Don’t forget, you can also watch the Nikon AF 70-300mm video review.
Nikon produce two 70-300mm telephoto lenses. The cheaper standard version – which this review covers – and a more expensive version which has VR image stabilisation.
This lens weighs 480g which is pretty light compared some of the competing lenses at the same focal range. It is important to note that the magnification levels when using this lens will vary depending upon the size of the sensor within your digital camera. When using a cropped sensor digital camera such as the Nikon D80, the image will be cropped, making it look magnified unto 1.6 times the actual focal length you are using. So, for example, taking a photo at 300mm will in effect be 480mm. If, however, a full frame digital camera is used, such as the Nikon D3, the image captured will be the same as the focal length of the lens.
Nikon 70-300mm lens construction
It’s a very simple lens to use, with no switches or buttons to worry about. The MF/AF switch is found on the digital camera rather than on the lens. The barrel of the lens provides enough resistance when moving from 70mm all the way up to 300mm, without it being juddery. It does feel surprisingly light in your hands almost like a toy. When trying to auto focus, the lens is typically noisy – much like the Sigma and Tamron lenses – and takes a similar amount of time to focus in. There isn’t a specific macro function either with this lens, and the minimum focusing distance is 1.5m away.
Nikon 70-300mm image quality
The more expensive Nikon/Nikkor 70-300mm has VR (vibration reduction). This noticeably increases the price but affords the ability to take photos at slower shutter speeds. The direct competitors to this lens however would be the Sigma APO 70-300mm and the Tamron 70-300mm.
Considering the price of this lens, it is ideal if you want an introduction into telephoto photography without having to spend a lot of money. The Sigma and Tamron have the advantage of incorporating a macro function which is very useful. So, if you’re only concerned with telephoto photography, perhaps the Nikon 70-300mm would make more sense, however if you are interested in delving into the world of macro photography as well, then the Sigma APO 70-300mm would be more suitable.