Customer Review

869 of 900 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice Lens But it Has its Quirks, February 23, 2007
This review is from: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
After exhaustive research on many lens, I finally decided to plunk down the $500+ (at the time this was written) to purchase this lens. It may not be the best on the market but it compliments my Nikon 18-70mm DX lens nicely. I was looking towards Nikon's 18-200mm DX lens, however; the price pushed me to choose this one (as it was nearly half the price and my two lens can nearly cover all the range of the one 18-200mm).


build quality is cheap yet sturdy... the plastic is a little chinky but cuts down on the weight. My Nikon D200 has no problem handling the lens weight, however; I have heard (unconfirmed) reports that this lens is a little heavy for the lighter cameras (D80, D70, D40, ETC). The Ring Connector is metal and has a rubber gasket on the outside so as to provide minor protection (for the lens mount) from the elements.

You also have to keep this in mind, when discussing weight, quality & price; the bulk of the price of this lens is going into the glass elements (all 17 elements of them). It gets expensive when you place that many high-quality optics into a tube. I'm really not that surprised a the price, although $400 price-range would probably be more suitable for this lens


Focusing can be quite fast... at times. You'll find, at the Max 300mm focal range, that the lens has a pretty hard time auto-focusing in on a subject. At times it would focus pretty quick, at the 300mm range, while at others it cannot focus at all. You can get around this quirk by bringing the subject into near focus (manually) then letting the auto-focus take over; it works every time. I find this focus problem disappointing especially given the price of this lens.

The quality of the Bokeh (Out of focus areas of the photograph) is very nice and pleasing. The images are sharp, vignetting (dark areas in the corner of your photos) is hard to find and lens flare rarely a problem.


All I can say is that it works... it can come in handy. It's not going to stop the image guaranteed for you; it's only meant to slow down the rate at which the camera moves (vibration from holding). You can notice the difference; with it off you'll see that the image (at say 300mm) really bouncing around; then you flick on VR. It takes a sec or two but then the image smooths out, it still wobbles around, but much more slowly.

With VR enabled, you can usually go 2-3 (sometimes 4) stops down, then what you'd normally be able to do when hand holding.


I haven't "shock tested" my lens yet (IE dropped it) but I have heard (again unconfirmed reports here) that it holds up pretty well to a drop... although I would never recommend testing that out.


The 70-300mm range should be noted: Although the lens states that it is a 70-300mm zoom, this lens was intended for a 35mm camera or full-frame CCD/CMOS sensor Digital Camera. All (or at least the majority) of Nikon's DSLR (D200, D80, ETC) are NOT Full-Frame sensors. They are approximately 1.5x factor of a full-frame sensor (due to the smaller sensor size).

What does this all mean?

Well it's simple, since this is a 35mm lens and not a DX lens (ie built to account for the 1.5x factor in most nikon digitals) you have to apply the 1.5x conversion. This means that the Nikon 70-300mm on a Nikon DSLR will give an apparent zoom equivalent to a 105-450mm lens. I actually do not mind this apparent zoom and this should also cut down on vignetting; as what the lens projects onto the sensor is larger then the area of the sensor itself. In short: parts of the image spills over the sensor, since this lens was meant to project onto a full-frame sensor/35mm film.



Pleasing Bokeh

Fast Auto-Focus (when working properly)

Vignetting is minimal

Image Stabilization (VR)

Flare is minimal

1.5x factor (105-450mm) makes for nice zoom

Colors are very good


Plastic Casing

Near Inability to Auto-Focus at 300mm range

Price (even though it is cheaper then the 18-200mm DX)

1.5x factor (105-450mm) might make it more zoom then you need

Lens could be faster (F/4 would have been nice)

I love this lens, even for it's quirks, however; you may want to wait till it drops in price a little more (it falls almost bi-weekly). It may not be the fastest on the market, but it's size, optics, image quality and VR make this a must have lens for Serious Nikon users!
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 46 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 20, 2007 8:07:01 AM PDT

Thanks for the very helpful review. You gave me all the information that I needed. I wish more reviews on were as concise and to the point as yours.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2007 5:13:49 PM PDT
Not A Problem,

It's good to hear that my review has been of some help to you.

Posted on May 15, 2007 9:58:13 AM PDT
Geoff Dolman says:
Thanks, Jeffrey. I concur with Walter that it was a concise but thorough review. I cannot imagine what the two finding your review unhelpful were looking for exactly. I appreciate all the info. It makes the decision much easier.

Posted on Dec 23, 2007 9:42:35 PM PST
If it was made for 35mm cameras, why is it an AF-S? Sounds like it was made more specifically for the D40.

Posted on Jan 14, 2008 2:45:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 14, 2008 2:53:48 PM PST
deepcloud says:
"This means that the Nikon 70-300mm on a Nikon DSLR will give an apparent zoom equivalent to a 105-450mm lens"

This is not correct. Using this lens on a DSLR with an APS-C size sensor merely crops the image to give you the equivalent angle of view of a 105-450mm lens, it does not increase the zoom or magnification of a lens. It does not bring you any closer to the subject, in other words. When they say it gives "the equivalent of 105-450mm" it's a little misleading as it makes it sound as if the focal length of the lens is increased, which it is not. The easiest way to prove this, is to bolt this lens to your D70, D200 or whatever APS-C based Nikon you are using, then bolt it to your old Nikon film camera (or your trick new D3 if you are so lucky). You will notice the image is merely cropped, not "zoomed" any closer. Great review though!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2008 2:51:57 PM PST
deepcloud says:
"Sounds like it was made more specifically for the D40"

There are no lenses that are made specifically for the D40. However, there are many lenses that will not work properly on the D40. The D40 is unique among Nikon cameras in that it can only autofocus with AF-S or AF-I lenses as it lacks an internal autofocus motor in the camera body, to cut down on size and weight. However, a lens listed as "AF-S" will autofocus perfectly on every other Nikon DSLR and if it's a full-frame lens as the 70-300mm VR is, that also includes every other autofocusing Nikon film camera ever made (note: VR will not work on every Nikon camera though, see the manual for more details)

Posted on Feb 10, 2008 10:48:59 AM PST
This was really an excellent review. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2008 12:16:44 PM PDT
Lui Lai says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2008 6:40:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2008 6:46:41 PM PDT
Re: The D40 comment...Some 35mm film cameras do support AF-S.

Re: The original review...I have used this lens extensively on my 'lighter' D50 over the last year or so and have had no issues with the lens or camera. It is not a heavy lens for the D50, D70 or D80 cameras. Can't say for the D40 as I have not used a camera that small with it. Also, most people will probably consider the 35mm equivalent range of 105 to 450mm to be a good thing as many will want a longer apparent focal length. And in addition to viginetting not being an issue on a cropped sensor, a cropped sensor will use what is typically the sharpest part of the lens...the center portion.

I have also never had any focusing issues at the 300mm end. You might need to send your lens in for repair if you are having issues in that regard. Just my two pesos.

Posted on Apr 29, 2008 4:27:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 29, 2008 4:52:14 PM PDT
"1.5x factor (105-450mm) might make it more zoom then you need "

Putting this lens on a DX camera does not increase the focal length. It does not turn it into a 105-450mm. It turns it into a 70-300mm lens with the field of view of a 105-450mm lens. The DX sensor is smaller than the image projected onto it by a non DX lens. So you don't get the entire image. You get a cropped image. That's why the manufacturers called a crop factor.

It's one of the most successful marketing spins of all time. It rivals "cocaine isn't addictive" for chutzpah.

Adding this to the other inaccuracies in this review has me doubting both the knowledge and the experience of the reviewer.
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