The Nikon manual focus 300 mm f/4.5 ED-IF AI-S was at the time the lightest 300mm in Nikon's lens line up. The lens reviewed here is the last version that was produced(AI-S), my sample was made quite early in the production of this lens and it was made in early 1980's. The AI-S version was produced un till 1999 when it was discontinued. The lens features a rotatable and removable tripod collar and ED-IF. ED glass (Extra-low Dispersion) to enable the production of lenses that offer superior sharpness and color correction by minimizing chromatic aberration. The IF (Internal Focusing), means that the lens does not change length while focusing.
||7 elements in 6 groups, 1 ED element.
|Minimum focus distance:
||Front lens cap
Rear lens cap LF-1
80mm x 192mm / 3.1" x 7.9"
||990g / 35oz
||9 straight blades
||Discontinued, but can usually be found at B&H
- DOF / IR markings. Both Depth Of Field and Infrared markings are provided, as usually with older lenses.
- Contrast / Sharpness, even wide open the lens delivers sharp images with great contrast.
- Tripod mount, as steady as it gets.
- Some color fringing can be seen at apertures from f/4.5 to f/5.6 in extreme contrast scenes.
- IR performance, no hot-spot at any aperture but the lens suffers from being quite soft on IR shooting.
Focusing on the D3 was a breeze with this lens. CA is almost non-existent, but the lens does show some color fringing when the lens gets pushed to the max in extreme lighting conditions. This can however be fixed in PP (post processing) without too many problems. In normal lighting conditions this is not a problem, thus I only took off half a star on the performance rating. Light fall-off is more or less non existent, as to be expected for a tele-photo lens.
Infrared performance is outstanding when it comes to no Hot-spot, but the lens does show some softness on infrared shooting that is not detectable in normal shooting thus I rated the IR performance 3.5 out of 5. Generally speaking it's nothing to worry about, as some quick PP work and you are set to go, that is if you don't mind spending time doing PP. As with all discontinued products, value is always dependent of price. If you get this lens for around $3-500 USD in great condition you get pretty good value for your money.
B&H usually has the Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED-IF in stock
Purchasing items through these links helps me adding more content to this website. The links takes you to B&H's website, which is my recommended store to get equipment from. I've used B&H personally since 2005, and I get all my equipment from them these days(including the lenses used for these reviews). Thanks for your support, Fredrik.
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR Price From: $519.95 USD
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF. Price From: $1,374.95 USD
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G AF-S ED-IF VR II. Price From: $5,799.95 USD
Sigma AF 300mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Price: $2,999.00 USD
*Prices and rebates are subject to change. Listed price is from April 30, 2010
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