Review Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR - First Impressions

Joined
Jul 25, 2017
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Ian
Last week I managed to get a good deal on a 300/2.8 VR. I picked it up as a fast telephoto option to supplement my existing kit (D500, with the longest lens being a 70-200 VR II). My primary interest is in photography motorsports, with some college field sports sprinkled in as well (track & field, soccer, etc.).

I received the lens late last week, and short of some typical usage marks (scratches/scuffs on the lens hood, some chipping paint on the lens foot), the lens was in remarkable condition. It's definitely a decently large and heavy lens, but everything you read about it is true. Incredible sharpness even wide open, and great bokeh (the scenery right now doesn't help, as it's all just branches with no leaves which leads to some pretty busy backgrounds).

I wanted to get out and shoot with it this weekend, so I ventured out for about an hour to a local park just to see what I could find. Yeah, there's nothing particularly interesting or award-winning about these images, but it was nice to get out with the lens today and see what it's capable of. I think that this will be a great lens once spring rolls around and I can get back to the race track and sports fields. But in the meantime, I'll have to wait.


This was shot from a good distance away, but still gave good subject isolation and sharpness.

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IJM_3813_DXOPL by Ian Menego, on Flickr


A shot of a robin sitting perched on a branch in the part.

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IJM_3838_DXOPL by Ian Menego, on Flickr


A 1/10 second pan of a bicyclist riding through the park. Shot was taken through a series of trees/branches. Shot could've been a bit sharper, but it was 25 degrees outside, and after being outside for roughly an hour, I was ready to get back in the car. But, at 100% you can read the word "TREK" on the frame, so it's not all that bad.

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IJM_3897_DXOPL by Ian Menego, on Flickr
 
Joined
May 21, 2010
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329
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Haddington - Scotland - UK
A Nikon Legend, and deservedly so. Over the years I have owned / used all the Nikon teles, from the 200 f/2 through the 600 f/4. The only one left in my bag is the 300 2.8 VRII and it will only leave me when I am too old or weak to use it ;) Enjoy it, I know you will.
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2006
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403
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St. Louis, Missouri
Too heavy after many years, sold to Bobby yesterday... a magnificent lens
Randy - I can't believe you sold the 300 f2.8. I often wish I had a longer lens, but can't bear the thought of selling my 300 f2.8 VR to fund the increase if focal length. That lens is truly special. Though I do certainly understand the weight thing. I'm sure Bobby is thrilled.
 
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Randy - I can't believe you sold the 300 f2.8. I often wish I had a longer lens, but can't bear the thought of selling my 300 f2.8 VR to fund the increase if focal length. That lens is truly special. Though I do certainly understand the weight thing. I'm sure Bobby is thrilled.
I no longer needed 2.8 and I knew Bobby's had broke
that little 300pf on a D850 is amazing and very light
 

Butlerkid

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I, too, sold mine. Loved it - but it was too short for birding and too heavy for anything else. It stayed in the closet most of the time. I now have the 300 PF f4 and it goes everywhere with me. Add a 1.4 tele and I have hand holdable 420mm.
 

Butlerkid

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What are your thoughts of the 300/4 PF vs the f/2.8 Karen?
The 300 f2.8 offers incredible IQ and shallow DOF at the expense of weight and size. For me....I couldn't handhold the 300 f2.8 except for a few seconds.

The 300 PF f4 has impressive IQ and is very handholdable and small to pack. I've gone to South Africa, Kenya and Costa Rica. The 300 f2.8 stayed home each time. (Note: I do have a 500 f4...). Even though I took my 80-400 AF-S, the 300 PF f4 went too. And got used a lot - more than the 80-400. IQ with and without a 1.4 tele is excellent. I highly recommend the 300 PF f4.
 
Joined
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Pittsburgh, PA
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Ian
The 300 f2.8 offers incredible IQ and shallow DOF at the expense of weight and size. For me....I couldn't handhold the 300 f2.8 except for a few seconds.

The 300 PF f4 has impressive IQ and is very handholdable and small to pack. I've gone to South Africa, Kenya and Costa Rica. The 300 f2.8 stayed home each time. (Note: I do have a 500 f4...). Even though I took my 80-400 AF-S, the 300 PF f4 went too. And got used a lot - more than the 80-400. IQ with and without a 1.4 tele is excellent. I highly recommend the 300 PF f4.
Thank you for your thoughts. I just got the 2.8 this winter, so haven't had much any chance to use it yet for shooting motorsports or track & field. I'll get a better idea after using it this summer and fall, and decide whether I want to keep it or not. I got such a deal on it though that I could sell it and make a few hundred profit on the sale, so I'm in no hurry.
 

Butlerkid

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Thank you for your thoughts. I just got the 2.8 this winter, so haven't had much any chance to use it yet for shooting motorsports or track & field. I'll get a better idea after using it this summer and fall, and decide whether I want to keep it or not. I got such a deal on it though that I could sell it and make a few hundred profit on the sale, so I'm in no hurry.
For motorsports and track & field, it will probably serve you extremely well.....especially if you can hand hold it. I hated to sell it..... but my subjects didn't lend themselves to the lens. I sold it to a close friend who uses it for his kids sports. He LOVES it!
 
Joined
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Randy
Thank you for your thoughts. I just got the 2.8 this winter, so haven't had much any chance to use it yet for shooting motorsports or track & field. I'll get a better idea after using it this summer and fall, and decide whether I want to keep it or not. I got such a deal on it though that I could sell it and make a few hundred profit on the sale, so I'm in no hurry.
It takes a tc better, especially the 1.7
AF is faster
2.8 is amazing and for me a must have for sports backgrounds
 

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