Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S
Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S. enlarge. I'd get it at Adorama, Ritz, Amazon or B&H Photo-Video. It's not always in stock. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thank you! Ken
The Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S lens was introduced in 2000. I haven't shot with it yet, but I have played with one several times.
It appears to be an improvement in every way over the older 300mm f/4 AF.
It is very solidly built and retails for about $1,200.
It works perfectly on every Nikon DSLR (D40 through D3, etc.), all recent film bodies and every manual focus Nikon, including my F2AS from 1979. (You'll need to have a meter coupling prong added for use with Nikons from 1976 and earlier.)
As with all other AF-S lenses, it won't focus on the oldest film AF bodies. It autofocuses on the F6, F5, F4, F100, N90, N90s, N80, N70 and N65. It won't autofocus with an N55, N60 or 8008. It will work fine manually on those older cameras, but duh, for the older cameras, get a used 300mm f/4 AF instead which focuses perfectly on them.
Nikon calls this the Nikon ED AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF.
10 elements in 6 groups.
Stops down to f/32.
It focuses by moving internal elements.
Silent AF-S motor.
5 feet or 1.45 m.
This is one of the main reasons to buy this lens.
3.5" (90mm) around by 8.8" (222mm) long.
50 oz (1,440g).
Take off the flimsy tripod adapter and the weight goes down to 46 oz. (1,300g).
Standard 77mm filters.
Nikon Product Number
Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S with built-in hood extended.
I have only played with this lens once, so make sure to try it yourself before putting too much stock in my comments.
It seems to have no distortion.
It seemed to be free from ghosts.
AF is very fast, as you'd expect.
I'm suspicious of the 77mm filter size, reduced from the earlier 300mm f/4 AF's 82mm.
To get f/4 at 300mm one needs a clear aperture of 75mm, and then a larger filter size to prevent mechanical vignetting at the sides of the image at full aperture. With only a 77mm filter size I fear that either 1.) they cheated and it's not really 300mm, or 2.) there may be nasty falloff at f/4, or 3.) they cheated and it's really only f/4.5.
Unlike all other AF-S telephotos there are NO AF lock buttons on the lens. Once you have them you'll miss them.
Try this yourself, since my experience with this lens is limited.
When I say "try" of course I mean go photograph with it. Even a poor lens still looks plenty sharp through the viewfinder in a camera store. I shoot film and only pay attention to what I see on that film.
Watch out for the flimsy tripod mount, but even with a good mount any camera without a mirror lockup, which is all current Nikon AF cameras except the F5, will give garbagy results at shutter speeds of around 1/30 to 1/4 second.
If you have an 80-200/2.8 AF-S you can "build" the equivalent of this lens simply by adding a TC-14E to your bag. I tried it and it wasn't too impressive. Obviously the TC is a lot smaller and less expensive than the 300/4 AF-S.
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