Build quality and handling
The build quality of the Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED feels more robust and rugged than in either of Nikon's cheaper 55-200mm VR and 55-300mm VR telephoto zooms. Inside, there are 12 groups containing 17 elements, of which two are ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements. The aperture range of f/4.5-5.6 to f/32-40 is controlled by a 9-blade diaphragm.
The oversized zoom ring is particularly smooth in operation and there's no zoom creep. Unlike Nikon's cheaper telephoto zooms, the manual focus ring is fitted towards the rear, within easier reach. Because of the way ring-type AF-S works, the focus ring doesn't rotate during autofocus, so there's no problem with fouling its action while holding the lens in a natural grip.
There's also a neat distance scale positioned beneath a clear viewing panel. A petal-shaped hood and soft carrying pouch are included in the price.
In our tests, sharpness proved very good throughout most of the zoom range, although it dropped off a bit at the maximum telephoto zoom setting. Even so, when shooting handheld at 300mm, it consistently gave very sharp results with great contrast.
Resistance to ghosting and flare is particularly good and the super-fast autofocus is excellent for action sports photography. Distortions are low throughout the entire zoom range.
Taken at 300mm, f/5.6