Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm F2.8 G ED VR II is so real! So is the teleconverter TC-20E III…

This post will be updated multiple times. Check back again (Slovenia got it right after all!).

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm F2.8 G ED VR II

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm F2.8 G ED VR II



  • Vibration Reduction (VR II) enables sharper pictures while shooting at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would otherwise be possible
  • Three focus modes are available — A/M mode is added to conventional M/A and M modes
  • Nano Crystal Coat effectively suppresses ghosting and flare for clear images
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM) ensures smooth and quiet AF operation
Focal length 300mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens construction 11 elements in 8 groups (with 3 ED glass elements and Nano Crystal Coat)
Picture angle 8°10’ (5°20’ with Nikon DX format)
Closest focusing distance 2.3 m/7.5 ft. in AF mode; 2.2 m/7.2 ft. in MF mode
Maximum reproduction ratio 0.16x
No. of diaphragm blades 9 (rounded)
Filter/attachment size 52mm
Diameter x length
(extension from lens mount)
Approximately 124 x 267.5 mm/4.9 x 10.5 in.
Weight Approximately 2,900 g/6.4 lb.
Supplied accessories Slip-on Front Lens Cap, Rear Lens Cap LF-1, Lens Hood HK-30, Semi-soft Case CL-L1, Dedicated filter holder, 52mm Screw-on NC Filter, Strap LN-1


AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III

AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III


  • Outstanding optical quality to meet the demands of Nikon FX-format camera users
  • Increases the focal length of a prime lens by 100%*
  • An aspherical lens element is adopted - a world first
  • Employing an aspherical lens realizes a compact and lightweight body
  • Newly developed optical design achieves superior contrast and resolution

* Lens aperture is reduced by two stops

Lens construction 7 elements in 5 groups (with one aspherical lens element)
Closest focusing distance Same as that of a prime lens
Maximum reproduction ratio Double that of a prime lens
Weight (approx.) 330 g/11.6 oz.
Dimensions (approx.) 66 mm/2.6 in. (dia.) x 48 mm/1.9 in. (extension from camera’s lens mounting flange)
Supplied accessories Teleconverter Cap BF-3A, Rear Lens Cap LF-1, Flexible Lens Pouch CL-0715


My only logical explanation for this release are the upcoming Olympics games in Canada.

Full press release after the break:


The New AF-S 300mm f/2.8 Lens and TC-20E III Teleconverter Focus on Super Telephoto

MELVILLE, N.Y. (December 9, 2009) – Nikon Inc. today announced two new NIKKOR optics that deliver the pinnacle of image quality for professional photographers who demand super telephoto capabilities. The new, fast aperture AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II super telephoto lens and AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III deliver images with stunning edge-to-edge sharpness and clarity throughout the frame. Continued refinements and new technologies such as Vibration Reduction (VR) II and optimized autofocus (AF) modes in the lens enhance functionality and improve performance for discerning FX and DX-format digital SLR photographers.

“The latest edition of the NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8 lens advances one of the most popular fast-aperture focal lengths for sports, nature and wildlife photography, demonstrating Nikon’s commitment to professional photographers through the continued development of the optical fidelity and sharpness for which NIKKOR lenses are famous," said Edward Fasano, general manager for marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “Offering compatibility with a wide range of NIKKOR optics, including the new 300mm f/2.8, the TC-20E III teleconverter enables photographers to greatly extend the versatility of a variety of zoom and telephoto lenses they carry."

Whether photographing nature in the wild or the battles at a line of scrimmage, the 300mm f/2.8 is an essential tool for photographers who require the highest level of image quality for publication and printing. This 300mm lens effectively leverages a host of Nikon core technologies, including Nikon VR II image stabilization, specifically engineered for each lens design for maximum performance. VR II instills confidence by counteracting image blur introduced by camera shake and telephoto magnification, allowing users to shoot up to four shutter speed stops* slower than otherwise possible, overcoming many of the challenges of handheld shooting. If tripod shooting is preferred, the Tripod Detection Mode will detect and compensate for tripod-specific vibrations.

This professional lens is constructed of die-cast magnesium for maximum durability and is strategically sealed to resist dust and moisture, with protective Meniscus glass to safeguard the lens’ front element. The optical formula features three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements for superior sharpness, color and image quality, while minimizing chromatic aberration. Additionally, an aspherical element is used to promote image integrity throughout the frame, suppress coma and minimize distortion. The lens also features Nikon’s exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology which enables high-speed autofocus performance with exceptional accuracy and powerful, super-quiet operation. Nikon's exclusive Nano Crystal Coat prevents instances of ghosting and flare for even greater image clarity.

The AF-S 300mm f/2.8 lens features a host of professional focusing features that further enhance functionality. Photographers can now select from three focus modes to match shooting conditions, including manual mode (M) and autofocus with manual priority (M/A) mode, and the new A/M mode. The A/M mode enhances AF control with fast, secure switching from automatic and manual focus to adapt to personal shooting preference and techniques. Additionally, users can also activate the AF Recall Mode at the press of a button that allows for instant return to a predetermined point of focus to capture anticipated shots confidently.

Nikon’s professional grade teleconverters, including the new AF-S TC-20E III are ideal companions to the new NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8 and other select lenses to create an affordable and portable gateway to extended telephoto photography. The new TC-20E III effectively doubles the focal length of select lenses, and is the world’s first teleconverter to feature an aspherical element to virtually eliminate coma and other aberrations even at wide apertures.

Price and Availability
The AF-S X NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens is scheduled to be available at Nikon authorized dealers with an estimated selling price of $5,899.95. The Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III will be available for estimated selling price of $499.95**. Availability of both products is scheduled to begin in January, 2010. For more information, please visit, which links all levels of photographers to the Web's most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities.

# # #

* As determined in Nikon performance tests
** Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

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  • Nikon USA just sent out two Twitter posts, announcing the 300mm f/2.8 & the new 2x TC.

  • nikkor_2

    The 2010 Winter Olympics are the driver here; the 300mm f/2.8 will likely be in use at World Cup in SA next summer, too. A wise move by Nikon, in my opinion.

    • zeeGerman

      “The 300mm f/2.8 will likely be used ar the World Cup in SA next summer, too” Not unless it’s one of those “disposable lenses” 😉

  • You’ve done it again admin!

  • sjms
  • Anonymous

    this is the exact opposite of a wide prime…

    • GlobalGuy

      Even the accessory part (2x) would force any wide into a more normal range! Looks like Nikon is listening — they just do the OPPOSITE of whatever we ask.

      • PHB

        Nope, remember that the tip came from the same source that predicted the fast 35mm and 24mm, a source that has been reliable in the past.

        My reading of this is that the 35mm and 24 mm production runs were planned but delayed for some reason and as a result missed the Fall launch window. Since the original announcement was probably for availability in the new year it is a no-brainer to slide it into Jan if they are not going to make the window.

        I don’t think many people buy a 24mm f/1.4 or a 35mm f/1.4 for an Xmas present for someone else. Nobody ever bought something like that for me.

        The fact that the source was right on this suggests to me that the other rumors were solid but the plans changed.

        • This is exactly what I was going to write about – I receive some info that the 24 f/1.4 and the 35 f/1.4 are already present on spreadsheets and whatever software is used by Nikon reps. Those two lenses were ready to go and then something happened. Or maybe nothing happened and Nikon’s thinking was: we are going to sell those two lenses like hot cakes in two months anyway, why don’t we try to push something for the Olympics with minimal effort and this is what they did. So, the 24 and 35 1.4 are definitely coming, nothing was mentioned about a 85 1.4 replacement.

          • Erik

            Or the 135mm

          • Except that I’ve been telling a few friends “If you will want fast lenses, go Canon.” I’m intrigued by the idea that Nikon would make more money by having an inferior system around Christmas. Maybe Nikon has data proving that the entry-level consumer doesn’t usually look at the whole system… or as you say, maybe something came up…

          • Worminator

            “I’m intrigued by the idea that Nikon would make more money by having an inferior system around Christmas.”

            Something about leaving a few rounds in reserve.

          • PHB

            I suspect that Nikon realized that their ability to shift the 24mm and 35mm lenses is not going to diminish after the Olympics. Demand for the 300mm on the other hand is likely to be more time sensitive.

            The 24/35 will be completely new lenses, the launch of the 85mm on the other hand will probably have to wait for supplies of the existing lens/parts to run out. In terms of competing against Canon, completing the range is likely a higher priority than updating the 85mm to AFS.

            So say we get the 24/35 as expected and there are updates to the 85mm and the 100-500 comes out. What will folk be whining about next?

            Oh yes, the f/4 constant aperture zooms. Because Nikon don’t make enough zooms.

  • Nau

    Price and Availability
    The AF-S X NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens is scheduled to be available at Nikon authorized dealers with an estimated selling price of $5,899.95. The Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III will be available for estimated selling price of $499.95**.

    • iamlucky13

      I think that makes for a $400 and a $50 price premium over the existing models, respectively.

      I haven’t got a clear idea of the improvements, but I will say that MTF chart looks amazing.

  • johnny

    that VRII mecanism makes the new lens 30 grams heavier, according to the brochures 😛

    • Jesus_sti

      30/2900 * 100 = 1,03 % of the lens …. nobody will see the difference.

      One day I would buy this lens

      p.s. sorry if I make some english error (i’m mostly french 😉

      • Anonymous

        Et québecois je présume… 😉

  • not rich enuf


    How about a lens for the rest of us.

  • Bert

    Time to face the fact that if you want a pro grade fast wide prime then you have to go Canon.

    • Bob

      apart from brag factor and speed wide zooms are just as good as primes for most humans

      • Bert

        F1.4 can’t be duplicated by any F2.8 zoom no matter good it is. Believe me, I have owned them all and no zoom I have seen can match an 85mm 1.4 shot correctly at 1.4

    • Or go used/manual focus…

      24mm f/2 AI-S
      28mm f/1.4D AF
      35mm f/1.4 AI-S
      50mm f/1.2 AI-S
      58mm f/1.2 AI-S Noct

      I can’t speak about the rest, but I have the 35mm f/1.4 and it is as close to perfect as I can imagine a wide lens being. Even at f/1.4 it’s sharp, although it does have the veiling that super-fast wide lenses usually display. Stopped down (even to f/2) it is as sharp as the 105mm f/2.5 gauss and 300mm f/2.8 AI-S get from corner to corner.

  • Good thing you stayed up!! $500 is pricey for a teleconverter though and for $6000 I think I’d go for the 200-400. Good job NR once again


    What BS! They keep updating the 300mm 2.8 lens many times and we still have the same 300mm f/4 with no VR. Do you know how well a updated 300mm f/4 VR would sell, like crazy. Sometimes I think Nikon has no brains.

    • DNHJR

      Oh and a 2x TC gets it’s 3rd update and still no 300mm f/4 VR. F’ing crazy!!!!!!!!

      • Asiop

        whats the deal with f4 ? 2.8 can run as f/4 🙂 ?

        • Twoomy

          cheaper, lighter, smaller. A lens “for the rest of us.” 🙂

          • GlobalGuy

            Nikon is definitely out of touch these days. This may be an Olympics lens, but it will take an Olympian to carry it. The should have made a 30/1.4 or an new 135/2 or a new 200 macro.. or a 100-500VRII. But gee, someone got their “pet” lens at Nikon. Good for that executive, whoever he is.

          • The old 300/f4 is only cheap now because it was superseded by a newer lens with improved optical formula and AF-S. You’ll note the AF-S version goes for double the price new or used. And neither of them is that much better than the 180/2.8 or 70-200 with a TC (in fact I like having VR thank you very much).

            They aren’t going to make 300/4 without and AF-S motor, so you’re looking at an update to a lens that’s not super popular to start with, and it’s going to sell for the same $1500 if they did.

            So buy the new AF-S today and shoot. Or a beat AF-D for cheap that works just as well.

            But I wouldn’t suggest holding your breath for a new AF-D, because it ain’t happening.

            Just get what available today and shoot.

            Just shoot it.

            If you were smart and bought the 70-200 when I did in 2006, you got it for $400 less than it sells for today. It has more than paid for itself by now, and even if it hadn’t, I can sell it for at least what it’s worth. I bet you could do the same today with a 300/4 ED.

            Just quit yer bellyachin, pick up whatever lens you can, and SHOOT!

          • DNHJR


    • bho

      ya, i agree no brain at all…

    • Except…

      The 300mm f/2.8 is the absolute staple of sports photographers. Its users form the core part of Nikon’s high end market – more so than amateur photographers shooting birdies with the 300mm f/4.

      I wouldn’t go so far to say that they sell more of the f/2.8 lens, but it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that they make much more money off of it. Selling an even more expensive version would net them even more money. For most of those that will be buying this, the extra $1200 cost is a small price to pay for an improved lens.

  • NikoDoby

    So what does Slovenia get? 🙂

    • Kick in the ass… Maybe 5 of them could actually afford such a lens.

    • Tim

      lol, i feel sorry for people like you, thinking Slovenia is a backward godforsaken country. Hello form a fiber 100/100M connection for 40$.

      • rhodium


      • 3 more to go 🙂

        Well, I heard in Slovenia salaries are among top in Europe, while living costs are like those in godforsaken countries – or was it the other way around?. 🙂

        So, you too buying new VRII 300/2.8 for 7000-8000€ or just drooling over like the rest?

        • Tim

          No i just got anoyed by the tone of your comment. It sounds like we live in huts with sheep. 🙂

          About the new 300mm. I wonder how many amateur photographers buy this? If you are a pro your gear is usually bought by your employer. This is why D5000 + 300mm f2.8 kits are kind of rare 🙂

  • Geoff

    Isn’t that the same tripod foot that people complain of being flimsy?

    • johnny

      No, I think that would be the tripod collar from the AF-s 300 f4 that is flimsy

    • yrsued

      That Tripod Foot can’t be sturdier!!


      • Geoff

        Thanks for correcting me. Good news.

  • Nikonuser


    That alleged “NIKON ROAD MAP” was such a joke after all!!!!!


  • Cliff

    When the HELL are we getting fast wide-angle primes?

    • b

      what bozos are in charge? stupid update, what idiots.
      how about the 20 year old primes? update, please.

      no, still feels like a bunch of idiots

  • Jay

    Damn canons version is only 4300 bucks lol and sharp as a tack. Damn nikon bleeding people dry lol.

    • yrsued

      Sure, with the Ultra accurate 1DMKIII AF…….

      • Jay

        sure is ultra accurate… NOW lol after the af fix it works properly.

        • Reaaaally? Got some shots?

          • Jay

            go on potn, theres 300 page thread dedicated to 1DmkIII, plenty of in focus shots for you…..

          • Jay

            also I forgot to mention, need more samples … its called sports illustrated ROFL

      • rhodium

        Don’t forget the excellent noise production.

        • Jay

          1dmarkIII is pretty clean to 1600, with Flexnr you can push files to 25600 with great detail and a nice film grain to pics.

  • Son of FE

    WOW! …….How much??? I know, if I have to ask, then I can’t afford it. 🙁

    • GlobalGuy

      Its scary. But dont worry, in daylight, your 70-300VR will be nearly as good… =P

  • Jack

    Cool, a lens and accessory I’ll use and buy. If they update the 17-35mm, I’ll be set. Of course, an updated 200mm micro and 80-400mm would be cool. And maybe some flapjacks.

  • Anonymous

    wow NRadmin you do good work man!

  • FX Dreamin’

    And everyone said……….. yeah.

  • low

    queue the ‘what?! no wide primes!! im going to canon!’ comments in 3…..2……1

    • FX Dreamin’

      What? no wide primes!! I’m going to 35mm disposables.

      Queue Ken and his “RealRaw” kick that he is on.

    • TooSlow


      • rhodium

        What’s wrong with the “20-year-old” primes? They worked fine 20 years ago, they work fine now, and are still producing great images.

  • Jay

    Im going to leica 😀

  • matt2001

    dammit Nikon we want wide angle fast primes

    • Anonymous1

      I want a good mid-range zoom.

  • Brandon

    Im Just glad nikon is putting out quality glass. I cannot afford this one but i am looking at the 70-200 vrii. We cant all be happy but still would never see me with a canon in my hands. Except at that one christmas party with to much eggnog;-(

  • Any more updates or info on this post:

    (I would expect the update be applied to the D300s as well)

    It would be super helpful shooting video!

  • Tim

    Great, a 15th generation 300/2.8. Whatever hapenned to a second generation 80-400 with AFS, or the 300/4 with VR? They can use the same optics as before and stick in the new goodies, just like they’ve done on this new lens. What turkeys the Nikon boys are sometimes.

    Interseting to see how the new 2x convertor performs though.

  • Jabs

    Great Release –
    300mm F2.8 VRII goes well with D3s and counters Canon’s new camera.
    The envelope has been really pushed this time to unreal levels.
    1. 24-70mm
    2. 70-200mm
    3. 300mm

    Now we have D3s and waiting for D700s later on, perhaps.
    An incredible release to the publicity hounds who follow the pro shooters at the various Olympics and other Sports Arenas.
    Nikon is a pros best friend, indeed.
    Can’t wait to see the results in images.
    We will be broke but happy – lol.

    • yes, nikon is really good for pros right now, but the middle market is totally left out.

      • Jabs

        Image (both camera and publicity) is everything in the Pro Markets, while advertising and making your customers happy or even filling their wishes no matter how absurd, rules in the consumer space.
        This release is about PROS and the Olympics (a world stage) perhaps.
        Most people do not have the money or the need for a 300mm F2.8 and a D3s or D3x, so those who need it and have the money to buy and then make money off it, are in a different category.
        Learn your category and then wait for the consumer releases.
        Nikon has always been a PRO concentrated Company and not the other way around.
        Business has different rules and requirements from consumers or even semi-pros or such. An image from a D3s or D3x can make a million or more US dollars in some markets, so buying three or four plus the lens required is an investment to make this money.
        It is about making money with your equipment and not about looking a certain way, as usually is the consumer focused releases.
        Straight and to the point!

        Do you know how much money is generated by for example ONE Sports Illustrated cover shot by the owners of Sports Illustrated in ad revenue or such?
        The photographer gets PAID one thing, while those who USE the images in their Media Outlets, get paid a lot more than the photographers!
        Facts of life.

        • GT

          true…. off topic: BUT !!

          A WRC ( world champ champ ) Subaru Imprezza Car is worth USD $ 1.5Million…… Then people / consumers go out buy the Subaru Imprezza WRX STI car and they “think” or “feel” they have the same thing… its the emotions to purchase.

          What the pros use… will only make the consumer buy the “lower grade” product….. simple marketing really?

          ANYWAY – WE ALL LIKE NIKON RIGHT ? ( so we have something in common 🙂 )

          • Jabs

            Yeah – lol
            I love Nikon too.
            I especially love the heavier pro bodies as I am not consumer driven.
            On cars, I actually like the Subaru Imprezza WRX – especially the older model. They softened it up lately in America, then changed it back now – go figure.
            Rally cars are for people who love punishment.
            Test Drive, Dirt or Gran Turismo – for me and not in the cockpit of a real kidney busting car.
            I love the Mitsubishi version too with that big bad wing (real car that is) , especially the Recaro seats in them.
            My loves –
            Recaros – almost any one
            Pirellis – PZeros
            Konis – shocks, struts
            and Nikons – FA with MD15, F3HP with MD4, F3T with MD4, F4s, F5 and now love D3 and D3x.

            Oh to dream.

    • M!


  • Mike

    200/2 Nikkor could also use this kind of improvements; VRII, N coating …

    • Anonymous

      Yeh. Must be “Coming soon”!

  • Chris P

    The lens is for the Winter Olympics partnering the D3s. The converter is interesting, given the optical quality of the new 70-200 (no near focus focal length comments please), I think it has been specifically designed to make that lens a more than usable 140-400 f5.6; a f5.6 lens is perfectly usable in most lighting conditions with the D3s. So a pro photographer can carry just the 70-200, 300 & TC1.4 + TC2 and have continuous coverage from 70-400 at 2.8/5.6 + 420 f4 & 600 f5.6

    • The 2.8 isn’t just about speed, it’s about isolation. 300/2.8 backgrounds are made of dream cream.

      • Teun

        the DOF is the same on a 600 5.6 as it is on a 300 2.8.

        • Joe R

          False. DOF on the 600 f/5.6 would be about 1/2 that of the 300 f/2.8

  • nir.e

    MTF chart is like the Flat line of a heart attack..
    This lens is a scalpel 🙂

  • …”making it an ideal choice for sports, action and wildlife photographers. This lens is designed for those who are serious about photography.” 🙂

    So true! And will now everybody who is whining, and as this press release makes clear is NOT serious about photography, please do what they do best and switch platform and send me an email with the asking prices for their obsolete f-mount pro-lenses??? LOL

    But they are so right. When you earn your living with stuff like this then the new TC20 is more than welcome too!!!

    Well done Admin and well done Nikon.

  • Tim

    Hey Nikon. How about putting the new VRII into the 200/2, 400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4 and 200-400 VR lenses. Then paint over the red VR logo in gold. And voila, Nikon have given us 5 NEW LENSES. Fantastic! Yeah right. Come on guys, invent something new. The equipment you put out works pretty darned good in any case.

    Still, they’d offer some more possibilites for the NR rumour mill.

  • Canon Fangirly

    Where can I order the lens?

  • so the d90 firmware upgrade was a lie? 🙁

  • Kevin Y


  • Chris

    What’s with the moaning about an f4 lens? For not much more than what a new 300mm f4 with VR II would cost, you can probably pick up up an 300mm 2.8 AF-S II. Which is awesome. And if you’re shooting sports VR is useless anyway!

    Although I’m not happy with the wording Nikon use in that release. Are they saying that unless you have a bottomless pit of cash to spend (or have an agency that buys it for you to use), you’re not serious about photography? I think they need to sort out their PR department.

  • [Ô]

    The optical formula of the new 300mm f2.8 is very similar (or the same as) the old lens, the only obvious difference is an extra nano coating.
    It is possible that the improvement in the MTF’s is due to the extra N coating.

    I suspect Nikon introduced the “new” lens when they needed to make another production run of 300mm f2.8 lenses.

    Economy of scale in manufacture, suggests that it is very likely any further production runs of pro VR1 lenses will use the VR2 unit instead.
    Thus we will probably see all the VR1 lenses being changed to VR2 as Nikon sells through existing stocks.

    The TC-20 however is an entirely different story!

    • PHB

      I suspect you are right there, although there is probably more than just one VRI module in use. I would bet that they have different sizes for the different lenses. But given the improvement in performance it is pretty clear that it is something to be added as a matter of course to each lens when it is possible.

      We don’t know quite how they organize the production runs, quite likely they wait till they have a certain number of orders and then schedule a production run for that number plus however many extras they think they can sell. They might even make two or three years supply at the same time. Although for a bulky lens like this the issue of warehousing will be significant.

      It looks to me as if they have a continuous product improvement scheme that makes them review each product in the program every 3 years and consider updates. Clearly some products do not sell well enough to be in the program. Others are not in the program for other reasons (the 80-400).

      According to the serial #s Nikon sells 2500 of this lens a year and 3000 of the f/4 lens. That is a lot given that they sell less than 500 a year of the other superprimes.

      Oh, and that business of Canada being hard done by as a result of the Olympics is probably the reverse of the truth. At every major World sporting events Nikon runs a pro-photographer support operation that will repair cameras/lenses on the spot for credentialed photographers. They also have an impressive supply of lenses available for loan.

      That means that at the end of the olympics there will be a large supply of high end Nikon equipment in Canada with duty already paid. So it won’t be going back out again. The new stuff will be put into the supply chain in Canada, lenses that were lent out will probably get sold off at a discount the way that used floor models are often sold off after expos.

      So I would predict Canada will be a good place to get very high end Nikon gear right after the Olympics.

  • Gordon

    I was very skeptical when I heard of the Slovenia Nikon event, I was thinking surely if there was a new production announcement from Nikon it wouldn’t be kept to just one country.

    That aside, Nikon seem to be all over the shop with releases, when are the wide primes getting updated or for that matter, why did they not release a new 300mm f/4 VR at the same time?

    • PHB

      A new 300 f/4 would be a major revision justifying a major launch. This is clearly regarded as an incremental update, barely worth a press release.

      Nikon is all about churning out cameras for the masses and a tiny proportion of ultra-premium gear for top professionals. Nikon has come late to the prosumer market, which is what the majority of Nikon rumors readers are really interested in, though they try to pretend they are something else.

      If you want a camera that gives f/4 response with Nikon CA lenses then you simply buy the f/2.8 lenses and put them on a DX body. There is no difference unless you are shooting at wide angle or you are unable to find the exact length prime you need for a particular task.

      • rhodium

        Wait for PMA and photokina 🙂 I’m fairly sure Nikon is going to bring out some big guns there.

  • Yeey! Unaffordable lenses!

  • Ray

    Euh… 500VR & 600VR are already VRII lenses. I hope the new converter will be a lot better. The previous version was basically only suitable for ’emergencies’.

  • D40-owner

    Well, I just compared the lens diagrams, MTF charts and pics in, between the old and vew 300 VR. Here is a summary of what I can find:
    – New black background info badge, matching the 400/500/600.
    – New focus mode switch, with the additional A/M mode.
    – VR badge now has gold letters.
    – The optical diagrams are the same.
    – Lens dimensions are the same
    – +30grams in weight (must be the new VR)
    – From description, it now has the new VRII system, with 4 stops of VR power.
    – New 300 VR has a very slightly better MTF chart, with 10 lines/mm almost at 1, and better matching between Sagittal/Meridional 30 lines/mm.

    I don’t know what causes the differences in the MTF chart. I can’t see any differences in the glass element shapes. My bet is a better deposition of the Nano/SIC coatings in the elements.

    • WalterB

      The press release refers to an aspherical element which is not shown in the diagram. Which is corrrect?

      “The optical formula features three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements for superior sharpness, color and image quality, while minimizing chromatic aberration. Additionally, an aspherical element is used to promote image integrity throughout the frame, suppress coma and minimize distortion. “

      • El Aura

        The aspherical element is in the TC not the 300 mm lens.

  • Ken Rockwell

    I’ll stick with my d40 and 18-200 lens. That’s all I need. Leica FTW!

  • Adamz

    Finally some release for sports/wildlife photographers. That’s a good way Nikon – finally! Can’t wait to see the comparison between new and old 300vr and TC20.

    Good job admin!

    • nobody

      Sports photographers typically use a monopod and shoot at 1/500s or shorter, so they tend to turn off VR anyway. (Furthermore VR may interfere with AF sometimes.)

      So I fail to see what this “upgrade” is all about.

      It would have made much more sense to put VR into the (much better handholdable) 300mm f4.

      • blah

        They didn’t change the optical formula or much of anything but the VR unit. Development effort for this little update was probably very small. In exchange, they raise the price, refresh the lens, and signal to the market that the current optical formula is sufficient for several more years.

        Lead times on the glass for these lenses are very long. They produce the glass in batches that need to satisfy demand for a significant time.

        Personally, I’d prefer to see a F/4 AF-S VR 300mm or an AF-S replacement for the 80-400, but it’s not like Nikon’s engineers spent 5 years working on the 300 F/2.8 VR II upgrade.

        • Dweeb

          Thanks for saying what everyone else is thinking.

        • Jabs

          Why do so many posters spend so much time complaining about things they do not know much about?
          How do you know that the optical formula is the same for both lens? Do you think mere diagrams tell you that? Do you really think that Nikon simply screwed on anew VR unit and then voila, a new lens? HOW naive!
          WHO cares?
          Nikon is looking towards the Olympics like they have done for YEARS!
          They have always made special bodies and lens for the Olympics, the Apollo and Space Shuttle Missions plus even special cameras for the PRESS – F3P comes to mind.
          The Olympics is a worldwide stage like the Oscars in America are and thus everyone brings new finery there as it is a place to workout and prove in the FIELD new ideas, new concepts that eventually trickle down to the consumer space.
          Thus, look at these advances though expensive, as eventually trickling down to the consumers, perhaps.
          Have you EVER looked through a Nikon 300mm F2.8 or even a 300mm F2.0 (yes there was one)? Have you ever looked through a Nikon 2000mm F11 mirror lens and seen the awesome reach?
          Have you ever looked through a Canon 200mm F1.8?
          Once you look through these limited and very expensive lens, you will then know why YOUR images cannot compare.
          Photographers shoot with extraordinary glass and then make the money to buy more expensive glass, as you have to be beter than the competition and focal length is one differentiator.
          The Olympics is a HUGE proving ground and all manufacturers in the PRO world reach up to this event.
          It is about engineering and knocking out the next manufacturer on a WORLD STAGE!
          The amount of orders generated from each Olympics is staggering, as COMPANIES worldwide buy based upon perceived superiority THERE, often.
          Canon LOST to Nikon in the Pro ranks via the Olympics and Professional Sports like Wimbledon, etc..
          It’s SHOWTIME, bud!

          The Nikon pro stuff is the equivalent of a F1 race car while you are looking for an Accord (everybody’s average car) or even a BMW (everybody’s ego driven car or profiler’s car), it appears.
          Specialized equipment like specialized cameras/lens often become normal use/road gear later on – like paddle shifters, special electronic traction controls, center differentials and such.
          The Olympics is thus a unique Proving Ground where you are ‘baptized by fire’ as they say – outside of the Lab, thus very valuable for ALL of us photographers.
          Get over it, please!

          • blah

            First, I’m not complaining. The post I replied to says “So I fail to see what this “upgrade” is all about.” I believe it’s about doing a small update with minimal engineering effort. That small amount of effort will pay off for both Nikon and its users. As I mentioned, it sends the message that Nikon has confidence in their optical formula (which they have not changed).

            Why do I think the optical formula is essentially unchanged? Because Nikon’s press release says: “The lens optics and Nano Crystal Coat so well received with previous lenses have been adopted without modification”

            Finally, I’m not in the market for either a $4800 or $6000 lens. While I’m sure they are beautiful, they are — as you note — very specialized tools.

            No part of my post is a criticism of Nikon’s engineering or business practice. With a weak dollar, price increases are simply a fact of life. In this instance, the price increase accompanies a modest update to the lens in question.

  • Joe R

    Here’s a uncommon opinion:

    I have a D300 and will not go FX till that D300 dies (and even then I may not). So Nikon, keep up with the sharp, fast DX primes. I love my 35 1.8. My 18-55 II and 55-200 VR are absurdly sharp at f/8 so I’ll stay there. Other than that, I’m in the sub $400 lens market for a long time, and I’m not alone.

    I’d love a 300 f/anything fixed. But I’d also love to not be driving a Scion.

    • Well I guess it’s a good hobby for you.

  • Pat

    instead of waiting for the updated 80-400, get the 70-200 plus TC-20E III to turn it into a 140-400 f/5.6 VR…given you only use the center region of the lens with a TC-20, perhaps even 70-200 VR1 would work well.

    • PHB

      That may be a decent option to go with. Its like having a variable aperture zoom, only you have to swap in the teleconverter mid way through the range. If your needs are more concentrated on the 70-200 range it is a much better way to go.

      At the moment it is a no-brainer to go that route as the 80-400 is too slow to focus. But it is considerably pricier. The only other choice is the 200-400 which is much heavier for that f/4.

      It will be interesting to see what this does for quality. My guess is that it will be less good than the 200-400 at the f/5.6 aperture 🙂

      • [Ô]

        The 70-200 f2.8 vr(1) goes great with a TC14e11 (so so so close to a 300 f4) but the TC20e11 is a bit too much for it.

        I’ll be looking very hard at the new TC20e111 to see how it fares.

        • PHB

          If you want a 300 f4 then stick the lens on a DX body. Presto, you have a 300mm f/4.

          OK so it may be labeled f/2.8 and the ISO will be half the equivalent FX body, but the two optical systems are equivalent.

  • WR

    Nice lens, but at this point with the economy who can afford it.

  • FWIW, the Japanese press release indicates that they’ll be available starting on Jan 29, at least in Japan. The online price at Yodobashi Camera is a stunning ¥651,000.

  • longtimenikonshooter

    I really want to sample pictures of TC20III on 70-200mm VR2. Can anyone post some sample shots. 300mm f/2.8 VR2 is really nice for image quality but it’s awesome burden to carry it around.

  • TurningJapanese

    Lets face it. There are certain products that have to stay “up to date” in any product lineup. 70-200 is one and 300mm 2.8 is another. They are the staples for the pro market. Plus, it looks like this update might not have been very difficult to do. So why is everyone complaining? We all want what we want, but Nikon knows it’s numbers and what products keep the lights on.

    • Jørgen

      The big question is: Who generates most money for Nikon?
      1. Sport photographers that actually wears out their equipment.
      2. a bunch of amateurs that shout for lences loaded with goodies. And when their wishes are fullfilled they say “What the f****!! That expensive? Well now the old one will come to the aftermarket at an affordable prize.”

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