Yes, I have had the 300 F2.8 VRII for about a month now. I have been shooting for 40 years now and I owned the manual focusing 300 2.8 back in the mid-80’s.
Regarding this new lens: It is mounted on my D300 and I sometimes use it with the TC14E. I do not have the 2X converter but there are several places on the web that speak of extraordinary compatibility of the lens and the 2x converter.
HANDHOLDING THE NIKON 300 F2.8 VRII: I am a large, strong man with large hands......but I am now 62 years of age and just do not enjoy bulling and straining anymore
So......I consider this beautiful lens quite heavy and would not like to handhold it for long at all. In fact, I do not favor handholding it at all......I use a tall Giottos mono or a super-light Induro carbon fiber tripod. Love both. Was considering for the longest time buying the 200-400 instead. Am glad I decided on this 300 2.8. I am finding that I am not fretting over the inability to seamlessly vary composition. I just go with the flow and change my position when I can. My gig is nature photography and it seems that blinding-up or slow and easy does it.....along with the occasional use of the teleconverter.
This 300 2.8 is heavy but COMPACT and so yes.....it balances very well. I love that.
Handholding the 300 f2.8 can be done without too much difficulty (only for very short spurts) and this VRII technology is nothing shy of remarkable! Literally, I can now commonly shoot handheld images that are tack-sharp right down to 1/15 second........AND SLOWER! Now at such slow speeds I find it best to squeeze of several frames in a row to assure a real crisp one. But it is there alright.....and that is just amazing. I have to say I love vibration reduction. Once you put a little pressure on the shutter release button you will see the image in the viewfinder “settle down” from the usual bouncing around. There is no loud sound at all....that others have described coming from the 200-400 I believe (Moose Peterson?)....... not with this 300 2.8 VRII. With that pressure on the shutter release button that is sufficient to start autofocus.....the image will stop bouncing and will now move very slowly as you choose when to give the button that extra pressure to release the shutter. It is crazy watching it happen. Wow! If you have done a lot of rifle shooting over the years it is the same technique used for offhand shooting accuracy.....identical.
I really am not a big buyer of the latest, most expensive Nikon gear. It takes me a long, long time before I get the chance to pull the trigger on such an expensive lens. Do you know that this lens has gone up in price between $200 to say.......$400 in the short time I have had it?! I guess I am going to make myself keep it because it is only going to be more expensive the next time I go to purchase it.........because I am now sure......after shooting for all these years......that the 300 2.8 is the probably MY ideal lens (yes.....even for wildlife) for several reasons: Very sharp indeed. Compact. It is long enough if I am patient, plan my approach to the subject and do not expect to be successful every time. But it is too heavy.....just like all the other choices. Only the weight of this one is manageable. It now seems to me that the 300 2.8 either Nikon or Canon......is a keeper for even the most seasoned pro photographer.
Hope this helped and I sure do appreciate this forum. I think I am going to learn a lot here....THANKS