Showcase Nikon 300mm f/4 PF

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As I posted on DP Review:

Borrowed a friend's brand new 300mm f4E PF ED VR which he picked up yesterday here in Sydney, possibly one of the first to be sold to the buying public anywhere in the world. It's still early days but I am very, very impressed with it, not yet prepared to say categorically whether it is as good or better than my 300 f2.8 VRII, but so far it seems to be at least as good, but more testing needs to be undertaken. Unfortunately we were at a park where most of the birds were far off so, I mainly used the 1.4x TCIII and a few with the 1.7x TCII, and they performed brilliantly, both in AF speed and accuracy but also giving very sharp results. Most of the shots with the TC's below are wide open!!

Unfortunately, as it isn't my lens, I only had about 1 hour to put it through it's paces as my friend needed to go to a another engagement and I had to (reluctantly) give the lens back. However, we are hoping to go to the zoo on Monday together to try it out mostly without the TC's to see how it performs naked as we can get closer to the birds and animals there. This should really show off how sharp the bare lens is and we can see how good the bokeh and other attributes are and how it stacks up against one of Nikon's best, the 300 f2.8 VRII.

The lens is so small and light weight, especially compared to my 300 f2.8 VRII which positively dwarfs it, but even compared to the old 300 f4 and even compared to the 24-70 f2.8!! In fact, it's almost too small and light, if that's possible, as it is lighter than the camera itself (D810) and it just doesn't seem right that a 300mm lens should be lighter than the camera, especially a lens with such great IQ (so far).

Haven't really tested VR as it was nice and bright today. Hopefully at the zoo we will see how good the VR is.

Here are some tantilisers, some with the lens bare and some with TC's. As I say, they look very very promising!

D810 + 300 f4 VR f5.6
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D810 + 300 f4 VR, f5.6
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D810 + 300 f4 VR f5.6
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D810 + 300 f4 VR + 1.4x TCIII, f5.6 wide open!
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D810 + 300 f4 VR + 1.4x TCIII f5.6 wide open
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Continued next post.
 

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Continued from post 1

D810 + 300 f4 VR + 1.4x TCIII f5.6 wide open!
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D810 + 300 f4 VR + 1.4 TCIII f5.6 wide open
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D810 + 300 f3 VR + 1.7x TCII f9
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D810 + 300 f4 VR + 1.4x TCIII f7.1
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D810 + 300 f4 VR + 1.4x TCIII f7.1
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Awesome - super sharp, even with the TCs - and no trace of the dreaded onion bokeh, it seems!

Looks like a winner... Thanks for posting!

Mike
Yes, it's crazy sharp without the TC's and performs brilliantly with TC's. Looks like a real winner. Thank you for your input, Mike.
 
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  • #10
WOW again. Just checked B&H. $2k... I'm out. I'll just lug around my 300 2.8!
As much as I am extremely impressed with this lens, I think I'll stick with my much beloved 300 f2.8 VRII for the time being. I need to do more testing, especially in low light, before committing to getting one - as I pointed out in my OP, this was a friend's lens.
 
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Excellent samples Lance, hard to imagine any improvement, it's very portabletoo, I think this lens will become very popular.

Cheers
Thank you very much, Tony. I think it will become VERY popular, even if it's due to it's diminutive size making it very portable.
 
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nice samples and thanks for posting this Lance

the big crop IQ is prob more from the camera but whatever

for me it's about how the lens handles the 1.7 TC. As much as I like the current version of the 300/4 the 1.7 is a bit too much and the 300vr1 takes the 1.7 invisibly

can you post some using the 1,7 ?
 
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nice samples and thanks for posting this Lance

the big crop IQ is prob more from the camera but whatever

for me it's about how the lens handles the 1.7 TC. As much as I like the current version of the 300/4 the 1.7 is a bit too much and the 300vr1 takes the 1.7 invisibly

can you post some using the 1,7 ?
Thank you very much, Randy.

Shot 5 & 6 of the second set of photos is using the 1.7x TCII
 
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Lance - how did you find the AF speed with the 1.7, compared to the 300/2.8?

Thanks

Mike
The AF speed was fast and accurate, but this was good light being Sydney summer time mid morning. I would say it is almost on par in this light, but I would need to try it out in lower light to see if it still stacks up against the 300 f2.8.
 
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Most impressive. I didn't realize that it's so small and light! With VR it's definitely hand-holdable as it's only 10 gms heavier than the 70-300VR.
Thank you. If you've got the money, I think it's almost a no-brainer, being so small land light it makes a great travel/hiking lens.
 

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