Today Nikon have announced a new lens, the AF-S 300mm Nikkor F2.8/G ED VR II. Based on the existing (and high performance) AF-S VR Nikkor 300mm F/2.8G IF-ED this new lens upgrades the VR (Vibration Reduction) capabilities primerilly. This offers stability up to 4 stops slower in shutter speed terms than a lens without such capabilities. Of course this is under ‘test’ conditions.
While many may find the idea of hand holding such a lens strange, there are numerous photographers that do it, or with minimal support such as from a sturdy monopod. Specifically we are talking sports and press use, but I like to use it for fashion on location where the wide aperture gives a wonderful out of focus background due to the shallow small depth-of-field-range range.

A new A/M setting enables a photographer to grip the focusing ring if that is most convenient, but still enable the AF system to work. This supplements the M/A setting that allows AF to function but in this mode the photographer can overide the AF system at anytime by turning the focusing ring and taking manual control. Designed of course for action photography such as sports, some nature and survalliance shooting for example, full manual (M) control of focus is the last setting option.
A further enhancement includes a now expected pro level feature of nano crystal lens coating to reduce flare and enhance image forming contrast levels. Alongside are other now standard features on pro Nikkor Telephoto optics such as a Silent Wave motor for fast and quiet AF performance characteristics. Add to that are sealents to reduce in real world use dust and moisture intrusion.
The AF-S 300mm F/2.8 ED VR II is expected to go on sale on January 29th 2010 for a recommended retail price of £5099.99, sadly for many after the vat rate goes back to 17.5%.

The new lens has the following quoted main specification:

Focal length 300mm
Max/min aperture Min f/22 Max f/2.8
Lens construction 11 elements in 8 groups
Picture angle 8º10’
No. diaphragm blades 9 (rounded)
Closest focusing distance 2.3m/7.5ft. (AF); 2.2m/7.2ft. (MF)
Filter/attachment size 52mm
Diameter x length Approx. 124 x 267.5 mm/ 4.9 x 10.5 in.
Weight 2,900g

End. (11/12/09).