Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR II Nikkor

Lens Reviews / Nikon Lenses i Not yet tested
300mm $5,298
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Buy the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR II Nikkor

(From Nikon lens literature) The new, fast aperture AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II super telephoto lens delivers images with stunning edge-to-edge sharpness and clarity throughout the frame. Continued refinements and new technologies such as Vibration Reduction (VR) II and optimized autofocus (AF) modes in the lens enhance functionality and improve performance for discerning FX and DX-format digital SLR photographers.

Whether photographing nature in the wild or the battles at a line of scrimmage, the 300mm f/2.8 is an essential tool for photographers who require the highest level of image quality for publication and printing. This 300mm lens effectively leverages a host of Nikon core technologies, including Nikon VR II image stabilization, specifically engineered for each lens design for maximum performance. VR II instills confidence by counteracting image blur introduced by camera shake and telephoto magnification, allowing users to shoot up to four shutter speed stops* slower than otherwise possible, overcoming many of the challenges of handheld shooting.

This professional lens is constructed of die-cast magnesium for maximum durability and is strategically sealed to resist dust and moisture, with protective Meniscus glass to safeguard the lens’ front element. The optical formula features three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements for superior sharpness, color and image quality, while minimizing chromatic aberration. The lens also features Nikon’s exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology which enables high-speed autofocus performance with exceptional accuracy and powerful, super-quiet operation. Nikon's exclusive Nano Crystal Coat prevents instances of ghosting and flare for even greater image clarity.

The AF-S 300mm f/2.8 lens features a host of professional focusing features that further enhance functionality. Photographers can now select from three focus modes to match shooting conditions, including manual mode (M) and autofocus with manual priority (M/A) mode, and the new A/M mode. The A/M mode enhances AF control with fast, secure switching from automatic and manual focus to adapt to personal shooting preference and techniques. Additionally, users can also activate the AF Recall Mode at the press of a button that allows for instant return to a predetermined point of focus to capture anticipated shots confidently.

* As determined in Nikon performance tests

Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR II Nikkor

Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR II Nikkor User Reviews

10.0/10 average of 3 review(s) Build Quality 10.0/10 Image Quality 10.0/10
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by DJBee4920 (3 reviews)
    Fabulously sharp. Blisteringly fast and accurate AF. Very effective VR. Extremely well built. Excellent with TCs.
    None I can think of except that it was a lot of money. What would you expect?

    I absolutely love this lens!

    I have used it extensively for birds, mammals and motorcycle and car racing and it never stops amazing me. No-one would label it as a small, lightweight lens but is small and light enough to bring as hand luggage on air flights and the same properties make it a viable hiking companion.

    It is brutally sharp on its own at f2.8 and then gets even better if stopped down. Its bokeh is gorgeous! It produces great images with the TC1.4 and the TC2.0. It is heavy but can be hand-held fairly easily. However, I usually use it on a tripod with gimbal head if I can, or if I have to walk a long way, I take a monopod. In terms of angle of view, on the D500, it acts as a 450mm would on a FF body and as a 800mm lens with the TC2.0. In spite of 'only being a 300mm lens' it is long enough to get to small birds with a crop sensor camera like the D500 and even with the TCs attached is still very sharp. As you are starting out with a maximum aperture of f2.8, even with the TC2.0 on it, you end up with a 800mm equivalent, f5.6 lens. Not bad!

    It is built like a tank. I know this for a fact as I dropped mine when it was attached to a D500 body onto concrete, from my shoulder, when it fell off my monopod (triple check Arca Swiss attachments, they can appear to be fine but it is possible to have them on incorrectly at an angle!). The impact tore the D500 body from the lens, breaking the whole mount and wrecking the camera. Surprisingly, the camera was rebuildable and Nikon said that the lens was absolutely fine! They checked the alignment, AF etc. and said that it needed no attention other than the removal of the remains of the camera mount! I have been using it for the last two years and its performance is still flawless.

    If you can afford one and can justify it, get it!

    reviewed September 3rd, 2018 (purchased for $4,500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by thejohnz (6 reviews)

    I purchased this lens hoping it would live up to its excellent reputation. After returning from South Africa I can say that this lens was more than I could have hoped for.

    It is heavy but can be handheld which is how I mostly used it. On the D800 it clearly out resolved the sensor from F2.8 through F11. I was able to get excellent photos even when I cropped them down to 4mp! It is like having a 900mm lens!

    The images are stunning and 3D in appearance. Wonderful bokeh and great contrast.

    If you want images like the pros then this is a must have lens. Nikon has other great tele photos such as the 400 F2.8 but at 10# the weight is just too much for hand held use.

    reviewed December 2nd, 2012 (purchased for $4,600)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by KirkL (2 reviews)
    Sharpness, lack of distortion, low CAs, fast AF, weather sealing, rugged build quality, fully functional case, state-of-the-art VR
    Price, weight, expensive drop-in polarizer not included

    After struggling to get good zoo animal and large bird photos with the Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF-S and the Canon 400mm f/5.6L, I finally caved and bought this lens. The quality of both the output and the construction are astonishing. My sample is as sharp wide open as the 300mm f/4 was stopped all the way down to f/9, and it leaves the peak sharpness of the 400mm f/5.6L at any aperture far behind even with a Nikon 1.4x TC added. Center sharpness is first rate from f/2.8 all the way to f/9, and the edges catch up from f/4 to f/9. Now instead of getting recognizable backgrounds I'm seeing bokeh that can only be described as dream-like; with subjects appearing to float on air against a back-drop of swirling color. The focusing speed is so fast that it is easy to keep to the lowest ISO settings in all but dim light or a stiff wind. And the soft-sided carrying case enables transport with a camera attached. What a relief!

    BTW, claims have been made that none of the long Nikkor pro lenses produce sharp images of distant subjects. That has not been my experience with this model. I did test shots with the TC-14E II of small signage on the side of a rec center that is 1200 feet away through a dirty window and could still easily read “Not responsible for lost or stolen articles.” Now that’s a lens worth having!

    reviewed July 13th, 2011 (purchased for $5,300)