Nikon 70-300 f/4-5.6 Lens Review

Nikon 70-300 f/4-5.6 Lens Review

“Good lens for this price”

nikon nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6G

Weighing in at about 15 oz., this Nikkor AF zoom lens is a lot of bang for the buck. The zoom range is 70-300mm; if you use a Nikon digital SLR like my D70, the effective range is 106-456mm due to the 1.5x crop factor. 300mm or 450mm, this is a very powerful zoom lens for relatively little money.

The maximum aperture of the lens is f4 at 70mm and one stop slower at f5.6 at 300mm. These are of course slower than more expensive Nikkor’s which can go to f2.8, but for that you’d be shelling out many times more money. For most outdoor daylight photos as well as well-lit portraits, this lens does the job. At f5.6 and 300mm, you’ll get a nice shallow depth of field that will give you that “professional” portrait you’ve been looking for. Just make sure you use a tripod.

This Nikkor sports excellent optics (despite not being an ED — see below), and is a full auto-focus lens when mounted on Nikon SLRs that can do AF on G-type lenses. To switch into manual focus on one of these cameras, be sure to set the focus switch on the camera body to M (manual) first, before engaging the focus ring. Because this is *not* an AF-S (S for silence) lens, it does not have the “ultrasonic” built-in motor and is completely driven by the camera, that’s why you want to set the focus mode switch on the camera to M before turning the focus ring.

Because this is not an AF-S lens, it’s noisy when hunting for focus. Being an economics lens, it focuses pretty fast when there’s plenty of light, but in low light situations, it can “hunt” for focus for a long time. In fact, where there’s little light, you’ll need to half-press the shutter button several times before the lens autofocuses properly; and don’t be surprised if you have to switch to manual focus. (Just remember to set the camera’s focus mode to M!)

Other features missing from this low-priced lens are a macro mode and low-dispersion (called ED by Nikon). Of course, it doesn’t have vibration reduction, either.

Oh, if you have a digital SLR, you’ll get an additional benefit of using a non-DX lens on a d-SLR: because only the central part of the image from the lens actually hits the sensor, you won’t have to worry about aberrations that affect the edges, esp. when using low-cost lenses. From corner to corner, side to side, your picture will be sharp.

In short, for a little over $100 you are getting a genuine Nikon-designed (but made in China) lens with excellent optics, a long zoom range, fast autofocusing in bright light, and relative light weight but solid construction. On the other hand, the low, low price means you won’t get macro, ED, ultrasonic focusing mechanism, or the very best optics that much more expensive Nikkor lenses have.

If you have enough money, I recommend getting a high-quality zoom lens that covers the wideangle to telephoto focal lengths. My favorite is the compact and lightweight Tamron 28-300mm Di XR LD lens sold here on Amazon (although you do give up aperture speed).

More Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Reviews from Amazon:

Check out for more reviews of Nikon’s 70-300mm f/4-5.6, it has more consumer reviews and reports than any other site online:

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Nikon 70-300 f/4-5.6 Lens Review By Gadgester (New York
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