Nikon's 300mm 2.8 is already a well known legendary lens. I used the previous vr version with such a joy and received amazing results. The first version is a sharp lens, has very nice bokeh and it had good performance with teleconverters. When I needed reach, I paired it with the 1.7 ii and I have been satisfied with the results it gave. As you know, the 1.7 is not the sharpest of the teleconverters. I guess its sharpness equals to the latest 2x iii tc.
This was so until I laid my hands on the latest VR ii version. The new version looks similar, accept the new gold N emblem that stands for Nano. And the metal plate where the name and serial model is written is black on gold versus gold on black. The weight is the same, the feel is the same. Heck, it even smells the same :)
But this was until I loaded the images to my computer. I could not believe in the sharpness of the lens. Especially when it was paired with the 1.7 teleconverter. I had to relook at the images, again and again. Because the results were unbelievable!
I think Nikon created a sharper lens. So sharp that, it still maintains its sharpness with 1.7 teleconverter attached wide open.
Here is a sample photo, right click to save it to your computer. 510mm f/4.8 1/250 iso: 800 (the focus is on the right eye)
Can you believe how sharp the lens is even with the 1.7 teleconverter? This image is enough to prove my point.
Here is a wide open example without tc. 300mm f/2.8 1/320 iso: 200 (the focus is on the red button)
I also noticed faster autofocus with the new 300mm. It focuses %30 slower when paired with 1.7 tc. When I used the 1.7 with 600mm f4 vr, the focus slowed down %50.
So, faster autofocus, sharper lens, better VR makes the price difference worth for serious shooters.
If you would like to see a video about the 300mm 2.8 VR ii plus 1.7 teleconverter: