CP+ 2015: Testing the New Nikon 300mm f/4 and 55-200mm f/4-5.6 Lenses
The first great thing I handled at CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show was the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens. Unfortunately, at this booth I wasn’t able to use my own SD card to show off the nice color tones it produced, but the fine Nikon handlers put the lens on a D810 and let me shoot. Then they gave me the older AF-S 300mm F/4D IF-ED. While it’s not quite fair to compare the two, given the D’s been around for almost 15 years, there really is no comparison. The size alone makes the new f/4 incredibly attractive; look at it next to its predecessor, and compared to my 24-70mm f/2.8, which is just about equal in size. Autofocus was beyond fast. The older model hunted and hunted for what the new one just grabbed onto, and stuck with it as people moved along across the bustling expo floor. The faces I pulled out of the crowd were sharp, with soft, subtle blue background highlights. As mentioned, the lens’s size was comfortable in the hand and the rings were smooth, as to be expected.
The AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II lens was like a wooden building block next to the awesome 300mm f/4, but it, too, showed great advances over its predecessor. Again, look at the size difference—it’s at least an inch shorter than what it’s replacing; its weight is negligible. The VR system worked great in the brief moment I had to try it out. It was not dark in the Pacifico Yokohama Expo Hall, but I shook the camera as I shot and the image came out sharp at 200mm zoom. Its zoom action was smooth and focus was as fast as could be expected for this very compact entry level tele-zoom lens.