Nikon 300mm f/4D AF-S Review

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The original review of the Nikon 300mm f/4D AF-S lens was published back in 2009 and was very short. I decided to completely rewrite it, with all the latest information, MTF data, more feedback and sample images, so you are looking at an updated version. If you are a birder, you have only two budget choices for Nikon – either the Nikon 300mm f/4D IF-ED AF-S or the much more expensive Nikon 80-400mm VR that was introduced in 2013. All other semi-professional lenses by Nikon are not good enough/long enough for birding. The old 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR was too slow to focus and a lot of people including myself expressed their frustration with it for fast moving birds. I have been using the Nikon 300mm f/4D lens for over 6 years now and have been very pleased with the results. I take it with me everywhere I go and have used it more than any other telephoto lens so far. It is relatively light and I primarily use it handheld for shooting birds and other wildlife of Colorado.

Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S

In this review, I will go over my thoughts on the Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S lens, provide sample images and compare it to other telephoto lenses like the new Nikon 80-400mm VR, Nikon 200-400mm f/4G VR and Nikon 70-300mm VR.

Red Fox Kit

NIKON D700 @ 420mm, ISO 800, 1/1250, f/6.3

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1) Lens Specifications

Main Features:

  1. Excellent balance between size, speed and image quality
  2. 2 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements for maximum sharpness and minimum chromatic aberration
  3. Silent Wave Motor (SWM) provides ultra-fast, ultra-quiet autofocusing with seamless manual focus override
  4. Internal Focusing (IF) lens construction, which means that the lens does not change in size during AF operation
Tricolored Heron

NIKON D700 + 300mm f/4 @ 300mm, ISO 200, 1/800, f/5.6

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Technical Specifications:

  1. Focal length: 300mm
  2. Maximum aperture: f/4
  3. Minimum aperture: f/32
  4. Lens construction: 10 elements in 6 groups
  5. Picture angle: 5°20′ (80°10′ with Nikon DX format)
  6. Closest focusing distance: 1.45m
  7. No. of diaphragm blades: 9
  8. Filter/attachment size: 77mm
  9. Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): Approximately 90 x 222.5mm
  10. Weight: Approximately 1440g

Detailed specifications for the lens, along with MTF charts and other useful data can be found in our lens database.

Black-necked Stilt

NIKON D3S + 300mm f/4 @ 420mm, ISO 450, 1/1250, f/5.6

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Great Blue Heron

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