REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
NikonAF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens
 
4.8

(based on 73 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (66)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

97%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (60)
  • Strong construction (52)
  • Rugged (41)
  • Consistent output (40)
  • Nice bokeh (40)

Cons

  • Heavy (34)

Best Uses

  • Wildlife photos (61)
  • Sports/action (53)
  • Landscape/scenery (11)
  • Low light (11)
  • Weddings (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (31), Pro photographer (16), Semi-pro photographer (15), Casual photographer (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (62), Yes (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

I should have bought this years ago.

This lens is a huge upgrade from my older AF 300 f/4.0. The AF-S focusing is much faster, and the ability to instantly overide to manual is very nice. The extra stop...Read complete review

This lens is a huge upgrade from my older AF 300 f/4.0. The AF-S focusing is much faster, and the ability to instantly overide to manual is very nice. The extra stop really comes in handy when using a teleconverter (I got the 1.7x to go with this lens, it works great). Granted, it is a bit heavier to carry around, but after a few long days at the San Diego Zoo, I'm getting used to it. I'm not going to check "heavy" as a con, since this much weight just goes with the size.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Verify AF Accuracy

Please see the attached graphs. I used LensAlign and FocusTune to test the Nikkor 300mm f2.8G ED VRII lens, Serial Number 209819. The lens was mounted on an Arca-Swiss Z1G (giant) monoball...Read complete review

Please see the attached graphs. I used LensAlign and FocusTune to test the Nikkor 300mm f2.8G ED VRII lens, Serial Number 209819. The lens was mounted on an Arca-Swiss Z1G (giant) monoball and Gitzo 5000 series carbon-fiber legs, at a height of 42 inches. The ISO was 1600 and the shutter speed was 1/320. The lens-to-target distance was 26 feet and I used a shutter release cable. The camera body was a Nikon D4 that last week came back from Nikon NY after being adjusted for a back-focusing issue. For an overview of the lens AF performance, I took 4 shots at each micro-adjustment value from minus 20 to plus 20 in steps of 5 units. Based on this overview test and to look for a peak in the curve, I took 9 shots at each micro-adjustment value from plus 10 to plus 20 in steps of 2 units. As you can see both curves go up from left to right, but do not come down. This means, there is no peak. Conclusion, this high-priced lens is focusing in front of the target by greater than 20 micro-adjustment units.

If this was my first such experience, I would not be so appalled.
Sad to say, that last month I tested a new Nikkor 85mm 1.8D lens, only to find that it was focusing behind the target by greater than minus 20 micro-adjustment units.

This 300mm f2.8G ED VRII lens, Serial Number 209819, was returned to B&H (RMA) for a new lens. The B&H representative was very professional. He said, it happens.

I tested the replacement 300mm f2.8G ED VRII lens, Serial Number 209868, in exactly the same way that was used for the defective lens. The replacement lens (209868) was also front focusing, but not as badly as the defective lens. The replacement lens could be adjusted for accurate focus on the target with the AF micro-adjustment set to plus 16.

Can we pro photographers trust Nikon's quality control?
Yes, but verify.

The 300mm f2.8G ED VRII image sharpness is impressive.
The service from B&H is also impressive.

Reviewed by 73 customers

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(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great lens

By Rick

from Alpharetta, GA

Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

I've been using Nikon gear for the last fifteen years. I've waited almost that long to buy some Nikon big glass. So my expectations were quite high. This lens does not disappoint! It's sharp, bright, and works well with the stable of Nikon teleconverters. It's expensive but I highly recommend it.

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Excellent Addition to your camera bag

By Alan

from Birmingham, Alabama

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Consistent Output
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
  • Strong Construction

Cons

  • Heavy

Best Uses

  • Wildlife Photos

Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

This lens produces very sharp images, with a fast, accurate focus. I bought this lens for wildlife photography and it didn't disappoint. Pricey but worth the money if you are a serious photographer.

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(7 of 25 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Poorest design I can recall

By Joeb

from Huntington Beach, CA

About Me Pro Photographer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

    Cons

    • Blurry Focus

    Best Uses

      Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

      I have had this lens in 4 times to Nikon and they finally admitted they could not fix it and gave me a replacement. The lens will not focus at infinity. If I move a focus point on my D7100 the focus is worse. I have a series of test shots you can see for yourself. They are in NEF format. Zoom in on the chimney. That was shot on a tripod with timer release. I have dozens of images like this. Some are wore than others. Nikon claims the lens is not resolving focus but they don't know why. The replacement lens does the SAME EXACT THING. Horrible for a $[$] lens. This lens should be tack sharp at 2.8. I can't shoot surfers because I need high shutter speed. But since the lens will not produce sharp images when viewed at 100%, it's useless for my business. Since Nikon cannot fix it and my 30 days to return to B&H has passed, I am asking Nikon to buy back the lens. It truly is a piece of junk. If you don't believe me test it. Set the camera at its lowest ISO, then at F2.8 and then the highest shutter speed that gives you proper exposure. This is a setting one would use to shoot fast moving subjects where you need to freeze the action. Make sure your tripod is a solid one. Turn on your timer release (this removes the human element). Focus center spot on something 400-500 feet away. I have been using a chimney (as you can see in a couple of my images). Take five shots just to give it a fair chance. Then move your focus point all the way to the right and refocus on the same subject. Take 5 more shots. Now, go put them on a decent monitor (I am using a 36" IMAC). Zoom in to your focus points to 100%. My guess is you will see soft images and some just plain completely out of focus. Most shooters don't realize this because they either don't have a need to shoot like this, or they downsize so you can't tell, or don't have a need to view images at 100%. But for me who shoots stock, I have to have sharpness at 100%.Moreover, at 400 feet I should get about 50 feet of DOF. When the lens is in semi focus I get 5-6 feet of DOF. Most of the time nothing in the plane is in focus, though. Now, just so you know I also delivered all three of my Nikon D7100's to Nikon along with the lens three times. They have verified that the lens was indeed not resolving focus for unknown reasons. I am now 0 for 2 on this lens (I am on my second lens). I have had a lot of problems with their glass in the last few years. I did not expect this poor level of performance from a supposedly flagship lens.My advice to you is if you do purchase one, test it right away based on my above description (before 30 days). This will give you an opportunity to send it back to B&H and if you do get a refund, not another lens as this issue is a defect that Nikon is not yet admitting to, like the D600 disaster when it was spitting oil on the sensor. To fix that they had to design a new version, D610 but it took them forever to admit the issue. The 300mm 2.8 prime example is the tip on the iceberg. If enough people test it like I have explained many (in not all) will see the same results I am sharing with you.To be fair, Nikon has been responsive. But they keep wanting me to take the lens back in and I know they won't be able to fix it. At this point it is 5 times in a row, 4 with one lens and now the first incident with the new lens the day I brought it home. I have requested that Nikon buy the lens back from me. I am through with them "fixing it under warranty".Here are the links to my images. [@]

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      • No

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      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Impressive lens

      By LHH

      from Richland WA

      Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

      My experience of using combinations of the Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8G with the Nikkor TC14 and especially with the Nikkor TC20 has been unsatisfactory and frustrating. Despite other people's reports, I found images from the above combinations to be too soft to be usable for medium size prints and just out right depressing when I pixel peep. I decided to make the move to this 300mm 2.8 and happily never looked back. The lens is tack sharp, edge to edge, even wide open. Contrast and color are shocking, both in tests and in the fields. When use with the TC14, I do not see noticeable image degradation. With the TC20 (stopping down to f8.0-9.0 of course), the image degradation can be corrected to a very acceptable level in LR by increasing clarity and sharpness. The lens is heavy as expected. Being a small built person, I can only hand-hold shooting a few minute at a time, and tracking free hand is definitely tiresome. As such, the VR is invaluable. I do not have a Gimbal head, but I find a mid-range Induro ballhead to be rock solid for this lens. I replace the foot plate with one from Really Right Stuff as I find the original foot to be very short, stubby, and unsafe to use as the lens handle - much less having to attach a plate to it to mount on the ballhead. This lens is one impressive piece of engineer.

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      (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      AMAZING LENS, TACK SHARP

      By BetaSX

      from Honolulu, HI

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Durable
      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
      • Nice Bokeh
      • Strong Construction

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Sports/Action
        • Wildlife Photos

        Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

        I use this lens for sports and events and the AF seems to be very quick and right on the money. I don't know if it's my imagination or not, but sometimes it seems like it focuses BEHIND the sensor or focal point buy a few inches at like 30 yds. But I'd say 95% of the time it's right on the money. It could be it encountering solid colors ? ... I Need more time with it since I just got it. I was very sorry to read the other review posted here concerning infinity focus and the five camera bodies needing work ...wow, what a nightmare. I own two D-4s and a D750 and they all do great! That 750 is a great little camera, so light weight and easy to grip... anyway ...

        To me this 300mm F2.8 is a small, manageable, very quick lens on a monopod, but then Im a big guy. (I used to use the 400mm f2.8 and the 600mm f4) I Have only used the VR a few times and it seems like it takes about a second for it to kick in after I hold down the shutter release ... but wow! it holds it absolutely still ... amazing. So I can probably stop using the monopod soon. All in all, a beautiful lens Im glad I bought. Sharp images and fast AF.

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        • No

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        (4 of 20 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        Horrible focus performance

        By Joe

        from Huntington Beach, California

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

          Cons

          • Blurry Focus
          • Poor in Low Light

          Best Uses

            Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

            I originally purchased the 80-400 and its focus quality was so bad that I immediately shipped it back to B&H, who made the process very user friendly. I bit the bullet and went with the 300 2.8, dropping $[$]. The day I received it I tested the lens on my tripod with a remote release at infinity. For a $[$]prime you would think the lens would be sharp end to end. Not the case. It was front focusing so much that it could not be adjusted with auto fine tune. I am leaving on a photo shoot June 11 and needed a long lens. I drove it 50 miles to a Nikon facility in Hollywood California and now, two weeks later, it is on parts hold awaiting a shipment from Japan. I will not have the lens by my trip. Without having to spend a fortune I am looking for a NON-NIKON compatible lens. Their product quality has truly gone down the toilet. I have received five different camera bodies, all of which were delivered to my home, then driven to Nikon for quality problems. Ever since Nikon started farming our assembly to Indonesia to cut costs, their quality and right the first time has plummeted. I DO NOT recommend this lens unless you want to go through the hassle of sending it in to Nikon and HOPE they fix it correctly, I hate this company.

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            • No

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            (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Love it

            By nikonian

            from North Carolina

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Consistent Output
            • Durable
            • Fast / accurate auto-focus
            • Nice Bokeh
            • Rugged
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Sports/Action
              • Wildlife Photos

              Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

              I shoot mostly birds and it works great. I use a Nikon TC11 tele with it and love the image quality. I use a d7100 and d750. The focus is very fast and well worth carrying the extra weight. I do sometimes lose focus on birds in flight, haven't had it long so hopefully I can get better with that issue. The image quality is superb. I shot the osprey on a cloudy day (today) at 200 ISO 1/1000. F6.3 using my TC11 tele and d7100, it is not cropped or edited in any way. I don't like to edit anymore than necessary. The 400mm is much more expensive than the tele and 3oo VR11, I love it.

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              • No

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              (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Performed as Anticipated

              By Gatu

              from Chicago

              About Me Semi-pro Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Consistent Output
              • Durable
              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
              • Nice Bokeh
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

              • Heavy

              Best Uses

              • Sports/Action
              • Wildlife Photos

              Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

              As expected the lens is the cat's meow. Yes, it is both heavy and expensive but you get what you pay for. I can hand hold for a little while and then looking to switch hands, look for something to prop myself against or rest the lens on. I did a couple mile plus hikes with the Nikon provided lens strap and let's just say, you don't really want to that, no fun. It's best mounted with a sidekick type gimbal head - your percentage of keepers dramatically increases. The picture included was taken with the rig mounted on a tripod with sidekick gimbal head with the Nikon tc-20e 111 converter turning the lens into a 600mm f4. I'm over a football field away from the action. I have some "Happy Accidents" hand holding and bracing but the ratio of keepers drops dramatically. I'm a bigger guy, in good shape and health, if that helps you determine if you think you can/want to carry this baby around (lens weighs 6.36 lbs)It's an investment you won't regret. If this is your first foray into large tele glass it will be different than anything you've experienced - don't even think a 70-200 zoom (weight wise) is in the same family, it's not. Make sure your support equipment (tripod, ball head etc.) is up to the task.

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              • No

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              (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Awesome...But Too Much for Me.

              By Don

              from Orange County, CA

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Consistent Output
              • Durable
              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
              • Nice Bokeh
              • Rugged
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

              • Heavy

              Best Uses

              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Sports/Action
              • Wildlife Photos

              Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

              First of all, let me say that B&H is absolutely THE Best Source for photo equipment.I purchased the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VRII after much experience using the Nikon 300mm 4.0 lens and finding the 300mm 4.0 lens to be perfect in every way...with the exception of not having a VR system. Although I had read all the reviews and the Specs on the Nikon 300mm 2.8, I was not prepared for the size and weight of this lens. It is a beautiful, but massive lens. At 71 years of age, my arms complained when I tried to hand-hold the 300mm 2.8; it was too much lens for me. I typically use my 300mm 4.0 (with a 1.4 TC on a D750) mounted on a Monopod that I carry over my shoulder like a rifle. I did not feel that I could do this very well with the 300 2.8; too much weight and too valuable of a lens.Nevertheless, if I were often in a situation where I was able to use a very sturdy Tripod and Gimbal Head, the 300mm 2.8 with the TC would be the lens for me.

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              • No

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              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Quality!

              By Eagle's Nest

              from Eagleville, CA

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Fast / accurate auto-focus
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Sports/Action
                • Wildlife Photos

                Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                I took my new 300 out after a snow storm in remote northern California and used the lens for the first time, it was everything i hoped for and expected. Super fast focus and amazing clarity. In the late winter afternoon lower light it sucked up the light and gave me beautiful shots at ISO64. Yes, it is much heavier and larger than the f4, but that's what you get with pro glass, and i don't mind it at all.

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                • No

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                (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Nice lens!

                By bjphoto

                from Tuftonboro, NH

                About Me Pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Durable
                • Easily Interchangeable
                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                • Rugged
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                • Heavy

                Best Uses

                • Wildlife Photos

                Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                I tried the 600mm but it was just to big and cumbersome for me. I like to hike and shoot wildlife. Hubby carries it for me and even this one is heavy but not as bad as the 600mm. So I added the 2x teleconverter to reach the 600mm on my full format camera and it reaches about 900 with my DX. The images are crisp and clear. I have been very happy so far.

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                • No

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                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                An amazing lens.

                By Eagle Watcher

                from Ripley, OH

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                This lens produces exceptional photos.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                I'm Impressed..

                By john

                from N.J.

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                • Nice Bokeh
                • Rugged
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                • Heavy

                Best Uses

                • Indoors/Low Light
                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Sports/Action
                • Wildlife Photos

                Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                And that's not easily done. I didn't think I was going to get good results handholding this lens ,I thought wrong. The VR works great.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Excellent

                By David

                from Sierra Madre, CA

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Pros

                • Consistent Output
                • Durable
                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                • Nice Bokeh
                • Rugged
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Macro Photography
                  • Sports/Action
                  • Weddings/Events
                  • Wildlife Photos

                  Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                  Excellent lens, it works perfectly as it pairs with 2X converter-TC2.0 III to extend to 600mm.

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                  • No

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                  (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Perfection

                  By Mick

                  from Portage, MI

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Durable
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Sports/Action
                    • Wildlife Photos

                    Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                    Crystal Clear
                    Fast Focus

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    (6 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Amazing

                    By jimmyboy

                    from Conn

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Reviewer

                    Pros

                    • Consistent Output
                    • Durable
                    • Easily Interchangeable
                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                    • Nice Bokeh
                    • Rugged
                    • Strong Construction

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Sports/Action
                      • Wildlife Photos

                      Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                      Outstanding lens. One of the best from Nikon.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Worth the Wait

                      By Birdman

                      from Westchester NY

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Consistent Output
                      • Durable
                      • Easily Interchangeable
                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                      • Nice Bokeh
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                      • Heavy
                      • Pricey

                      Best Uses

                      • Sports/Action
                      • Wildlife Photos

                      Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                      I am a wildlife photographer concentrating mainly on bird life. I have been looking at this lens for over a year and I finally made the leap and I am very happy. The lens produces crisp, clean, clear and just stunning photos. I coupled this lens with the Nikon TC17 EII teleconverter and the lens still performs great. Although you can use all the Nikon teleconverters with this lens I stick with the TC17 EII. The TC20 EIII works well but it is slow to focus in low light conditions. Also, even though you can hand hold this lens with a converter I suggest a tripod especially with the TC20 EIII. Try it out and compare the shots. You will be amazed how much more clean and crisp your shots are when using a tripod,

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                      (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Expensive

                      By ArtS

                      from Virginia Beach, Va

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                      • Rugged
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                      • Heavy
                      • very expensive

                      Best Uses

                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Wildlife Photos

                      Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                      I use this lens with a D7100 and it performs as advertised. I also use the TC-14EII with it. It has improved my photos greatly but there is a bit of a learning curve - you must also perfect keeping the lens steady, steady, steady. It is a very heavy lens so be prepared. Either work out a lot lifting weights, or like me, use a Tripod and Gimbal or a bean bag. I still use my D7000 and the 70-300mm lens and keep my 105 F2.8 handy along with a 18-300mm.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Amazing

                      By wvanstone

                      from Palmyra NJ

                      About Me Pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                      • Nice Bokeh
                      • Rugged
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                      • Heavy

                      Best Uses

                      • Sports/Action
                      • Wildlife Photos

                      Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                      Amazing in every way.
                      I use this with all three TC's 1.4,1.7 & 2.0. The 2.0 does a great job at making this a very usable 600mm f5.6

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Comparison with Nikon 300mm F4

                      By lknight

                      from Singapore

                      About Me Photo Enthusiast

                      Pros

                      • Consistent Output
                      • Durable
                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                      • Rugged
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Wildlife Photos

                        Comments about Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens:

                        I use the lens for wildlife and it was an upgrade from a Nikon 300mm F4 (which I already thought was superb). The 300mm F2.8 is faster to focus, and VR II is very welcome for hand held photos in low light. The lens is super sharp, works well with a Nikon 1.7x teleconverter. The only downsides are its weight compared to the Nikon 300mm F4, and the cost difference!

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                        • No

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