Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR
This is Nikon's first lens that employs a PF (Phase Fresnel) lens and it's FX format. The PF lens is made by combining a refractive lens and the PF lens element. The colors passing a conventional positive lens have different focal points - blue being nearest to the lens, green in the middle, and red being farthest from the lens. And, this results in color deviation, or chromatic aberration. On the other hand, with the PF lens, image is formed in the reverse order of red, green, and blue. So, when the positive and PF lenses are combined, their color deviations cancel each other out. Therefore, chromatic aberration is corrected with the lens itself. And, you know what it means. Using the PF lens reduces the amount of special glasses and the size of the lens drastically. Compared to the long-selling AI AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED, it's 75mm smaller and 545g lighter. This is quite an invention and now we have a prime 300mm we can slop into a bag. Plus, we won't look suspicious anymore even with a 300mm on the street! Image quality is sharp wide open. The bokeh can be quirky depending on distance and brightness. In this report, I will only show you images shot wide open. And, the camera is the D800E with no lowpass filter effect because we believe it demonstrates the potential of the lens better.
( Photography : Z II / Text : KIMURAX )
The vivid pink board and the wet suit look as if they are just in front of my eyes. The splash and the big waves have a great 3D quality as well. And, remember, this image was shot wide open. The vibration reduction mechanism also has SPORT mode which comes in handy when shooting fast moving subjects or taking follow shots.
Even in this backlit condition, the Nano Crystal Coat offers very clear images. Although I do see the vignetting in the bokeh of the reflecting sunshine in the bottom left, it's normal considering the max aperture and the mount size. It captured the refreshing white morning air just as it was and the compression effect is powerful.
The bokeh and 3D quality are very natural. This lens transforms ordinary subjects into an artistic expression.
The bokeh can be noisy depending on distance, but it's OK. The sharpness of the hair in focus is incredible and I can also feel the texture of the clothes. And, I don't think human eyes can capture as minutely as this lens can.
I checked the petals at actual pixels, and I found they were clearly defined. And, it's free from color spreading. The bokeh around the corners has vignetting, but in this case, it's working to emphasize the main subject, I think.
Small and light means easier snapshooting. And, the powerful VR freezes the best moments.
The AF is accurate. Shooting with a 300mm used to require more determination, but with this lens, I could shoot casually. The color reproduction is great, too.
Even at wide open, it reproduced the wavering morning haze in the beach. Through the veil, I focused on the water's edge reflecting the morning sun. This is the very performance of a prime lens and it's something that most zoom lenses cannot realize. A lightweight high performance 300mm is always reassuring especially for those who want to shoot light and compact. And, I'm sure this new 300mm F4 will expand shooting opportunities.
( 25.02.2015 )