Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens that was released in December of 2009, along with the TC-20E III teleconverter. When it comes to telephoto lenses, the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 line of lenses has always been a metric of sharpness, contrast and acuity. The Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II is no exception – it sports top of the line optical design and technology that are capable of resolving tons of details, delivering outstanding results for any kind of long-range photography. The Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II was released as a minor update to the existing Nikon 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED – the optical design stayed the same, with the exception of Vibration Reduction II (VR II) technology and a new A/M focus mode. In this review, I will not only provide general information about the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and its performance, but also how it works with all current Nikon teleconverters (TC-14E II, TC-17E II and TC-20E III) and how it compares to other telephoto lenses of similar and lower classes.

Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II

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Telephoto Lens Focal Length Comparison

Although I have already done a focal length comparison from 12mm to 500mm focal length before, I decided to do it once again for telephoto lenses. I receive quite a few emails from our readers, asking about telephoto lenses and focal lengths, specifically whether a focal length of a lens is going to be sufficient for bird and wildlife photography. The below images should give you a pretty good idea about field of view when using particular focal lengths, from 70mm all the way to 1200mm:

70mm-400mm FoV

600mm-1200mm FoV

The above images are not cropped in post-production and represent equivalent focal lengths relative to 35mm. The longest field of view of the 1200mm shot was captured with the Nikon 200-400mm f/4.0 + TC-20E III TC @ 400mm (800mm effective) on a DX body, which is equivalent to 1200mm. The shortest focal length was captured with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II at 70mm.

Best Nikon Lenses for Wedding Photography

What are the best Nikon lenses for wedding photography? This question comes up so often via comments and emails from our readers, that I was first going to include it in our Photography FAQ section, but then decided to write a separate article and elaborate on the subject a little more. Specifically, I want to not only write about what lenses I think are the best for weddings, but also why and in which cases we use a particular lens. Please keep in mind that the information I present below is a personal opinion based on my experience so far. If you have a favorite lens of yours for wedding photography that is not listed below, please feel free to add a comment on the bottom of the page with some information and pictures (if you have any that you would like to share).

1) Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

The first on the list is my (and Lola’s) most favorite lens for wedding photography – Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S. We like it for four main reasons: it is sharp, colorful, lightweight and the bokeh it produces is outstanding.

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

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Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II + TC-20E III

NOTE: I have recently posted the detailed Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR II Review.

I have been super busy performing tests on over 12 lenses (more on that later), including the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and the new Nikon TC-20E III. It was very painful to find the TC-20E III, but I got one on my hands and I have been extensively testing it with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II. I have also been comparing the results with my Nikon 200-400mm f/4.0G VR, so I will soon publish some very interesting findings for those, who are interested in high performance telephoto gear for sports and wildlife photography.

For now, here is a sample of the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II with the TC-20E III at 600mm:


And here is a 100% crop:

100% Crop

Amazing sharpness and contrast, I am truly impressed. Here is the same coyote caught in action with the same lens combo:

Coyote eating Vole

More to come!

Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II for Birding

I’m currently testing the new Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and doing as much bird photography as possible to see how it performs in various situations, especially with teleconverters. I received it a couple of weeks ago, but my schedule went hectic and I have not received the new Nikon TC-20E III, which I really wanted to test this lens with. The Nikon TC-20E III is nowhere to be found at the moment and I was able to get a copy by renting it through for now. I also needed the TC-20E III to complete my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II review and wanted to test it with all of my telephoto lenses after hearing so much about its great performance. The TC-20E III is arriving at the end of this week, so I am planning to get out and shoot as much as possible during the weekend and next week.

So far, I’m in love with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II. It is so sharp and full of contrast, that I don’t even see a reason to shoot it without teleconverters. The Nikon TC-14E II is unnoticeable on it and the Nikon TC-17E II performance is just superb – that’s what I have been shooting with and I am more than impressed with this setup. The TC-17E II makes the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II a 510mm lens and the new VR system helps me keep the lens stable while hand-holding it. I do not have an arca-swiss mount for the lens yet, so I have not used a tripod once so far – only hand-held shots.

Burrowing Owl Chick

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Nikon 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II Announcement

Nikon has just announced the new AF-S Nikon 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II, which replaces the legendary 2004 model. Nikon has been updating their line of super telephotos with VR II lately and this 200-400mm lens is an expected update. The last lens to get VR II was the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II that was announced in December of 2009.

Nikon 200-400mm f/4 VR II

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Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbirds are very common in Colorado. They are permanent residents in most local parks, including Cherry Creek State Park, where I captured one of them while it was singing to attract a female. Spring is a great time for birds in Colorado, except when it gets very cold. It snowed today in Denver and the temperatures dropped below 40F, which is not abnormal for Colorado in April :)

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

Hoping for a sunny day next week, so that I can get out and do some spring birding!

Captured with Nikon D3s and Nikon 300mm f/4.0 AF-S + 1.4x TC.

Nikon 70-300mm VR Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR lens that was released back in August 2006 together with the Nikon D80. The Nikon 70-300mm VR lens is targeted towards sports, nature and wildlife photographers that need a lightweight, versatile telephoto lens with great optics and vibration reduction technology, at an affordable price. The lens works on both Nikon FX (full-frame) and DX (cropped) sensors and has an equivalent field of view of approximately 105-450mm on DX sensors, which makes the lens particularly good for reaching distant subjects. The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ID-ED VR lens features two “ED” (extra low dispersion) glass elements that are used in all Nikon professional lenses, providing higher contrast, lower chromatic aberration and higher resolution, due to less air bubbles and glass deformities within the glass elements. In addition, the lens sports the latest vibration reduction “VR II” technology, giving up to 4 full stops of advantage over non-VR lenses at low shutter speeds. Vibration Reduction, especially the latest VR II generation, makes this lens particularly useful for hand-held shooting while hiking and traveling. Autofocus is practically silent, thanks to the Silent Wave Motor (AF-S) within the lens.

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

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How to Obtain Maximum Bokeh

In photography, the term bokeh represents the quality of the magical out-of-focus blur that makes it look like the subject is isolated from the background. It is visually appealing for us to see a photograph with a soft, creamy and beautiful background. It helps concentrate our eyes on a single area and creates a sense of depth and dimension on an otherwise flat-looking image. Let me share a few tips on how you could obtain maximum bokeh from your camera setup.

85mm f/1.4 Image Sample (5)

1) Use a large aperture

Bokeh is not created by the camera – it is your lens and its optics that are responsible for rendering the out-of-focus areas. Therefore, the first thing you should do is set your lens aperture to its lowest value, also known as “maximum aperture”. You can do this by changing your camera mode to “Aperture Priority” and setting the “f” number to the lowest value your camera will permit. On Nikon DSLR cameras, this is typically done by rotating the front dial towards the left (counter-clockwise).

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Corporate Photography Tips

There are two types of corporate photography – event photography and portrait photography. Event photography means taking pictures of employees and guests in corporate events such as conferences, birthday parties, Christmas parties, receptions and sales events. Corporate portrait photography means taking formal pictures of employees for websites, magazines and other various publications. In this article, I will provide some tips on how to photograph corporate events.

Corporate Photography

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