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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

The Nikon 300mm f4D

Hi everyone, welcome to my blog where I share my passion for photography and gear. Today I want to talk about why I use a Nikon 300mm f4D on a full-frame camera and why I think it is a useful and underrated lens. This lens is an oldie but goodie that has been around for more than 20 years, but it still delivers great image quality and performance.

The Nikon 300mm f4D is a relatively lightweight and compact telephoto prime lens that is designed for use on Nikon's FX (full-frame) and DX (APS-C) DSLRs. It has a fast and silent autofocus system with manual override, an aperture ring for older cameras, and a built-in lens hood that can be locked when extended or collapsed. The lens is made of metal and feels very solid and well-built.


The main reason I use this lens on a full-frame camera is that it gives me a lot of reach and versatility for shooting wildlife, birds, sports, and other distant subjects. The 300mm focal length is equivalent to 450mm on a DX camera, which is still very good, but I prefer the wider field of view and the shallower depth of field that I get on a full-frame camera. The lens is also very sharp even wide open at f4, and it produces beautiful bokeh and colours. The lens has excellent contrast and resolution across the frame, and it handles chromatic aberrations, flare, and distortion very well.


Another reason I use this lens is because it is compatible with Nikon's teleconverters, which can extend the focal length even further. I often use the 1.4x teleconverter, which gives me a 420mm f5.6 lens that still autofocuses on most cameras. The image quality is still very good with the teleconverter, although there is some loss of sharpness and contrast. I also have the 2x teleconverter, which gives me a 600mm f8 lens that only works in manual focus mode. The image quality with the 2x teleconverter is not as good as with the 1.4x, but it is still usable in good light and when stopped down.


The Nikon 300mm f4D is not a perfect lens, of course. It has some drawbacks that may make it less appealing for some users. For example, it does not have vibration reduction (VR), which means that you need to use a fast shutter speed or a tripod to avoid camera shake. It also has a relatively close minimum focus distance of 1.45 meters (4.8 feet), which limits its usefulness for macro photography. It also does not have weather sealing or a tripod collar, which may be important for some situations.


However, for me, these drawbacks are not deal-breakers. I find that the lens is easy to handhold thanks to its lightweight and ergonomic design, and I can usually get sharp shots at 1/500s or faster shutter speeds. I also don't do much macro photography with this lens, so the minimum focus distance is not an issue for me. And I don't shoot in harsh weather conditions or use a tripod very often, so the lack of weather sealing and tripod collars are not problems for me either.


The best thing about this lens is its price. You can find it used for around 500 USD-$600, which is a bargain for such a high-quality telephoto lens. It may be an old lens, but it still performs very well on modern cameras. If you are looking for a long lens that won't break your bank or your back, you should definitely consider the Nikon 300mm f4D.


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