Home > My Equipment Review > Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII & TC-20EIII – Field Test Sample Photos

Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII & TC-20EIII – Field Test Sample Photos

This brief field test with sample photos from the Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens paired with the Nikon TC-E20III teleconverter, shot on the Nikon D300 for a focal length of 600mm f5.6 (not counting crop factor on DX format sensor).  There are sample shots handheld (which I would not recommend for long periods of time) and with a tripod. 

These shots were taken in the morning on a very cloudy day.  Overall, the autofocus worked well but there was a tremendous amount of hunting when the focus was on the opposite end of the spectrum of where it should be.  In these situations when the autofocus was zoomed way out of focus, I had to manually bring the lens back into focus.  Once the focus was close to being where it should from this manuel focusing, the autofocus could quickly snap the image into sharp focus. 

Overall, I was very satisfied with the final results in the field with this lens and teleconverter combination.  I will admit that most of the photos that I have published below are the best of a series of shots.  This is especially true for the handheld shots, in which I chose the best shot from 10 to 20 similar shots.  On average there was usually only one or two “usable” photos from the series of 10-20 photos when shooting handheld.  The tripod definitely improved these statistic and outcomes, so I would highly recommend using a sturdy tripod with this combo.  A tripod is useful if for no other reason than saving your deltoid muscles from the burn of handholding a 6 pound lens for more than a minute or two.   I hope these photos help people see that the new TC-20EIII is a great addition to the Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII lens and cheaper way to get a more compact 600mm lens equivalent.



(Below) 300mm at f2.8, ISO 200 (wide open)


(Below) 300mm at f8, ISO 200 


(Below) 300mm at f3.2, ISO 200 




(BELOW)   600mm equivalent -Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII with TC-20EIII teleconverter – HANDHELD 

(BELOW) 600mm equivalent at f6.3, ISO200, 1/500 sec – Red-Breasted Merganser

I was really happy about the photo below.  This is my first time to see a Red-Breasted Merganser before in Galveston, TX and without the combination of the 300mm f2.8 VRII and TC-E20III, I would not have gotten this photo without extreme cropping.  I am a bit surprised actually that it turned out as sharp as it did since this was a hurried shot, handheld while I was kneeling…


(Below) 600mm equivalent at f8, ISO200 


(Below) 600mm equivalent at f5.6, ISO200 (wide open)


 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f7, ISO400 




(BELOW)  600mm equivalent – Nikon 300mm f2.8 VRII with TC-20EIII tele  – TRIPOD


 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f8

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f8

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f5.6 (wide open)

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f8

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f11

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f5.6

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f6.3

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f8

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f11

(Below) 600mm equivalent at f14


 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f5.6 (wide open)

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f6.3

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f9

(Below) 300mm equivalent at f6.3


(Below) 600mm equivalent at f5.6

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f6.3

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f9

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f11

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f14

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f18

(Below) 600mm equivalent at f20

 (Below) 600mm equivalent at f7.1






Categories: My Equipment Review
  1. December 26, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Thanks for sharing your test results. And the pictures are just fantastic. I love each and every one of them.

  2. Amit Thakurta
    May 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    How fast the Auto focus with TC 20E III in deemed light ? Did you ever tested this combo on any hyperactive tinny bird moving frequently in low light ?

    • May 28, 2011 at 5:38 am

      Thanks for the comment..
      Well the subjects you are inquiring about (small fast moving birds) are already difficult enough to photograph with good lighting and no teleconverter attached. Honestly, the teleconverter does slow the autofocus down some and there is a slight increase in hunting for the proper focus, especially when the focus “accidently” ventures off to the wrong end of the spectrum. This situation is when I find myself having to manually do coarse adjustment to get it back in the general area of focus and then let the autofocus do the rest. As one would expect, low light is not this combo’s strength for fast moving objects, as we are now talking about a 600mm f5.6 (at best) if you don’t stop it down. You will not be able to get a very effective shutter speed with this aperture and low light conditions in order to freeze a fast moving bird. Just my experience and opinion.

  3. mchunt
    March 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I really wished I had come across this site a year ago. It would probably have saved me some money by not buying the 500vr. This combo is amazing and so flexible. Many thanks for the reviews and some very nice images displayed.

  4. May 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Superb presentation!

  5. June 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Just wanted to thank you for this article – I was thinking of this combo as an upgrade to my Sigma 150-500 and have found and bought the 300 off ebay – you helped me make my choice.

  6. Bengt Nyman
    August 5, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    How about a similar test using the new and superb Nikon 200 prime ?

  7. chris train
    September 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks for posting these photos.
    I was losing faith with my 300 and TC 2 combo but these pictures show what is possible with them. They are fantastic

  1. November 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm
  2. January 3, 2011 at 11:44 pm
  3. January 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm
  4. January 31, 2011 at 3:55 am

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