Nikkor lens Resources
Additional Information on
Nikkor 300mm telephoto lenses - Part IV


300mm AF ED-IF Image (13k Jpeg)

300mm EDIF.jpg (13K) Loading...
Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF AI-S IF-ED, 1987-present...

Nikon introduced this lens in 1987 to complement its increasingly professional emphasis on autofocus cameras and lenses. Rather than an update the of the classic f/4.5, Nikon chose to make the lens one third of a stop faster, which necessitated an 82mm front accessory size. However, Nikon gave the lens a whiff of "big-lens" style with a 39mm filter drawer. As is expected of Nikon's professional AF glass, it has the black "crinkle" finish and a metal barrel, which makes it quite durable; it never went through the misstep that Nikon made with the original AF 180f/2.8, i.e. the narrow focussing ring with little drag.

<<--- Scale between the ED & Non-ED version.

As it is a 1987-vintage lens, AF performance is not up to the same standards as, say the AF-I or AF-S lenses, but is quite acceptable on the more modern bodies. A focussing limiter switch is provided, as is an A/M switch on the lens itself. Optical performance is reputedly excellent, and B. Moose Peterson (2) claims that this lens is better on a converter (TC-14B) than a "naked" 400f/5.6 IF-ED. For those without a team of porters to carry around photo gear, it is probably the best choice for top-quality travel photographs.

Nikon's current AF lens lineup includes the 300f/4 AF, an excellent lens for those on a budget (relative to the 300f/2.8 AF-S) or those looking for a great travel lens. It is a bit heavier than the older 300f/4.5 AI-S IF-ED, but offers AF, a focus limiter, and of course, the extra 1/3 of a stop. Used lenses are available cheaply relative to the list price, but this lens generally hovers around twice the price of the earlier 300f/4.5 IF-ED.

300mm AF.jpg (10k) Loading...
For most people, the f/4.5 is a better buy, but AF is quite useful for tracking motion/sports, so the f/4 is indispensible to others. As a manual-focus user, I'm eagerly awaiting the rumoured 300f/4D AF-S IF-ED, which will hopefully depress prices of the current len
This is the first picture appeared on Nikon early marketing brouche for their AF Nikkor.

Construction and Specifications

Here are cutaway views of the 300f/4.5, f/4.5 IF-ED, and f/4 AF IF-ED. Note that the IF-ED versions appear to be scaled-down from the classic "8/6" construction employed by Nikon for their larger original IF-ED lenses (300f/2.8, 400f/3.5, 600f/4). Note also that the first 300f/4.5 has slightly different construction than depicted here, similar to the non-AF versions of the 180f/2.8.

In general, AI lenses were introduced in 1977; AI-S lenses were introduced in 1984.




ED non-AI, AI



Year Made







5 elements in 4 groups (6e/5g redesign 1971/5?)

6 elements in 5 groups

6 elements in 5 groups (front element ED)

7 elements in 6 groups (second element ED)

8 elements in 6 groups (second and seventh elements ED)

Dimensions (3, 4, 5)

80mm diam, 203mm long; 1100g
(3.2" diam, 8.0" long; 38.8oz)

78.5mm diam, 202mm long; 1200g
(3.1" diam, 8.0" long; 42.3oz)

78.5mm diam?, 202mm long?; 1160g?
(3.1" diam?, 8.0" long?; 41oz?)

80mm diam, 200mm long; 990g
(3.2" diam, 7.9" long; 34.9oz)

89mm diam, 218mm long; 1330g
(3.5" diam, 8.6" long; 46.9oz)

Minimum Focus






Minimum Stop






Accessory Size





82mm front; 39mm drop-in

Lens Case






First Serial Number (1)

480001(1975 reformula?)





Last US List Price (1)

$485 (1977)

$464 (AI, 1984)
$730 (AI-S, 1990)

$990 (non-AI, 1977)
$1298 (AI, 1978)

$865 (AI, 1984)
$1338 (AI-S, 1989)

$1470 (1997)

Typical 1998 US Used Price







    1. Comon, Paul, and Evans, Art. Nikon Data. Photo Data Research. Redondo Beach, CA. LC 90-81643. ISBN 0-9626508-0-3. 1990.
    2. Peterson, B. "Moose". Nikon System Handbook. Images Press, Inc. New York, NY. LC 90-084933. ISBN 0-929667-03-4. 1991.
    3. Crawley, Geoffrey. The Nikon System, Including Nikkormat. Amphoto. New York, NY. LC 74-125364. ISBN 0-8174-0973-4. 1972.
    4. Eyes of Nikon. Nippok Kogaku K.K. 1985.
    5. Nikon Full Line Product Guide 1996-97. Nikon, Inc. Melville, NY. 1996.

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