Nikon 300mm f/4 ED-IF AF-S
Professional grade lens for birders and sports-shoothers on a budget that can't afford (or don't want to carry) the almost four times more expensive and more than twice as heavy f/2.8 VR version.
Excellent optics. Corner sharpness is quite good at f/4, and excellent at f/5.6. Great colour, high contrast. Distortions are very well controlled. Some vignetting at f/4, but it goes away if you stop down to f/5.6. Very useful short minimum focus distance (147 cm). Maintains auto-focus with teleconverter TC-14E II, but contrast suffers.
The focus motor is quiet, fast and accurate, and it well up to the task of tracking birds in flight or a running athlete on a body with a good tracking auto-focus module.
The lens' worst feature is the detachable and very thin tripod collar. The flimsy and poorly designed collar makes the use of mirror lock-up mandatory when you use a tripod with shutter speeds between 1/30 and 1/2 second. Otherwise, vibration blur will ruin your shot. Replacing Nikon's collar with a Kirk NC-300 lens collar solves the problem. Some users report that inserting a piece of firm rubber or a bottle-cork of the right size between collar and lens is sufficient to dampen the vibrations.
Rating: Ed: -, User: - (normalized, 0=useless, 50=average, 100=excellent).
Mount: Nikon F.
Aperture range: f/4 to f/32.
Close focus distance (CFD): 147 cm / 4.82 ft (from sensor plane).
CFD magnification: 1:3.7 / 0.27X.
Focus: AF (built-in, ring-type).
Filter diameter: 77 mm.
L x D, W: 224 x 89 mm, 1407 g.
Approximate street price: USD 1450 (new, w/o tax).
Nikon is a multinational corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan specializing in optics and imaging. Its products include cameras, lenses, flash units, scanners, binoculars, microscopes, measurement instruments, and steppers (used in semiconductor fabrication). The company was founded in 1917 as Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha (Japan Optical Industries Corporation), and renamed Nikon Corporation, after its cameras, in 1988. Nikon Corporation is one of the companies of the Mitsubishi Group.