Nikkor 50-300mm f4.5 ais {more thoughts}

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Alan_W1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,514
Nikkor 50-300mm f4.5 ais {more thoughts}

Well, the weather has been fairly good the last couple of days {crisp morning light, with milky light during the afternoons}, so took the opportunity to get to know my new zoom.

In a nut shell {and for my specific needs...which may differ from others}, I consider it to be excellent for my video purposes, but am on the fence regarding stills shooting....until I get more time with it {in a bigger variety of situations}, and practiced focusing a bit more, at the shorter end of the zoom.

This is my first MF zoom lens since the early 80's, and have already found that it will take a bit of time for me to get fully used to it.

Firstly, the focus throw is much shorter than my 400mm f3.5 prime, and significantly shorter than my 300mm f4.5 prime.

I have also noticed that the distance markings on the barrel are only accurate at the 300mm end...but nowhere near accurate at the 50mm end {maybe this is normal for this type of two-touch zoom though}.

The lens also arrived with a Nikon UV filter {I assume it is UV}, which is a chunky piece of glass....but with excellent transmission. I have yet to decide whether to use it as protection of the front element...or whether it may make it more prone to flare, due to the short lens hood I have fitted:

third-party replacement hood, and Fotodiox Viselex ND throttle adapter fitted {for video purposes}

My primary use for the zoom is at the 300mm telephoto end, and I was eager to compare it to my Nikkor ED 300mm f4.5 ais prime….with the hope the zooms optics would be reasonably close to the prime lens.

I was able to grab a few stills images for comparison, and was surprised to discover that the zoom at 300mm F8, was sharper than the 300mm prime. In fact I had to re-test this a few times to be sure:

Test subject

100% crops from the above:

It was also interesting to me that the 300mm f4.5 Prime, has significantly more CA than the zoom !!

Below is a comparison to my 400mm prime, with the Nikon tc-16a fitted to the zoom.....which for video purposes may be usable if needed:

I managed to take a couple of stills this afternoon, and a 4k video test, both at the 50mm end. The light was quite soft/milky for the stills image, but the quality seems promising....although I am struggling to manual focus at these shorter focal lengths with this zoom, which may be due to the wider dof compared to the telephoto FL's that I am used to....and the lack of a hard stop near the infinity point at the 50mm end {which appears to be near the 20 meter barrel marking} .

at 50mm f8

This link is a 5 second video clip at 50mm f8, of 4k rendered to 1080;

With regards to focusing 'stills' at the shorter end, I kept forgetting that I needed to physically set the aperture wide open on my lens first....before stopping down to the desired aperture {my old dslr did this for me}.

With video {and my almost exclusive use of telephotos} I can focus very accurately/easily at the stopped down apertures. Therefore I will need further practice at the shorter FL's.

So, overall I am very pleased with the zoom lens for my wildlife video needs.

In fact I may end up selling my 300mm prime.

Well, that's about it.....and I can now concentrate on using it for the purpose I bought it for.


 Alan_W1's gear list:Alan_W1's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Panasonic G85 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS +11 more
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