sigma 100-300mm wasn't pleasing enough me at the long end of the lens.
The Sigma was a really hit or miss lens with very inaccurate AF, the Nikon prime really is an eye opener for me.

With this Nikon lens my keepersrate is 80% and with the Sigma it was like.. 15%-20%... very disapointing.

The Nikon prime is better lens in every aspect. Do not believe the reviews saying that the Sigma is on par with the Nikons IQ. It really is not, especially not at 300mm or 420mm!
I can crop a lot with this lens and i still get extremely sharp images, this couldn't be said for the Sigma 100-300mm.


Jun 4, 2011
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bgorum
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Registered: May 8, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 126
Review Date: Sep 21, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, close focus
Cons:

I bought this lens used without a tripod collar and then added the Kirk replacement. The combo is fantastic on a tripod. I do mostly reptiles and amphibians and this lens makes a great compliment to my 70-180 micro for those times when I need a little extra working distance (wary lizards for example). I use this lens and the 70-180 roughly equally frequently and together they account for 80-90% of the pictures I take. The 5 foot minimum focusing distance is great and I've also used it with the Pentax T132 diopter when I need to get just a bit closer than that. I often wish it were a zoom, but the 80-400 vr doesn't focus nearly this close and the 70-300 vr lacks a tripod collar, so I'm not compelled to replace this lens with either of those.

Sep 21, 2010
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---XR---
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Registered: Oct 30, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 1380
Review Date: Mar 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,050.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: lightweight (hand holdable), takes well with 1.4x., close focus distance, super sharp, quick AF.
Cons:
none.

the best aspect is the weight/size, because of it it can be handheld and with the good AF tracking BIF or other wildlife is an absoulute ease. the shots are sharp, i don't even mind cropping down on the 4.1 MP D2H, which is definetly a compliment. takes the 1.4 without losss in IQ and small in AF.

Mar 16, 2010
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MichaelErlewin
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Registered: Sep 13, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 121
Review Date: Oct 26, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Bought it for use with the D3x for macro. More below.
Cons:
None for my use.

I had no real interest in this lens until I got a Nikon D3x. And the reason I did was as follows:

The telephoto lenses that I have (like the 70-200 2.8) donít really have a close focus that approaches macro distances.

However, the Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S has a VERY short close focus (five feet) for its size and that made it interesting and usable with the D3x for macro work. Using this lens, I can get close (but not too close) to, letís say, a bullfrog out in the middle of a pond. If I took this picture with my D700, I would have a nice shot of a frog in a pond, but not one that could be cropped or blown up enough just to use the image of the frog as an enlarged photo..

The D3x changes all of this. Using this lens with the D3x, I can capture a shot of the bullfrog, crop it later, and end up with a really large image of just the frog.

Furthermore, using the 1.4 and 1.7 teleconverters, I can really zero in on small objects (like bees, hornets, etc.) in the same manner, with quite good clarity. Something is always lost (at least light) with tubes or converters, but I can live with that in some cases, although usually I use this lens with no supplemental devices.

So, the Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S for me is a different way to approach macro photography. I wish more telephotos had a shorter close focus.


Oct 26, 2009
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Johnny McClung
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Registered: Nov 4, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 156
Review Date: Jul 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Razor sharp wide open. Performs as well as, if not better than, my Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR. Works just as sharp with Nikon's 1.4 TC. Light weight, solid build, pro glass, no compromises.
Cons:
Tripod collar not as smooth as 70-200 VR when rotating. No rubber seal at lens mount.

For the money, this has to be the best purchase I have made regarding long lenses. I previously used a 1.7 TC with my 70-200 VR and was not satisfied. I also owned and used the Nikon 80-400 VR for a while, but always felt like I wanted sharper, more special pics for my birding photography. I finally decided to get the 300mm f/4 AF-S when I saw it in stock at B&H. I actually ended up buying the import version in the grey/white color since it was the only one in stock. Last weekend I shot some of the best birding photos I have ever shot in terms of sharpness and clarity, and this was while using the 1.4 TC the entire time. You really do get what you pay for.. but I feel like I got a little more. When your other lenses are pro glass, you really can't compromise on your long glass. That's why I finally decided to go for it. For the money, there is no better combo, the 300mm f/4 + Nikon's 1.4 TC ... trust me, I have tried many options, and this is the best.

Jul 20, 2009
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fdevyatkin
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Registered: Feb 11, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 2619
Review Date: Jun 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Quick accurate focus, beautiful bokeh and isolation, great color and contrast, not too heavy for a 300mm, sturdy build, takes 1.4TC without loss of IQ
Cons:
None

I shoot birds in flight or perched, with and without the Kenko Pro 1.4X TC. I also use it for baseball, portraits and even a little macro (it has a nice short focusing distance). Since I mounted this on my D700 everyone has raved detail and focus, color rendition and bokeh. If the $$$ of the 300 2.8VR is a little high, you won't go wrong with this jewel.
I was considering the Sigmas 50-500, 150-500 100-300F/4 and the 120-300F/2.8. The image quality on the 500mm was not as good as the Nikon with a TC, and the 100-300F/4 lost a fair amount of quality as it approached 300mm (between 100-200mm it was stellar) and the 120-300 2.8 was more expensive and prone to QC issues.
In retrospect, I made the right decision with the Nikon.


Jun 22, 2009
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Dirk Hiemstra
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Registered: Nov 22, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast and well built.
Cons:
No Vr.

The only way to go to a "normal" 400mm is this tele + TC 1.4. It is a shame Nikon does not have a affordable 400mm 5.6 AF-S. Thought I should go the Sigma route but honestly, the 300 AFS + TC is the only way if you want to have excellent image quality. Should have bought this years ago. Wow !

Jan 9, 2009
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albertino
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Registered: Dec 22, 2007
Location: Italy
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Nitidezza ottima-contrasto ottimo-nessuna distorsione-leggero nel suo genere
Cons:
nessuno

Provengo da Canon e possiedo,ma in vendita, il 300mm 2,8 is-
non mi sembra in termini di nitidezza questo meraviglioso vetro abbia molto da invidiare al suo concorrente a parte l'epertura f4 e la stabilizzazione.
Leggero e facilmente conducibile me ne sono innamorato subito.
Non posso fare altro che consigliarlo fortemente


Oct 23, 2008
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Carl Feather
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Registered: Oct 26, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 578
Review Date: Oct 21, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, light weight, close focusing, fast AF
Cons:
No VR.

I had the older version of this lens and sold it because I just didn't use it that much. After almost 10 years, I decided to revisit the focal length to round out my digital outfit. I debated on the purchase for months, and finally found a used gray-color lens for $950 with the Kirk collar.

I am very impressed with this lens and its image quality. The build is superb and much lighter than I thought it would be. I find it more comfortable to shoot with than the 70-200 it complements.

The images are sharp from f/4 on and both close and far away. I shot images of deer and the whiskers on them are sharp and clear. The lens is very handholdable thanks to the D700 and D300 high ISO abilities. The Kirk collar sweetens tripod performance and is worth the money.

AF is fast and all I could want. The only thing I miss on it is VR.


Oct 21, 2008
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Avi B
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Registered: Dec 7, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 6903
Review Date: Jul 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp. Sharp. Sharp. Close focus ability (5'). Versatile lightweight (in comparison to f/2.8 glass) lens. Poor man's wildlife lens (with or w/o appropriate TCs).
Cons:
The built in hood seems flimsy. No VR... Giving it a 10 overall in spite of these "problems".

In spite of no VR and crappy supplied collar, this is a great buy. One of the best values in the Nikon lens lineup if you need long glass.

Jul 13, 2008
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penghai
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Registered: May 21, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 796
Review Date: Mar 11, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very very sharp, solid build, and creamy boken. accurate focus.
Cons:
heavy and big, no VR

I have shooted SLRs and DSLRs for many years. I have used many great lenses: Canon 300 f2.8 IS, Canon 200 f2.8, Canon 135 f2.0, Canon 400 f5.6, Sigma 150, Canon 100 macro, ....even my recent Nikon 70-200 VR and Tamron 180 macro. I used to think "creamy" is just an adjective many used to describe a blurry background. It's until the first time I put this lens on my tripod with my camera to take a first shoot with it. I don't believe the "creamy" background I saw over the view finder. It's really "creamy" and simply beautiful.

The lens has a very fine MF ring, even though it AF fine. It's built like a tank and is heavy (heavier than the excellent Canon 400 f5.6).

It's probably one of the old generation of Nikon lenses that it still has an aperture ring so it can be used with Nikon extension tubes like PN-11, PK-13,...

IQ is excellent. Focus dead-on on my D300. Color is great too.

The used copy I bought comes with a Kirk replacement tripod collar. The tripod collar is very solid.

The only cons I can think of:
1. Kind heavy due to its excellent built. It goes with my tripod most of the time.
2. I really wish it has VR.

I'd highly recommend it.




Mar 11, 2008
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PJ Fish
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Registered: Nov 24, 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 18
Review Date: Nov 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Err Nikon 300mm F 4 IF ED -82 mm front (non AFS)this is >creme de la creme> as the french says..it IS a true Nikon classic.Strong made, Good range ,perfect pics ,easy to handle and carry and fast speed even w .the Non AFs model which i recomand.
Cons:
That it is no longer made(the IF ED model Errr*LOL) i little irritating to find 82 mm filters but search and youll find them.

This is a review for the Nikon 300 mm F4 IF ED(non afs)mainly;
My true workhorse for sports and PJ work alike,it makes wonderfull pictures and is very snappy on my Nikon DSLRs(such as D1H and D70s) the files is so clean nice and well colours is super.
I personally find that the old model is a better investment and find that is certainly much better made.

Go and buy it used and enjoy..


Nov 3, 2007
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Toon de Smit
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Registered: Dec 8, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Contrast, sharpness!, hood, minimum focussing distance
Cons:
I replaced the collar with Kirkís

I recently started to use this lens for Macro.
In combination with the PN-11 extension tube and the D200. And with a solid tripod and use of MLU. With the lens plus tubes you can keep a safe distance which is nice while approaching dragonsflies and damselflies.

I have to say that after some practice the results are really great. It is as if you use a supertele (I own the Sigma 300-800) for macro. Pictures are intimate.


See for yourself:
http://www.pbase.com/toondesmit/image/84706591
http://www.pbase.com/toondesmit/image/84505124
http://www.pbase.com/toondesmit/image/83697534

Why use a dedicated macro??


Aug 30, 2007
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†††



Nikon 300mm f/4 ED-IF AF-S Nikkor

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
31 124422 May 22, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
97% of reviewers $1,031.35
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.52
9.32
9.7
1909NAS_180


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