THE BIG ONE
Well, I’ve finally gotten around to taking an in-depth look at my favorite lens, the monstrous Nikon 300mm f/2.8 AI-s ED. This optic is not one to mess around with. Weighing in at over five and a half pounds, this 10+ inch chunk of metal and glass is NOT a walk-around lens (unless you are an odd body-building photographer). Just as how macro lenses are built to do particularly well up-close and wide-angle lenses do their best with landscapes, the 300mm f/2.8 is a special-purpose lens. If you have just now started following this site, I spent much of this past spring doing sports photography primarily with this 450mm field-of-view super telephoto . The fast (and useable) maximum aperture keeps ISOs down and shutter speeds high, freezing the action with less digital noise. And yes, sports photography with manual-focus equipment is even easier nowadays with great focus-assisting technologies. Other applications of this lens on APS-C could be tight head-shots and even a bit of close-up birding (good luck sneaking up on them). On m4/3, this lens would have a 600mm super telephoto field-of-view, great for birding and other wildlife.
A point needing a small paragraph to itself, DO NOT try to use this lens handheld. You’ll be sorry. At the very least, use a monopod. In best case scenarios, a tripod with a good ball head.
Anyways, since this lens is so cumbersome to just take out and shoot, these “first impressions” will instead have just a few few sports photos captured with this lens on the NEX-7 and d300 found after rummaging through some old catalogues (my true favorites are in the above linked article). I’ll try to take this lens somewhere to get some current shots for the full review, but man…the 300mm just whoops me every time I try hauling it around. Spoiler alert, this lens doesn’t fare too well in the “shootability” category.
That’s all for this post guys and gals, thanks for dropping by! And I must make the point again: the 300mm f/2.8 ED is an optically fantastic lens. The huge drawback to actually using it is the weight and size. Even when used on a substantial DSLR such as a d300 with vertical grip, this optic is just too cumbersome to carry around for general photography. Investing in stabilization (mono/tripod) is a must!