By Nikon's claimed measurements the FX-format 300mm f/4 is 30% shorter and 1.5 lbs lighter than its predecessor, thanks to the use of a Phase Fresnel design. It boasts four and a half stops in image stabilization.
Nikon isn't alone in using a Fresnel lens design - Canon uses it under the name 'diffractive optics', or DO. The EF 400mm F4 DO IS II USM uses the technology and was just launched at Photokina. Both manufacturers use the Fresnel design to create smaller, lighter lenses with relatively fewer lens elements compared to conventional optics.
The lens will be available in early February-March - at USD $1999.95.
" The world's lightest fixed focal length (prime) telephoto lens with a focal length of 300mm and maximum aperture of f/4, achieved with the adoption of a PF (Phase Fresnel) lens element, a first for NIKKOR lenses. "
AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Primary Features
-- A fixed focal length telephoto lens with a focal length of 300mm and a maximum aperture of f/4 compatible with Nikon FX-format digital SLR cameras
-- The first NIKKOR lens for which a PF (Phase Fresnel) lens element has been adopted, making it the world's lightest*1 lens of its type
-- Equipped with a SPORT VR mode for effective photography of athletes and other subjects that are moving rapidly and unpredictably in addition to a vibration reduction (VR; camera shake compensation equivalent to a 4.5-stop*2 increase in shutter speed) function
-- Adoption of a PF (Phase Fresnel) lens element, an ED lens element, and Nano Crystal Coat for superior optical performance with which chromatic aberration and ghost are suppressed
-- Capable of expression of the beautiful blur characteristics possible only with a maximum aperture of f/4
-- Equipped with an electro-magnetic aperture mechanism that enables stable auto-exposure with high-speed continuous shooting
-- Adoption of Nikon's exclusive and highly durable fluorine coat, which effectively repels water and oils, and makes cleaning the lens easier even when it does get dirty, on the surface of the front lens element.
PF (Phase Fresnel) Lens Elements
-- The PF (Phase Fresnel) lens, developed by Nikon, effectively compensates chromatic aberration utilizing the photo diffraction phenomenon*. It provides superior chromatic aberration compensation performance when combined with a normal glass lens. Compared to many general camera lenses that employ an optical system using the photorefractive phenomenon, a remarkably compact and lightweight body can be attained with less number of lens elements.
Due to the characteristics of a PF (Phase Fresnel) lens that utilizes the photo diffraction phenomenon, when there is a strong light source within the frame or when light enters the lens from outside of the frame, ring-shaped colored flare may occur according to shooting conditions. This phenomenon can be minimized with PF Flare Control included in Capture NX-D (see the comparison images below). Refer to the software manual for more information. Capture NX-D is available from our website. Please download and use the latest version.