Nikon Introduces New 300mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II and TC-20E III

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shuncheung, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The new 300mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II has nano coating (so does the previous VR version) and has updated vibration reduction to provide an additional stop of stabilization. It also has a new A/M mode, which is different from the older M/A mode. In the new A/M mode, to change the auto focus, you will physically have to move the AF ring. See the following link on the Nikon USA web site:
    The new TC-20E III is a new design with an aspherical element, different from the older TC-20E II. (The original TC-20E and the TC-20E II are optically identical.)
    In conjunction with the new D3S and 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR version 2, it looks like Nikon has a new line up for the up-coming Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February 2010.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Official press release from Nikon USA
    The New AF-S 300mm f/2.8 Lens and TC-20E III Teleconverter Focus on Super Telephoto

    MELVILLE, N.Y. (December 9, 2009) –
    Nikon Inc. today announced two new NIKKOR optics that deliver the pinnacle of image quality for professional photographers who demand super telephoto capabilities. The new, fast aperture AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II super telephoto lens and AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III deliver images with stunning edge-to-edge sharpness and clarity throughout the frame. Continued refinements and new technologies such as Vibration Reduction (VR) II and optimized autofocus (AF) modes in the lens enhance functionality and improve performance for discerning FX and DX-format digital SLR photographers.
    “The latest edition of the NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8 lens advances one of the most popular fast-aperture focal lengths for sports, nature and wildlife photography, demonstrating Nikon’s commitment to professional photographers through the continued development of the optical fidelity and sharpness for which NIKKOR lenses are famous,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “Offering compatibility with a wide range of NIKKOR optics, including the new 300mm f/2.8, the TC-20E III teleconverter enables photographers to greatly extend the versatility of a variety of zoom and telephoto lenses they carry.”
    Whether photographing nature in the wild or the battles at a line of scrimmage, the 300mm f/2.8 is an essential tool for photographers who require the highest level of image quality for publication and printing. This 300mm lens effectively leverages a host of Nikon core technologies, including Nikon VR II image stabilization, specifically engineered for each lens design for maximum performance. VR II instills confidence by counteracting image blur introduced by camera shake and telephoto magnification, allowing users to shoot up to four shutter speed stops* slower than otherwise possible, overcoming many of the challenges of handheld shooting. If tripod shooting is preferred, the Tripod Detection Mode will detect and compensate for tripod-specific vibrations.
    This professional lens is constructed of die-cast magnesium for maximum durability and is strategically sealed to resist dust and moisture, with protective Meniscus glass to safeguard the lens’ front element. The optical formula features three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements for superior sharpness, color and image quality, while minimizing chromatic aberration. Additionally, an aspherical element is used to promote image integrity throughout the frame, suppress coma and minimize distortion. The lens also features Nikon’s exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology which enables high-speed autofocus performance with exceptional accuracy and powerful, super-quiet operation. Nikon's exclusive Nano Crystal Coat prevents instances of ghosting and flare for even greater image clarity.
    The AF-S 300mm f/2.8 lens features a host of professional focusing features that further enhance functionality. Photographers can now select from three focus modes to match shooting conditions, including manual mode (M) and autofocus with manual priority (M/A) mode, and the new A/M mode. The A/M mode enhances AF control with fast, secure switching from automatic and manual focus to adapt to personal shooting preference and techniques. Additionally, users can also activate the AF Recall Mode at the press of a button that allows for instant return to a predetermined point of focus to capture anticipated shots confidently.
    Nikon’s professional grade teleconverters, including the new AF-S TC-20E III are ideal companions to the new NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8 and other select lenses to create an affordable and portable gateway to extended telephoto photography. The new TC-20E III effectively doubles the focal length of select lenses, and is the world’s first teleconverter to feature an aspherical element to virtually eliminate coma and other aberrations even at wide apertures.
    Price and Availability

    The AF-S DX NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens is scheduled to be available at Nikon authorized dealers with an estimated selling price of $5,899.95. The Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III will be available for estimated selling price of $499.95**. Availability of both products is scheduled to begin in January, 2010. For more information, please visit
    About the NIKKOR brand

    With a comprehensive assortment of FX and DX-format lenses and focal lengths, from the new ultra-wide 10-24mm to the super telephoto 600mm VR, Nikon photographers have come to rely upon the NIKKOR core technologies that contribute to their optical superiority. NIKKOR is the brand name for Nikon’s photographic lenses, which was created by adding an "R" to "NIKKO”, an abbreviation of Nippon Kogaku K.K., the original company name of Nikon Corporation at the time of its founding. In 1933, Nikon marketed its first camera lens under the NIKKOR brand name, the "Aero-NIKKOR” for aerial photography applications. Since then, NIKKOR has been used as a brand name for Nikon’s lenses that symbolizes durability, high image quality and optical excellence.
    About Nikon

    Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; COOLSCAN® digital film scanners; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics. For the second consecutive year, Nikon D Series digital SLR cameras are recognized as “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with digital SLR cameras, Two Years in a Row, Tied in 2008.” according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 and 2008 Digital Camera Usage and Satisfaction StudiesSM. Nikon Corporation, the parent company of Nikon Inc., recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its legendary F-mount lens-mounting system. Only Nikon has sustained an original lens mount for such an extraordinary period, ensuring that photographers can continue to leverage their previous investments while still taking advantage of new innovations. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-UX or visit, which links all levels of photographers to the Web's most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities.
    # # #
    *As determined in Nikon performance tests

    **Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
  3. Now if only Nikon could engineer a 300mm AF-S VR f4.5 or 5.6 lens that the rest of the world can afford to buy... Sell one lens at $5,900, or many lenses at $700 to $800.
  4. Interesting ... in the NikonUSA website it says the 300VR2 has an aspherical element but I see no such thing in the Nikon Global website.
  5. As for the price, please note that the current 300VR is selling for $5300 and so, having a list price which is $600 more is not exactly outrageous.
  6. Dear Santa...
  7. Considering that the 300/2.8 cost around $4500 only a year ago and that Canon's 300/2.8L IS USM still does, the price IS outrageous. One can only hope that Nikon will bring their sky-high prices back down to earth at some - hopefully not too distant - point in time. Seems like Nikon is really catering to the pros again - there isn't a single reasonably priced newer lens in the entire FX line-up.
  8. Personally (I`m not a pro), I see the price issue from another point of view; thanks God I cannot afford it. With a mass of almost three kilograms (ouch!), I`d probably use it a very very few times.
    Not even an expensive paperweight for its size, it could end as another beautiful thing into my packed closet... :p
  9. Wish they'd release a 300/2.8DX VR or just simply, a 300/4VR :(
  10. Now I wonder how the new TC will combine with the 200mm f2,0 VR lens? The old TC is way too soft but if it holds high quality the new TC would make a nice compact set, equivalent to 600mm f4,0 on DX.
  11. Didn´t the practically unavailable TC14C have an aspherical element, by the way?
  12. Out of all the Nikon lenses that could need some update, I would not have guessed the 300 f/2.8 VR.... It's a bit disappointing to not see any fast wide-angle primes and a DX wide angle prime being announced. The constant f/4 FX zoom that many seems to want, things like that... I mean, why update one of the lenses that already had an nearly impeccable reputation?
    On the bright side, maybe the now suddenly old 300 f/2.8VR becomes more affordable :)
  13. Personally (I`m not a pro), I see the price issue from another point of view; thanks God I cannot afford it. With a mass of almost three kilograms (ouch!), I`d probably use it a very very few times.
    Not even an expensive paperweight for its size, it could end as another beautiful thing into my packed closet... :p
    Well, Jose, that is what I call a very positive way of thinking........ :D :D
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Back in 1998, I paid $4400 for my 300mm/f2.8 AF-S version 1, gray market and without VR, of course. Consider it a major bargain when the 300mm/f2.8 AF-S VR was still going for the mid $4000 range a year ago, 10 years after I bought my lens.
    Unfortunately, due the major rise of the yen, Japanese camera equipment prices have gone up significantly in 2009. I talked to some Canon users recently. A lot of Canon lenses have gone up by 20% in price within 2009. The fact that the Canon 300mm/f2.8 is still $4200 is more like an abnormality. E.g., Sony's 300mm/f2.8 is $6300:
  15. All true Shun. Could argue that Sony likely doesn't produce as many as Canon or Nikon. Still, Nikon is asking quite a premium over the Canon lenses in almost all cases - am wondering if that is just due to lower production volume too?
    Canon 200/2 - $5300 (currently 4800 with rebate) - Nikon 200/2 - $5000
    Canon 300/2.8 - $4200 - Nikon 300/2.8 - $5300
    Canon 400/4 - $5800 - Nikon 200-400/4 - $6100
    Canon 400/2.8 - $7200 - Nikon 400/2.8 - $9000
    Canon 500/4 - $6100 - Nikon 500/4 - $8500
    Canon 600/4 - $8000 - Nikon 600/4 - $10300
    Canon 800/5.6 - $10900
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Dieter, you can check recent threads in this forum. Even at those prices, those Nikon 500mm and 600mm lenses are hard to find. Why should Nikon sell them for anything cheaper?
    Remember the 18-200 had some major shortage for a year initially? What happend was that some stores would jack up the price to make an extra profit. Prices are eventually determined by supply and demand. If Nikon charges too little, someone else will make some extra profit instead.
    If enough people feel that Canon is a better buy, nothing prevents them from switching to Canon and when there is insufficient demand on Nikon lenses, prices will fall. It is very simple economics.
  17. I got an email from the folks at Nikon USA about the new 300mm f2.8 lens this morning. I quickly passed it along to NIH so they could add it as yet another vector for the spread of the dreaded NAS.
  18. I am aware that the Nikon 500 and 600 are hard to find - maybe Nikon isn't producing them in sufficient quantities? Compounding the problem could be that people that are tired of waiting have looked and found an alternative with Canon? For a company that lost a lot of customers in the nineties because they failed to deliver in the supertele area - one would expect they don't want to repeat the mistake now that they finally have caught up with updating the lenses....
    when there is insufficient demand on Nikon lenses, prices will fall.​
    Or prices will sky-rocket even more - as in the case of the Leica R lenses.
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ever since Nikon introduced the D3 in late 2007, they have been doing quite well with news and sports photographers. People may recall that during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Nikon pretty much had an equal share with Canon among sports photographers.
    As I said earlier, Nikon seems to be gearing up for the Vancouver Winter Olympics with the new 300mm/f2.8, D3S and 70-200mm/f2.8. We'll soon have another chance to see how Nikon is doing in a high-visibility event.
    For whatever reason, Nikon's long lenses have been more expensive than Canon's. Another issue to keep in mind is that Canon's hadn't updated their long IS lenses since they add IS to the 300mm/f2.8, 400mm/f2.8, 500mm/f4 and 600mm/f4 back in 1999. I am sure those lenses are still fine now in 2009, but there have been a lot of technological advances in terms of coating and stabilization capability during the last decade.
    One of Nikon's current problems is that they apparently have underestimated the demand during the current recession. A lot of their lenses are in short supply, but that is a separate topic.
  20. The press release states (I believe) same optical formula as the VR I. What a strange lens to come out with. Most folks I know haven't even seen fit to upgrade their plain 300 f/2.8 AF-S versions to the VR one. This seems like such a low priority release.
  21. I wish Nikon would introduce a new AF 85mm f/1.4 AF-S
  22. Nikon could have produced a 120-300 F2.8 AF-S VRII but they didn't. That would have created a significant reason for upgrading. I figured they wouldn't make a fast zoom so I bought the Sigma 120-300 F2.8 instead. No optical stabilization but very fast and sharp, especially wide open. I seem to be buying a lot more Sigma lenses and fewer Nikon lenses recently and it has nothing to do with price.
  23. Funny how some people think they are the only kind of client Nikon has.
  24. I agree with Brian ... in fact, I'd like to see a lot of the fixed lenses in the Nikon lineup to be upgraded to S ...
  25. The AFS 300/2.8 VRII is a minor update really. The VR unit has simply been upgraded to the same VRII unit found in the new 70-200VRII and the AFS 400, 500, 600VR telephotos. They also added the new A/M focus mode. Except for that the lens is the same as the previous version. If you already have the older 300VR there is no need to upgrade, unless you really need the new features. For those considering an AFS 300VR, you now have a slightly improved lens to upgrade to.
    I wouldn't be surprised if the AFS 200VR and 200-400VR get similar upgrades (with Nano Coat) in the coming months.
  26. I wish Nikon would introduce a new AF 85mm f/1.4 AF-S​
    More sorely needed are 35mm/1.4G AF-S ASPH N ED and 24mm/1.4G AF-S ASPH N ED.
  27. The VR unit has simply been upgraded to the same VRII unit found in the new 70-200VRII and the AFS 400, 500, 600VR telephotos.​
    I am not too sure if any of the super teles (AFS 400, 500, 600VR telephotos) has VR2. AFAIK, they are all VR1. Correct me if I am wrong but I think the first lens with VR2 is the the latest 18-200VR2.
  28. This new 300 has to be all about the winter Olympics, I guess I see that. But, I'm still puzzled and a bit irked as a returning Nikon shooter who's just picked up digital. I see Nikon's lens lineup as badly out of date in so many areas. Here in L.A., I'm out shooting birds these past 4 months surrounded by other shooters and I can't recall seeing a single person with Nikon except me. The hot item among bird and wildlife amateurs is that 400/5.6 made by Canon, often coupled with the extender. Nikon of course doesn't even offer a product in this niche.
    Then there are the other top FX lenses like the 85/1.4, 20/2.8, and 200/4 micro, all 15 year old designs lacking integrated focus motors and the latest ED glass and coatings. And to top it off, the modernized long lenses I'm interested in are not for sale (out of stock). I didn't have any problem finding a 500/4P in the 90s. Is this out of stock concept a new thing with Nikon here in the digital era? I have some dollars budgeted for lenses but Nikon won't take them from me - most puzzling.
  29. I am not too sure if any of the super teles (AFS 400, 500, 600VR telephotos) has VR2. AFAIK, they are all VR1. Correct me if I am wrong but I think the first lens with VR2 is the the latest 18-200VR2.
    The first lens with VR II was the 105 VR Micro if I recall correctly (also introducing nano coating). 70-300 VR, 18-200 Mk I, 18-200 Mk II, 16-85, 70-200 II, 400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4, 85/3.5 have VR II.
  30. I just bought a Nikon 300mm 2.8 that is 30 years old for $ 700.00 last week. I have been borrowing it for the past 4 months from another pro. I shoot alot of indoor volleyball matches. Its been a great lens. Going back to shooting manual focus with such a fast action sport has been a challenge. But I find now that I've started to turn off the AF when shooting with all my other lenses. Right now I couldn't afford the new 300mm if it was $3000.00 ,so this lens will have to do. Its making a better Photographer now. I'm getting about 50% in focus. I shot 1400 shots at the last match and had 750 to post. I shot half the match with a 70-200 2.8. Ya do what you can afford.
  31. By the way this was shot with Nikon D3, 300mm 2.8, 1/400s, 2.8, 6400 ISO
  32. Interesting ... in the NikonUSA website it says the 300VR2 has an aspherical element but I see no such thing in the Nikon Global website.​
    BTW, I filed a ticket with Nikon and this has been corrected in the NikonUSA website. There is no aspherical elements in this new lens.

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