AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED
My GoTo Long lens for DX, FX, CX formats
I have owned this lens for almost 5 years and have taken thousands of pictures with it. I also have several long AIS Primes, AF70-300mm f/4-5.6 and the AFS 70-200 F/2.8 VR. I use all my these long lenses with a TC17EII or TC-201 for the AIS lenses. Without question the 300mm f/4 is the sharpest in my stable of long lenses. It is awesome on the D300, D600, D700 and the 1V1 where it gives an incredible 1377mm reach with the TC-17. Focus is a bit touchy, but hey it doesn't cost over $10,000us.
All this said, I prefer the 70-200 for sports and portraits.
June 5, 2014
I own the 18-300 Nikon lens, which is a great all-purpose carry-around lens, but wanted something sharper at the longer focal length. I recently bought this lens, and I am amazed at its sharpness. I prefer to shoot wildlife and birds, and this lens takes awesome sharp images. The autofocus is quick and accurate, and the bokeh is very nice. I attach it to a monopod that I use to handle the lens/camera combination. It gives me stability in lower light situations and supports the lens. I highly recommend this lens. My next purchase will be a Nikon 1.4 teleconverter to extend the lens even further, and I plan to use this lens as the go-to lens for wildlife photos
January 4, 2014
Incredibly Sharp Lens!
I am currently using this lens with a Nikon D800. I read a lot of online reviews before making the purchase. And I'm glad I didn't wait any longer to purchase this lens. I have captured some incredible wildlife shots of deer with this lens!
I always keep a Nikon TC 1.4x attached. The rear lens element is "exposed," even when mounted to the camera. And it seems likely dirt/dust could enter into the rear element. In addition, I don't feel that sharpness, autofocus or Depth of Field suffers with the Teleconverter attached. And 120mm extra reach certainly helps on an FX body (focal length = 420mm). I am personally blown away by the depth of field on this lens. I shot 3 deer standing in a row from about 50-60ft away, and one head was in clear focus, while the other two were gradually blurred [settings = 420mm , f/5.6]. I was shocked to realize I needed to step down in order to bring all deer into focus. This can really enhance wildlife/nature shots with regards to how you want to portray the background behind the animals!
This lens is not "lightweight" as the product description states. It is definitely lighter than the 300mm f/2.8 (which I personally have not used). But it will take some practice to hand hold and capture steady shots. I have not shot below 1/400sec yet to put my technique to the test. But why would you when shooting wildlife?! I bought the Kirk collar to replace the Nikon collar (again, a recommendation from online research).
In addition, this lens can comfortably be used in extreme temperatures. My first "shoot" was a hike looking for deer in -12C (around 10F) temperatures. And there were no issues with lens fogging (I keep a 77mm B+W clear MRC filter attached at all times). I have not tried the lens in rain. I have shot several times since in below freezing temperatures without any issues. Again, great for nature photography!
In conclusion, I am personally blown away by the sharpness of this lens. It can be hand held for an "extended" shoot, but will require some patience and practice in hand holding technique. The autofocus is very quick in my opinion. And I've shot on gloomy winter days in the woods while the sun is setting. I experience minimal hunting with wide open aperature (f/5.6 - because of TeleConverter), but this could be attributed to animals walking behind trees/shrubs). A little extra ISO in gloomy conditions delivers stunning colours! If you are looking for a telephoto lens: Don't look much further unless you have a spare $6,000 for the f/2.8. I have not shot with the 300mm f/2.8 so I can not give a valid comparison, but this lens blows me away! I don't think someone could persuade me a lens of the same focal length could be worth 4x as much!
February 12, 2013
not light, but lighter than comparable products, allowed me to hike w lens and tripod to observation point. achieved photo of crusader fort/monastery in Israel in deep canyon i had not previously been able to get with other lenses.
January 23, 2013
FIVE STARS IN ITS' OWN RIGHT -- TRUST ME
I owned an earlier version of the venerable Nikon 300mm f2.8 and I am here to tell you that as poets strive to define 'love' -- and in all fairness to the enormity of their task, if this lens isn't mentioned, then simply put; they've will have failed in their attempt. Yet as beautiful as it is, the 300 2.8 is also -- very HEAVY. And I am here to tell you that while Love 'may be' blind, heavy can definitely become painful. Enter the acclaimed Nikon 300mm f4d af s. Same reach, BEAUTIFUL bokeh, sharp images, a macro capability that will wow you and half the weight at a fraction of the cost. Granted, it's slower than the 2.8 and it can't compete with the 'big dog' in low light. But in unchallenging light conditions, this lens ROCKS! And, should you catch a cramp or need some water, you've got money left over to handle that. :)
February 24, 2012