This lens is one of Nikon's finest lenses. I rented 'Big Bertha' to shoot birds up at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. And returned sold on the lens. Pros: A. Razor sharp. B. Still razor sharp with a TC 1.4E II. C. Barely hand hold-able. Your technique must be perfect or your images will show it. But, it's well balanced with a crop sensor body. D. VR works as advertised. E. Good focusing speed. F. Comes with a nice protective case. Cons: A. This is not a featherweight lens. Canon formulations can be significantly lighter. B. Who likes the 'stick a sock on it' lens cover? Tips: Like any new piece of equipment, it takes some practice to really get a handle on the capabilities (and limits) of what this lens can do or should do. Shoot with the lens at targets with short, medium and long distances so that you'll see firsthand what results you'll get and what results you want.
Nikon 300mm f/4D AF-S IF-ED
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This professional quality telephoto lens is ideal for a wide range of image making, from sports and action, to extraordinary tight-close-up portraits, to general landscape photography. Extra Low Dispersion optical glass elements virtually eradicate secondary optical chromatic aberrations; such aberrations are typical in ordinary telephoto optics.
I'm a documentary photographer with 14 years experience. While on assigment to cover cultural performances at a SF Giants game I used this lens to get in tight on subjects. I knew the F2.8 version of this lens was more expensive and slightly heavier. Shooting in day light is perfectly fine with this. Luckily I was able to get into the press box and cover the game later that night. Although I limited to F4, my camera was able to yield impressive results at ISO 3200. AF-S gives you ultra fast focusing. I don't think I ever missed a shot. Amazing value for those on a budget.
Great lens. Sharp sharp sharp and doesn't lose much with the TC-1.4 II. I used it to cover a rowing regatta. Shot wide open as much as possible to get out-of-focus sparkles off the water; I was never disappointed with the IQ, never missed a shot because of the lens. The only caveat: I'm no professional, so the short depth of field when wide open was a little challenging. At some distances the DOF is only a foot or two. I had to be careful of what to focus on to make sure I was getting faces sharp and hands fuzzy, not the other way around. If you haven't shot with it before, I recommend spending some time in advance shooting a similar subject and carefully reviewing the results before the big day. Lack of VR not a big deal in the daytime. Besides, VR only works on camera motion, not subject motion, so I was shooting at pretty high speeds when I could. A monopod was a big help in the early morning to keep things steady until it got light enough to bring up the shutter speed. (You have to pay attention to the ISO on a D80 to keep the IQ up.)