Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR AF-S Nikkor

Lens Reviews / Nikon Lenses i Lab tested
70-300mm $573
average price
image of Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR AF-S Nikkor

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion

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Buy the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR AF-S Nikkor

(From Nikon lens literature) A high-performance telephoto zoom lens that combines Nikon's most advanced features and specifications with remarkable value.

Main Features:

  • 4.3X telephoto zoom (picture angle, when used with Nikon DX format digital SLRs is equivalent to a 105-450mm on a 35mm format SLR).
  • VRII minimizes camera shake by offering the equivalent of a shutter speed 4 stops faster. Normal and Active modes are available.
  • Two ED glass elements minimize chromatic aberration in the entire zoom range while ensuring high resolution and contrast. Outstanding Nikkor optical performance makes it suitable for photography with both Nikon digital and 35mm film SLR cameras.
  • SWM enables fast and quiet autofocusing, and smooth switching between autofocus and manual operation.
  • Two focus modes are available - M/A and M.
  • The Internal Focus (IF) design provides a constant lens length and eliminates rotation of the front lens element, facilitating the use of circular polarizing filters.
  • The nine-blade rounded diaphragm opening makes out-of-focus elements appear more natural.
  • A flower-shaped bayonet hood is provided.

Test Notes
The 70-300mm range is a popular one for telephoto zoom lenses, and often represents one of the first lenses new SLR owners will purchase after the "kit" lens that came with their camera. On sub-frame digital SLRs, a 70-300mm covers a range from moderate to dramatic telephoto, the equivalent of roughly a 105-450mm zoom on a 35mm film camera. Out at the 300mm end, it can be a challenge to hand-hold a lens like this in anything other than bright sunlight, hence the value of the Vibration Reduction Nikon has added to this model. Combine that feature with low street prices hovering around $500, and you're looking at a real bargain. But how does it shoot? Read on...

From 70 to about 135mm, this lens is sharp, sharp, sharp, even when shot wide open. It softens a bit at 200mm, and becomes progressively more so as you proceed to 300mm. It's never awful though, and it's a good deal more than passable at 300mm and f/8.

Chromatic Aberration
Chromatic aberration seemed to pretty much follow the sharpness curve as we zoomed from 70 to 300mm: From 70-135mm, CA was pretty low, definitely in a good range for a VR lens in this price bracket. CA jumped quite a bit at 200mm though, and was even higher at 300mm. Not to the point that we'd not consider owning this lens, but it's definitely something to take into consideration.

Shading ("Vignetting")
Since this is a lens with a full-frame image circle, you'd expect it to do very well on a sub-frame DSLR, and it does: Worst-case light falloff is only about 1/4 EV wide open at 300mm, and across most of the operating range is 1/10 EV or less.

Ditto with distortion: We measured slight (about 0.2%) barrel distortion at 70mm, quickly switching to slight (also about 0.2%) pincushion at 100mm, going slightly higher from 135-200mm, and dropping back down again at 300mm. In other words, visible but minimal across the zoom range.

AF Operation
As indicated by its AF-S designation, this lens uses an internal ultrasonic motor for focusing, which means that AF operation is quick and quiet. The ultrasonic motor also means that you can grab the focus ring and manually adjust the focus at any time, without having to stop and set the focus switch on either the lens or camera to manual. Unlike some AF lenses, this Nikkor's manual focus ring has a good range of travel to it as well, so it's fairly easy to achieve precise focus manually when you need to.

When it comes to close focusing, this is definitely not a macro lens: With a closest focus of 4.9 feet (1.4m) at all focal lengths, it captures an area about 102mm wide when zoomed out to 300mm.

Build Quality and Handling
Our sample of this lens operated very smoothly, with no play in any of the elements, and very smooth zoom adjustment. While not exactly massive, it's no lightweight either, so we missed having a tripod collar on it, particularly for when using it with lightweight consumer SLR bodies like the D40.

This is an external-zoom, internal-focusing design, so the lens barrel extends a fair bit (about 5cm or 2in) when you zoom to its maximum telephoto setting. This means that the front element doesn't rotate, neither while zooming nor while focusing, a nice feature for use with polarizers and graduated neutral-density filters. There's more than enough resistance in the zoom ring to avoid "zoom creep" though, so you needn't worry about the zoom setting changing when the lens and camera are dangling from a neck strap. All in all, a very nice-handling tele zoom.

We don't have a quantitative test for image stabilization, so can give only subjective impressions of the 70-300mm's VR capability. That said, the VR on this lens seems to work very well. The usual "1-divided-by-the-effective-focal-length" rule of thumb for slowest shutter speed would suggest a minimum shutter speed of about 1/450 at full zoom. (Keeping in mind the 1.5x crop factor of sub-frame cameras.) We found that we could very routinely produce sharp shots at 1/80 second at 300mm, and if we were careful, could get acceptable results more than half the time at 1/40. That's a very solid 3+ f-stops of improvement, a huge boon to anyone who needs to do long tele shots in uncertain lighting. (Combined with the fast AF performance, this would be a good lens for amateur sports shooting. The small maximum aperture would keep you from dropping out the background from your shots, but for the money, this is a great solution.)

The Competition
While they're very common/popular lenses, as of this writing in late February, 2007, we've reviewed very few 70-300mm zooms. There's thus not a lot to compare this particular Nikkor with at this point. - We'll hopefully be testing a lot more lenses in this range over the coming months, will try to come back and update the comparisons across the board once we do.

This lens really surprised us. At a street price of ~$500 for a 70-300mm with VR built in, we figured Nikon would have had to cut corners someplace to hit the price point. Other than the slight softness and rather high CA from 200-300mm though, the performance of the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor (yeesh, that's a mouthful) was really excellent. And build quality, AF speed and accuracy and overall handling were excellent as well. Oh - I almost forgot a minor bonus for owners of Nikon's excellent 18-70mm kit zoom: This 70-300mm takes the same 67mm filter size as the 18-70mm, so you can use all the same front-element attachments on it. (Polarizers, ND filters, etc.) All in all, this is a really great tele zoom - In fact, I think one of these is going to be on my short list next Christmas!

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR AF-S Nikkor

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR AF-S Nikkor User Reviews

8.9/10 average of 55 review(s) Build Quality 8.4/10 Image Quality 8.6/10
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by beenthere (3 reviews)
    Inexpensive, VR, VR on/off and mode switches, fast focus, can shoot handheld at 300mm, lightweight
    a little soft at 250-300

    Nothing better for the money. A bit soft at 300 but well worth the investment at present price. Great airshow lens. Some crop examples at

    reviewed October 23rd, 2016 (purchased for $550)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by raymond.7leclair (1 reviews)
    Good build Fast zoom Quiet Qaulity picture
    None so far

    I bought it second hand i took a few pictures they are great can wait to take wild life were i live

    reviewed April 29th, 2016
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by eskil (8 reviews)
    fast AF, great VR, good sharpnes
    a bit soft at the long end

    Better optical and mechanical quality than the 55-200 and 55-300, but not up to the standard of the professional 70-200. The VR is quite aggressive and is very helpfull when shooting handheld at the long end. Autofocus is fast and precise. Sharpnes is very good up to about 200 mm. At 300 mm it is still quite sharp, but not as crisp as at shorter focal lengths. Distorsion, vignetting and chromatic abberation are very well controlled, almost non-existing.

    reviewed May 5th, 2014 (purchased for $300)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by sjkip (26 reviews)
    Good long zoom range and plenty sharp for most purposes.
    Fairly long, so hand holding must be steady in wind. 250-300mm is notably less sharp.

    This is probably all most people need for birds, game and distant scenery. I have used it with the surprisingly distortion-free Kenco 1.4x teleconverter, giving me an effective focal length of 420mm with 630mm FX equivalent when used with my DX cameras. With a very steady hold, even out at 300mm, and even with the Kenco teleconverter, the results are completely satisfactory, although focus is a bit slow with that setup as AF must search at f/8. But this will allow you to capture images that seem almost impossible to get. The trick is very steady hold and shutter release squeeze.

    reviewed October 5th, 2013 (purchased for $560)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by vitalishe (2 reviews)
    VR quality, portable, great performance in the range 70-250, fast focus
    performance degrades in the range 250-300

    I am reviewing this lens after playing with it over a year. This is an excellent lens. If I could change anything about it, I would limit the zoom range to 70-250. Alternatively, I would try and make the lens sharper at 300mm length at the expanse of 70mm length (if that is at all possible). I would not touch anything else.

    To objectively evaluate this lens one has to look at it in the context of its competition.
    - In my opinion, the aperture of 5.6 and even 8 is quite adequate for the VR capabilities.
    - Image quality is great up to 250. I would not zoom any further, as it is better to stay at 250 and crop for further magnification.

    So, if you were to look for alternatives, where would you look?
    - 300mm or 400mm primes. These lenses will give you sharper images at larger magnifications. Where you will loose is in the abilities to quickly take photos. Those primes do not have VR (unless you pay premium), so image quality is better only if you use tripod and have time to setup.
    - Longer zooms. For example Nikon 80-400mm VR. Note that from that lens you can get good performance up to around 300mm vs 250mm on this lens. In addition you pay about double the price.

    This lens is not perfect in terms of its performance but it is the best lens in the market in being exceptionally balanced.

    reviewed February 27th, 2013 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by drmaturin (1 reviews)
    durable, VR/IQ almost as good as the best__FOR 1/5 THE PRICE!!!
    focus ring, zoom focus shift, 300mm 5.6/CA/tad soft

    Nov '06, Electron Zone electronics complex, Daegu, S Korea: The man behind the Nikon counter looked as uneasily pleased as the waygookin (foreigner) exiting into the clear afternoon sun, new lens on D40. I was headed for the river, to see what a 70-300mm VR could do about the cranes, and how small and far away they could seem...

    Ah, the memory of the day I bought my 70-300mm VR still warms the buckles of my old kit bag.

    Light for it's length and girth, focusing fine and fast, particularly crisp and saturated in the 70-200 range, lovely bokeh (for the available f/stop), the lens proved a valuable tool to image my outdoor life from Korea, to Hong Kong, SE Asia, Nepal, Europe and N America.

    Now, 2013, it has seen over 5 years of active use in 10 countries, on 9 bodies, and it still looks and operates like new, (except for the plastic liner-ring around the front element becoming dog-eared by the way I kind of slide on the lens cap).

    I could wish for a bit more clarity at the long end, or that zooming didn't require refocusing, or that the focus ring were bigger/smoother. But, for the price, these are small potatoes, especially considering the quality, the very fine quality, of the lens otherwise. I regularly use with satisfaction the 70-300mm alongside lenses costing 3 to 5 times as much.

    Non-pros, plug your ears and hum when 'they' say you need a 2.8 tele zoom. "P-shah," I say. Don't waste your bread on the over-built, over-priced 70-200mm 2.8, or even the new f4. Get this lens for a song, used or on sale. (I hear the Tamron is good, too.)

    reviewed January 19th, 2013 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by dugong5pm (52 reviews)
    Sharp, VR, ergonomics, price, nice hood

    totally worth the money. I paid it for $375 used (mint), and it's really served me well. Performance is great. It delivers sharp images corner-to-corner even wide open. VR is really helpful in most situations. Build quality is nice. it feels sturdy and equipped with a nice flower shaped hood.

    I prefer to bring this lens if I needed a telezoom when travelling or hiking.

    reviewed October 13th, 2012 (purchased for $375)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by Perry Rhodan (42 reviews)
    cheap, cheap and light
    bad beyond 200mm, slooow af, average built

    On the D90 ok, on the D7k unacceptable to me. Even for the price there are better alternatives, tamron and even the cheap sigma are way sharper.

    reviewed June 24th, 2012 (purchased for $400)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by andre_ (31 reviews)
    colors, performances at 70mm
    performances at 200-300mm and over 20mt

    It's the worst delusion from a Nikkor lens I ever had.

    I knew the overall performances degrades over the 200mm, but I didn't think that much!

    I consider the 70-300 VR unusable in DX on the D7000, and in any case over the 20-30mt.
    The images have very poor definition, and in FF it need to be set at f11 in order to have decent photos on the D700.

    reviewed May 30th, 2012 (purchased for $350)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by tclune (6 reviews)
    Inexpensive, good VR, good IQ below 200mm
    too slow for indoors, images get a bit soft at the far end of fl

    I bought this lens as a factory refurb and got a multi-year 3rd party warranty all for $400. The lens is in great shape. The pluses and minuses are pretty much what every review notes -- on the plus side, the lens is very sharp up to about 200 mm; the focusing is fast and accurate; the lens doesn't rotate while focusing; the VR is quite effective.

    On the minus side, the lens gets a tad soft above 200mm; the lens is both on the slow side and has variable aperture. For the price, it is a very good lens, but I still want to get the 70-200 f/2.8 VRII one of these days.

    I have not noticed any CA or distortion with this lens. I use Capture NX2, which auto-corrects these things, so my satisfaction on this score may be as much due to the software environment as the lens itself. But, to my mind, the only real negative is that the apertures are just too small for indoor use. The lens has a bit of a reputation for failing mechanically after two or three years, so I was very interested in getting the warranty with it. So far, I have not had any problems -- although I have only had the lens for less than a year so far.

    I have a small gallery of shots taken at a local secondary school baseball game that can be seen here:

    reviewed May 18th, 2012 (purchased for $400)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by lightknight (31 reviews)
    Lightweight, good IQ for the $, effective VR, fast auto focus in most conditions, easy to carry
    Could do with more heft, slow even at 200mm its at F5.6

    Not top-drawer but for a consumer zoom its excellent. It could do with more weight on a heavy body like a D700/MB 10D but works well with a D7000. I have noticed sharpness deterioration at 150 - 300mm. It focuses fast and sure enough on a D7000 - I recently tried it out with some birds in flight in New Zealand and have never got so many keepers, so I guess that says a lot. VR works very well indeed...I was able to keep my D7000 at 500 ISO compared to the D700 and a Sigma 150-500 OS where I was operating at 1600 ISO (albeit at much lower noise levels despite the higher ISO)


    reviewed November 7th, 2011 (purchased for $750)
  • 1 out of 10 points and not recommended by SLR GUY (1 reviews)
    Poor optical quallity at 300mm, Alot of Noise , Too expensive and slow!

    Way over priced paper weight! I had this lens for almost a month and returned it! Cheap plastic junk! VR makes a bunch of noise and shifts the picture!

    reviewed September 11th, 2011 (purchased for $599)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by dda (13 reviews)
    Range / overall Q
    300 mm - I nearly never take it there ...

    Happy with it - love the VR - the combo with the D7000 is a winner for me

    reviewed July 18th, 2011 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Hoosierdaddy (4 reviews)
    Sharp over most of the range, nice VR, great for the $
    A bit larger than I would like, disappointing IQ at 300mm wide-open

    Bought "Nikon refurbished" but it looks new. Between this and the 55-300 @$399, I liked the size & weight of the 55-300 but it took longer for the VR to stabilize and AF was slower, so got the 70-300 because I would use it for sports and candids where a quick response was essential. My only disappointment is IQ at 300mm at or near wide open (which is where I use it a lot). The dealer did not have Tamron's new 70-300 and having not yet read anything about it I dismissed it, but that may have bee a mistake as I have read that at 300mm it's sharper than this Nikon, and less expensive.

    reviewed January 20th, 2011 (purchased for $425)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by hackmann (5 reviews)
    Affordable, VR, great IQ until 200mm f5.6
    300mm image quality

    This is a very affordable lens due its quality.
    Until 200mm, its a monster. Very good IQ.
    Impressive image at 70mm.
    VR is very good.
    I found a very good use to photograph birds, animals and guess... portrait shots.
    Check some nice shots i have with this at my webpage:

    The last one is a 100% crop of a moon shot at 300mm. You can see a lot of detail, including the lunar craters on the darker side of the moon:

    reviewed October 18th, 2010 (purchased for $600)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Philly (2 reviews)
    Big range, sharp
    a little heavy, but that's logical...

    Have had this lens for a little while now, but I was really impressed with its performance. Very sharp images, and with VR actually quite fast. Neutral colours, no real vignetting and as far as I can tell no CA either. Excellent lens, and surprisingly cheap.

    reviewed May 18th, 2010 (purchased for $400)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Alex-dan (2 reviews)
    FX, very sharp up to 200mm, still useful at 300, great colors, great VR work, great price/qual
    dark zoom, plastic feel,

    Very nice lens! Im using it at all of 70-300 range, great sharpness till 200, nice at 300mm f7-8 too :) Im shooting birds too and for this price its doing a great job.

    Here some Kingfisher photos at 300mm little f stopped...

    Full sized photos at

    reviewed April 17th, 2010 (purchased for $560)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by mtravella (6 reviews)
    Small size vs 80-200 f/2.8 and lighter
    slow lens without a tripod collar / 67 mm filter

    I did not keep this lens because of it's speed f/5.6 by the time you reach 200 mm )

    reviewed January 12th, 2010 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by findtheking (2 reviews)
    Excellent sharpness from 70-200mm, VR is amazing! , great contrast and colors
    For the price I would say NONE. Being a vee bit soft from 200-300mm is acceptable.

    It is amazingly sharp till 200mm. Its contrast and colors are simply superb. But that is not what floored me...what did was the VR. VR works like a charm! I was able to shoot a few stage plays at 1/10 of a second in extremely low light and get GOOD results with my D80!

    The lens makes a low whirring sound when VR engages, but it is nothing which disturbs my shooting. Very tolerable!

    If there is a consumer grade telephoto you should is ONLY this lens. I am pretty much sure nothing else comes close to this.

    Two thumbs up!

    reviewed October 8th, 2009 (purchased for $350)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by PuxaVida (6 reviews)
    Impressive BQ, VR, very sharp in 70-150mm range
    Soft in 200-300mm range

    70-300 is very well built. Has an impressive AF (for fast/silent AF worshippers) and very useful VR (normal & active modes).

    On my D90, at f/4.5-8 and between 70-200mm it's very sharp both in the center and edges. Beginning from 150mm the IQ performance decreases. It's quite unusual to use a zoom lens for portrait shootings but believe me this one has at 70mm on a APS-C format very impressive results.

    The lens has a non rotating front element and does not suffer from zoom creep.

    reviewed September 30th, 2009 (purchased for $600)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Joopvtg (2 reviews)
    Amazing Sharp! Fast Focusing, VR, FF, Image and Build Quality enz.
    Slow f/4.5-5.6, Extend Length Zoom, but unimportant at this price point!

    Use this lens for Motosport, VR is amazing usefull with panning, (at low shutter speed with a monopod), shot always are burst of RAW (5fps) and far the most are keepers and really sharp!

    I love this lens!

    reviewed September 10th, 2009 (purchased for $546)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Toby (6 reviews)
    SHARPNESS!!! Excellent VR
    Relatively small widest aperture

    The test is absolutely correct: This lens is extremely sharp across the entire zoom range at open aperture (on my D300, so I have no experience on a full frame body).

    If you are willing to carry the weight, it certainly a better choice than the 55-200 mm lenses ( I compared it to a 55-200 VR in a shop).

    If a wider aperture lens is too heavy or expensive for you, this is probably your first choice.

    I do agree with my fellow posters that the VR is simply amazing. If you have steady hands, you can use the lens at 300 mm and 1/30 sec - with the results being more than acceptable.

    The autofocus is fast and precise, it is quite possible to use the lens even under low light conditions in theaters or concerts. Of course, if it moves out of focus completely, you may have to help manually in order to bring it back quickly.

    I still own a 80-200 f4 Zeiss for my Contax - and I have the impression that the Nikon is better (particularly due to the VR)

    Build quality generally seems to be ok (of course, due to some plastic materials as well as AF and VR, it compares to my Zeiss like a bicycle to a tank).

    reviewed June 5th, 2009
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Cliff Beard (12 reviews)
    Great value, compact for type, Awesome VR, Build quality
    slowish max aperture, ugly bokeh with VR on

    Considering the price and performance I think this is one of the best lenses in Nikon's line.

    Yes its a bit slow, but that keeps the price sensible and makes it portable. For a consumer grade lens the build is definitely a cut above with a solid feel and smooth action.

    It is my travel zoom of choice for wildlife and action shooting as its so portable and handy when you can't justify lugging a 70-200 F2.8.

    Optically its very sharp indeed and very decent even at the long end where many similar lenses fall apart. It lacks the contrast of a pro lens here ( at least wide open) but is capable of outstanding work. I recently shot an egret at F8 300mm and was staggered by the detail in every feather.

    This lens is better on a FF body than the 70-200 in respect of vignetting and corner sharpness, though you will never get the same speed, or bokeh of course. In fact with the awesome high ISO performance of the D700 the lens becomes very versatile and usable in lower light.

    The VR is the most effective of any lens I have ever used and I have 2 other Nikon VR lenses.

    I have noticed that while bokeh is ok much of the time it gets ugly using VR when there are objects like twigs in the background. It tends to produce a ghost or double image of these items which is distracting.

    reviewed May 15th, 2009 (purchased for $400)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by goldenpiggy (6 reviews)
    Insanely sharp from 70-250, VR lets me do 1/15th at 300mm!
    None really

    First, I have an 18-200VR, 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S and an older 300mm f/4 (non-AFS), so this lens was not on my list at all. I don't usually carry the pro zooms as they are big and heavy. The 18-200VR is what I use most of the time. When I saw a used 70-300mm VR in the store that looked like it was never used for $420, I could not pass it up.

    I wasn't expecting a miracle since there's not too many zooms that will top the 80-200mm AF-S in terms of sheer sharpness, focusing speed, and contrast. Well I got a mirable, thanks no doubt to modern engineering. This has got to be one of a few true bargains left in Nikon's increasingly expensive lens lineup.

    This lens, like my 80-200 AF-S, does not need to be stopped down at all (a good thing given it starts at f/4.5). I get razor sharp images of reasonably high contrast wide open. In the range of 70-250mm, there is no reason to stop down. It is that good. Significantly sharper than my sharp copy of 18-200VR in the same range. Almost as sharp as the 80-200 AF-S when wide-open, but less contrast and pop. (Which says a lot about just how good the 80-200 AF-S is. However, if I stop down the 80-200 AF-S to f/4 or f/5.6, it quickly pulls away from the 70-300VR by a good margin).

    From 250-300mm, sharpness does decrease just a tad, more so if you pixel-peep than look at 4x6 prints (I couldn't tell on a 4x6 print). However, my copy is still quite sharp at 300mm and f/5.6 so I don't really need to stop down. Stopping down does get me more contrast, however.

    Focusing is very fast and silent, and rarely hunts except in extreme low lights or aiming at the sky at 300mm (basically little contrast). I think people who experienced hunting with this lens might be using single-point AF in extreme low contrast situation or very bright light at 300mm? With the D300's 51point AF, I rarely get any hunting. I would say AF speed is a tad slower than the 18-200VR, but not really noticeable.

    There's instant manual focus override without flipping a switch as with other AF-S lenses. The manual focus ring is reasonably smooth, way better than the 35mm f/1.8G DX AF-S which has one of the worse-feeling manual focus rings.

    Distortion is barely noticeable, SIGNIFICANTLY less than the 18-200VR, and seems to be consistent throughout zoom range. I use DXO for distortion correction (an absolute must for 18-200VR), and A/B/A between original and corrected shots reveal very minor distortions.

    CA is not noticeable anywhere, maybe due to D300's CA removal for JPEGs and the fact that I'm using the sweet spot of this fullframe lens on a DX camera. Yes, this is a fullframe lens that will go with you when you upgrade to a FX camera. Corner sharpness blows the 18-200VR out of the water. As does corner falloff -- very little.

    Build quality is superb for a consumer-class lens. I love the nice and tight feel of the zoom, its big grab area, and its spacing. Sorry, that sounded a little perverted. This lens has metal mount, of course. It has a distance scale. The barrel doesn't wobble like the 18-200VR when zoomed out fully. I especially like the fact that the "lip" of the lens barrel is smaller than the body of the lens, unlike the 18-200VR where the lip is bigger than the barrel. I don't have to be as careful when the camera down and the weight rests on the lens body, not the lip/front element.

    The lens is also light (compared to the 80-200 AF-S anyway) and balances very nicely on the D300. It's a joy to carry and hold all day. My wrist is in pain after an afternoon with the 80-200 AF-S.

    One thing I would like to mention is that at 300mm, it seems VR works better when I set the minimum shutter for auto-ISO to kick in at 1/15th shutter speed rather than at 1/30th through 1/60th. That is to say I get more keepers when shutter speed is SLOWER with VR engaged. Weird huh? At 1/80th and up, VR becomes less crucial and I have not noticed this behaviour. Fine with me!

    Now if I want sharp and light, this is my lens. If I want truly spectacular pictures with the "pop" afforded by f/2.8 DOF or need to stop action, I go with the 80-200 AF-S. Makes me rethink if I should get rid of the 18-200VR and get a used 18-70 and pocket a few hundred...

    Yes, it's a mini-miracle that I can take sharp pictures at 1/15th shutter speed and 300mm with this lens. It's a combination of VR, center of gravity, and manageable weight. Something I could never do on the 80-200mm AF-S or 300mm f/4 without a tripod. It's no 80-200 AF-S, but comes darn close in terms of sharpness.

    I strongly recommend this lens. It will be a good compliment to most 18-xxx kit lens. Make sure you buy in person, or from a place that accepts returns. Bring your camera to test it if possible. If you get a truly good one, it should be acceptably sharp wide open at 300mm. If you get an average one, you may have to stop down to f/8 at 300mm as many folks have described.

    reviewed April 19th, 2009 (purchased for $420)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by trolettiphoto (1 reviews)
    Great VR - Sharpness - Manual Focus in AF mode
    Slow Lens - Weight - Large Filter size - NO Tripod Mount

    This is a great lens for anyone who wants to walk and shoot in nature without a tripod and capture great images . The VR gives this lens a great deal of hand held shooting flexibility.

    The review is very accurate:
    300MM images can be more than acceptable in good light at F8. Shooting at F8 may not be a possibility when you need high speed for fast moving wildlife. A D60 will create considerable noise at High ISO compared to a D90. I find this lens gives an incredible performance with the D90 as 800ISO images are often more noise free than a D60 at 200ISO.

    Comparing the Tamron 28-300 is not very fair. The Tamron is 75% more expensive in Comparison in Montreal Canada. (The Tamron is faster and maybe sharper) The Tamron may be a better lens but it's in a different league. (Nikon $500 CDN / Tamron $800 CDN)

    If VR (Image Stabilization) is not a factor for you I would give the Sigma APO a good look. It's much sharper at 300. All the sharpness in the world won't help you if you don't have a tripod or monopod.

    As far as macro is concerned it's OK. Add a Canon 500D macro filter and you have incredible Macro performance. (Don't cheap-out with bargain close-up filters)

    This lens is very unstable on a cheap tripod. There's no Tripod mount on the lens and it is very front heavy. I had to fabricate a plate to offset the center of gravity and that has made a big difference.

    I am very happy with this lens. Once you understand it's limitations and put to good practice basic use of light you will get excellent performance.

    Naturally I want bigger and faster but there's a price to pay. The lens at $500CDN ($405US) is a fantastic value

    reviewed April 10th, 2009 (purchased for $406)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by PeteD (12 reviews)
    well specified lens AFS VR.
    could be faster than f5.6 at 300 but you pays your money.....

    I do like this lens. I use it a lot for butterflies and dragonflies.

    ok it can't match 300f4 prime but for the money it represents good value

    reviewed March 13th, 2009 (purchased for $450)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by ktwse (11 reviews)
    Good build quality, price, quality up to 200 mm, VR
    Quality past 200 mm, slow and sometimes hunting AF

    I have a bit of a hard time reviewing this lens as it's hard for me to do a fair comparison. But here goes anyway...

    Getting a telezoom that goes to 300 mm is usually something you do because you WANT to use the tele end. The problem with this lens is that it is very good up to 200 mm but starts to deteriorate after that. As someone else wrote, it's decent enough at f/8 and f/11 but still not great. Even comparing it to a cheap kit lens like Olympus' 40-150 (80-300 equiv on a 35 mm camera) reveals how soft this lens is.

    I am very happy with the results I get from 70 mm to just above 200 mm and in that range this lens is spectacular, but I'm not as happy with the results beyond that and ultimately that was one of the reasons I got the lens in the first place.

    Other issues: the AF will hunt in low light (even on a D700) and the max aperture is quite slow across the range.

    The build quality is good with tight tolerances and a very decent lens hood included. The VR works as advertised and the price is great. So all in all, if you only go beyond 200 mm occasionally and don't require critical sharpness when you do so, this lens is a bargain.

    reviewed March 4th, 2009 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by srbarber (1 reviews)
    Lightweight, sharp, VRII, fast focus

    Very sharp throughout it's range, very fast to focus. VRII is great. This lens is very easy to hand-hold and produces great results.

    reviewed February 10th, 2009 (purchased for $400)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by bradhill (9 reviews)
    Small size, light weight, and effective VR function combine to make this a very portable and very versatile lens. Factor in low price and you have good value.
    Optical performance issues produce many compromises when in the field, VR button too easily bumped to "Off" position

    My review of this lens should be viewed in a "relative" sense - I use some of Nikon's top quality pro lenses on a day-to-day basis. Thus I can really only rate/review this lens in terms of how it compares to the "other" Nikon lenses I use. So my comments may seem harsher than many of the other reviewers comments. I acquired this lens only as a temporary "stop-gap" to fill the focal range gap produced when I sold my Nikon 70-200 mm f2.8 VR due to its substandard performance on the FX bodies.

    Executive Summary: If you are upgrading to this lens from a Nikon kit lens (and have not had much or any experience with Nikon's best lenses), you will probably love this lens. It is small, light, easy-to-use, and will produce acceptably sharp images over a variety of situations and with many subject types. Combine this with it's low price and you'll likely feel this lens offers great value! But...if you are accustomed to using some of Nikon's best lenses you will probably immediately notice this lens's optical limitations and the compromises you have to make to squeeze acceptable image quality out of it. But it's still cheap! And, I will continue to use this lens as an acceptable "walking around" lens - it's just SO convenient!

    Some specifics:

    1. Image quality: Acceptable sharpness in 70-200 mm range with increasing softness after about 230 mm. Best results over 200 mm when stopped down to f8 or smaller. Chromatic aberration (both yellow and purple fringing) fairly pronounced towards the long end of the focal range. Bokeh only fair at best. No problems detected on FX bodies - no vignetting and no easily noticeable softening at image edges.

    2. Autofocus performance: Acceptable speed and accuracy when in used in warm environment (but not nearly as fast as Nikon's pro-level primes or zooms). But...when used at or below the freezing point, this lens slows down dramatically (this review coming to you from the great white north).

    3. VR performance: As advertised. Extends the usability of this lens dramatically (compared to non-VR version). VR button always seem to end up in "Off" position every time I yank this lens out of my sling bag (could use a lock on this toggle switch).

    4. Build quality: Acceptable but not stellar. No zoom creep experienced to date, like the rubber O-ring seal around the mounting plate. Lens hood effective at blocking light but easily knocked off with slight bumps only.

    An acceptable product as a walkaround lens - overall very convenient and covers a very nice focal range. Optical compromises (only "acceptable/OK" sharpness at shorter and real softness at longer focal lengths plus significant chromatic aberration at longer focal lengths) make me turn away from this lens for any "serious" work.

    A more thorough discussion of the pros/cons of this lens (and justification for my "downgrading" of its rating) can be found here:

    reviewed January 12th, 2009 (purchased for $418)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Null_Hypothesis (1 reviews)
    great IQ, light
    slow for moving subjects

    For the price I give it a 10. I have gotten amazingly sharp images from this lens even wide open at 300 mm. The VR works well. However, it is a slow lens so for moving subjects like animals the VR won't help you and you're going to get blur.

    Some people complain of softness, but mine wasn't. Because of this, I wouldn't buy one without actually using it on my camera first to be sure you have a good copy -- i.e. no mail order.

    reviewed January 6th, 2009 (purchased for $500)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by jacobus (1 reviews)
    € 385 is cheap en the lens is very sharp

    I have the lens in combination with the D80 For natur is the lens to small

    reviewed October 3rd, 2008 (purchased for $534)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Keyroo (8 reviews)
    Good price, very sharp, well constructed, comes with lens hood
    variable appeture gets a bit slow at full zoom, hard working with polarising filters with lens hood

    Great lens for the price, very sharp when stopped down a little, very fiddly adjusting polarising filter with lens hood on, but really good lens for the price range, i recommend it for a next step up from kit lenses.

    reviewed October 3rd, 2008 (purchased for $800)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Tom-SoCal (1 reviews)
    VR; build quality; general image sharpness; price (when purchased along with D300 body)
    Some focus softness @ 300, if printing larger than 8 x 10

    This was my first DSLR lens, purchased with a D300 body (followed by the Nikkor 16-85 when released). For two loong weeks I shot with this lens exclusively and was quite satisfied with the images on the screen (iMac - no optical bench handy). Later, when the 16-85 arrived I compared pix between 70 & 85 mm from both lenses. Without magnifying to full size, I could see no difference. This was an excellent choice for me and getting it with the Nikon $150 discount buying it with the body was so much frosting on the cake.

    reviewed July 15th, 2008 (purchased for $308)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by ian-wurn (5 reviews)
    Good clarity; VR is superb; Love the build quality
    Long & can't fit in my travel bag, then again, which 300mm lens isn't long ?

    This is an excellent lens and I bought it to supplement the 18-135mm that I had. In terms of barrel distortion, this is really way lower than even the 18-135mm lens and I am surprised. Clarity is great and everything is really sharp.

    AF speed is ok. Expected for such a lens. The VR is simply superb as I am just starting off and don't have like steady hands. Great help there....

    The lens is a tad heavy and could not fit into my original travel bag from LowePro. Then again, this IS a 70-300mm lens.

    Overall, I love this lens and it covers up to the 300mm that I want to take for nature photography.... Great stuff and would recommend this.

    reviewed July 13th, 2008 (purchased for $456)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by coreydino (1 reviews)
    Great AF, very sharp up to 200mm
    A little slow for low light

    I got 2 samples of this lens. One of the lenses was tack sharp and the other was much much softer.

    The lense I kept was still incredibly sharp at 200mm and very useable at 300mm. The lense I returned was ok up to about 135mm and then dropped off sharply. I had no problems with creep on either sample and they were both were equally tight.

    The lense is a little slow for low light situations but very decent for most situations.

    reviewed June 29th, 2008 (purchased for $460)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by idleowen (1 reviews)
    AF speed,IQ,VR works well
    none really!

    New to forum, I was searching the net for reviews on this lens and found this site,the reviews for the lens made me decide to go ahead and buy it. I've been searching for a lens to take me to 300mm and been torn between a few different lenses the prime 300/F4 ...80-400VR....Sigmas lenses in this range.....wanted the flexibility of zoom (primarily the lens is for sport) so ruled out the prime n(despite it being better IQ)....needed fast AF so that ruled out 80-400VR (yeah realise its fast enough on D3/300 for predictive sport)...couldnt afford the lens I wanted at this stage (Sigma 120-300 2.8)....and couldnt hold out any longer for an upgraded the reviews here prompted me to go for this lens and not disappointed at all !
    I had the older G version of this lens and that was a shocker (as an all rounder),had some reasonable captures with static subjects but the older lens couldnt hack it for sports.
    So without hesitation I would recommend this lens and it was a much cheaper alternative........!

    reviewed May 27th, 2008 (purchased for $580)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by grahambo (8 reviews)
    Ideal portable telephoto, image-quality/weight, image-quality/price, VR works great
    Hard on batteries, not compatible with teleconverters (or so Nikon says), bokeh less than fantastic, does not focus close

    Compared to the really professional optics, this lens does make compromises in order to remain small, light, and affordable. For something you can carry on an all-day hike, this is as good as it gets. It may be light, but it feels like a high quality piece of equipment and the results bare this out.

    My primary thing is nature photography. I can take the 70-300 on a long hike without beating myself up, but still get pictures that don't make any major compromises. The VR lets me keep the ISO down when the light gets good in the morning and evening.

    This lens is also great for shooting sports, in my case Ultimate Frisbee. It is light enough to hand-hold for the entire game, and the 70-300 range seems good for covering the entire field. It's plenty sharp for this wide open. I use it with the battery grip on my D80. The extra weight gives a great balance, and the extra power is nice because the VR can be hard on batteries. I seem to use about 1.5 batteries over a full day of shooting. The VR will take one down over 5-10 minutes of hard use, but it will bounce back in another 5-10 minutes. The D80 switches between the two batteries in the grip automatically.

    There are compromises. My experience is the same as the blur plots indicate - things get a little less sharp beyond 200mm. Also, the bokeh is not soft. Objects, like grass or leaves, retain a pattern even when they are way out of focus. They loose texture, but never really blend smoothly. Close focus is non-existent.

    And, for some uses, it would be really nice to go beyond 300mm. Unfortunately, because this lens does not work with teleconverters, there are no options other than another bigger, heavier piece of equipment.

    70-300 VR on my photoblog:

    reviewed February 24th, 2008 (purchased for $475)
  • 8 out of 10 points and not recommended by touristguy87 (33 reviews)
    good VR, very effective
    not all that sharp if you look closely

    ... now that the Tamron 28-300VC is out for DX mount I have to downrate this lens. It isn't good enough (sharp enough away from center) to be worth the loss in focal-length range relative to the very-good Tamron. Not only that it won't work with a teleconverter. The 28-300VC (which, by the way, is a full-frame lens) on a subframe will give you a FOV that is a little tight even at the widest setting but it's no worse really than a 35mm wide-angle, giving a magnification of just under 1.0. Even so that's way better than the 110mm wide-end from the 70-300. Combine that with the 450mm+ long end that you get at F5.6 no less and there's no way that this lens can stand up to that. It's ok in and of itself, not all that sharp, but correctable and smooth-handling, but in the overall market Tamron just let the air out of its tires. It's about the same price, smaller, lighter, works just as well, doesn't need DxO lens-correction and has a much wider focal-length range. The only problem I see with the Tamron 28-300VC is that it telescopes on its own when the lens is pointed down while I'm pretty-sure the Nikon 70-300 (I've long since returned it) is an internal-zooming lens. Certainly I don't remember having to worry about locking the lens.

    Still the rest of what I say here still holds for the Nikon 70-300VR (and even the 70/110mm wide-angle isn't *awful* if you have enough space to work in)'s just that in the context of the Tamron 28-300VC it's not worth buying and so any other comments are superfluous unless you need an ultra-quiet 70-300mm lens (as the Tamron 28-300 doesn't have USM). Or it might be worth buying and carrying if it were laser-sharp when shot wide-open (and/or you could put a TC on it, or it was at least a fullframe lens) and that's definitely not the case with this lens. The Tamron 28-300VC *is* a fullframe lens, but it won't take a TC at least not in EF mount. All-around it's just a better buy so I changed my purchase recommendation from "yes" to "no" for this lens.

    reviewed February 23rd, 2008 (purchased for $550)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by glen (12 reviews)
    A sharp tele zoom with AFS ED IF VR and FX
    Not fast

    I recently bought this zoom to compliment a 24-85 G on an F100. I expected to use it more on the film camera than the D200 as I have an 18-200, but I have found it to be better than the 18-200 in the 70-200 range. I will come back and re-rate this lens as I get more shots on it, but so far I have to say that I'm impressed. This is a sharp, fast focusing lens. VR works, and it's an FX format. Given how much the next step up the rung costs - an 80-400VR or a 70-200VR - this is a lot of bang for the buck.

    A sharp lens wide open at 70mm and when stopped down a bit at 300mm. Construction is good - I like the stiff zoom ring. VR activation is noticeable on this lens, certainly unlike the 18-200. I suspect the VR element being moved is much larger than in the 18-200.

    This zoom is killer from 70 to about 200 with sharp images and great bokeh. Performance falls off a bit going up to 300, but still it's very, very good.

    reviewed February 4th, 2008 (purchased for $540)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Hokum (5 reviews)
    Fast Focus, Sharp at all focal ranges, good build quality, accurate.
    F4 would be nicer

    I owned a sharp copy of the 70-300 D ED, but didnt like the slow AF. A friend of mine was selling his VR as he rarely used it.

    Wow, its better than the D ED in everyway!

    I've also found something interesting about the VR.

    I use a D200 and if you half press the VR kicks in, then turns off after about 30 seconds. Why? I have no idea as it sucks if your shooting birds and waiting for THAT moment.

    Anyway, if you press the AF-on button , then half press the shutter the VR just stays on! great!

    My copy is (like the D ED) one of the rare sharp at 300mm breed.

    Some samples.

    Wedding images:

    British Superbikes:

    reviewed September 13th, 2007 (purchased for $600)
  • 8 out of 10 points and not recommended by EF-S10-22 (19 reviews)
    Fast AF, IF design, BQ , color and corner sharpness.
    lots of CA compared to my Canon EF70-200F4L IS.

    Better than any thing else in this category in this price range , but if you compare it against the Canon EF70-200F4L IS or Nikon AF-S VR 70-200F2.8, it is not as sharp .

    But , hey it costs only 500US and there is nothing else like it , the Canon EF70-300IS has annoying rotating filter thread and quite slow focusing motor sold at around 600US, so you can see how great this Nikon is.

    Update: I sold it initially excited though, it is not as good as I thought.

    I think the VR is not as effective as Canon IS.

    I will only buy Canon gear , no more trying out any other brand , Nikon , on paper , is truly amaizng but in real life use Canon is better , BTW, I think Nikon manu system sucks and the D40X is a real silly camera what a shocking surprise is it?

    I thought Nikon is a serious camera brand but it crippled the D40X , as to make it as cheap as it is to lure those naive consumers who do not even know the Camera can not AF with most of Nikkor primes.

    Rebels at least AF with all great Canon primes and when will it be that Nikon finally decide to put USM on all its primes?

    The VR 2 is not as effective as Nikon says .

    reviewed September 3rd, 2007 (purchased for $500)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by davidabooth (2 reviews)
    Sharp lens - certainly between 70 and 200

    Previously owned the 70-300G lens. Optics were ok but with no VR a good % of shots were out of focus. Upgraded to the new 70-300 VR. Wow! This is a totally different kettle of fish. So far 100% of shots have been perfectly in focus. The lens is tack sharp between 70 and 200 - dropping off a fraction but still very usable right up to 300. I have partnered this with the 18-70 kit lens on my D80 and am delighted. Thoroughly recommended!

    reviewed June 26th, 2007 (purchased for $700)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by nexus (4 reviews)
    Very Sharp Images, and good addition to 18-135mm
    A bit bulky to carry but which 70-300 lens is not?

    I read the reviews here, and was thinking of whther to get the normal cheap 70-300mm or the VR version. Many reviews have been a bit contradicting especially one here with the 55-200mm VR. That guys probably just happen to get a lousy one out of the whole lot.

    Back to the point, many reviews point out that the 70-300 G lens without the VR is not even as great as the Sigma APO. Many claimed the cheaper version will really be not too good at 200mm and above as well.

    The VR version is really good. The pictures I took even at full 300mm produce very good and sharp enough pictures. There might be some off in auto focusing but you could turn mannually to correct it, after all not all cpu can really tell what object you really want to focus on.

    Quality of this lens is definately good enough. I am using this lens with the lens hood attached reversed and still manage to use it without problems.

    With this lens I do suggest a bigger carrying bag. This is probably the only lens for this range that allows you to hand held. for that if you use a stand, make sure is sturdy.

    The price for this lens is very Expensive in Asia and Australia. US get the lucky opportuninty to get it from at cheaper prices. The online stores do not ship overseas. I think Nikon has to really look into offering international warrenty! They are loosing out.

    I bought this piece on Ebay and it was the cheapest I could find. If you are thinking of matching F2.8 then well is totally different again. But I am happy with this purchase and I think I definately use this whenever I need to zoom in.

    filter size is 67mm and is a good addition to the 18-135mm if you already have it with D80. I am definately giving tumbs up for this lens.

    If you were thinking of the cheaper 70-300G lens then try and save up for this one. I gurantee you no regrets. The pictures speak for themselves.

    Oh if you use this lens well enough, you can actually make Macro shots.

    Here is one of the examples why I rate this lens thumbs up.
    Shot at 2007-06-30

    reviewed June 8th, 2007 (purchased for $535)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by danwatson (7 reviews)
    Excellant IQ, Fast Focusing, VR, Nice Build

    I purchased the 180 2.8 prime as I wanted a fast telephoto, after using the 180 for a couple of weeks I became dissapointed (IQ and autofocus) in the overall performance and decided to trade-it in for the 70-300 at the same price.

    This lens really impressed me and it didn't expect too much. The lens was much sharper than I expected with great color and contrast and beautiful bokeh. Even wide-open this lens delivers great images. The build is also nice, on par with my 18-70 with nice smooth zoom and focus rings. I honestly discounted the effectiveness of VR before purchasing this lens, only to find the VR is a true lifesaver and seems more effective than having a fast aperture when the moment counts.

    The autofocus is blazing fast on this lens and the overall package is impressive considering the price. A perfect match to my 18-70, this makes a nice combo.

    reviewed May 29th, 2007 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by stopdown (3 reviews)

    For the price, this is an excellent lens. I purchased this a week after it was first released and I've been happy with it ever since. I needed a go anywhere, relatively light tele with VR which provided good IQ. I got tired of lugging around heavy gear in a huge bag for casual trips to the park, zoo, beach, etc and this is perfect for those purposes.

    Negative are well documented. At 200-300mm it can be a bit soft, but the images are still highly usable (expecially if stopped down to f8 or f11). For $500, I can't ask for the same IQ on the long end as the 80-400VR which costs $1400 and weighs a ton more. Also, this lens does not perform well in low light, but it wasn't made for low light purposes.

    For what this lens is intended for, I can't recommend a better value!

    reviewed April 19th, 2007 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by chimpp (5 reviews)
    Very sharp, lightweight, AF-S, VR is amazing, full frame, good bokeh, increasingly popular 67mm thread
    slowest focusing AF-S lens I own

    First off, I shoot mainly portraits and events and so my experience with this lens is limited to such photography. When I need a fast lens, I resort to my fixed focal length lenses; otherwise I use consumer zooms. After having owned many, I'm a firm believer that pro zooms aren't worth their price at the sacrifice of additional focal length and price.

    I sold my 70-200VR and Sigma 120-300 for this 70-300VR and have had very few regrets. I'm not a big telephoto geek, which is why I sold those pro zooms.

    Sharpness on the 70-300 is surprisingly good. When my 85 f/1.4 was undergoing repairs and I needed shallow DOF for a portrait, I zoomed out to 300 at f/5.6 and got the basic shot I needed. It wasn't 85mm quality, but it was close and my client was very happy with the shot--not knowing that I could've done a little better with a different lens.

    VR worked well for me. I like to think that I have steady hands. I was able to handhold this at 300mm and 1/10s under heavy concentration. But under most circumstances, 1/40s is safe for me with VR on.

    I own other AF-S and Sigma HSM lenses, and this one is clearly the slowest of the bunch. It has hunted on several occasions but it's clearly better than the $100 70-300G that I used to own.

    reviewed April 8th, 2007 (purchased for $500)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by Artman57 (6 reviews)
    Good size and weight,VR,image quality
    5.6 is slow, but at this price point and the general quality...who cares?

    I am not a big fan of zoom lenses but I admit that they are very handy. I was looking for a lens to pair it with my D200 kit lens, the 18-70mm. I was a bit uncertain about this one and the 80-400 Nikkor which I tested- and liked it - but ended to buy this one and not regret it. First, the weight and size is much more on the "walkaround lens" side than the 80-400mm, although as per today's "standards" this is a big 70-300mm lens.But's ok with me.A tripod collar is not as needed as on the 80-400mm, which weights almost the double of the 70-300mm. So, holding this lens without a tripod is very easy and acceptable.Also, we are able to instant focus by hand, which does not happen with the 80-400, where we have to push a button either on the camera or on the lens to do so. So, handling is quicker on the 70-300. Image quality is on par - if not superior - with the 80-400mm, especially on the longer focal length, and overall resolution is better than the one offered by the 80-400, which is not bad at all either. The VR works like a charm and here it is supposed to help on low speed shooting due to the slow apertures, than to help on lens weight, which is not a problem as stated. The lens is very quiet, silent, fast focus - better than the 80-400mm.

    I was left at the end, comparing prices between these two Nikkor offerings, being that as the 80-400 costs twice the 70-300, I do think and strongly feel that the price/image quality/construction ratio is much better on this 70-300. All in all, this Nikkor 70-300 VR is a very capable, quality and affordable lens. And they are disapearing very quickly from the stores, so get one at your earliest convenience if speed is not a problem to you. ( but then, the 80-400mm is no faster eitherway.)

    reviewed March 13th, 2007 (purchased for $750)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by tdenham735 (3 reviews)
    Very quiet and nice reach.
    A little slow focusing in low light.

    This lens really surprised me on my D200. Previously I had a Sigma 70-300, however I wanted to get VR for some of those moments when there was just enough light to hand hold at the long end. I'm amazed at the SIGNIFICANT difference in image quality of my old Sigma 70-300 compared to the Nikon. As it turns out, this lens is not only quiet, great VR performance, great reach, but the sharpness of this particular lens is incredible! Although > 200mm the lens gets just slightly softer, but it's really still very good up to 300 mm. Stopping down a little helps some, however I'm totally surprised at the overall quality of this lens! The contrast, colors and sharpness of this lens makes this a great value for me @ $499.

    reviewed February 20th, 2007 (purchased for $499)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by tyeung (1 reviews)

    Got my on Jan. 24th, so far I'm very happy with the decision. The lens quality and built is on par with the price. I did not want to go with Sigma or Tamron after reading reviews. As an amateur, this goes well with my current 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED. If you are looking for a tele-photo and do not want to use a tripod then I would recommend this 70-300mm VR lens. Great deal for the price.

    reviewed January 29th, 2007 (purchased for $550)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by nullphotography (5 reviews)
    VR SWM IF, Sharper at 300mm
    slower f/5.6

    finally, everything I wanted when I purchased the 70-300mm ED lens. I really wanted the SWM and IF when I purchased the ED version over a year ago and when I heard that this one was coming out with VR, I made sure I would upgrade. I am really happy with this lens, it's a stronger build than the old ED and the SWM IF make it focus much faster and smoother. The VR is a blessing, I am able to handhold shots at 300mm @ 1/80s and still get crisp shots. This new lens is alot sharper at 300mm vs the old ED also. I would highly recommend this to any amateur looking for a zoom tele lens. But the f/5.6 will be too slow for most pros.

    reviewed January 27th, 2007 (purchased for $560)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Masselink (6 reviews)
    Excellent Quality, VR

    Right now this lens is very hard to get, but if you have the chance; get one !

    The VR is a relief and the focus speed is faster than the 'old' non VR Lens. This lens is also slightly bigger, but it will fit nicely in almost every bag.

    The only downside could be price comparing to other countries. In europe(holland) you pay aprox. $720 (cheapest i could find)

    But the money is worth it.

    reviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $720)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by DoFJerk (7 reviews)
    Sharpness and VR
    Extend length when zooming

    Nothing to spend a lot of words for this lens, other than "Exceptional Image Quality".

    Great sharpness, Low CA, and VR at reasonably price.

    If you are want to travel around and carry minimum lens, this would be one in your bag.

    reviewed January 8th, 2007 (purchased for $720)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by placenamehere (5 reviews)
    fast focusing, good weight, sharper then expected, good color+contrast
    5.6@300mm may be slow for some

    I consider myself happily surprised by this lens.

    I've been looking for a lens longer then my 18-70 or 85/1.8 for my D80 to use mainly for hiking or other travel photography. I had been holding out for this to hit the street so I could compare it to some alternatives like the 80-200 which weighs more then I'd like, but would have gone with it if the 70-300VR didn't impress quality wise. I have to say after getting my hands on the 70-300VR I was more then impressed by its image quality wide open even at 300mm. If weight or cost wasn't a factor it probably wouldn't be my first choice, but its clearly better image quality then the previous 70-300 entries and for an occasional use zoom more then enough lens for me.

    reviewed December 26th, 2006 (purchased for $530)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by Kong47 (9 reviews)
    big zoom ring, fast and quiet AF, low distortion, decent build
    variable aperture, slightly soft at 300mm

    I just got this lens about a week ago. Been waiting for it for four months. I already enjoy using this lens a lot. From 70 to 240 or so, this lens is plenty sharp for me. From wide open aperture to F11, this lens is very good. Colors are bright, contrast is high. It reminds me a lot of my 18-70. Same build (maybe better) than 18-70, same filter size (nice!), metal mount with good quality plastics. The zoom ring is nice and fat, easy to hold on to, although a little stiff. There is no zoom creep here. VR works as advertised - Several stop advantage at most focal lengths. VR is much quieter than it is on my 105 VR. CAs are low, again much like my 18-70. I like to take this lens out for wildlife shooting. I plan to try it on outdoor field sports in the spring and summer next year.

    At 300mm, this lens does get a little soft, but nothing too bothersome for a hobby shooter like me. This won't satisfy the pro's out there, and the slow aperture at 300 can get in the way at times. Overall, though, this is a very fun long zoom. I'd recommend it to any amateur or hobbyist.

    reviewed December 22nd, 2006 (purchased for $600)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by weisgrau (6 reviews)
    Lightweight, good build quality, very good optical quality, VR is great
    None of any significance

    I own the 70-210 f4.0 and 70-200 f2.8 VR Nikkors. I bought this lens because the 70-210 f4.0 is old glass and does not compare to today's ED glass element lenses and the 70-200 f2.8 is big and heavy, and te f2.8 is not always needed.

    The 70-300 VR focuses fast, has good optical contrast, is plenty sharp in spite of the rumors circulating to the contrary. It's low profile makes it a natural for shooting less obtrusively. Teamed up with the 18-70 it provides focal length coverage that handles almost ever need of a street or travel photographer. I travel a lot, and the less I have to carry on board the more likely I am to be able to get ot aboard.

    I am extremely happy with the lens and very glad i bought it.

    reviewed December 19th, 2006 (purchased for $540)