Nikon AF-S 300mm F2.8 G ED VR II & AF-S TC-20E III available for pre-order

nikon-300mm-2.8-close-upThe new Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 VRII lens and the TC-20E converter are now available for pre-order:

I will be updating this post as more retailers start taking pre-orders.

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  • Anonymous

    I did not get the difference between that one and the older one.
    Anybody can explain ?
    Thank you (my kids call me the dummy anonymous photographer).

    • DS

      Was just about to ask the same question too. design wise, they both look the same with the same VR ring instead of switch. I’m eager to know the difference besides both having the gold and red VR words respectively.

      • Joe R

        I’ve never seen a VR ring (though I never look at lenses worth more than my car) is it common? It seems way better to me than a switch.

    • [Ô]

      VR1 became VR2.
      New focus mode.

      It appears they have also added Nano coat to a second element.
      This could easily explain the improved MTF’s without changing the optical design.

      • PHB

        Or they may have improved production processes and/or the density of certain glass elements.

      • I thought that was just anti-reflection coating? How can something so thin be a refractive element?

        • [Ô]

          correct, Nano coating is an anti reflective technology.
          The improved sharpness (as shown on MTF’s) can be explained by the reduction of internal reflections.

      • WoutK89

        The older version already had two Nano coated elements

  • Canon Fangirly

    Just pre-ordered three of the new 300mm VRII lenses. Hope they will arrive before 2011 when I’m using NPS priority.

    • Ronan

      So your a canon fan and you ordered 3 nikon 300mm?

      • Canon Fangirly

        Well, would not make sense to order Canon glass when I shoot Nikon, would it?

  • The VR ring also caught my eye, but apparently the older version had it as well. The only think that sticks out is “VR II.” So maybe like the 70-200VR II, this lens is “Optimized for FX Sensors.”

  • NK

    I see what’s happening here
    they are creating a wide series of N lens with VR2 and having that active mode in VR for video. looks like the replacement of d700 is gonna shoot 1080 video it would target the independent film makers, nice move nikon

    • longtimenikonshooter

      target independent film makers? i seriously doubt they can at the current stage.

      • PHB

        I seriously doubt that independent film makers are going to be the target for FX primes.

        Nikon has a serious chance of building a market for high end video cameras with interchangeable lenses. But that is not going to be FX sensors, it is not even going to be DX sensors, its going to be the EVIL format with dedicated sensors for the video market and a camera mount that will take either the EX lenses or F-mount via an adapter.

        The Nikon lens formulas are great, there really is nothing like them in the video world at the moment. But they lack capabilities like power zoom and remote focus pulling.

        The film bodies are optimized for film. They do not have electronic shutters which are really essential for video, their size means that there are heating issues which limits the time they can be used for.

        To make a video body worthy of a $6000 lens you would want the camera to be able to shoot continuously for 24 hours, not ten minutes. That would mean shrinking the sensor.

        On an EVIL body this would be a 750mm lens. OK, I can see some applications in wildlife videography, But you would want a zoom for that material.

  • Dave

    So the only difference between this and previous version is upgraded VR and an extra focussing mode…………riveting stuff!

    I’ve been meaning to thank admin because I did save a ton of money when they announced price hikes will be coming in CDN a year(?) ago on Nikkor lenses.

  • NikorRyan

    Oh gosh. Nikon, I shed a tear. So we spent time and money on producing a $5k lens for what percent of your customer base?

    • Nikonuser

      Its called the Olympics is comming…. Explains the release of high end telephoto lense, high end zoom lense 7-200mm D3s.

    • WoutK89

      I don’t think it took much R&D to create this lens, they already had the 70-200VRII with the same internal VR and outer switch. So why complain, when they only changed that 😉 If they would have made a complete new lens, ok, I would say, you are right, but for now, no, you are not

  • Johnny

    Jesus, 6 grand? Maybe i’ll just move closer to that tiger before taking the shot….

    • LOL… i’d satisfy myself by seeing the tiger in a local zoo..

  • Ordering it! NOT!

  • Nikonmonster

    I was having trouble shooting sports because the red VR letters was distracting.

    • Anonymous

      LOL ! Thanks for the laughts !

  • Neil

    Well, for us Americans, the price would have been a lot lower if the government hadn’t diluted the dollar’s value by printing so much of it.

  • Astrophotographer

    So the only change to the 300 is an upgrade from VR to VRII. And the price went from $5300 to $5900. Ouch! I don’t think VRII upgrade is $600. Looks like Nikons is trying to squeeze bucks from the pro shooters.

    Reminds me of the line
    “If we don’t take care of our customers maybe they’ll stop bugging us!”

    • Nikonuser

      VRII and Nano coating the two main diff.

      • WoutK89

        Nano coating was already there on two elements in the old lens

  • G. Chai

    Less than $6K. The bright side of terrible economy, I guess.
    Just imagine what it might have been priced at if the economy was booming!

    • woble

      Less than $6K.

  • chris

    Arr, nikon must be ran by a bunch of perverts and pedophiles? Why keep updating long lens?

    Where the heck is my wide angle prime?

  • My wish is a new 20 2,8 35 2,0 and 85 1,4

    • Anonymous

      Ok, it’s Xmas soon, so let’s dream a little bit:
      Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 AFS (with the hood in the box please)
      Nikkor 300mm f/4 AFS-VR. (with a decent tripod mount)

      That’s all I’m asking for. Thank you.
      (wait, I almost forgot, also a D700x, but without video or crappy 128000 ISO)

  • Ronan

    Ordered one to replace the older one.

    yay for business expenses xD

  • HD

    Of course, I just bought a TC-20E II two weeks ago…

    • Ronan

      It’s always like that 😉

  • anon

    cmon. the 300 2.8 wasn’t that old compared to the 300 f4, 85 1.4, 80-400, 14mm 2.8 and a boatload of other lenses people have been really looking for. Why this one?? I just don’t quite get it. Personally i don’t think people owning the 300mm f2.8 VRs aren’t going to upgrade to the VRIIs and the people who have enough money to afford the VRIIs probably already have the VRs. If someone pre-ordered 3 already, they either have more money than they know what to do with or work for a booming photography company or some photo-journalistic place. Most enthusiasts would be happier with a 300f4 VRII.

    • PHB

      Nikon makes cameras for the masses. That is what the Nikon F was when it was introduced. At the time professional photographers were using view cameras and medium format.

      Today Nikon still makes cameras for the masses, they sell millions each year and their low end models are intended to be as close to the best possible performance for the price. They make the cheaper models a little simpler by removing some features that they don’t think will be missed.

      Part of the reason the masses buy Nikon is because they can buy essentially the same camera as a top pro and have access to the same range of lenses. If you look at the back of most camera mags you will see an add for the Nikon D3x ‘Meet the boss’. Leica must have similar gross margins on their bodies but they can’t afford to do that. Nikon are almost certainly spending more to advertise the D3x than they make in revenues (forget profit).

      The D3x is a halo model, the function is not to make money itself, it is to sell D3000 and D5000. The same is true of the high performance ultra-teles. The 400, 500 and 600 all sell in the hundreds a year. Even at the prices charged, the revenues will only be a few million.

      The 300mm is slightly different, it does sell in thousands, that is because it is the quintessential pap photographer’s lens. There are pap photographers who pretty much use this lens and only this lens all day staked out at LAX to take shots of incoming film stars. For them an extra couple of vibration free stops are worth buying a new lens.

      Expect to see a few well used 300mm f/2.8s showing up on EBay in January.

    • WoutK89

      “i don’t think people owning the 300mm f2.8 VRs aren’t going to upgrade to the VRIIs”

      So what you say is, they will upgrade?

  • Zorro

    It has to be a lot better than the 70-300 VR II and you’d have to really need f2.8 to justify the cost of this lens over the 70-300 VR II.

    • WoutK89

      The older lens was already a lot better, so yes, it is. Don’t ever compare f/2.8 primes to budget consumer zooms.

      70-300 is f/5.6 at 300mm, that’s two stops slower!

  • SimonC

    First, I think it is unrealistic to expect any current 300 f2.8 VR1 owners to upgrade – Nikon knows this and didnt’ target this lens for them.

    That said, I am not surprised they refreshed this lens. Of their super telephoto lineup (200 f2, 200-400 f4, 300 f2.8, 400 f2.8, 500 f4, 600 f4) , the 300 f2.8 didn’t have VR2. It was a no brainer for them to add it and it may have been timed for the 2010 winter olympics. However, I am concerned that the release of this lens may have stalled or delayed production of other prime lenses in the pipeline. Think of the amount of glass you need to procure ahead of time for a batch of 300 f2.8’s – a lot of glass that could have gone towards production of other, higher-demand lenses.

    The big surprise in this announcement was the TC-20 III. Good to see that they upped the performance of this 2x converter.

    I can understand the disappointment of most posters here that there other lenses that more urgently need to be updated. This I will fault Nikon for not addressing them earlier. If the rumours are true, then next year will be the year of the primes 🙂

    • Anonymous

      These primes have been right around the corner since Nov 2007.

    • WoutK89

      Why don’t people understand, that this lens is made in another factory than the primes you are wanting. They only changed 2 parts in the lens, so the production line continues to produce the same lens, with 2 slightly different steps now.

  • Anonymous

    MTF-charts for comparison?

  • Megapixel hater
    • Thom is as puzzled as everyone else about the missing primes… why does Nikon still promote top new bodies like the D3s with the 85mm 1.4 – which is hardly an example of cutting-edge design or performance. I’ve got one and love using it but it is an old design – shouldn’t they be showcasing something with nano, VRII etc?

      I notice Thom is predicting a D800 with best Nikon video yet in 2010. That shouldn’t be too hard having just shot some video on the D3s – it really is poor. I didn’t get a D3s for the video – I already have a Canon 5D2 and it is in another league – sorry Canon haters!

      I realise video is not really Nikon’s go – but I was still surprised by how poor it is -murky compression, no manual controls etc…. It feels like a real after-thought. It even feels like they’ve tried to hide it on the camera – took me fifteen minutes to find any reference on the camera or menus to the video – had to get the manual out in the end to turn it on!

      OK – so they’ve designed it more for photo-journos who can grab a short auto grab on the fly without worrying about manual settings etc – and at small size on the web it probably still works OK. But no-one in the indie film world or commerical video world will be getting this camera – they will go on buying up 7d and 5d bodies and L series glass ….

      But personally I feel Its a shame Nikon put video on the D3s at all – as it’s as average as the rest of the camera is great – I’ve posted some 12800 ISO shots at – if anyone is interested – it is unbelievable in low light.

      It has the best AF I have ever used and is probably the best low light performer as well…. new 70-200 VRII is also excellent . Hopefully there will also be a few new primes to go with it soon as well.

      • nikkor_2

        “…the D3s … has the best AF I have ever used and is probably the best low light performer as well…”


        The D3S paired with the 400mm f/2.8 AFS VR is unbelievable; the performance is outstanding.

        • As a Canon and Nikon user I would say that the current Nikon nano-coated AF-S G series lenses are simply the best – faster, quiter, more accurate. Even on D700 they are faster than anything from Canon (until maybe the 1D Mk IV comes out). On a D3s they are simply unrivalled.

          I’ve had a fiddle around with D3s video mode this morning and maybe it’s not as bad as I thought – at least in some conditions….
          All i want is a body to shoot some video with my G series AF-S glass – I can use older Nikkors on the canon 5D2 but only if they have apeture rings. Seems a waste that there is no way to really show of the quality of the new Nikon optics on video at the moment – while a whole new markey is ‘discovering’ L series canon lenses….

      • Jabs

        Hey Polvo – nice images on your web site – D3s is awesome and really part of a new era in digital photography.
        The next part will probably be a NEW body or a series of bodies with a higher bit structure to really use HD 1080, 720 and 450 in its’ pipeline (high bandwidth – 16 bit or larger), as nothing on the market except the PRO Broadcast or Cinema stuff (RED brand) can do that now and they cost an arm and two legs – lol.
        The problem seems to be Nikon growing us up in stages and taking us from the D3 to the D4 or whatever they call it when released. Right now, few seem to understand here that Nikon almost never releases a major camera that departs radically from the previous models before a major sporting event and instead builds special cameras for the upcoming event and then gives us an updated or ‘s’ model while they test the new UPCOMING model at say the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Cup or F1.
        I almost can see Nikon’s next gen. camera being used in disguise at the upcoming Olympics and then after that announced for general availability.
        That is how they have done it for years.
        Exotic stuff FIRST, then consumer stuff trickles down after the concept is proven on the world stage and PAID for there by large corporate orders.
        We just have to wai thent.
        I started using Nikons from the F3 days and the F2 and F users hated it (F3 and F3HP) initially when released (too electronic, low Xsync of 1/80) but it was light years ahead of anything then and fast. The F3HP with MD4 and Nicads especially the F3T (Titanium- as in F3TC and F3TB) is one of my all time favorite cameras and now the D3 is like the F3 to me.
        KNOCKS ’em dead!
        SAME today with the D3-D3x and now D3s.
        Keep shooting and then wait for video on DSLRS to evolve. I have seen the videos on the Canons and Canon has a problem of TOO MANY fast primes, as F1.2 to F2.8 is NOT good for videography of moving subjects (FACT), so perhaps photographers need to learn videography now.
        TOO Shallow depth of field cause you to lose focus or only a part of the subject is in focus and while this works in STILL image photography, it is not true in video.
        ALL the Canon stuff that I have seen has been problematic because the people who shot it DID not know this.
        The fast lens have a razor thin focus plain and you lose the image because they are trying to show off the lower depth of field their fast primes.
        Do you know that Nikon used to make ED zooms for videography as well as Fuji in their Fujinon series. I have seen shotsfrom the Nikon ED video or film lens plus the Canon ones and believe me – NO contest generally.
        The 5DMk2 is ahead now for low action video shooting BUT they have nothing much over the D3s, as the D3s has a much better sensor and better color quality from what I have seen on my computer – Linux – Ubuntu Studio 64bit.
        The 7D or the new MK4 are crop cameras and thus no contest to even the 5dMk2.
        The Canon’s problem is focus related and in video, focus IS the issue even more so.
        I can’t wait to see what Canon will have ready for the Olympics though and if it is the MK4, then not concerned.
        They need a full frame to compete no matter what people might claim.
        My opinion!

  • Anonymous

    nikon tends to launch what you don’t need when you don’t need 😉

    • Anonymous

      Maybe they need to fire few guys from the marketing departement !

    • f/2.8

      Nikon knows. They know I need it and they know I needed it yesterday. They just don’t know I don’t have the money for it.

  • D700

    I presume this is because of the upcoming olympic games. Otherwise I have a hard time understanding the purpose of this launch. We need NEW lenses,not updated OLD ones.

    • Rosco

      More likely for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany had a total cumulative television audience of 26.29 billion (24.2 billion in-home and 2.1 billion out-of-home viewers) compared with a predicted 3 billion for the Winter Olympics.


      • WoutK89

        26.29 billion viewers, when the earth’s population is no more than 7 billion, that’s very nice, there IS live on other planets 🙂

  • So, whadaboud (other) lenses?

    Nikon is giving us a signal, they are updating just heavy/costly/pro lenses – apparently only Canon wants to make lenses for (serious) amateurs? 🙂

    • WoutK89

      Next up: 200-400/4.0, 200/2.0. They all have VR-I and no Nano coated elements 😛
      Let’s hope Nikon has something new and (also) more interesting up it’s sleeves next year, or they should’ve made 2009 update year, and so make 2010 upgrade year

  • Martin

    Why do you complain about an upgrade?, Nikon is not sitting at the table saying… hmmm, should we make a wide prime or an upgrade to the 300mm… Nikon is big with a lot of divisions.

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