Home > My Equipment Review > Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED AF-S IF VR II Lens Review / Test shots

Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED AF-S IF VR II Lens Review / Test shots

 Since I have had my Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED AF-S IF VR II Lens, I have had the chance to do some brief tests with the lens alone and with the Nikon 1.7x teleconverter.  I will add to this review as I have more results and field tests.  Thus far I am pretty impressed with the lens both with and without the teleconverter.  The autofocus is lightning fast without the teleconverter and still very respectible with the converter.  Also remember that these photos were taken indoors, so the lighting was not the greatest and as a result there were long shutter speeds.  I would suspect that future outdoor results with even decent lighting would be even better…that is if it ever stops raining long enough here near the coast of Texas for me to to some outdoor photos! 

Both lens tests below were indoors using a tripod and cable shutter release, with the “watch” test done at ~10 feet from and “Yoda” at ~15 feet .  I have photos with the lens alone and in combination of the Nikon 1.7x teleconverter.  All photos are straight from the camera without editing except for those that state otherwise. I wanted to show the difference in results with and without mild sharpening & editing.    You can click on the photo twice to look at them at 100%. 

From my non-scientific results, the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED AF-S IF VR II Lens was sharpest between f-stops f/4 – f/6.3 without the teleconverter AND between f-stops f/6.3 – f/11 with the teleconverter.

*****Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED AF-S IF VR II Lens WITHOUT Nikon 1.7x teleconverter*****

Watch- Nikon 300mm f/2.8 – No editing- straight from camera

 

Watch- Nikon 300mm f/4  – No editing- straight from camera

Watch- Nikon 300mm f/6.3  – No editing- straight from camera

 

Watch- Nikon 300mm f/6.3 –  sharping & autocorrect

 

Watch- Nikon 300mm f/8 –  No editing- straight from camera

 

Watch- Nikon 300mm f/11 –  No editing- straight from camera

Watch- Nikon 300mm f/16 –  No editing- straight from camera

Watch- Nikon 300mm f/22 –  No editing- straight from camera

  

*****Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED AF-S IF VR II Lens WITH Nikon 1.7x teleconverter*****

 

Watch- Nikon 510mm f/4.8 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

 

Watch- Nikon 510mm f/6.3 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) – No editing- straight from camera

 

Watch- Nikon 510mm f/8 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

 

Watch- Nikon 510mm f/11 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

Watch- Nikon 510mm f/11 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  Sharpening & autocorrect

Watch- Nikon 510mm f/16 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

Watch- Nikon 510mm f/22 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

  

*****Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED AF-S IF VR II Lens WITHOUT Nikon 1.7x teleconverter*****

Yoda – Nikon 300mm f/2.8 – No editing- straight from camera

 

Yoda- Nikon 300mm f/4  – No editing- straight from camera

 

Yoda- Nikon 300mm f/6.3  – No editing- straight from camera

 

Yoda- Nikon 300mm f/8 –  No editing- straight from camera

Yoda- Nikon 300mm f/8 –  sharping only

Yoda- Nikon 300mm f/11 –  No editing- straight from camera

 

Yoda- Nikon 300mm f/16 –  No editing- straight from camera

Yoda- Nikon 300mm f/22 –  No editing- straight from camera

 

  

*****Nikon 300mm f/2.8 ED AF-S IF VR II Lens WITH Nikon 1.7x teleconverter*****

Yoda- Nikon 510mm f/4.8 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

 

Yoda- Nikon 510mm f/6.3 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) – No editing- straight from camera

Yoda- Nikon 510mm f/6.3 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  Sharpening & autocorrect

 

 

Yoda- Nikon 510mm f/8 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

 

Yoda- Nikon 510mm f/11 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

Yoda- Nikon 510mm f/16 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

Yoda- Nikon 510mm f/22 (300mm plus 1.7x teleconverter) –  No editing- straight from camera

 

-KSQ

http://ksqphotography.zenfolio.com/

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Categories: My Equipment Review
  1. July 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    This looks very good from your images. Look forward to more information, particularly the 70-200mm.

  2. Carlos Espinoza
    July 30, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Your samples have too much sharpening (I see artifacts in the background and halos). If you are trying to determine how well your camera/lens combination is performing in terms of AF accuracy/sharpness, you have to do controlled testing without applying any sharpening at all (at least at the beginning). To accomplish that, start shooting wide open on a fixed target placed at your typical shooting distance. If you have the D300, set up a target and start at AF Fine Tuning = 0. Try different AF Fine tuning values going up in the + scale increments of 5. Examine your results and discard the worst. Label the sharpest until you end up with two. Your optimal setting for you camera/lens combination will be in between those two. If setting = 0 is the sharpest. Repeat the test going down the – scale this time in increments of 5. Same as before, examine your shots and take the two most sharp. Your setting will be somewhere between these two. Once you have found your two sharpest shots. Run another round of tests this time increasing the AF values in increments of 1. Examine your results and based on your judgment select what you think is the sharpest. If when examining two shots you find it difficult to tell which is the sharpest, apply USM. 25 or 30 is good. That will tell you which is better. The sharpest AF value between this two is your setting. Once you find your optimal setting save it and you are done. You have to do this for all your long lenses.

    There are plenty of tutorials to guide on this. I have tried many methods including Lens Align and others. I have done it with all my lenses. I do not own a 300mm f/2.8 but I have a 500mm f/4 VR and a 300mm f/4.

    Out of practicality, I developed my own method. I place my setup on one of my windows which happens to be located right above my garage. I place a small medication box (nasal drops) on the asphalt ground and tilt it so it is roughly parallel to my camera sensor. I aim the central focusing sensor on preferable large text on the lowest part of the box (if there are no large text on the lower part of the box, place it up side down). Never aim your central sensor on the ground. You need a parallel target to get better results. True with this method you can never be sure to place the box 100% accurately parallel to the sensor but it doesn’t matter as long as you do your best to place it close. Start shooting per the instructions above.

    When you examine your results, pay attention not only to how sharp the text looks but more importantly to the area in focus on the asphalt right below the box. This will tell you if your camera/lens combination is front or back focusing. Examine the area in focus on the ground to determine which AF Fine Tuning setting gives you the expected results. If two shots give you similar sharp text. Choose the one which gives you the narrowest sharp area in front of the box.

    Cheers

    • July 31, 2010 at 12:08 am

      Carlos,

      Thank you for the detailed response. I agree that there is sharpening artifact in some of the photos. When I first got the lens (Nikon 300mm f/2.8)I did a simplified version of the AF fine tuning that you mentioned based on your posting on dpreview. You may not remember but I commented on your recent dpreview posting about the Nikon 200-400mm. After reading your comments I read about AF fine tuning (hadn’t heard of it before this) and tried it out myself. During the test, I did have my in camera sharpening turned to zero as the article suggested. However, I stopped after one full “round” in both the positive and negative directions at increments of 5 throughout the entire spectrum (-20 to +20). The final result after this testing was the best point of AF was zero. I did not do increments of 1 following this however, so it would be worth a try to repeat the overall test and see what the results are plus increments of 1. I will try the method that you mentioned.

      After I did this test, I then decided to increase my in camera sharpening from the previous level which was zero. However, I then forgot to decrease the unmask sharpening in photshop to accomodate these changes. As a result, the photos that I have posted that are said to be “edited” do show oversharpening artifact. Thanks again for the heads up and advice. Perspective from someone with more experience is always welcome! Thanks

      KSQ

  1. July 24, 2010 at 6:32 am
  2. October 6, 2010 at 4:54 am
  3. January 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm
  4. January 31, 2011 at 3:56 am

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