Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED review

There's a reassuring heft to this full-frame telephoto zoom lens

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  • Excellent Vibration Reduction with Active mode
  • Ring-type AF-S ultrasonic autofocus with full-time manual override
  • Great optical quality throughout most of the zoom range


  • Sharpness drops off a little at the maximum 300mm focal length
  • One of the most expensive telephoto zooms

The biggest attraction of this full-frame zoom lens for the vast majority of us who use APS-C Nikon cameras is that the 1.5x crop factor gives a mighty effective telephoto reach of 450mm at the long end of the zoom range. As such, we have to ask if the newer, smaller and lighter Nikon 55-300mm VR has made its heavyweight cousin redundant?

There's actually a lot to be said for using a heavier telephoto lens, because the extra weight makes it more stable when handholding and camera-shake is less of a problem. This is especially true when panning for action shots. On an APS-C camera, you'll also only be using the central region of the image circle produced by the lens, where image quality is at its greatest. On top of that, the Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED has a more refined feature set and better build quality.

More than twice the weight of the Nikon 55-200mm VR, this one tips the scales at 745g and is also nearly 1.5x the length at 80x144mm, extending to a maximum of 258mm at it's longest telephoto setting, complete with attached hood. The lens hood itself is petal-shaped for maximum performance, enabled by the fact that the lens has internal focus, so the front element neither extends nor rotates during focusing.

Advanced, ring-type AF-S (Silent Wave) autofocus is very fast and practically silent. It's a big step up from the more humble AF-S system fitted to the 55-200mm VR and 55-300mm VR lenses, and also features full-time manual override in Single (rather than continuous) AF mode.

Like the 55-300mm VR lens, this 70-300mm one features Nikon's new generation VR II Vibration Reduction which offers a 4-stop anti-shake benefit. This time, however, it's a dual mode stabiliser that has Normal and Active options, the latter working better if you're shooting from an unsteady platform.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLens
Maximum Focal Length300 mm
Minimum Focal Length70 mm
Maximum Aperture Wide4.5
Maximum Aperture Tele5.6
Brand NameNikon
Filter Attachment Diameter67 mm
Lens TypeSuper Telephoto Zoom
Depth143.5 mm

Nikon Digital & 35mm Film SLR Cameras

ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelJAA795DA
Product Name70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR Telephoto Zoom-Nikkor Lens
Product LineNikkor
Manufacturer Part NumberJAA795DA
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The AF-S VR 70-300 f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED is a high-performance super telephoto zoom lens that has been designed to meet the demands of both digital and 35mm format SLR users. It offers a 4.3x zoom with a range of 70-300mm (105-450mm on a DX Nikon D-SLR) and features ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that ensure superior optical performance. This lens incorporates Nikon's second-generation vibration reduction system (VR II) that allows flexible hand-held shooting by stabilizing the image to the equivalent extent of using a shutter speed that is four stops faster when compared with a conventional lens (as determined by Nikon performance test). The SWM (Silent Wave Motor) and IF (Internal Focusing) ensure fast and quiet focusing action, and the nine-blade rounded diaphragm makes out-of-focus elements blend smoothly to produce natural-looking, harmonious backgrounds.

Package Contents
  • 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR Telephoto Zoom-Nikkor Lens
  • Lens Cap LF-1
  • Lens Case CL-1022
  • Lens Hood HB-36
Weight (Approximate)745 g