Monday 11 June 2018

Mini Review - Nikkor K 300mm f4.5 AI'd

Redwing Blackbird 
NEX-7, Nikkor K 300mm f4.5 AI'd

I've owned 2 of these, the first a really beatup one with a cracked foot that I used back in my pre-digital and early digital days and the second a cheap one I picked up as a telephoto for mirrorless bodies back in 2012 or so. I still own the latter.

These are extremely cheap on the used market. There's a reason. Frankly, it sucks. Most every semi-modern 70-300 is as good or better at 300mm.

What's wrong with it?

Low resolution. You can see detail smearing on the cattails even at web resolution
CA and purple fringing at wide apertures. It's bloody useless at f4.5 and merely poor at f5.6. It's usable at f8
Poor MFD. Yeah, it doesn't focus close at all. Unlike most every 70-300.

What's good about it?

Very well built
Includes tripod foot
Easy to focus

If you still shoot film, and have a body that takes AI lenses but not G lenses, it's not bad for what it costs if you aren't a regular long-lens shooter. If you can use G lenses, even the cheapest 70-300G is as good, and probably better stopped down.

Skip this one. Only reason I still own it is that it's the one 300mm option I own that works on every body I own, which is occasionally useful. And it's worthless on the used market.

If you really must have a slower 300 with an aperture ring, look for the ED or ED-IF versions. They're FAR better. Or just get the original AF-S version, it's a D lens with an aperture ring and also FAR better. I'd skip the regular AF version, it's not enough cheaper than the AF-S to justify not getting the AF-S version instead of the screwdriver version, and the AI-S ED-IF is the same glass with better manual focusing.

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