Nikon has announced a new telephoto lens that replaces an older model. The AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens is said to be the lightest 300mm model for full frame cameras with a fixed focal length and autofocus support.
After revealing the D5500 DX-format DSLR and the AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR II lens, Nikon has taken the wraps off of the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens.
This is a ground-breaking optic for Nikon because it is the company’s first model to incorporate a Phase Fresnel element, which reduces the size and weight of a lens as well as chromatic aberration.
AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR becomes Nikon’s first lens based on Phase Fresnel design
Nikon was offering the Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED lens until recently, but it was time for a change. The Japan-based company has chosen CES 2015 as the launch event of the new AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR.
This is the company’s first optic with a Phase Fresnel element, which means that the dimensions and the weight of the lens will be greatly reduced.
A similar Phase Fresnel technology is used by Canon in some of its super telephoto prime lenses, such as the EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM II. Canon is using the “DO” tag, which stands for Diffractive Optics, while Nikon will use “PF”.
PF design makes the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens shorter and lighter than its predecessor
As stated above, the new model is smaller and lighter. Nikon says that the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens is 30% shorter in length and about 1.5 lbs lighter than the Nikkor 300mm f/4D IF-ED.
The optic measures about 89mm in diameter and 147.5mm in length, compared to the 90mm and 222.5mm of its predecessor. Moreover, it weighs “only” 755 grams / 26.60 ounces, compared to the 1.440 grams / 50.80 ounces of its forerunner.
Another important aspect of the Phase Fresnel design is that it reduces chromatic aberration, so that the photos will turn out sharper.
The filter size stands at 77mm, while the minimum focusing distance stands at 1.4 meters. The lens comes with Vibration Reduction technology, offering up to 4.5 f-stops of stabilization.
All these improvements make the new 300mm f/4E lens pricier than before
Nikon has confirmed that the lens will come with a Sport mode for the VR system as well as tripod detection, so the optic will know when it is mounted on a tripod.
The autofocus system is powered by a Silent Wave Motor, which offers silent AF. Additionally, the Nano Crystal Coat will make sure that the lens will deliver a high image quality.
The “E” letter sitting after the maximum aperture stands for Electromagnetic Aperture Control and it has been used before in the AF-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens. This model was introduced at CES 2013.
All these changes have a downside, too, as the AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens price is higher than the one of its predecessor. The optic can be pre-ordered at Amazon for $1,999.95 and shipping begins in February.