Nikon 300mm f/4 PF VR Lens Review: pricey “Phase Fresnel” supertele reduces bulk, keeps quality, and has great VR


posted Monday, October 5, 2015 at 3:48 PM EST


Along the same lines as Canon's handful of Diffractive Optics lenses, Nikon's new "Phase Fresnel"-based 300mm f/4 lens uses one of these namesake lens elements to drastically reduce its size and weight. In fact, Nikon's new 300mm f/4E PF ED VR AF-S is currently the world's lightest full-frame 300mm lens -- and it has image stabilization, to boot. We had only a very brief time with a review sample of this lens, but we've now had the opportunity to analyze all the data and bring your our SLRgear review on this new compact supertele. 

The Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR uses a Phase Fresnel lens element to simplify the use of more complicated lens groupings traditionally used to combat CA and flare, thus reducing the overall weight (despite using 16 total elements to the older 300mm f/4's 16). The new lens weighs just 1.66 pounds, while the old non-stabilized model tips the scales at over three pounds!

Performance-wise, the lens is very sharp -- especially on sub-full-frame cameras -- but we wouldn't call the lens "tack sharp." Vignetting, CA and distortion are also very well behaved, and the VR is amazing, based on our experience and testing.

Head over to SLRgear for our full, in-depth Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR review. And be sure to check out some re-sized sample images below, or check out full-resolution images using the Nikon D800E and D5500 over on our Flickr page.

D800E: f/4, 1/800s, ISO 200
D800E: f/4, 1/250s, ISO 200
D5500: f/4.5, 1/250s, ISO 320, -1.3EV

Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Review