Overall: 4 out of 5
Price on Used Market: ~$300–400 USD
Value at $300 USD: 4
Accessories: Great with PN-11 Extension Tube, usable with TC-200/201, TC-300/301 Teleconverter
Nikon users are blessed with a history of good 300mm lenses, perhaps none so physically attractive as the solid metal construction and silky smooth focusing of Nikon’s smallest, the 300mm f/4.5 AIS ED-IF .
Nikon 300mm f/4.5 ED-IF AIS
Taken with Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/4 AIS
|Hard Infinity Stop?||No|
|Built in Hood?||Yes|
My sample is sharp from f/4.5, probably best at f/8, and contrasty. Despite the ED glass, there is still some amount of chromatic aberration especially in the area directly behind focus, though it’s generally not a big problem. The fringing in this photo of a turtle a particularly bad example of this.
Turtle @f/4.5 1/250sec. ISO100 handheld
Nikon’s smallest and lightest 300mm lens, it’s good to handhold. The focusing ring responds perfectly to the touch, travelling a bit over 3/4 of the way around the barrel from a close focus of 8 feet to infinity (and beyond, as it has no hard infinity stop).
The tripod collar is sturdy, rotating and being removed by loosening a screw. It gets a bit in the way when I handhold it, though, so I like to keep it off when I know I won’t be using it on a monopod or tripod. Attaching and removing the collar as much as I do is a bit annoying, but it’s still much better than the one you see on the modern 300mm f/4 AF-S
Zebra @f/4.5 1/250sec. ISO100 handheld
With PN-11 Extension Tube
This is a great combination for getting close-ups of animals that are easily scared. Focus is from approximately 1.2–2.4m/4–8ft
I use this sometimes with a TC-200 2X teleconverter resulting in 600mm f/9. This lens is compatible with both the TC-200/201 and the TC-300/301 which I don’t own. I get acceptable, not spectacular, results with this combination. Next to buying a reflex (mirror/catadioptric) lens, this is one of the cheapest ways of getting out to that focal length. Here’s a recent example, I’ll have to look to find a better one.
w/TC-200 @f/8 1/100sec. ISO140 on Monopod
Focusing can be difficult for many at this focal length, and if you’re photographing subject matter such as birds which can demand fast and accurate focus, AF is basically a must.
If you can deal without AF, this is an excellent choice. The size and weight are a real plus, and the IQ is certainly there. My only real complaint is the chromatic aberration which prevented a 5 on the Image Quality rating.
More Photos with This Lens
Hillary Clinton @f/4.5 1/80sec. ISO800 handheld
Crane @f/4.5 1/90sec. ISO100 handheld
Nancy Pelosi @f/4.5 1/100sec. ISO800 handheld
w/PN-11 1/750sec. ISO200 on monopod
w/PN-11 1/320sec. ISO140 handheld
w/PN-11 1/500sec. ISO140 on Monopod
Nikon FE & Velvia 50, scanned on Plustek 7500i
More Photos of This Lens
Nikon 300mm f/4.5 ED-IF AIS