Everyone loves to get the latest new lenses, and for good reason – they feature the latest and greatest features and can improve your chances of getting a quality image. But the thing about new lenses is that they are rather expensive. In this new series Oldies but Goodies we are going to focus on older lenses that are still great quality optics and can save you quite a bit of money.

This week I am featuring the Nikon 300mm F4 AF ED. This is a prime lens, meaning there is no zooming so you are stuck at the 300mm focal length. The benefits of this lens are that it is superior optically to any zooming lens at 300mm, and at 300mm F4 still provides plenty of bokeh for most situations.




  • Cheaper than the newer 300mm F4 and way cheap than the 300 2.8.
  • Lighter than the 2.8
  • One of the sharpest telephoto lenses I’ve used. At F4 it matches the 2.8 stopped down to F4 in sharpness.
  • Drop In Filter
  • Built like a tank- All metal body
  • Built In Lens Hood


  •  Older Focusing motor means slower AF with newer camera bodies. Still very capable AF, just not as fast as newer versions.
  •  F4 means this lens is not great for indoor or low light shooting. Outdoors though this is a great lens for most conditions.
  •  Need to turn on manual focus on both the lens and the camera seperately

Example Shots

I use this lens personally. I like to use it for sports and birds (yes the AF occasionally causes issues, but overall it works well enough for my liking).


Nikon D7000 – 1/350th – F4 – ISO 100


Nikon D7000 – 1/2000th – F4 – ISO 640

Final Thoughts

Sure there are newer more expensive options available that come with vibration reduction or nano coating and other great features. But if you are like me and don’t have thousands of dollars to drop on one lens then this is a great option for those of you looking for some great reach. I picked this lens up for around $500 at my local camera shop, a great deal considering the quality and that the newer 300 F4 is around $1500. Check your local camera shop that carries used gear, check craigslist, or you can buy from ebay there are quite a few available based on my quick search.

Do you know of other great “Oldies but Goodies”? Send suggestions to athurston[at]slrlounge.com