Nikon AF-S 70~300mm f/4.5~5.6G Zoom lens

The Nikon AF-S 70~300mm f/4.5~5.6G Zoom lens is one of Nikons mid-level telephoto full frame lenses.When used on a DX camera, the sensor multiplication factor means the lens is equivalent to a 105~450mm lens, which for a telephoto lens isn't necessarily all bad.

While I normally like faster lenses, there are a few things to consider for cruise and vacation photography. First, the telephoto lens is likely to be used outside on bright sunny days, generally the subject matter is not going to be sports or fast moving objects, and cost. Within these parameters, the lens is certainly acceptable, especially given the lens size and weight is less than it's high performance cousins.

Nikon AF-S 70~300mm f/4.5~5.6G Zoom lens Overview

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G

Lens Type: 4.3x Zoom
Format: FX (full-frame)
Maximum Aperture: f/4.5 to 5.6
Minimum Aperture: f/32
Focal Length: 70mm to 300mm
Autofocus Type: AF-S
Minimum Focus Distance: 4.9ft
Maximum Field-of-View: 34 to 5 deg
Filter size: 67mm
Manufactured: Thailand
Lens construction: advanced-amateur
Street Price: $590


Overview: This is an advanced amateur as lens, as it is well built, and a fairly heavy body. So much so that you will likely tire after a day of lugging it around and shooting with it. Like most non-professional lenses, it does not maintain it's aperture throughout the zoom length. However, in the cruise environment, the expectation is it will be used mostly under daylight conditions. The lens is a FX full-frame format, but can be used with Dx cameras. And since it is AF-S focusing, entry-level cameras can autofocus it.

Testing: How does this lens do in sharpness? One simple way to determine that is to test the lens for optical clarity. While to be more accurate, I should have measured the center and all 4 corners of the lens, this simple test provides a basic idea of the lens performance.

The test was conducted photographing this scene at different focal lengths; all using an aperture of f/5.6. The yellow box in the lower right is the cropped area for each photo shown below.

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 70mm f/5.6.

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 100mm f/5.6.

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 135mm f/5.6.

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 200mm f/5.6.

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 300mm f/5.6.

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 300mm f/8.

As is typical of zooms, the maximum 300mm focal length is a bit soft at f/5.6. But when stopped down a bit (f/8) the lens sharpness is a lot closer to the other focal lengths.


Focal Length.
As shown below, this lens is used on various crop factors using a D7100 and Nikon V1.

300mm with a 1.3x crop mode on a Nikon D7100 (2x crop factor total)

300mm on a D7100 (1.5x crop factor)

300mm on a Nikon V1 (with FT-1 adapter; 2.7x crop factor total)

70mm on a D90 (1.5x crop factor)

Summary: While telephoto lenses in general don't get as much use as the shorter focal lengths, sometimes the extra reach they offer is necessary. And with the various technologies available with select Nikon cameras (such as the 1.3x mode on the D7100 and the FT-1 adapter for the Nikon 1 system), a longer reach can be obtained. When used with the Ft-1 adapter and a Nikon 1 camera, the 300mm focal length has the full frame equivalent of an 840mm lens.