300/4.0E-PF-VR Came In Today

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dan_brown|4, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. Local shop called me at lunch and I went down and got it. Remarkably light and compact.
    Here are a few NEF files out of the D800 (40+ meg each) hosted for your download if desired.
    These are all shot at f4, handheld, ISO 100.
  2. Dan, why didn't reduce these files to say around 600kb ? After waiting and waiting my CNX2 tells me that I can't open the file.
  3. Download + save, worked here. Then opened images with CNX2. Tested two and each took close to 3 minutes to download with my line speeds. C.nef: at least the whiskers were there.
    Thank you Dan for the reference images.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Thanks Dan. I am glad that Nikon delivers it, at least some of them, before the end of January. Obviously supply is somewhat limited initially.
    It looks like you have the optional RT-1 tripod collar for the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR, and it fits the 300mm/f4 PF AF-S VR also. However, I am considering getting the Kirk collar for the 70-200mm/f4, and that Kirk collar has an extra support point in front. I am afraid that the Kirk collar will not fit the shorter 300mm/f4 PF. I am going to wait a bit and see whether I can get a third-party collar that can fit both and has a built-in Arca Swiss type QR plate. However, since this 300mm/f4 PF is so short, perhaps a collar is not necessary, at least not as necessary.
  5. Leszek, there are other shots out there showing jpg and what not. I thought ya'll might like to have some NEFs to play with.
    Shun, that tripod foot is the Vello TC-N1 from my 70-200/4VR, and it fits the 300 perfectly. But, just 1/4" thread, so no ARCA.
  6. Some shots into hard light, exposure matters ;-)
    Those are street/house lights in the distance.
  7. Dan, What the focal length at minimum distance?
  8. Dan, thanks for sharing. Lovely looking lens proportions... it just looks right.!
    What was focus speed like? I'd guess pretty much instant with such a light 300mm lens.
    My rather poor EXIF reader doesn't say what 'state' VR was in, Active for the 1/350th dog and horse shots I'd think?


    But, just 1/4" thread, so no ARCA.​
    The official link to the Vello Collar....mentions a 3/8" > 1/4" bushing???

    RAW.... I'm really, really lucky where I live, I managed to download the 'Keep Off' RAW pic in 9 seconds..:)
  9. Thanks for posting, Dan. Not sure why it happened, but my NX2 was fine and displayed the images properly, but my CNX2 would claim (& I tried again) "not enough memory" (?).
    Anyway, I jumped into the doggie's hair (100%)...and this lens looks v. promising. Definiately like the smaller look. Will have to save the pesos.
  10. What was focus speed like?​
    Rather quick, it feels more responsive than the 70-200/4.0G to me. The manual focus throw is just luscious. It rotates the better part of 180 degree, is silky-smooth, and has zero backlash. Very easy lens to manually focus. I'd say it's the best manual focusing AF Nikkor I have shot.
    Some focus tracking images:
  11. What the focal length at minimum distance?​
    I don't know how to measure this. But, if I focus from near to far, I don't see any significant focus breathing. Although it is somewhat difficult to see because the image becomes so blurred. It's nothing like a bad focus-breathing lens, like the 28-105D-AF, which is kind of a joke at 105mm (more like 70mm LOL).
  12. Sweet looking lens!
    No problems downloading the images - just a tiny bid of CA that ACR has no trouble removing.
    Not using my 300/4 AF-S enough to justify the upgrade to the PF version - but sure would appreciate the smaller size and weight! Maybe it's time for the 70-200/2.8 and the 300/4 AF-S to leave the building and to embrace a three-prime setup: 85/1.8, 150/2.8 and the new 300 PF?!
    I am going to wait a bit and see whether I can get a third-party collar that can fit both and has a built-in Arca Swiss type QR plate.​
    RRS LC-A12 doesn't fit the bill? Works on the 70-200, so likely will work on the 300 PF as well. And it uses the same foot as the collars for the 70-200/2.8 VR and VR II, 300/4 AF-S, 80-400 AF-D and AF-S.
  13. With respect to PF flare, my preliminary testing suggests that when an object is overexposed by about 3-stops past the right side of the histogram, some PF flare will start to show up. Although, with point light sources that are way blown (specular highlights), they become little airy discs, which isn't bad, IMHO. Compare to aperture stars. Which looks worse, better? Which can be used creatively? You tell me.
  14. Dan, does your Vello tripod mount have the 3/8" > 1/4" bushing adapter thingy? or is there maybe an earlier 1/4" only version?
  15. Mike: Yes, the Vello has a 3/8" to 1/4" threaded insert.
    BTW, the Vello foot is a very nice product. I am happy with it for sure. Did not cost much. When I got my Df, I decided not to go with Arca type mounts, and the Vello foot plus the Gitzo ball head (photo above) is a satisfying combination. Thinking that my Arca bracket addiction days are now over LOL.
    Also, it's a nice feature that one foot can be used with both the 70-200/4G and 300/4PF lenses.
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The main weakness for the old 300mm/f4 AF-S is AF speed; it is surprisingly slow for an AF-S lens, to the degree that I would rather hand hold the heavy 300mm/f2.8 AF-S for birds in flight. I am glad that new PF version apparently has much faster AF.
    The image below shows the 80-400mm AF-S VR with the Kirk tripod collar. They have a similar collar to fit the smaller (narrower diameter) 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR. The problem is that the extra support in front is custom made for the (barrel diameter of the) 70-200mm/f4. Therefore, while the Nikon and Vello collars also fit the 300mm/f4 PF, the Kirk collar is not going to work for both. The RRS collar doesn't have the extra support, but it also costs something like $100 more than the Kirk.
    As I said before, hopefully Nikon will apply this type of PF technology to make a 400mm/f4 and/or a 500mm/f4. Those will be major game changers. The old 300mm/f4 AF-S is not that heavy in the first place to make this upgrade to PF (and the reduction in weight) super attractive.
    Dan, thanks for all the information. Enjoy the new lens.
  17. I don't know how to measure this. But, if I focus from near to far, I don't see any significant focus breathing. Although it is somewhat difficult to see because the image becomes so blurred. It's nothing like a bad focus-breathing lens, like the 28-105D-AF, which is kind of a joke at 105mm (more like 70mm LOL).​
    Reading the specs with minimum focusing distance of 1.4m and magnification of 0.24 a rough calculation gives me a focal length of 270mm so really there isn't any significant focus breathing.
  18. Here are some size comparison shots.
    50/1.4G - 18/2.8D - 35/1.4G - 300/4.0PF - 70-200/4.0G
  19. Here is an example of a low-light handheld shot. This is a loudspeaker emblem, the room is too dark to read a book in. In fact, the brighter surface of the speaker is illuminated by TV light. First picture is full frame (Df), and second is a 100% crop.
    Nikon Df; ISO 12,800; 1/20 second; f4.0; handheld.
  20. Here is an example of another closer shot. This was on a tripod. First is full frame, second is 100% crop.
    Df; ISO 800; 1/5 second; f4.0; tripod.
  21. Congratulations Dan on the new 300mm! Nice lens!
    I am tempted to upgrade from my 300 AFS F4 just for the lighter weight and VR.
    Is that the Klipsch Legacy III speaker and the Jolida FX10 integrated amp you photographed there?
    Nice combination!
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I took liberty to capture an image with the 300mm/f4 AF-S, 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II, and 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR side by side, with the 70-200mm/f4 being the common lens between Dan's image and mine on the two ends. I tried to match the lens size in his image and then put the two side by side.

    With the old and new 300mm/f4 virtually next to each other. The reduction in size is very significant.
  23. The focus tracking ability (biker) is very impressive, and the size is right!
  24. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Somehow I missed this earlier. It looks like Dan has protection filters on all of his lenses. Forum filter police may have a field day. :)
    Apparently they are all high-quality Hoya HMC multi-coated. Shouldn't affect image quality in any noticeable way. I would remove the filter when shooting into a light source just to make sure that the filter doesn't add any flare and ghosting.
  25. Shun, the filter was placed on the lens after these photos were taken.
  26. Here some TC17E shots. Full frame (D800) & 100% crop. All are ISO 400, 500mm, f6.7, shutter between 1/500 and 1/2000.
    Disclaimer. It was a blustery day and my 2-series Gitzo was not really up to the task. I used Live View focus, and could see lots of movement and thermal distortion. I am not an experience long lens shooter, these are basically the best I could muster, so YMMV. Also, I played with the contrast, color, and sharpness a bit to make them look a bit better.
    At the end of the day, this is a 500mm f6.7 lens, so it has some limitations for sure.
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I appreciate Dan's contribution so far. Has anyone else purchased this lens yet?
    Roget Cicala from Lens Rentals has posted some comments. Usually he is in the unique position to check out many copies of each lens as they have a number of them available for rental. Cicala has received only one 300mm/f4 PF AF-S VR so far. He finds that its sharpest point is a bit to the right from the center of the image, and bright light spots are also not completely circular. Therefore, he speculates that his lens could be a bit decentered: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/02/the-nikon-300mm-f4e-pf-ed-vr-test-or-why-i-dont-test-just-one-copy
  28. Dan Brown, forgive this "apples to oranges" question ( posted elsewhere with no replies) about IQ for a particular purpose: I use my D800/ 70-200mm VRii in my kayak for NH/ME coastal and back channel photography, with the lens glued @200mm. If it would be nice to have more reach/less weight without sacrificing resolution, etc. As I have aged, walking up to Bubble Rock in Acadia Park with heavy gear has become more challenging; this 300m might be handy in such situations also. Can you or any other forum member compare this new lens with the zoom@200mm?
  29. Tom; here are 100% crops taken with the D800, on a tripod, VR off, f4.0, ISO100:
    The 300 is noticeably sharper than the 70-200/4 to my eye.
  30. Thank you, precisely what I was trying to find; the woodgrain is noticeably more detailed in the 300mm photo.
  31. Tom, maybe I'm missing something, but those comparison shots are with the 70-200mm f4, not the 70-200mm 2.8 VRII you asked about.
  32. Thanks Mike, that escaped me; just checked photozone's f4VR analysis - as I had imagined that VRii @200mm is a tough act to follow.
  33. After reviewing test image showing a lack of sharpness using VR in the 1/60 to 1/180 second shutter speed range, NikonUSA has instructed me to return the lens for service.
  34. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    After reviewing test image showing a lack of sharpness using VR in the 1/60 to 1/180 second shutter speed range, Nikon USA has instructed me to return the lens for service.​
    That is very annoying.
    Dan's opening post was from January 30. Therefore, that particular lens is less than a month old and is obviously among the earliest batch. I wonder whether Dan can just return it for a refund and wait for another sample. Otherwise, hopefully Nikon will fix it properly.
    Good luck.
  35. It's annoying, but I don't feel too annoyed. This is the first time I have ever had an issue with a new Nikon product. What sucks is that UPS Ground with insurance costs $60.
    Anyway, there appears to be a shortage of these lenses out there today, so I suspect that there is was VR unit issue with the initial manufacturing batch, and Nikon is going to replace some VR components. After the D600 and other similar issues, I think Nikon will do whatever it takes to correct this issue (nip it in the bud, so to speak). Running the lens with VR off demonstrates that it is a sparkling good lens. I want to keep it, no questions there.
    I'll report back after it is returned.
  36. I had ordered one a B&H, but it is still back ordered. I wonder if anyone has received their repaired lens back or heard
    more about the mid range shutter speed VR issue? Thanks.

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