Yes, this zoom lens is very good! But you should have in mind that this image was taken at 145 mm where the lens is sharper than it is on 300mm. Also the image was resized at small resolution and sharpened with Smart Sharpen in PS and I oversharpened it a little bit.
Ahhhhh right I see! So how does it perform at 300mm? I really need a good zoom lens and was wondering if I should get a brand new 70-300mm or save up a few extra hundred and get a second hand 70-200mm VRII :\
Well, at 300 mm it is stil wonderful, of course not so good as the 300/4. This was shot with 70-300 at 300 mm at 1/25 (so you can see the great benefit from the VR, also) : [link] .
70-300 and 70-200 are very different lenses. It depends on what you are going to shoot. 70-300 is more versatile and more suitable for photographing animals, but it has a small maximum aperture. 70-200 will be suitable if you are making potraits or photographing reportages, or if you need good performace at low ligth conditions. If you are searching for something better than 70-300 for wildlife I suggest the Nikkor 300/4. It's a great lens and you can combine it with 1.4 and 1.7 TC and it will be still superb, of course the AF speed will decrease (with 1.4 not so much, but with 1.7 it will significantly, but in bright places it will autofocus fast enough I think ).
No problem . Again, the squirrel is resized, sharpened with smart sharpen and so on but if you are close to your subject 70-300 delivers really good image at 300 mm and has great value for its money . The VR is priceless.