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Nikon AF-I Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D ED-IF Test Review
© 2004 KenRockwell.com

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See History of the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 for more variations.

There are about ten different Nikon 300mm f/2.8 lenses. I'm addressing the first autofocus model that incorporated any sort of internal motor to drive the AF system. Nikon has more info on the development of this series here.

I have not shot with this lens. I did play with it while shopping for a super-tele.

I wasn't impressed. The AF was slow and the motor system sounded like a toy car's electric motor. It is slower than an AF-S and slower than the newer 400/2.8 AF-I. It was about the same as the similar 600mm f/4 AF-I.

It only works with some of the Nikon AF bodies. On others, like the N55, N60 and 8008, it becomes a manual focus lens.

It has nice AF lock buttons on the lens.

It is extremely well made mechanically.

It has a kludge for an AF/MF switch, you can have it switch automatically between AF and MF, however you have to keep your finger on whatever button actuates your AF system and then turn the manual focus ring. It eventually klunks into manual focus mode, so long as you keep you finger on the AF button on the camera (usually the shutter button.) If you let up on the camera's AF button it stops manually focussing. This is better than the usual Nikon AF/MF switching system, but far worse than the AF-S lenses or Canon.

Optically I will suppose the lens is superb as all the Nikon 300mm f/2.8s are. It was the slow AF speed of lenses like this intended for professional use like this that sparked the migration to Canon for professional sports photography.

One reader has one of these and wrote to say that he absolutley loves his lens. He tells us that he is very pleased with how quickly it works on his F4.

As of December 2004 there is an $800 rebate on the most recent AF-S II 300mm f/2.8 lens that doesn't have VR. Get it here or here.

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