Additional Information on
Nikkor Telephoto Lenses at 300mm focal Length

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One of the many reasons contributes for the rising popularity of 35mm SLR photography is due to the rangefinder camera's limited ability to use long lenses for the extended reach - typically, 135mm is the longest focal length that provide an outline inside the frame line for any rangefinder camera model. The single lens reflex camera revolutionized the world of telephoto lens usage and the superiority and convenience of direct reflex viewing is evident. With the SLR, there is virtually no limit to lenses with focal length usage and thus opens up enormous photographic potential and applications.

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Telephoto lenses at 300mm focal length is one of the most popular focal lengths with professional and serious amateurs. It provides tremendous image magnification but is still comparatively small and lightweight as compare to other super telephoto lenses, this has made it easy to hand handle and could be one of the main reason contribute to its popularity.

Copyright-Free images collection © 2001 

With only 1/6th the angle of view of a 50mm normal lens at around 8°. It takes 1/36th of the area covered by a 50mm to fill the 35mm picture frame. Taking a tiny 4x6mm section of a 35mm negative made with a 50mm lens while enlarging it to full frame equals the coverage of the 300mm. At one time it was automatically accepted by designers that there had to be 300 millimeters between the lens and the focal plane in a 300mm lens design. The lens mount also accounts for part of the overall size.

Comparative Chart


Overall Length

Flange Back


Focal Length

Telephoto Ratio

f/2.8 EDIF






f/4.5 EDIF












The distance from the lens mount surface to the focal plane is called the flange back. All Nikon SLR has a constant distance of 46.5mm. Subtracting 46.5mm from 300mm means that a 300mm lens normally would be 253.5mm long. As you can see from the table, all Nikkor 300mm lenses are shorter than 253.5mm thereby increasing handling ease. The telephoto ratio is the overall length of the lens in relation to its focal length. The smaller the ratio, the smaller the lens.

NIkkor 300mm f/2.8 early version
SUPPLEMENTARY INFO:- According to Peter Braczko's Nikon Hand Book, he has shown an ED version of the earliest Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 that mounted on a Pellicle Mirror 7 fps Nikon F High Speed Motor Drive Camera*. That was supposed to produced for the Sports photographers that covered the Montreal Olympic in 1976. However, prior to this, Nikon had actually shown a prototype version of a similar lens BUT has no ED glass (Pter indicated only 72 units have been built for that purpose whcih bear S/N 303011~603082). ED glass version focuses fown to 3.5m with a simple 6 elements in 5 group optical design. Weighs approx. 3 kg (The non-ED version shows at the left hand side weighs 2.6kg, measuring 125mm x 250.5mm P=1, also focuses down to 3.5m). Note: Canon also had their 4/9 fps high speed camera based on the Canon original F1 for the Montreal Games.

<<< ---- An early version of the manual focus Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 probably was scanned from a Nikon sales manual published in 1976. Credit: Image was a scan copy downloaded from a Japanese Nikon Fan ( as I can't read Japanese so I won't able to credit him properly. Image(s) copyright © 2008 nikonfan.cocolog. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Along with the development of 300 lenses, Nikon has successful improved significantly with its close working range down to 3m (10ft.) from the 4m (13ft) of the first generation large aperture lens at f/2.8 and at slower speed lenses such as the Nikkor-H 300mm f/4.5 Auto, it has a marked improvement from 4m (13ft) to 2.5m (9.5ft.) with the last version of the manual focus Nikkor 300mm f/4.5s ED IF.

<<< ---- An early version of the manual focus Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 EDIF scanned from a Nikon sales manual published in 1977/8. This version has 241mm extension from the flange and close focus at 4m (13ft.).

As with other longer telephoto lenses, the effect of compressed perspective and shallow depth-of-field very apparent compared with telephoto lenses of shorter focal length. In the hands of a seasoned creative photographer, 300mm is a good choice for action based sports, nature, news and even fashion photography. Unlike effect of wide-angle lens that covers a tremendous-subject area with their wide field of view the 300mm lens reaches out to magnify the subject and at the same time eliminates distracting elements in the pictures. Another creative use of telephoto lenses is its effect of compress perspective (distances between two objects seem to be closer than they really are). Sometimes, unless the lighting condition is favorable enough, it will inevitably reduce shutter speed as long focal lenses magnifies camera movement. The rule of thumb is to use a shutter speed about equal to or faster than the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens in use. In the case of the 300mm, this means 1/250 sec. or faster is recommended to avoid camera movement. Basically, if you must shoot at slower shutter speeds for effect of compressed perspective, you will need proper support to offset chances of blur image. An alternative is to use high speed color or black-and-white film as compromise.

Credit: Images courtesy of Adorama® Inc. "Ebay - Mathew Duren" <ebay@adorama> Webisite URL:, who also operates a popular Ebay Store. All images appeared herein are Copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer. Adorama Inc. also can be contact at: Used & Collectible Ebay Department 42 West 18th Street New York, N.Y. 10011 1-212-741-0052 Option 55 Ext.119 1-880-223-2500 Option 55 Ext.119 FAX: 1-212-675-8715

In relation to the Nikkor 300 mm telephoto lens, in between the span of time of introducing Ai-S spec lenses during first quarter of the '80, Nikon also introduced a surprising lens packaged in an ultra-high speed monster, the Nikkor 300mm f/2.0s EDIF which debuted in 1981 was in time for the 1984 LA Summer Olympic Games along with other updates such as Nikkor 300mm f/4.5s EDIF for this focal length. Naturally, there were other equivalent upgrades of super telephoto lenses which will be addressed at sections where it relates.


free images collection © 2002 
Many updates have been done to the various Nikkor 300mm Telephoto lenses. One significant features found in various upgrades were Nikon's attempts to improved their close focusing ability. Just take the Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 IF-ED lens as an example, the first version in 1977 which has an 8 elements in 6 groups (1xED) optical design has a minimum focusing capability down to 13.1 ft, the second version introduced in 1985 has improved significantly down to less than 9.8 ft. While the AF-1 series again reduced it to 8.2 ft. and the current AF-S II 300mm f/2.8D EDIF which has a more complex optical design in 11 elements in 8 groups (3ED) has even improved that figure to merely 7.5 ft !

With the introduction of Nikon AF SLRs during the mid '80, the Nikkor 300mm lenses were inevitably being converted to incorporate automatic focusing mechanism. The original AF version of the AF-Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF was an exact replica of the manual focus lens. It has a selector switch for AF and manual focus and two rings for presetting focusing distance. The major upgrade of the lens actually happened in 1992 where the AF-I Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED-IF was eventually incorporated a coreless DC motor which permits faster AF action. Many other technological advancement were also being incorporated into the design which includes its optical formula being altered to a new 11 elements in 9 groups design. Another amazing feat is its close focusing ability which saw its minimum focus distance improved to an impressive 8.2 ft. Further, it has a distance chip set which allowed compatible Nikon AF SLRs for more calculation of exposure based on a more accurate evaluative metering method.

Credit: Images downloaded from Nikon USA website.
The current Nikkor 300mm with maximum aperture of f/2.8 is a AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D EDIF which first debuted in February, 1996 and revamped as AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8D II EDIF February, 2001. Major technological improvement is the incorporation of the Silent -Wave Motor for a more smoother, faster and silent autofocusing. The lens optical construction was again being redesigned in a new 11 elements in 8 groups design. An interesting note is, this lens also offered in a light gray alternative.

On the other hand, another Nikkor telephoto lens, the Nikkor 300mm f/4.0 ED-IF has a marginally larger aperture than the manual focus lens which stands at f/4.0 now. The original AF version of this lens was first introduced in 1988 in a 8 elements in 6 groups design. Close focusing has improved to just 8.2 ft. and it has a mid section 39mm drop-in filter design.

The current version is an AF-S version which was introduced in August, 2000 which provides an even faster, quieter AF focusing due to incorporation of Nikon Silent Wave Motor technology; further, there is a M/A switch for fast transitions from AF to manual focus. It has a slighter larger 77mm filter size and close focus to an impressive 5 ft with a magnification ratio of 1:3.7 ! The lens construction is a complex 10 elements in 6 groups with 2 ED lens elements within. However, compromise is its weight, which has increased to 3.1 kg.

Credit: Image was downloaded from Nikon USA website.

Nikkor 300mm f/2.0s EDIF | Nikkor 300mm f/2.8s EDIF | Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 EDIF | Pre-Ai Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 ED Preset | Non-Ai Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 Preset | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5s EDIF | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 EDIF | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED | Pre-Ai Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 ED | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5s | Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 | Pre-Ai Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 | Non-Ai Nikkor-H 300mm f/4.5 | Non-Ai Nikkor-P 300mm f/4.5 | Nikon Focusing Unit AU-1 | Original Focusing Unit | Relative: Nikkor-Q 25cm f/4.0 RF

Credit: Image of this Nikkor super telephoto lense is contributed by All Images apeared herein this site Copyright © 2004. Mr. Shu also operates an Ebay Store where ocaationally he sells some unique photo products. Please respect the visual property of the owner.
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  Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm

MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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Credit: To all the good people who has contributed their own experience, resources or those who are kind enough granting us permission to use their images appeared in this site. Mr. MCLau®, who has helped to rewrite some of the content appeared this site. Chuck Hester® who has been helping me all along with the development of all these Nikon websites;LarsHolst Hansen, 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion I have; Ms Rissa, Sales manager from Nikon Corporation Malaysia for granting permission to use some of the official content; TedWengelaar,Holland who has helped to provide many useful input relating to older Nikkor lenses; Some of the references on production serial numbers used in this site were extracted from Roland Vink's website; HiuraShinsaku from Nikomat Club Japan. t is also a site to remember a long lost friend on the Net. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by Nikon over the years and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.