Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm F/4D IF-ED

Super telephoto prime lens • Film era

AF-S The lens is equipped with Silent Wave Motor.
D The lens relays subject-to-camera distance information to the camera.
IF The lens incorporates internal focusing.
ED The lens incorporates low dispersion elements.

Model history

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm F/4E PF ED VRA16 - 101.4m⌀77 2015 
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm F/4D IF-EDA10 - 61.45m⌀77 2000 
Nikon AF Nikkor 300mm F/4 IF-EDA8 - 62.5m⌀82 1987 
Nikon AI-S Nikkor 300mm F/4.5 IF-EDA7 - 62.5m⌀72 1981 
Nikon AI Nikkor 300mm F/4.5 IF-EDA7 - 62.5m⌀72 1978 
Nikon AI Nikkor 300mm F/4.5 EDA6 - 44m⌀72
Nikon Nikkor 300mm F/4.5 EDA6 - 44m⌀72 1977 

Sample photos

F/4.5
F/4.5
F/4.5

Designed for

Features highlight

2 ED
9 blades
CFD 1.45m
IF
SWM
MFO
Focus limiter
Built-in hood

Specification

Production details
Announced:August 2000
Production status:In production
Production type:Mass production
Original name:Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm 1:4D ED
Optical design
Focal length:300mm
Speed:F/4.0
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount:Nikon F
Diagonal angle of view:8.2° (35mm full frame)
5.4° (Nikon F APS-C)
Lens construction:10 elements - 6 groups
2 ED
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm control system:Mechanical
Number of blades:9
Focusing
Closest focusing distance:1.45m
Maximum magnification ratio:1:3.65 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing method:Internal focusing (IF)
Focusing modes:Autofocus, manual focus
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Autofocus motor:Silent Wave Motor
Focus mode selector:M/A - M
Manual focus override in autofocus mode:Yes
Focusing distance range limiter:FULL;3-
Vibration Reduction (VR)
Built-in VR:-
Physical characteristics
Weight:1300g
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀90×222.5mm
Weather sealing:-
Fluorine coating:-
Accessories
Filters:Screw-type 77mm
Lens hood:Built-in telescopic round

*) Source of data: Manufacturer's technical data.

Manufacturer description #1

MELVILLE, N.Y., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Nikon today announced its newest pro quality telephoto lens -- the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF. Ideal for a wide range of picture taking, from sports and action, to extraordinary tight-close-up portraits, to general landscape photography, this new compact telephoto lens combines Nikon's superior optical quality with the legendary Nikon Silent Wave Motor for fast, quiet, and accurate autofocus.

Nikon's Silent Wave Motor design provides maximum autofocus performance with speed and accuracy, together with Nikon's extensive high performance family of SLR models: D1 Pro Digital SLR, Pro 35mm F5, F100, N90, advanced N80, Pronea S, Pronea 6i and the newly released compact N65 SLR. Because this new lens features Nikon's legendary F lens mount, with triple claw bayonet, its manual focusing performance is compatible with the full range of Nikon SLR models, including those named above and every other Nikon SLR made since 1959. This interchangeable compatibility is an exclusive Nikon advantage and compliments Nikon's concept of Total Imaging System and System Integrity.

When used with Nikon's compatible Autofocus SLR models, this lens' advanced M/A mode allows instant switching from automatic to manual focusing, even during AF servo operation. This means that if a user needs to take over focusing, for any reason, the compatible Nikon will instantly respond. Also, manual focusing performance does not require battery power ... another Nikon advantage.

AF-S is Nikon's designation that the lens is built with Nikon's exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM). The new AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF enjoys the superb performance of the SWM. Autofocus operation is virtually silent, but more importantly, it is supremely fast and accurate. Subjects will "pop" into focus, almost faster than one can realize it's happening. Some have said, "It happened so fast I could not even realize that it was focusing!"

This new AF-S 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikkor, and every AF-S Nikkor are a superb choice for indoor and outdoor action photography. Superior Nikkor optical design compliments this lenses smooth mechanical construction. The optical design includes two major features: Extra Low Dispersion Optical Glass and Internal Focusing Optical Design. Extra Low Dispersion optical glass elements virtually eradicate secondary optical chromatic aberrations; such aberrations are typical in ordinary telephoto optics. The result is that in pictures made with this new lens, virtually the entire visual spectrum of color is focused on the same plane -- producing superior color detail and contrast throughout the lens' focusing range and aperture selection.

Optical coatings are a critical component of every lens' design, so Nikon applies its best to this new lens: Nikon Super Integrated Optical coating is applied to enhance the new lens' image quality for crisper color rendition and reduced flare and ghosting.

As conventional telephoto optics are focused, the lens extends and contracts; this changes the lens' size and balance. Internal Focusing design enables the lens to be both auto-focused and manually focused without changing the lens' size with a negligible change in balance. The result is precise handling throughout the focusing range, from infinity to as close as 4.8 feet; and focusing is fast, crisp and accurate. Close focusing to a mere 4.8 feet gives photographers the ability to make dramatic portraits.

Still more performance improvements are provided through the lens' 9-blade aperture. More blades than an ordinary lens, this addition produces a more rounded aperture. The result is more natural looking highlights and crisper details throughout the picture.

Nikon D-type design provides distance information to the camera's computer. This information is used to achieve more precise exposure control, both for flash and for ambient light metering. A detachable tripod mounting collar is provided, as is a built-in lens hood that minimizes stray light. The lens' exterior finish is textured to provide a superior grip. For added versatility, the lens is fully compatible with the Nikon TC-14E Teleconverter, increasing the focal length to 420mm with 35mm SLR cameras. Used with Nikon's Pro Digital D1 SLR, the teleconverter's magnification produces the effective coverage of a 630mm lens.

The new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF will be available beginning in October of 2000.

Manufacturer description #2

Offering an excellent balance between size, speed and image quality, the fast AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED produces great sharpness, making it an ideal super-telephoto lens for sports, wildlife or travel applications. If greater reach is needed, it’s fully compatible with all Nikon teleconverters. It even handles close-up shooting suprisingly well.

The AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED delivers exceptionally clear images from remarkeable distances. It’s fixed 300mm focal length lets you get closer to the excitement of a sporting event, the natural splendor of wildlife and the breathtaking details of a landscape. And because of its compact size and lightweight construction, it’s perfect for carrying around during a full day of shooting. Combine it with a Nikon teleconverter, and you can achieve up to an astounding 600mm of reach!

The AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED delivers the exceptional image quality and performance that has made NIKKOR lenses famous. Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables ultra-fast, ultra-quiet autofocusing with seamless manual override. Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass produces superior sharpness, contrast and color, even in challenging lighting situations. And the Internal Focusing (IF) design keeps the lens compact and lightweight.

From the editor

On paper this lens looks impressive as in addition to IF and ED glass the minimum focus distance is reduced to an incredibly short 1.5m, and it has the Silent Wave motor technology to drive the AF from within the lens. Optically it is superb and produces images of the highest quality from corner to corner, and the AF action is fast and positive. Sadly this lens has a major flaw: its tripod collar. Used in the critical range of shutter speeds between 1/30 sec and 1/2 sec, when the effect of camera vibration is most likely to manifest itself, many photographers found the collar and foot to be insufficiently rigid to guarantee sharpness. Although unconfirmed by Nikon it appears the collar underwent a re-design around mid-2001, and this seems to have addressed the issue of rigidity.

Typical application

distant subjects, distant landscapes with perspective compression effect, sports in good lighting conditions, wild nature, travel

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice

Note

Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

Professional lens

One of the best slow super telephoto primes

According to lens-db.com; among lenses designed for the same maximum format and mount.

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Silent Wave Motor

Silent Wave Motor is available in variants with or without a gear system. Nikon never specifies which variant is used in a particular lens, however, in budget models, as a rule, gear-type Silent Wave Motor is used, without manual focus override in autofocus mode. This can be assumed by the presence of the A - M switch on the lens barrel, instead of M/A - M.

Focusing distance range limiter

The lens features focusing distance range limiter which allows to choose between the following focusing distance ranges:

FULLFull range of focusing distances.
3m - ∞Range of focusing distances suitable for shooting distant subjects.

By setting the suitable focusing distance range, the actual autofocusing time can be shorter.

M/A - M

M/AAutofocus mode that allows switching to manual focus with virtually no time lag - even during autofocus servo operation and regardless of autofocus mode in use.
MManual focus mode.

Aspherical elements

Aspherical elements (ASPH, XA, XGM) are used in wide-angle lenses for correction of distortion and in large-aperture lenses for correction of spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, thus ensuring excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. The effect of the aspherical element is determined by its position within the optical formula: the more the aspherical element moves away from the aperture stop, the more it influences distortion; close to the aperture stop it can be particularly used to correct spherical aberration. Aspherical element can substitute one or several regular spherical elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Use of aspherical elements has its downsides: it leads to non-uniform rendering of out-of-focus highlights. This effect usually appears as "onion-like" texture of concentric rings or "wooly-like" texture and is caused by very slight defects in the surface of aspherical element. It is difficult to predict such effect, but usually it occurs when the highlights are small enough and far enough out of focus.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Canon's Super UD, Nikon's Super ED, Pentax' Super ED, Sigma's FLD ("F" Low Dispersion), Sony' Super ED and Tamron's XLD glasses are the highest level low dispersion glasses available with extremely high light transmission. These optical glasses have a performance equal to fluorite glass.

High-refraction low-dispersion elements

High-refraction low-dispersion elements (HLD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

High Index, High Dispersion elements

High Index, High Dispersion elements (HID) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Anomalous partial dispersion elements

Anomalous partial dispersion elements (AD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Fluorite elements

Synthetic fluorite elements (FL) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. Compared with optical glass, fluorite lenses have a considerably lower refraction index, low dispersion and extraordinary partial dispersion, and high transmission of infrared and ultraviolet light. They are also significantly lighter than optical glass.

According to Nikon, fluorite easily cracks and is sensitive to temperature changes that can adversely affect focusing by altering the lens' refractive index. To avoid this, Canon, as the manufacturer most widely using fluorite in its telephoto lenses, never uses fluorite in the front and rear lens elements, and the white coating is applied to the lens barrels to reflect light and prevent the lens from overheating.

Short-wavelength refractive elements

High and specialized-dispersion elements (SR) refract light with wavelengths shorter than that of blue to achieve highly precise chromatic aberration compensation. This technology also results in smaller and lighter lenses.

Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics

Organic Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics material (BR Optics) placed between convex and concave elements made from conventional optical glass provides more efficient correction of longitudinal chromatic aberrations in comparison with conventional technology.

Diffraction elements

Diffraction elements (DO, PF) cancel chromatic aberrations at various wavelengths. This technology results in smaller and lighter lenses in comparison with traditional designs with no compromise in image quality.

High refractive index elements

High refractive index elements (HR, HRI, XR etc) minimize field curvature and spherical aberration. High refractive index element can substitute one or several regular elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Apodization element

Apodization element (APD) is in fact a radial gradient filter. It practically does not change the characteristics of light beam passing through its central part but absorbs the light at the periphery. It sort of softens the edges of the aperture making the transition from foreground to background zone very smooth and results in very attractive, natural looking and silky smooth bokeh.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance from the lens mount to the film or sensor can also be different.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Flange focal distance

The flange focal distance (FFD), sometimes called the "flange back", is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Convex protruding front element

The convex front element protrudes from the lens barrel, making it impossible to use filters.

Fixed focus

There is no helicoid in this lens and everything is in focus from the closest focusing distance to infinity.

Overall linear extension

The entire lens optical system moves straight backward and forward when focusing is carried out. This is the simplest type of focusing used mainly in wide-angle and standard prime lenses. It has the advantage of introducing relatively little change in aberrations with respect to change in focusing distance. With telephoto and super telephoto lenses this method becomes less beneficial in terms of operability because of the increased size and weight of the lens system.

Front group linear extension

The rear group remains fixed and only the front group moves straight backward and forward during focusing. This method is primarily used in zoom lenses and allows to design comparatively simple lens construction, but also places restrictions on zoom magnification and size reduction.

Front group rotational extension

The lens barrel section holding the front lens group rotates to move the front group backward and forward during focusing. This method of focusing is also used only in zoom lenses.

Internal focusing (IF)

Focusing is performed by moving one or more lens groups positioned between the front lens group and the diaphragm.

Methods of internal and rear focusing have the following advantages:

Rear focusing (RF)

Focusing is performed by moving one or more lens groups positioned behind the diaphragm.

Methods of internal and rear focusing have the following advantages:

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.