NIkon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF VR ($499.95)

Started Aug 19, 2017 | User reviews thread
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Wolffn Regular Member • Posts: 169
NIkon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF VR ($499.95)

As mentioned in a previous review of the $399 AF-P version, I bought this lens on the advice of a salesman at a well known store.

When I put it on my D3400 it worked well mechanically. However I had trouble getting the expected sharpness. Sometimes good but many times not good.

I compared it over an extra long distance with my old Coolpix P510 that has a 1000mm equivalent focal length. This lens did not come near the P510 for sharpness. It would focus extra fast but the end result was very blurry. I suppose it's not fair to judge a 300mm lens against a 1000mm lens at long distance but it seemed to me that I had wasted my money.

The problem for me was that I got variable results at 50 meters; some good, many bad images.

As I then read the reviews I learnt that this particular iteration of Nikon 70-300 was tested and found to lack sharpness at the edges when extended to 300mm. Ken Rockwell in particular noted this, as well as other not so well known people who suggested that putting it on a DX body might help. It didn't on my D3400.

Some people said it's good to 200mm. Well! if that's what it does, as far as I'm concerned it's of no more use for 300mm than my used A-FS DX 55-200 VRII that I bought for $129.

I know that 300mm on a DX is equal to 450mm on an FX; but the issue is this lens doesn't give it's all at maximum extension. Or rather; it's all isn't enough for me.

Note that my main use of a 300mm focal length is for bird photography. Most birds in USA are rather small hence I mostly operate at full zoom.

After 15 days, the maximum allowed, I took it back and replaced it with the AF-P version which does give good results at full zoom and is a lot smaller and lighter.

Why would a manufacturer make a product to a certain specification and I (and many others) cannot get it to perform to it's stated specs?

Did we all use it incorrectly? Did I get a bad one?

I don't like giving ratings because particularly, for me it's a personal opinion based on my own experience; which is limited. The rating can only be interpreted within the limits of lenses I have used.

I wonder, does the latest version ($749) of AF-P 70-300mm make the grade? All I can read into it is one extra coating costs $250 extra. Maybe there's more I can't see.

 Wolffn's gear list:Wolffn's gear list
Nikon D7200 Nikon D3400 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR +13 more
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
Telephoto zoom lens • Nikon F (FX) • 2161
Announced: Aug 9, 2006
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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikon Coolpix P510 Nikon D3400
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