Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4D IF-ED
With its manageable size, weight and cost, it’s a cracker of a telephoto lens
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.