This telephoto lens sports a reasonably fast maximum aperture of f/4 and all the usual features you might expect on a top of the range Nikon telephoto lens, such as Vibration Reduction, fast, silent focusing with full time manual override and Nikon’s Nano Crystal optical coatings to suppress ghosting and flare and fluorine elements. What sets this lens apart is that it’s the second lens in Nikon’s line-up to include an electronic aperture diaphragm, to ensure accurate exposures when shooting at fast frame rates, and it is the first lens from Nikon to include a Phase-Fresnel optical element. This cleverly shaped piece of glass is similar to Canon’s Diffractive Optics technology found in their 400mm f/4L DO IS USM lenses, and helps to reduce the overall size and weight of the lens, without compromising the optical design. The inclusion of these fancy optics comes at a slight premium over Nikon’s previous 300mm f/4 lenses, costing around £1640. In this review, we’ll take a look at how it performs.
The weight of 755g may not seem incredibly lightweight, but having owned Nikon’s first-generation 300mm f/4 AF lens myself, it is actually very noticeably lighter. This will really benefit those who have to be mobile with their equipment, having to lug it around all day. In fact, it’s not that much bigger than Nikon’s 24-70mm f/2.8, which makes it a well-balanced combination with the Nikon D600 body used for testing. In fact, Nikon seem so confident you’ll be happy hand-holding it all day, that there is no tripod collar supplied with the lens.
Autofocus is powered by a silent wave motor, and autofocus speeds are very fast indeed. Manual adjustments can be applied at any time via the wide rubberised focusing ring, which only takes a light touch to operate, but is smooth and well damped, making applying fine adjustments a pleasure.
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