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Thread: Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF ED

  1. #1

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    Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF ED

    I have a good friend who dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of digital photography about ten years ago. He was invaluable in helping me determine which lenses to buy. This is the first lens I've bought since initially stocking my camera bag. He asked me for a picture of it, so I thought I would also share it here in the forum.

    This model was made from about 1987 to 2000. The mechanism located immediately to the right of the identification plate holds an internal 39mm filter. The lens is optically designed to have the internal filter in place, so I'll be leaving the Nikon clear filter that came with the camera there. When Nikon shipped the lens, a gel holder was also provided for use instead of the filter holder. No gel holder came with my copy.

    The item with the designation, "A," located on the focusing ring is a slider that switches between manual focusing and automatic focusing. Unlike the modern lenses, it has no M/A setting that allows you to automatically switch from automatic to manual focusing by simply turning the focusing ring.

    The silver knob located immediately to the right of the focusing switch is the handle of a ring that functions as a focusing limiter. Turning the ring to place the dot, as an example, at the 100ft/300m marking limits the hunting range of the lens from that distance to infinity when automatically focusing. I'll probably leave that setting at "Full," which requires the lens to hunt the entire focusing range. Despite that the focusing speed is relatively slow (there is no focusing motor inside the lens), I expect it to work fine for me. That's because I won't be photographing rapidly moving subjects.

    This lens was released before Nikon standardized on the use of 77mm filters for its telephoto lenses. This one weighs in at 82mm, requiring me of course to purchase an expensive circular polarizer. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Unlike the current model that has a minimum focusing distance of about 5 feet, this one focuses only as close as about 9 feet.

    The current equivalent of this f/4 lens, which has a focusing motor, costs about USD $1400 when purchased new. I was able to purchase this one, which has no focusing motor, for USD $420. As you can see, it's in terrific shape and it seems to be tack sharp in all but the extreme aperture settings.

    If you know anything about this model that would be helpful for me to know, please don't keep it a secret!

    Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF ED
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 17th September 2012 at 02:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF ED

    It is a thing of beauty. I love mine which I've had for a few years now. You have obviously been reading uncle Ken's write up, Hogan also rates the optics highly. I would put in on par with its little brother, the 180mm f/2.8.

    I would urge you to experiment with the focus limiter, it was put on the lens for a reason, and it also works well with a x1.4 t/c.

    It has a lot less to go wrong with compared to the AF-S, and the amount it is used, it makes sense to me to keep this lens in my bag and not upgrade. I have other options should I want to focus closer.

  3. #3

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    Re: Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF ED

    Aden,

    I have a question for you about the focus limiter, as I couldn't find any documentation about how to use it. What is the purpose of the two sets of numbers indicated on both sides of the "Full" indicator in that one of the distances is indicated on both sides? Is this something that becomes obvious once I actually use the limiter in different situations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aden View Post
    I would put in on par with its little brother, the 180mm f/2.8.
    I will be exceptionally pleased if that becomes true also for me. My copy of the 180mm f/2.8 is the smooth-metal model that was made only in 1986 and 1987 and I would never give it up.

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