70-300 VR is a FANTASTIC lens for an incredible price
| Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
|Size / weight|
|Value for money|
The 70-300mm VR provides you with an extremely versatile range, with 70mm being great for portraiture, while 300 (even 200 does this) gives you the ability to really pick details out, or focus in on part of a larger composition. Internet lurkers will claim they've read reviews saying that it loses sharpness after 200mm. Well, maybe it does compared to the full-on pro zooms like the 70-200mm f/2.8, but then again, it retails for only $520.00 in Canada (I bought this one for $380.00) while you'll be paying hundreds, if not thousands more for something marginally better. The distortion is noticeable but not extreme, and you really only see the difference after you've corrected it in post, which is easy to do. Vignetting barely exists (check out Ken Rockwell's review for some vignetting test shots at: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/70-300-vr.htm) and considering the max aperture is not fast by any standard, it gets a fair amount of light in, and will focus with reasonable speed and accuracy. Even in low light (and I mean like shooting outside at night) the speed is acceptable.
The construction is largely plastic, which explains why it costs so much less than my 16-85mm. This means that the lens is surprisingly light for its size (I like the weight of it, but there is something to be said for the heft of a 2.8 for both durability and steadiness) but it seems to be very sturdily built, which I generally find to be the case with Nikon lenses. In any case, compare it to the roughly equivalent offering from Canon (that means NOT the L-version) and you can feel nice and smug about the quality of your camera system overall.
The main competitor for this lens, as I'm sure anyone with the internet can tell by now, is the similar Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC. I have not tried this lens, so understand that this is simply the logic that led me to choose Nikon's. Optically, they're both fantastic. Claims are that the Tamron is sharper upwards of 200mm, but I can find no problems with the Nikon, so I'm not fussed. The VC is supposedly extremely good on the Tamron, but it is less sophisticated because it runs full blast from the second you half-press the shutter. This means it will freeze the image, and you'll get to see exactly how smooth is makes you. That's ok, but it can affect small framing adjustments, and it's a little slower to activate. By contrast, Nikon's VR just works, and it works well (albeit in the background because it only kicks in full throttle for the final trigger pull). Ultimately the deciding factor was reliability, and cohesiveness with my system. As I said above, I like Nikon's durability, but Tamron has not always been so good. I might be wrong about the Tamron offering, but I rather not find out after buying it. Plus compatibility with newer bodies will ALWAYS be better when you stick in brand, because there is no reverse engineering mojo. Plus, the Nikon has a mount gasket, to stop things from sneaking in, whereas the Tamron does not.
Suffice to say, I love this lens. I think it might be my favorite right now, despite the fact that my 16-85mm may be more useful generally, and more cost me $350.00 more. But that's the thing - while this lens may not be the top dog in Nikon's pack, it sure is a lot more buy-able than their 2.8's, while really producing stunning results. I have no regrets, and if you shoot telephoto, neither will you.
The VR version versus makes this lens worth the extra cash over the non VR which played heavy in my choice to buy. It is compact enough to carry around in your bag unlike some other nikon lenses. It has heft but it is not a problem. I had no regrets buying this Nikon lenses used and it is Nikon quality fit and finish which holds up well even with harsh use. The AF is quick for a telezoom and it does not hunt in low light in my use so far. I use it for sports, portraits and event photography when I need that extra reach now and then, and it does not disapoint, remaining sharp even wide open. There is a little fallout in the corners on my fullframe camera but its not a problem and you would never really notice it. Color is the same if not identical to my 24-120 VR and I like all the VR lenses ability to give me a few stops when needed.
I recently did some night time sport photography and this lens gave decent results, however I had to push my ISO to avoid shooting wide open. On a recent portrait shoot it was better than my other available telezooms including the universally great 18-200VR and the color rendition and sharpness were pure joy. The only con so far, it is a little slow which I mentioned being a 4.5-5.6 so expect to push your ISO at times and its reach is limited for large distance outdoor shoots, but then cropping sometimes takes care of that. However you can actually handhold this lens with good results, even shoot fast action including football or hockey or auto racing and it does not beat you up carrying it around. A monopod helps. I have used if on my D700 and D200 and even a D70 with great results. The smaller sensor gives it better reach but you need to deal with more post production for quality and noise. As a former cannon shooter, its nikon's more current lenses like this one in my opinion [current flash handling and AF too] that level the playing field and put Nikon ahead over some other brands. Plus unlike my Cannon FD lenses that now I cannot really use, Nikon will keep building lenses like this one so they work on new Nikon Bodies for years to come. I read most reviews of this lens and found them to be true, unlike some other lenses like the 28-200 G that did not impress or live up to the reviews I read. My 70-200 2.8 non VR is better for interior sports and some event shooting, but it is too large to carry around in my bag and is tiring to hand hold all day without support. This lens covers that range focal length without those negative issues and is more compact so it is in my bag on most jobs. While I would love some of Nikon's faster long lenses, I cannot justify the cost especially since I dont shoot sports or nature photography all day. This lens is a bargin compared to other lenses and if you need a tele zoom this lens is truly a great value, worth the money [ got mine for $366.00 on ebay] You won't regret using or having this lens when you need that extra reach for your subject.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF VR Lens
This Nikon AF-S series lens gives you the impressive telephoto power and fast autofocus you need for taking rapid-fire shots of far-off subjects. Its versatile focal range and optical performance make it a great choice for use with Nikon digital SLR cameras. Plus, its Vibration Reduction technology lets you take sharp, in-focus photographs in all sorts of lighting conditions.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Very nice zoom lens, not for low light or dark indoor
First, I'm giving this 70-300mm lens a 5 stars rating partly because the price is quite attractive especially the used ones (the G version of the lens is even more cheaper and picture quality isn't too much different with this ED glass version in my opinion).
If your primary objective is to take pictures in low light situation such as wedding and concert, then get the 80-200mm f/2.8 or the 70-200mm VR f/2.8 instead.
Get this lens (or it's cheaper brother the 70-300mm G) by any means unless you already have those alternative and more expensive zoom lenses that I mentioned above.
1. Inexpensive (with the VR version is released, many will sell this one)
2. You can get up close and personal (300mm which is equivalent to 450mm if you attach it to a DSLR)
3. Very sharp and fast in bright light situation (outdoor etc), though it gets a bit softer as you get closer to the 300mm
4. Very light
5. Bokeh is suprisingly good
6. Great for portrait
7. ED glass for better contrast and picture quality
8. Metal mount
1. Though more solid build than the 70-300mm G version, the external part of this lens is still made from plastic. (but I don't think you should care on this)
2. Very bad on low light situation especially if the object is moving/sports photography, but still works fine for long exposure with tripod like photographing fireworks or night light building/city/car lights.
3. Focus seems to be slower on low light situation (focus hunting a bit more)
Bottom line: this lens loves a lot of light.
If you give this lens a lot of light, it will take good care of you.
Last but not least, after you get this lens, go and buy the nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D prime lens for $100 or less (equivalent of 75mm if used with DSLR which is very good for portrait and semi-zoom). This is a very fast lens and works extremly well in low light situation even without using flash. This lens will complement your 70-300mm ED lens very very well.
Also check out the 70-300mm G (half the price of ED) and the 70-300mm VR (released Oct 2006). VR feature works really well on static object. If the obect is moving then you will be better off with fast lens like the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D, 80-200mm f/2.8 AF or the 70-200mm VR f/2.8 AF-S
38 of 39 people found this review helpful.
Turns to mush above 200mm
My chief problem with this lens is that it loses so much performance above 200mm that I am actually better off shooting at a lower focal length and then cropping the resulting image. Most telephoto zooms, especially inexpensive-to-moderately-priced consumer zooms, lose sharpness near the long end of their focal range, but the 70-300 VR is the only lens I've owned that does so to this degree.
I purchased the 70-300 VR thinking it would be a good replacement for my inexpensive 55-200 VR. The additional range is potentially useful, and the 70-300 adds improved VRII and better focusing, including instant manual-focus over-ride, a better-located focus ring, and quicker AF performance under most conditions. Alas, I think I actually prefer the 55-200 despite its abbreviated feature set and its cheapness, because it is light and easy to use and offers very similar, sometimes better, image quality, depending on focal length.
It's possible that my sample is below average in this regard. However, the various online tests of this lens do tend to corroborate my impressions - only the degree to which it is a factor is really a surprise. At the very least, my experience indicates that one should be very careful to test a sample of this lens before buying it, to make sure that performance in the upper ranges is adequate. If my copy is representative, this lens should really be limited to 200mm or so and sold as a 70-200mm lens. I suspect a lot of samples really are somewhat better, and I have a hunch that in order to produce this lens profitably, Nikon has simply had to sacrifice enough production quality that there is a larger than normal variation between samples.
- My sample is not exceptionally sharp at any focal length. I see aberrations within the image field at all settings. Most people might not notice, but if you are seeking excellent sharpness from your lens, I would advise looking elsewhere. It is very acceptable at 70mm but degrades noticeably by 135mm. It is probably still acceptable for most uses at 135-200mm, but not, in my opinion, above that. If large reproductions of detailed shots are in your plans I would avoid this lens altogether, or at least thoroughly test the sample you buy to make sure it will give the results you are looking for.
- The zoom ring is very wide, which makes it easy to find and use, but it suffers from excessive static friction. This means the hand holding the camera has to "fight" the hand zooming the lens while framing, and that you will tend to overshoot your desired framing and need to re-zoom back and forth to get a precise shot. The 55-200 VR shares this quality, but not to the same degree.
- Focus seems fairly good and quite quick, but it does depend on the focal-length setting of the lens, and of course the available light level. While shooting birds to test the lens shortly after receiving it, I found that it was almost impossible to get good quick focus above perhaps 180mm or so. The focus would immediately hunt towards the near end, turning the scene into a blur, and then lock up. Manually turning the focus ring towards the long end did not always help. The best results were obtained by zooming out to lock focus, then zooming back in, at which point the lens would hold focus. Focus is accurate on my sample.
- It was when taking these bird shots that I noticed the poor performance above 200mm. Zooming in on an apparently crisp shot revealed a lack of detail every time,
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.