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LENS PORN: Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro
Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

The Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro is a telephoto zoom lens with constant maximum aperture. This lens is large and heavy, and it's not even recommended for mounting on a tripod. Anyways, this lens was designed for fast action scenes during the daytime, making it a great lens for outdoor events, scenes, landscapes, wildlife, and even tiny objects.

I have come across this lens in a shop and tested it merely out of curiosity. I was blown away by the result but unfortunately, it was already gone the next day. But gee... here's another one of my dream lenses come true, I waited over one year for this lens! The copy that came my was so badly infested with fungus inside, nearly everything is covered, it's like having a built-in soft filter. But it was the only way I could get my hands on this lens. Guess what? The lens still produced incredibly sharp and vivid images with a matching glow at f/5.6 thanks to the fungus (one has to be creative on how to take handicaps as an advantage).

This manual focus lens is the predecessor to Nikon's 70-300mm (allegedly outsourced to Tamron). However, I would agree with reviews that this 100-300mm surpasses any zoom lens of its range or even the 70-300's because it is incredibly sharp from 100-300mm, from f/5.6 down to f/32. Nothing can be faulted... and my copy has fungus, remember?

Two months later, I finally had the time to clean the lens. Every shot after that was a MIRACLE. On a DX camera like my D5200, the crop factor makes it into a 150-450mm zoom. The Minimum Focusing Distance is 2 meters, and the macro sits at 100mm, allowing it to focus down to 0.7 meters.

Bokeh? Forget it, you won't appreciate this lens if you intend to shoot portraiture with blurry backgrounds. For that purpose, another favorite of mine which is much much lighter/smaller does the job exquisitely -- the Nikon Series E 75-150mm f/3.5.

To sum things up, this is a great lens, even greater than later budget zooms. The maximum aperture is f/5.6, so don't expect blurry background for portraiture. This will make a handy lens for travel and outdoor scenes. However, I understand why it was not very popular and only lasted a few years in production -- because of the size and weight (you can't even mount it on a tripod!).



Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Years in Production:
January 1984 to 1998

In 1998, it was succeeded by the
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED

Focal Range:
FX = 100-300mm
DX = 150-450mm

Minimum Focusing Distance:
2 meters / 7 feet in normal mode
0.7 meters (macro at 100mm)

Focus Throw:
180 degrees from 2 meters to infinity
180 degress from 2 meters to 0.7 meters

Filter Thread Size:

Aperture Run:
f/5.6 - f/32

# Aperture Blades:

Serial# 237409
(Based on the serial number, it was made around 1997-1998, the final years of its production.)

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro



Nikon D5200

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

All samples are uncorrected/unedited.

Here were the images I shot when it still had fungus.
The Nikkor quality is a miracle!

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro
This was at f/8. It was totally dark and I can't see a thing.

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro
At f/5.6, the fungus adds a nice softness to my skin. Otherwise, it would show all my pores!

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro
Sample using the macro

Now these shots below are comparisons
(Made after the lens was cleaned)


Further Reading

Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro

Library of Nikkor Telephoto Zoom Lenses

Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Macro Manual

Serial Number Database

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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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