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Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G AF Nikkor

 
Lens Reviews / Nikon Lenses i Not yet tested
70-300mm $170
average price
image of Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G AF Nikkor

(From Nikon lens literature) Lightweight 4.3X telephoto zoom lens for SLR cameras that set aperture from Command Dial on camera body. Ideal lens for candids, travel and sports photography.

Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G AF Nikkor User Reviews

6.6/10 average of 28 reviews Build Quality 5.9/10 Image Quality 6.8/10
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  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by (52 reviews)
    cheap
    slow AF, build quality, unusable in lowlights

    a decent performer in IQ department. Use it properly, and it will deliver sharp results. It has a sweet spot somewhere between f/8-f/11, therefore you'll be needing.. a lot of light. I think the lens is best suited to be used outdoors, in broad daylight.

    You get what you pay for. For the price, you'll get the all plastic lens, and yes, including the lens mount. Thankfully it comes with a free lens hood. It's a basic telezoom after all. For the similar price, I prefer the Tamron 70-300 Macro. It has better built quality, and does macro too.

    reviewed October 13th, 2012 (purchased for $145)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    CHEAP and light. decent quality images.
    LOUD AF and you have to stop down quite a bit for it to become sharp. Need lots of light.

    (D90)

    I'm only giving it an 8 overall because it's so cheap.

    It's not that great of a lens if you're going to scrutinize the image quality @ the pixel level, but it's a cheap & light zoom. Near super-zoom w/ a DX sensor (which I have).

    reviewed August 16th, 2009
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Light, Inexpensive, Sharp, Contrasted
    Plastic Mount, Small Focus Ring

    I'm not sure why everyone gave this lens a bad rating. I took images last night at a football game and it produced sharper and more contrasted images than my Tokina 80-200mm F/2.8 Pro and my Nikon AF 70-210mm F/4. It also makes a great travel lens thanks to the focal range and light weight. Yes, it is cheaply made and probably won't last you years - but to be able to buy a lens like this for under 100 bucks is quite a value! Also, the AF is not that slow - especially if you have a lot of light. If you're still not sure whether to go for it or not, go ahead and just take the inexpensive chance.

    reviewed September 7th, 2008 (purchased for $70)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    Sharp, Inexpensive
    Slow autofocus that searches, Need tripod for best results

    This is a working man's telephoto zoom. It is super inexpensive, and the results are not bad. But sometimes you get what you pay for; in this lens, its downsides are an obnoxiously slow and loud autofocus, and the fact that it is best suited for tripod use, in order to take true advantage of that 300mm range. Go for it, if you want something to try shooting this focal length on, but don't buy one if you expect to use it for sports or other fast action settings.

    reviewed August 29th, 2008 (purchased for $139)
  • 4 out of 10 points and recommended by (13 reviews)
    Very cheap, light, and compact for a 300mm lens
    Shaky construction, hardly the sharpest pencil in the class

    Let's be honest. This lens is no world-beater, and one wonders how much it even deserves to be called a Nikkor. From about 135mm onwards it is fairly soft, even stopped down to F8 or F11. The extending tube rattles back and forth while the AF clanks, clunks, and hunts in all but brightly lit scenes.

    So why bother? Well despite the drawbacks, it does get you effective 450mm on a DX sensor camera. If telephoto is not your primary focus as a photographer (no pun intended), or you just need a lens for getting closer in low-light where P&S camera go to die, this lens is a very attractively cheap option. I've used this lens to take casual photos at baseball and football games that were nice to have, but not worth investing $1k+ into a single lens for. Considering that ISO1600 was needed for night events, the output from a point and shoot would have been a noise nightmare.

    Without spending $400+ on a 70-300VR or $1k+ for a 300mm F/4, you can buy into this little lens, and get pictures where you otherwise might not have. It's hardly the greatest lens ever built, but considering the price, it has a place and time for those who might need it.

    reviewed June 14th, 2008 (purchased for $125)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    cheap, nice form factor, optically decent
    Prone to CA, needs stopping down after 200mm

    OK, let's face it. At this price you won't get superior image quality and sharpness. So, what do you get?

    - A telezoom big enough to hold properly and yet not too heavy
    - A usable manual focus ring
    - Decent images, especially if you have light enough to stop down a bit
    - Nice looking Bokeh

    When shopping for a telezoom I also looked at Nikon's 55-200. However, this lens is hardly bigger than the 18-55 kit lens and I found it difficult to steady at maximum zoom. With this 70-300 I do not have that problem.

    Some common problems:
    Hunting:
    Yes, this lens will hunt in low contrast situations. Solution to that is manual focusing or paying more attention to selecting an AF point that's over a more contrasty part of your subject.

    Softness:
    Simply put, at more than 200mm stop down to at least f7.1

    CA:
    I mostly notice this when photographing aircraft against a clear blue sky. No real fix for that although using the supplied hood helps a little.

    All in all, a lot of lens for a very, very decent price. Don't expect 70-300VR performance from it and you will not be disappointed.

    reviewed February 28th, 2007 (purchased for $120)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    nice cheap telephoto lens
    bit slow, but what do you expect

    For the price you pay for this lens, its actually quite nice. So far it has taken images that I expect for its price. I used this on my nikon d50, 1.5x300=450! Sweet.

    reviewed February 27th, 2007 (purchased for $140)
  • 0 out of 10 points and recommended by (12 reviews)
    Fairly cheap
    AF searches a lot

    Actual amount paid: £95(GBP)

    This lens offers a lot of zoom for not much money and is well worth considering as a second lens on top of one of the standard zoom kit lenses. It is really good for taking pictures of animals and passable for flowers. The downsides are that you need a lot of light at 300mm to get a decent shutter speed and that the minimum focus distance of 1.5m is quite large.

    As one of the older Nikon lenses, it lacks a Silent Wave Motor and so focussing is slow and very noisy in comparison to some of the newer offerings. The Auto Focus also tends to hunt around a lot in certain situations and the manual focus ring is a bit small to use comfortably.

    I would recommend considering one of the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Macro lenses as an alternative though. The standard one costs the same as this Nikon with the special APO version costing a little more, however both feature significantly better minimum focussing distances than this Nikon.

    This lens may not be fully functional on the D40 due to its lack of an internal motor.

    reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $184)
  • 0 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)

    For the price, it is a fairly good lens. It has a good zoom range, but as you'd expect given how much you can spend on a similar telephoto lens, there are some bad points. To start with, the auto focus is very slow and noisy, and what I have found to be the biggest problem, is that you have to stand quite a long way away from your subject (over 1 metre). The amount of light you get also isn't very good and it doesn't feel very solidly built. That said, it does take very good pictures if you have enough light available and for a lens of this price, this could be a good choice for a first zoom lens.

    reviewed January 14th, 2007 (purchased for $190)
  • 4 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    cheap, portable
    light, slow (in every sense)

    I've had a love-hate relationship with this lens. I bought it because it I wanted something portable for very occasional long shots. And because it was very cheap.

    The lightweight means it's a great lens to throw in your bag and forget about. Unfortunately, the lightweight means that's it generally best off *staying* in your bag. Long, light lenses are very prone to vibration so you need very high shutter speeds. Unfortunately, long, light and cheap lenses also need to be stopped down quite a way to make sharp images.

    Auto-focus is very very slow and, to compound the problem, very prone to hunting. If you miss your target the first time the lens will rack all the out and all the way back again looking for something to focus on, which feels like a very long time when you're waiting to take a picture. Pretty hopeless for any wildlife faster than a three-toed sloth.

    On a tripod, with a cable/remote release, shooting at f16 or smaller I've had some very good shots from this lens. It has certainly allowed me to get a few shots I would have otherwise missed.

    reviewed January 10th, 2007 (purchased for $140)
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by (4 reviews)
    Cheap
    Poor optical and build quallity, only 5.6 at 300mm, rotating front element, extremely slow autofocus

    Of all my lenses, this is by far the worst. Sure it's cheap, but wide open or even stopped down it's not sharp at all and the build quality is poor.

    You can use it for portraits with a nice out of focus background, but don't even think about action shots or bird photography. You will be disappointed.

    I think it gets sharp if you use at f/8.0, otherwise at the 300mm end and wide open be prepared for some serious softness and chromatic aberrations.

    Another problem is the autofocus. It hunts like hell and you will have difficulty locking on to moving subjects. Moreover, the front element rotates during autofocus, which complicates the usage of polarizing filters.

    I'd only recommend this lens if you have a tight budget and if you are desperate for a telephoto lens.

    reviewed January 10th, 2007 (purchased for $150)
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    cheap, light, high zoom
    Slow AF and apeture

    If you are on a tight budget and need some zoom this is a good solution. The image quality is excellent up to 200mm; after that, images get slightly soft and there is some loss of contrast; however it is not much of a problem. The end of the lens rotates as it focuses, which is a bit annoying if you are using filters. The lens also does not focus very close, which makes the lens less optimal if you want a cheap macro option. If you plan on shooting outside in good light, the lens is a great bargain.

    reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $100)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Inexpensive in comparison to other 70-300 options
    some occassional wild-colored pixels

    I read a lot of reviews to figure out the differences between this and other similarly-named lenses that were much more expensive; I think this is a great lens for "prosumers" like myself. I found that you DO get the occassional wild-colored pixel or small pixel cluster from time to time. In most pictures, it may not even be noticed. In the really important pictures, it's easy to paint it out using the clone tool or healing brush in Photoshop. The image quality is very satisfactory.

    I had been trying to use a great old Nikon SLR lens with my D70 - which is great, but using a lens that actually talks to the camera is SO much easier...expecially for sports photography where you don't have as much time to monkey around with settings.

    reviewed January 7th, 2007 (purchased for $179)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (9 reviews)
    cheap, long range, light
    average optics, slow AF and aperture

    Just bought one ; it does exactly what it is supposed to: a really cheap, lightweight, long zoom !! Ideal for travelling, since it adds longer zoom ability for a ridiculous price. But it comes to the cost of build quality (who cares, by the time it s broken I'll have enough to buy a better one), and optics features (only f/4, no VR,...).

    reviewed January 4th, 2007 (purchased for $100)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Cost, "G" type lens works with metering system and comand dial.
    Slow lens for action shots.

    I've gotten some nice pics with this lens. I have recently purchased a tele-converter to enhance the focal range. I feel the that the focus tracking works well enough to recomend it, but I would prefer something faster.

    Maybe the D-100 will work better than the N-75. We'll see next season,(I'm shooting little league football).

    reviewed December 21st, 2006 (purchased for $125)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    Light weight, cheap, high power zoom
    Slow to focus and not-so-bright lens

    About 3 years ago, this lens would not be even considered anything but paper weight by most photographers then. Even though back then they had a ED version of this lens which I guessed helped with the colour.

    This is a cheap lens, and unless you are willing to spend 8 to 10 times more for the 80-200mm from Nikon, go ahead and buy this one. It is a great travel lens.

    It is light (therefore a cheap feel to it), but makes for a good lens to hike up mountains with, small again a plus for travelling. I rarely use this lens at the 70-100mm setting, but rather at the 200-250mm. This is where I find the limit of the lens (about 200mm), any more the picture gets soft. Distortion is noticable at the long end, though not sufficiently severe. Colour is OK and rendered quite naturally. Non IF means problems with polarizers. Generally a sharp lens, use around f/8 onwards. Frankly speaking, hand-shake will be more of an issue using this lens then the lens not being sharp.

    As mentioned earlier, this lens is a slow-mo. Focus is slow and will hunt for its target and even fail at times at low light levels. But at f/4 doesnt make it a low level lens anyway.

    Recommended? Yes, but if possible try the ED version or the newer (and better??) IF-ED-VR-AFs version. Got 10 times more money? Go get the 80-200. Even more? got the 70-200 VR.

    reviewed December 16th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Light, powerful zoom, great result with sufficient light
    slow focus time especially when low light, hard to hold steady at 300 mm - no VR,

    This lens works great especially from region 70-200mm. Beyond >200mm, you really want sufficient light to get a good result. However, tripod will help you to get great photo at low light condition.

    Recommend newbie tryout this lens first and I think you won't regret.

    reviewed December 13th, 2006 (purchased for $110)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)

    What a great lens for the price. I picked one up this weekend and took some great shots with it. Works perfectly with my D50, seems just like and extension of the camera.

    Image quality of the 4x6 photos was excellent. Somewhat soft at the long end but I think that was me as I was handholding and I should have increased the ISO to get faster shutter speed.

    reviewed December 10th, 2006 (purchased for $179)
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    cheap, focal distance range
    too plastic, soft focus

    I bought this lens on a second hand deal. I wanted a tele-objective and this with 70-300 for that price seemed a nice deal. It’s a good lens to practice and have fun with some snap shoots. I use it with my Nikon F80. The focus could be better. On the other hand it’s quite lighter than the "big and expensive" professional ones. If you find a good deal, buy it. If not you may think in saving a little more money and buy on the next "levels".

    reviewed December 10th, 2006 (purchased for $130)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Light inexpensive
    Slow

    Bought this originally with my D70 2 years ago.
    It has been a solid work horse for any subjects that don't move too fast. :)

    The plastic construction actually feels pretty solid and doesn't exhibit any weird traits.
    The zoom control is smooth and accurate.

    The auto focus is on the slow side and certainly will hunt if presented a quick moving subject that is changing focal ranges.

    Image sharpness has never been a problem so long as you have ample light.
    Wide open the lens seems to work well and I have not noticed any irregularities.
    Overall for an inexpensive lens it is an A+ in my opinion.

    reviewed December 9th, 2006 (purchased for $160)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    CHEAP, DECENT SHARPNESS
    SLOWWW

    FOR THE PRICE YOU CAN'T BE WITHOUT ONE, BUT IT GETS VERY FRUSTRATING WHEN THE AF STARTS TO HUNT. VERY LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMPACT.

    SAVE UP AND GET A USED 80-200 F/2.8 AND YOU WON'T BE DISSAPOINTED

    reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $110)
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Fun range to play with
    Bring your tripod if you're shooting indoors.

    Another great bargain zoom. You can't really complain about this lens other than f/4-5 is just slow. If you want pro glass, pay for it, otherwise, this is a fun zoom for newer SLR shooters who want more range when shooting outdoors. This is a tough lens indoors unless you're working with a quality speedlight. I wouldn't reco using it with the "pop-up" on a D70.

    Fun, cheap, but it'll leave you wanting more.

    reviewed December 5th, 2006 (purchased for $100)
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    Excellant Bang for the Buck
    Soft at Tele, Slow Autofocus, Some CA

    I received the 70-300g as part of a D50 camera kit sold at Costco. The lens is light weight and made of decent plastics (better than my 55-200DX). This lens performs well for the price, color is good, contrast is decent and sharpness isn't too bad given you stop down to f8 - f11. The lens is a bit slow to autofocus (though autofocus was accurate), and as it is not an AF-S lens, I found that this lens tends to drain the battery of the D50 a bit faster. On the tele-end this lens is a bit soft and looses a good bit of contrast, of course a little PP sharpening and curves can make up the difference in a pinch.

    reviewed December 4th, 2006
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    cheap
    big CA at 300

    +
    Very cheep
    Good image quality
    -
    Little soft at 300
    AF is noisy and slow
    Big CA from 200-300

    reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $175)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    Light, Flexible focal lengths
    Slow focus, f/4-5.6 is unacceptable for anything with low light, extends quite far

    This lens is a great beginner lens. This combined with the Nikon 18-70 f/3.5-4.5 provide a great foundation to learning about photography. I would recommend only using this lens during bright daylight. Wide open, it is very soft at any focal length. This is a great way to learn about the basics, but not very useful beyond that.

    One of the ‘secrets’ about this lens is the fact that it can do 1:4 macro (micro) photography. At 300mm, you can get as close as 6 feet (give or take a few inches) and get some good shots. It can not replace any of the Nikon micro lenses, but it can provide a good starting point to learn.

    The focus speed is quite slow, so avoid situations where you need to track moving objects. If you ever upgrade to an f/2.8 lens within the 70-300 range, you will notice t he quality jump. Not a bad lens to start with. Mine is collecting dust right now.

    reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $150)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Light weight, wide zoom range, low price
    Soft at 200mm & up and lots of CA

    Considering its absurdly low price, this is an OK lens. AF performance isn't AF-S class but it's fine for most people. CA is a problem wide open and things get soft from 200-300mm, but stopping down to f8 helps. It has nice bokeh. Don't knock the abundance of cheap plastic -- that's what makes it carryable. Bottom line? I have a wall full of 8X10's done with this lens and nobody has complained.

    reviewed July 15th, 2006 (purchased for $99)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    Cheap, light, good zoom range, can be very sharp.
    It can be too light sometimes, images a bit soft at maximum apertures at long telephoto and too noisy.

    Image quality is very good at all ranges when using the correct apertures. i.e. f/8 at 70mm and f/11 at 300mm works best for me.

    AF is on the slow side, and hunts a bit sometimes at very low lighting (as the lens is not very bright at maximum telephoto), but it's perfectly usable most of the time.

    It pretty light, so it's easy to carry, but sometimes I miss a little more weight to help stabilize the shot.

    The motor can be noisy if you use it in a very quiet place, but most of the time it just feels OK.

    One thing I didn't like was the included hood, I find the locking mecanism too loose for my taste, anyway you can use a standard 62" rubber hood if you wish.

    But overall it's a very nice lens, it's plastic but feels very solid, and when used properly image quality is very good.

    reviewed March 9th, 2006
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Great bargain!
    G-mount

    Having sold my first one to a friend, I quickly missed it and plopped down $99 (grey) at Adorama. It is surprisingly sharp, especially when used on a dSLR with standard 4/3 (1.5x magnifcation) sensor. If you can tolerate the f/5.6 aperture at full (300mm) zoom, then this is one of Nikon's best bargains.

    reviewed October 25th, 2005 (purchased for $99)