First impression of AF-S 300/2.8 VR is very good - as it should be when examining a lens of professional grade lens. Along with black color, first thing that caught my eye was the slightly smaller size compared to similar Canon lens... this feeling is mainly caused by the smaller lens hood. Dark colouring also fits better to my hobbies than Competititor's "white" colouring... less striking color in the woods. Of course lens is more eye catching in snow... In winter, white Lenscoat is what you need! It is made from neoprene and along with good disguise, it gives really good isolation from cold lens chassis. You can feel the difference with gloves on!
Nikon's ergonomy is praised around the world... and I am not surprised when I compare Nikon AF-S 300/2.8G ED-IF N VR with Canon EF 300/2.8L IS USM. When engineering AF-S 300/2.8 VR Nikkor, someone has really thought about usability! Memory set button is a good example! In Canon, button is situated together with Image stabiliser- and AF-buttons in panel which is located in middle of left side of the lens. In Nikon, Memory set button can be found rear of the lens, right side... (Picture 1.) just under your right hand middle finger if you straighten it when holding camera. Operating is easy and fast. When 2x teleconverter is in use, operating gets little harder and little extension of finger would be nice. When using 1.4x teleconverter, even my short fingers can easely operate the button... no reaching is needed.
Nikon and Canon both have four buttons front side of lens... quite same place in both lenses. Nikon have them top, bottom and sides and Canon has rotated them little to clockwise when watching towards front side of lens. It is a matter of taste, but Nikon's button locations fits better to me. But Nikon is also winner concerning these buttons... this time shaping! There are really good notches around these buttons (Picture 2.)... finger goes straight to button without any needless searching. I've been searching Canon's buttons quite a many times...