Addendum to the Nikon 300 f/4E PF ED VR Test
When I posted our Imatest results from the single copy of the Nikon 300 f/4E PF ED VR that we had received, I pointed out that the copy was slightly decentered and therefore the results were questionable. We got a second copy of the lens in today, and this one was perfectly centered.
I had planned on waiting until we had a half-dozen samples tested before writing anything else, but apparently I stirred up such a hornet’s nest with the first results that I thought I’d go ahead and post the results of this well-centered copy. Especially since it looks like it will be several weeks before we actually have six copies in stock to run a series.
My guess when testing the previous copy was that a well-centered copy might or might not be better at peak resolution, and probably would be better in the corners. Turns out, for those who want the short version, my guess was pretty much correct.
The table below shows the results for a series of the 300 f/4 AF-S lenses, the results from the decentered copy we tested last week, and the results from the well-centered copy we tested today.
300mm f/4 AF-S Decentered 300mm f/4E PF Centered 300mm f/4E PF
Ctr 1550 1600 1590
Avg 1255 1205 1300
Corner 1160 1040 1140
The simple summary is a well-centered copy improved the corner numbers and therefore the overall average numbers. The 300 f/4E PF ED VR lens is optically as good as the 300 f/4 AF-S lens, which is well-known to be a very sharp lens. It’s also significantly smaller, lighter, has awesome VR, and is more expensive. Do you want it? Depends on your wallet and your shooting style.
I know many of you were expecting the numbers to be markedly better on a well-centered copy. It certainly could have happened, but the original copy wasn’t all that badly decentered, plus it’s very likely there is some centering tolerance built into the design of the lens.
Roger Cicala and Aaron Closz
Author: Roger Cicala
I’m Roger and I am the founder of Lensrentals.com. Hailed as one of the optic nerds here, I enjoy shooting collimated light through 30X microscope objectives in my spare time. When I do take real pictures I like using something different: a Medium format, or Pentax K1, or a Sony RX1R.