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Thread: Nikon AFS 300 f/4

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    Member super duper's Avatar
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    Nikon AFS 300 f/4

    Thanks to the advice of a fellow member, I have been seriously considering the 300 f/4 for my next lens. I am after something in the super-telephoto region that autofocases lightening quick, for sports. This lens appears to tick those boxes, but doesn't have VR. I am concerned that with something with such a long focal length I'll certainly miss VR, especially if I ever venture down the teleconverter route. Are my fears founded? Should I be looking for something with VR?
    Last edited by super duper; 22-03-2011 at 8:27am.

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    It is a good lens and remember that the world of photography for long lenses (eg 300mm, 400mm, 500mm and 600mm) existed happily long before VR. Just like the world still went round before mobile phones, the internet and facebook.
    Nikon and Pentax user



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    I dont use VR for sport anyhow even on the lenses I have that support VR, AF-S is far more important.
    Darren
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    like the world still went round before mobile phones, the internet and facebook



    I dont use VR for sport anyhow even on the lenses I have that support VR
    Why is that?

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    VR is only useful for lens stabilisation during relatively low shutter speeds (<1/200s), not arresting motion blur, and youll typically be shooting sport at 1/800s +

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    Is it true that if I was shooting at anything slower than the reciprocal of the focal length I'd need VR? Or does this cut off around 200mm for the 1/200s?

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    Oh, and is there a reason not to use it, if you don't need it?

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    Vr helps with shooting any static subject really at any shutter speed, its just more useful the lower the shutter speed

    I dont use it as it slows down initial focus acquisition.

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    I dont use it as it slows down initial focus acquisition
    Good to know, thanks

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    In some lenses the addition of vr may degrade optical quality because of the vr lens element, e.g. the 85mm f1.4 has no vr and I'm glad about that. On the other hand I use VR on my 105mm mac and it's very useful at times. You will find that pros with vr lenses don't use vr about 90% of the time, even though the pros screamed at the camera companies to give them optical stabilisation. Like the previous thread said, things existed happily before vr. There are very good techniques one can use for hand held shooting at low shutter speeds that give quite sharp images. The addition of equipment stabilisation tends to make one lazy in technique, and soon the technique is forgotten, then we are back to square one and learning how to shoot again.

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    Don't sweat the VR, I have this lens and it is great value for money for a number of reasons, in order of importantce for me;

    1) Contrast, this lens gives great contrast straight out of the box, this is only second to my old 105mm f2.5 which is a contrast machine

    2) AFS and autofocus, it is very quick and for the money it performs as well as some of the more expensive counterparts. Ignore anything that says the limit switch is useless (some say 3m -infinty was a waste of time), using the limit switch imporves focus aquisition time quite abit over the full range.

    3) f/4 is not classifed as that fast but, for the money it is still quite fast for the focal length.AND the best thing is you can use f/4 with virtually no loss in sharpness, this lens performs brillantly at f4.

    4) great size, not too big!


    In all teh time I have owned this lens I have never once regretted not having VR on it. You can pick these up quite cheaply right now (brand new that is) and I reckon it is great value.


    hth
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    Agree with you, Gerry. This is one of my best lenses for sharpness and contrast, and works well with teleconverters too. Occasionally I use it with a SB900 with a flash extender for some distant shots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PJAD View Post
    Agree with you, Gerry. This is one of my best lenses for sharpness and contrast, and works well with teleconverters too. Occasionally I use it with a SB900 with a flash extender for some distant shots.
    yeah, the teleconverter performance with teh 1.4 is great, I do not own a teleconverter for but have in the past borrowed one and its never let me down, the 2x tele does have some loss in sharpness from what I have read however its still quite acceptable.

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    The new 2x TCIII is apparently very good re IQ.

    I also think the 300 f/4 af-s is probably Nikon's most under-rated lens, I had one ages ago and looking back it really produced some great shots even as a beginner

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    300 f/4 af-s is probably Nikon's most under-rated lens,
    I agree and for the price its hard to beat, its a great lens to get you into the long range with very decent results, I have used it for everything from anzac day stuff to airshows. As mentioned VR is not a feature or factor that I would think should affect the choice in this case.

    eg.




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    Wow Gerry, your photos are fantastic. I cannot wait to get this lens now.....Thanks for all the advice guys, I feel a lot more confident that this is the lens for me now (and I've started turning off VR on my current lens when it's not needed too)

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    300afs/f4

    Hi
    My 2c worth - this is a fantastic lens and usually falls under the radar when people are looking for telephotos/longer reach.The image quality is superb,its quite compact/portable and easy to hand hold.It takes a TC reasonably well ,with the 1.4 you'd hardly notice any difference.

    The one area it didnt totally satisfy me (and why should it when compared with its hugely more expensive 2.8 big brother) is the autofocus for sports............sure it will get you amazing sports photos but it depends on what you are shooting......race track,sports where movement is predictable etc it will do an admirable job.Challenge it with some rapid direction changing sports - 'soccer',hockey etc and the success rate will drop,you'll still get some great sportraits and some good action sequences(as the rugby shot above demonstrates) but you will lose some shots due to the AF not keeping up..........no big deal unless you need the shots for publishing.

    I bought the 2.8 vr and never looked back,though I cant bear to part with the F4 and will still use it when I dont want to lug around the bigger lens - I used the 1.7 TC on the F4 at a surf event the other week and the images were great.
    thks,Nigel

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    Challenge it with some rapid direction changing sports - 'soccer',hockey etc and the success rate will drop
    Not exactly what I was hoping to hear. But, my photos are just for the albums, not being published, and I'm only photographing kids, not professionals. And to me, this is an expensive lens, it's going to be an awful long time before I can afford the f2.8.

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    you wont be disappointed with this lens.....kids usually run in one direction anyway - towards the goals! - only joking!....let us know how you go with it!!
    Last edited by phototyke; 30-03-2011 at 3:48pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phototyke View Post
    The one area it didnt totally satisfy me (and why should it when compared with its hugely more expensive 2.8 big brother) is the autofocus for sports............sure it will get you amazing sports photos but it depends on what you are shooting......race track,sports where movement is predictable etc it will do an admirable job.Challenge it with some rapid direction changing sports - 'soccer',hockey etc and the success rate will drop,you'll still get some great sportraits and some good action sequences(as the rugby shot above demonstrates) but you will lose some shots due to the AF not keeping up..........no big deal unless you need the shots for publishing.
    I have not used the 2.8 version extensively, however one would expect the AF to be better and at 6 times the price it darn well ought to be

    Quote Originally Posted by super duper View Post
    Not exactly what I was hoping to hear. But, my photos are just for the albums, not being published, and I'm only photographing kids, not professionals. And to me, this is an expensive lens, it's going to be an awful long time before I can afford the f2.8.
    theres your answer I reckon, for the money you will drop on the 300 f/4 this will get you as close to the pro range as possible without dropping 6-7k on a bit of glass. IMO a good way of looking at it is, the 300 f/ will get you 90% of the shots you want, whereas the 300 f2.8 will get you 99% of shots, for the extra 9% (or whatever it may be) the extra cost is probably not worth it for you (or me for that matter)

    Quote Originally Posted by super duper View Post
    Wow Gerry, your photos are fantastic. I cannot wait to get this lens now.....Thanks for all the advice guys, I feel a lot more confident that this is the lens for me now (and I've started turning off VR on my current lens when it's not needed too)
    I don't see how anyone would be disappointed with this lens, cost verse quality/feature/AF/size its hard to beat.

    It may be worthwhile to tee up with someone who has one to have a quick play, I am sure that woudl convince you If you were in sydney I would be happy to meet up for you have a crack with mine.

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