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Need advice for buying a MF 300mm/2.8 IF-ED

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Claus, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. I have an opportunity to buy a well used MF 300/2.8 IF-ED Ai lens. The glasses are clean, the body is well used with some marks for 400 Euro (abt. US$ 500).

    Up to now I use a 300/4.5 IF-ED with fairly good results for wildlife and astrophotography with the D70, but I ordered a D200.:biggrin:

    I'm slightly disappointed of the results with the 1.4 Kenko Teleplus 300 and my 300/4.5. So if you have any experience with the MF 300/2.8 IF-ED (especially with teleconverters) I would be grateful if you could share these.

    (btw, sorry for my rather bad english, next time it will be better)

    kind regards
  2. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    Claus, over the years, from MF right up to the new VR, the 300 f/2.8 has consistently been one of the sharpest lenses in the Nikon arsenal. I've never used a MF with a TC, so I can't speak to that part. I would test the lens first if possible, but €400 sounds like a really good price if the glass is clean, no fungus, haze, etc. Let us know how it turns out.
  3. Ray,

    thanks for your reply. I just read Bjørn Rørslett's review and it seems to be really an optical gem. So I agree with you: if the glass is fine this might be a good bargain.

    I will receive the lens tomorrow for an extensive check. As soon as I finish the test I will state my experiences here.

    best regards
  4. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    Claus, how did the test turn out? Are you the proud new owner of that puppy? :smile:
  5. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    The MF 300/2.8 is excellent, but does show its age on the D2X. Some blue fringing occasionally can be seen and might need some post-processing wizardry, otherwise the details are rendered sharply. I'll look into its performance on the D200 later, if time allows.

    The handling of the MF 300, with its smooth focusing action and excellent tripod mount, always has been the very idea of perfection to me. The lens hood isn't though since it tends not to stay put, but can be modified by mounting a locking screw on it (I did this on my f/2.8 and f/4.5 300 Nikkors).

    It is always hard to predict which of the older lenses that do perform well on the new digital bodies. However, I think a general pattern is beginning to unfold. Thus late manual designs tend to behave better on D2X than early lenses. For example, 20/2.8 is much newer than the 24/2.8 and indeed performs remarkably well on D2X, while the 24/2.8 fails to deliver. The 50/1.8 is newer than 50/2 and indeed is better. Of course there are several exceptions so this "rule" shouldn't be taken as set in stone. It might not even be generally applicable but at least this is my basic working hypothesis for the moment.

    Another recent discovery is the remarkable performance of the old 200-400/4 Nikkor on D2X. I'm not yet finished with the testing of this lens, but so far the quality is no less than amazing and in some respects it might even outperform the current AFS 200-400.
  6. Thanks for your replies.

    Sorry for the delay of my reply but the day after I post my last comment I had to go for an unexpected business trip. Yesterday I came back and now I suffer a little bit from jetlag :Mysteriou .

    Anyway, because of the pressure of time I had and the fact that the lens was in a very good optical condition... I bought it :tongue:.
    My first impressions so far (from a short testing today):

    - You have to focus very precisely to get things sharp. I mean VERY precisely. It's a little painful to focus it with the D70. So I'm very impatient and could hardly await my D200.

    - The next thing I have to consider is to buy a new (and sturdy !) tripod.

    - the first shots are very impressive. Sharp wide open with a beautiful out of focus and color rendition. I'm very happy of my decision and will try to post some photos in the next few days.

    A very good idea to fix the lens hood with a screw. The wobbly lens hood was the first thing I attracted attention when I screwed off the big lens cap.

    Another reason to get the lens was my second hobby - astrophotography.
    Here I hope to get usable images from the lens, first of all wide open. Now I have to blow away the clouds...

    see you and best regards
  7. Claus,
    Here are a couple of my shots with the MF 300 / 2.8 with a TC14. You are right, focusing demands precision and can be a handful, but what results with this lens!

    Red Tailed Hawk:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    and one without the TC (this little guy (in the snow) was fast! MF a big challenge here, but very do-able):

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2005
  8. Frits,

    thanks for your shots. They are absolutely stunning. As far as I can see from your photos the 300/2.8 works very well on the 1.4x converter.

    Unfortunately here in germany is no weather at the moment :eek:  - only greys fading in other greys mixed with a lot of mist (also grey). And the weather forecast predicts... still more greys :Mysteriou. So all I can do is waiting...

    I have an opportunity to buy a Gitzo G1327 tripod with the G1378M ball head. I think this will comply with the requirements for the 300/2.8.

    best regards
  9. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Instead, take the greyness as a challenge. It is a nice weather for getting details using your 300 mm lens, see the image below (taken with a 300/2.8),

    Grey on Grey

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  10. Bjørn,

    never thought that grey could be so beautiful...now this is very encouraging and I will give it a try.

    best regards
  11. I understand that the TC-16AF produces good results and can be used to autofocus your MF lens in fine tuning manner. In other words, manually focus to get it close then, tap the shutter button to AF. I also have heard that it is reasonably sharp.
  12. SilverEagle,

    thanks for your advice. Besides my F3HP and my FM I'm still using the D70.

    All I can hope is that the (already preordered) D200 is able to work with the TC-16A.

    best regards
  13. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi muril and claus-

    i've had limited success using the TC-16A with my 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF. when set to infinity, the minimum focusing distance is something like 30ft, which is a bit of a bother. using it as a focus assist (as muril stated) works fine with stationary objects, not so fine with automobiles. full AF mode is slow but accurate. i looked at the D200 brochure and unfortunately it looks like the TC-16A won't AF with the D200. it'll AF with the D2H, but oddly not with the D1.

    i'm not too happy with the 300mm. i bought it because the price was good (body was in user condition, optics are clean) thinking i'd use it for surfing shots but lugging it around is a pain. no complaints about the optical performance which is as good as anything i've seen. it's more of an issue with MF being difficult for me and the size and weight making the lens cumbersome to carry around. i'm happier with the 300mm f/4 ED-IF since i rarely shoot wide open.

  14. only proves there is a photo everywhere, question is .. will we see it?
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