This is the 1990's model of the 300 f4 prime lens. It is much sharper than a consumer telephoto lens but not quite as sharp as the larger, heavier and more expensive 2.8 version. It's also an f stop slower. It is heavier than a consumer grade lens but that is always the case. It has a very sturdy tripod collar but handheld shots are also possible so long as the shutter speed is 1/500 or faster. Even then, you can usually notice a sharper image when you use a tripod as would be the case for any lens. The sharpness and contrast of images is great. The more current version of this lens is the 300 AF-S model. It has a faster autofocus system and focus can be fine-tuned manually even when it is in autofocus. Apart from that, the optics are pretty much the same.
For a good review of lenses, see: www.photozone.de Also look under "Reviews" > "Lens Surveys"