Gear Review: Nikkor AF-S ED 70-300mm VR

The Nikon 70-300mm VR AF-S

Not too long ago I owned a Sigma HSM 70-200mm f/2.8, it was fast, silent and light considering the level of quality though now there are cheaper lenses with comparable features.

But even with all of that it was a burden to carry around, heavy on the shoulders and terrible on my back. After many years of use I just couldn’t bare the burden anymore and decided it was time for a change. I sold the lens and use the proceeds to buy its smaller brother while pocketing the difference for a rainy day.

Here is my review of this lens and what I think of it so far.

I needed something that was both light and long, nevermind aperture, I have learned that 5.6 is a fantastic aperture as well. Plus the fact I had a full frame camera, pushing the ISO very high wasn’t an issue anymore. Not to mention that this lens had something even my old sigma lens didn’t have, namely optical stabilization or VR for vibration reduction.

At first all appeared well as evident during Super GT 2011 and 2012 when it was deployed, I found myself not struggling to carry the behemoth of a setup and the shots I took were of acceptable quality. The trade-off I made seemed to have been the right decision and I couldn’t have been happier.

  1. I had a lighter setup allowing for a more enjoyable time.
  2. It was longer than 200mm.
  3. VR made it so I wouldn’t have to worry about camera shake though the drawback is that shorter battery life but it was negligible, I simply carried a spare battery.


But as I continued to shoot, I gradually discovered shots the old 70-200mm would have easily aced, became much harder to achieved with this new lens. Usually, I just leave the lens at f/2.8 and shoot at the shutter speed needed. Now since I was shooting at f/5.6 and sometimes even higher at f/8 or 11, I now had to switch to spot meter and focus on the eyes, lock the exposure before taking the shot else I would lose the catch light in their eyes.

This was not easy given the fast pace of the event, gradually it became second nature.

Sadly, those were the last Super GT events I ever attended and heard 2013 was the last ever show.  For a while the lens sat unused in my dry box, ever so lonesome for what seemed like it would spend the rest of it’s life time. Fortunately I kept the lens instead of selling it as it definitely had it uses, like for example, on a Safari. It became an indispensable lens, in fact, it was the only lens I used on my full frame bodies.

Shots like this can only be taken with a long lens, in a van far, far away.

Though now the lens once again sits quietly in my dry box, waiting for the day when it will be called upon and await I do with anxious fingers too while this lens is simpler when compared to its stronger brethren, but it shines just as well when put to the proper use.

One thought on “Gear Review: Nikkor AF-S ED 70-300mm VR

  1. Pingback: 2014: A year in review | dreaming Artemis

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