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New Nikon 300mm f/4 VR (1 Viewer)

opticoholic

Well-known member
It's only a rumor from the same site that told us a D9300 was in the works, but the language seems rather certain that "Nikon will soon introduce" an update to the 300mm f/4 with VR. So what the heck, I'll start a new thread and maybe it will last a while.

The new lens will have some BIG SHOES TO FILL. For ~$1369 US, the current old 300 f/4 is about as sharp a lens as you can buy for the money, nearly as sharp as the 300mm f/2.8 which currently goes for ~$5719 US. With the TC-14E II teleconverter, the old 300 f/4 has been Nikon's most popular affordable lightweight birding lens for a long time. Using a monopod I don't feel a lot of need for VR with this set-up, and aside from VR, it's hard for me to imagine the new version of the lens having more than a very slight increase in image quality. Very few details in the rumor, but it's not hard to predict the improvements: It will have a new optical design with nanocoating and flourine coating... The VR will certainly be useful sometimes. It should autofocus a little faster. It will almost surely be a little lighter and easier to handle than the current lens which weighs 3.2 lbs, and I expect it will also work with the latest TC-14E III teleconverter, which would be good. Build quality is a question mark. I hope it has better dust sealing on the back end, and I hope they don't use too much plastic. The rumor that it will lack an included tripod collar is a cheap move by Nikon if true, but it wouldn't bother me that much because I usually buy a Kirk lens collar anyway with an arca-swiss style foot. I'd guess the new lens will cost well over $2K, still way more affordable than a 300 f/2.8. Anyway, after 15 years the new lens should be a significant improvement, and I hope it is, but it's a tall order and my confidence in Nikon is shaky these days... So I will not be in any hurry to upgrade but I'll be interested to hear real reports from others when it finally is announced and becomes available.

Dave
 
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gandytron

Well-known member
I have the existing lens and took the tripod collar off almost two years ago and have not used it (the collar) since, so it is actually quite sensible to sell the collar as an optional extra.

I don't think VR is necessary on this lens most of the time as it is pretty easy to hand hold.

I'm looking forward to the day Nikon launches a 400mm f5.6 VR (but I suppose I'm dreaming)
 
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jascha777

Well-known member
Exciting news if true-we'll see!! If the optical improvements mirror those of the new 80--400 it will be a massive seller, my one big concern is build quality- my copy of the zoom rivals my 300 2.8 for image quality, but , and it's a big but, the build quality of the new zoom is very poor in my experience, very plasticky and full of dust(already cleaned once by Nikon-and they charged me!) plus the lens hood mount is weak. Mark
 

Joe T

Member
Indeed, it needs to be pin-sharp and with proper build quality. With a 1.4x TC it should be a real weapon.
 

Vespobuteo

Well-known member
this could be a completely groundbreaking lens, if the IQ holds up (also with TC). And the Canon 400/5,6 is left behind in the fog of chromatic aberrations…

"Nikon has also introduced the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR, the world’s lightest 300mm full-frame fixed focal length AF lens2, which is nearly 30% shorter and 1.5 lbs. lighter than its predecessor. Extremely easy to handle and built to suit the needs of serious photographers in the field, the new 300mm f/4 lens utilizes Phase Fresnel optical technology to help correct chromatic aberration and reduce the overall size and weight of the lens, making it easy to pack for any assignment. Capable of producing tack-sharp images and beautiful background blur at a distance, Nikon’s newest FX-format lens also features four and a half stops of VR image stabilization3, a VR Sport mode, VR tripod detection as well as several of the latest NIKKOR optical technologies including electromagnetic aperture control, a Silent Wave Motor for quiet AF operation, ED glass for further controlling chromatic aberrations and Nano Crystal Coat for superior image quality."


o:):t:
 
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Hor Kee

Penang birder
this could be a completely groundbreaking lens, if the IQ holds up (also with TC). And the Canon 400/5,6 is left behind in the fog of chromatic aberrations…

That's really too early to tell. I have the Canon 400mm 5.6 and CAs are minimal.

Further, the new Nikon lens uses a Fresnel lens, which Canon has been using for the last 15 years under the Diffractive Optics or "DO" label. From my experience, DO lenses are inferior in terms of contrast and flare control compared to other non-DO lenses. It remains to be seen whether Nikon has overcome the physical challenges posed by this technology that took Canon almost 15 years to attempt to master!
 

gandytron

Well-known member
I'm amazed at the weight saving, and the size: http://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r...06ebbd82a91b60d45611e3/nikon-300mm-f4e-03.jpg

This "PF" business seems to be the equivalent of a Canon "DO" lens. Canon's 400 f4 DO is a nice lens but I think that its saving on size came at the cost of image quality (particularly contrast). It will be very interesting to see what the independent reviews say for this new Nikon lens in this regard.

I was on the verge of switching from Nikon to Canon (almost bought a bargain priced 7D yesterday, which I planned to pair with the new 100-400 mkII), but will probably wait to see how this lens performs.
 
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Vespobuteo

Well-known member
That's really too early to tell. I have the Canon 400mm 5.6 and CAs are minimal.

Further, the new Nikon lens uses a Fresnel lens, which Canon has been using for the last 15 years under the Diffractive Optics or "DO" label. From my experience, DO lenses are inferior in terms of contrast and flare control compared to other non-DO lenses. It remains to be seen whether Nikon has overcome the physical challenges posed by this technology that took Canon almost 15 years to attempt to master!

I wrote "this COULD be a completely groundbreaking lens, IF the IQ holds up.."

MTF chart looks better than the old 300/4, which was not bad at all, though not perfect at full aperture (and 36 MP..).

The MTF for the new 300mm PF-lens might indicate some lower contrast, there is a diff between the meridional and sagittal lines at 30 lpm. But the Sagittal line at 30lpm is very good on the other hand.

http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/singlefocal/Telephoto/af-s_300mmf_4e_pf_ed_vr/spec.htm

If it will work well with TC will be interesting to see. The 24MP DX D7100 is pretty demanding.

The portability and weight seem very nice though. And as a walk-around lens it would be perfect.
 
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gandytron

Well-known member
Build quality?

Did anybody read anywhere if this lens is built with lots of metal (similar to the existing lens) or with a lot of plastic (like the 80-400 mkII).

I'm a bit suspicious, given the weight reduction.
 

Vespobuteo

Well-known member
Did anybody read anywhere if this lens is built with lots of metal (similar to the existing lens) or with a lot of plastic (like the 80-400 mkII).

I'm a bit suspicious, given the weight reduction.

don't think it's made of magnesium,
it would probably have been mentioned
as a selling point…
but on the other hand,
it's a $2000 lens,
magnesium would be nice,
It's quite a bit smaller than the old one
so magnesium would be possible I think,
 
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stevo

Well-known member
That's really too early to tell. I have the Canon 400mm 5.6 and CAs are minimal.

Further, the new Nikon lens uses a Fresnel lens, which Canon has been using for the last 15 years under the Diffractive Optics or "DO" label. From my experience, DO lenses are inferior in terms of contrast and flare control compared to other non-DO lenses. It remains to be seen whether Nikon has overcome the physical challenges posed by this technology that took Canon almost 15 years to attempt to master!

I could not agree more with you,sounds like someones(tongue in cheek)has been reading too many reviews.

Steve.B :)
 

gandytron

Well-known member
don't think it's made of magnesium,
it would probably have been mentioned
as a selling point…
but on the other hand,
it's a $2000 lens,
magnesium would be nice,
It's quite a bit smaller than the old one
so magnesium would be possible I think,

The 80-400 is priced at usd >2600 and is largely plastic, so I'm not sure that price is a good indicator.
 

Tarsiger

Well-known member
Also its only 300mm, too short for birding and I still believe that if you keep a tc in place most of the time then you've probably bought the wrong lens and if you're a f/f body user any images are just too small.
Russ
 

JPAC

Well-known member
Also its only 300mm, too short for birding and I still believe that if you keep a tc in place most of the time then you've probably bought the wrong lens and if you're a f/f body user any images are just too small.
Russ

Spot on.
---

It's a very techie lens - http://www.nikon.com/news/2015/0106_lens_02.htm

I'll be looking closely at the bokeh.

Expensive too : RRP £1639.99 No tripod mount included (RT-1 Tripod Collar Ring), another £150 extra.

Interesting. :t:
 

Vespobuteo

Well-known member
Also its only 300mm, too short for birding and I still believe that if you keep a tc in place most of the time then you've probably bought the wrong lens and if you're a f/f body user any images are just too small.
Russ

To short for birding? bird photo? documentation?
Maximum Reproduction Ratio is very good, 1:4 same as the old model.
I have used 300 mm a lot, both from a hide and walk around.
Sometimes you really need the short close-focus-distance, 1.5 m.

It won't replace my super tele lens though…

Personally I prefer the versatility of having both 300/f4 and 420/f5.6
and not just a fixed 400/5.6.


http://nikonrumors.com/2015/01/05/t...-the-old-nikkor-300mm-f4d-if-ed-version.aspx/
 
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the black fox

Well-known member
To short for birding?
Maximum Reproduction Ratio is very good, 1:4 same as the old model.
I have used 300 mm a lot, both from a hide and walk around.
Sometimes you really need the short close-focus-distance, 1.5 m.

It won't replace my super tele lens though…

Personally I prefer the versatility of having both 300/f4 and 420/f5.6
and not just a fixed 400/5.6.

and i like 400mm f5.6 or 560mm f8 both work well for canon ,but with the new nikon will it work well with the full range of nikon t.c's 1.4,1.7,and 2.0x only time will tell ,the quality and versatility i used to get from the old 300 f4 is the one thing that would make me change back to nikon though .it this ones a winner who knows brand loyalty is only as good as your photos
 

jascha777

Well-known member
It looks to have the same flimsy mount for the hood that the new 80-400 has, which is a real pity. Personally I would have preferred more weight and build quality of existing 300. Anyway, here's hoping it has some optical improvement, it's been a long time coming! As for being too short for birding... Have a look in my gallery... All taken with 300+1.4 or 80-400,admittedly on a crop body, but that equates to 840mm in extra crop mode on D7100! If you think you need more than that...... Mark
 
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gandytron

Well-known member
As for being too short for birding... Have a look in my gallery... All taken with 300+1.4 or 80-400,admittedly on a crop body, but that equates to 840mm in extra crop mode on D7100! If you think you need more than that...... Mark

I agree with this. I also use the 300 f4 and 1.4 TC (on a D7100) and I'd say that it depends on your subject whether this combo leaves you reach-limited. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I use the TC less than 50 per cent of the time because the bare lens is just so sharp that you can crop a lot if needed.

With all these recent announcements of more "affordable" telephoto lenses (Canon 100-400, the three 150-600mm models from Tamron & Sigma, and now this Nikon lens) I feel a bit spoiled for choice! Nikon shooters might even choose a combination of these lenses - ie the new small and light 300mm as a walk-about/travel lens, plus the heavy Sigma Sport 150-600mm for more static situations.

At the moment, so many of these lenses are so new/not available that I don't plan to make any upgrade until the last quarter of 2015 when a body of knowledge has developed and the prices might have cooled a little bit.
 

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