Out of the blue: New Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 AFS VRII and TC-20E III

How many of us saw this coming? In a very late-year announcement, Nikon have announced two new products: a new 300mm f/2.8G AFS VRII prime and a brand new 2x teleconverter, the TC-20EIII.

The new 300mm lens has the improved VRII system, which is said to offer stabilization equivalent to a shutter speed 4-stops faster.  Based on my initial results with the 70-200VRII, I’d say the VRII system lives up to this claim.
More after the jump…

Here’s what’s new, according to Nikon:
  • Built-in vibration reduction (VR II) offering camera shake compensation equivalent to a shutter speed increase of approximately 4 stops
  • The addition of A/M (autofocus with manual override; AF priority) focus mode prevents accidental switching from autofocus to manual focus. Along with M/A (autofocus with manual override; manual priority) mode, which enables manual focusing by rotating the focus ring while autofocus is operating and M (manual) mode, this makes for a total of three focus modes.

The lens optics and Nano Crystal Coat so well received with previous lenses have been adopted without modification

The TC-20E III (third-generation) is a completely new optical design that includes an aspherical element, said to markedly improve image quality.  2X teleconverters are notorious for degrading image quality on all but the very best lenses, so it will be interesting to see how this new design holds up.  As with all 2X TC’s you lose 2 stops of light when using it, meaning your f/2.8 lens will behave like an f/5.6 lens.  At effective apertures smaller than f/5.6, autofocus performance is not guaranteed.
According to Nikon, the TC-20E III is:
  • An FX-format compatible teleconverter that extends the focal length of the primary lens by 2X*
  • The world

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