LensTip.com

Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR

13 March 2015
Arkadiusz Olech

9. Ghosting, flares and transmission

The „Diffractive Optics” technology implemented in some Canon lenses entails many transmission problems. Because of diffraction on system’s elements you deal with a secondary spectrum which might include even up to 20% of light – so much of it can disappear on one element.

Nikon’s technology isn’t based on diffraction but on classic refraction of light on glass elements so we don’t expect such problems here. Still we decided to check the transmission level of the new lens. You can see the results presented as a graph below.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission


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The almost perfect flatness of the graph is indeed a sight to behold, guaranteeing great colour rendering. The overall transmission is not so impressive though, reaching about 88%. Taking into account the presence of 10 element groups, so as many as 20 air-to-glass surfaces, it means on one surface you lose 0.6-0.7% of light. The best transmission results we’ve registered amounted to loses of 0.2-0.4% of light and we expected such a performance from a lens like the Nikkor 4/300 PF, belonging, after all, to the top-of-the-range segment.

As we mentioned earlier lenses with DO or PF technologies can experience a lot of problems with performance against bright light. It is evident Nikon was aware of it because its newest Capture NX-D version of software features also a “PF Flare Control” module which task consists of dampening down flares connected to diffraction elements. An example how it is supposed to work is presented below.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission
Original photo (left) and after “PF Flare Control” module usage (right)


The difference is not big but you can notice it without a problem. In our opinion it isn’t a real issue – point-like sources of light and symmetric halos around them don’t look so badly in photos after all. A situation with a source of bright light positioned in the frame corner might be much worse and the “PF Flare Control” application will be helpless. Let’s check how it might look in practice.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission


Our photos show that point-like, overexposed red sources of light can be the most problematic. Ordinary lamps, which are a bit bigger in the frame and aren’t significantly overexposed, look ordinary in photos, without any unwanted effects. Perhaps the situation is not as bad as it seemed at first…

More problems you can encounter taking photos during the day and pointing the lens near the sun – a huge contrast decrease is practically guaranteed, with overexposed areas if they sun is really near the frame. Still it should be emphasized that the problems occur only when the source of bright, strong light is within the frame or near it. If you move it over 10 degrees outside the frame corners the artifacts will disappear almost completely.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 300 mm f/4E PF ED VR - Ghosting, flares and transmission