Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4D IF-ED

With its man­age­able size, weight and cost, it’s a cracker of a tele­photo lens

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Re­leased (year): 2000 Price new: £1100/$1500 Price used: From £450/$500 De­spite its rel­a­tively ‘af­ford­able’ price, this 300mm prime lens is beau­ti­fully built and very ro­bust, with a metal rather than plas­tic bar­rel. Un­like older ‘AF’ lenses, this AF-S model has built-in ring-type ul­tra­sonic aut­o­fo­cus that’s whis­per-quiet and fully com­pat­i­ble with all Nikon DSLRs. The f/4 aper­ture rat­ing also en­ables aut­o­fo­cus when us­ing a 2x tele­con­verter, at least for cam­eras that sup­port AF at f/8 (i.e. most re­cent mod­els, but not the D3XXX and D5XXX se­ries).

Sharp­ness and con­trast are ex­cel­lent, thanks in part to its two ED (Ex­tra-low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ments. SIC (Su­per In­te­grated Coat­ing) helps re­duce ghost­ing and flare, while the nine-blade di­aphragm re­sults in images with well-rounded bokeh.

Weight is very man­age­able at 1.44kg – less than half the weight of Nikon’s newer 300mm f/2.8. How­ever, there’s no VR (Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion), so ex­tra care is needed to avoid cam­era-shake.

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