Continuing a blog series on gear I love, and what goes with us on location as we head to the holidays.

One thing that goes with us now, consistently, if not always, is the new-ish Nikkor 300mm f4 lens with the “Phase Fresnel” technology. It’s official designation is the AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens. Now that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it does indicate the amount of tech that has gone into this new era of incredibly light telephoto lenses we are graced with as shooters. See below, the comparison of this lens to my tried and true 70-200mm.

That’s a lot of reach in a small package, to be sure. And the loss of an f-stop in today’s world where ISO 400 or so looks as good as Kodachrome 64 used to look back in the day is, relatively speaking, inconsequential. I would trade that f-stop any day for the lightness and resultant hand-holdability of this piece of glass. The pic up above, as the header, is a close focused detail on the hands. I backed off and shot a portrait, benefitting enormously from the compression of the 300mm stuffed into this puppy.

And, from what the engineers calculate, it has 4.5 stops of VR incorporated into it. That makes shots like the two below, from the top deck of a lurching, moving London sightseeing bus very doable. It’s just a simple crowd shot of Brexit demonstrators, and a color detail shot of their flags, but again, the compression helps. Shot this, FYI, with the Z7 camera and the FTZ adapter. Perfectly translated, as if I was hooked up to my regular DSLRs, both in terms of sharpness, and follow focus.

 

And, it fits in the bag nicely. Or a fanny pack. Or a belt pouch. It’s crazy to have that much telephoto in such a small package. But the technology advances, and so do we. This lens is a keeper, for sure.

More tk…

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Joe McNally
Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer whose prolific career includes assignments in nearly 70 countries. McNally is known world-wide as not only one of the top, technically excellent photographers of his generation, but his charming demeanor, confidence and humor make him a sought-after choice from CEO’s to celebrities to commercial and magazine clients alike. He is among the rare breed of photographer who has bridged the world between photojournalism and advertising, amassing an impressive commercial and advertising client list including FedEx, Sony, ESPN, Adidas, Land’s End, General Electric, Epson, MetLife, USAA, New York Stock Exchange, Lehman Brothers, PNC Bank, and the Beijing Cultural Commission. McNally is equally comfortable climbing buildings or lighting a telescope to capturing quiet, sensitive subject matter with confidence in medical surroundings. He has shot numerous cover stories and highly complex features for the National Geographic, LIFE, and Sports Illustrated, where his research skills and unmatched preparedness were highly valued.