This is not a lens that gets too much praise, and maybe it doesn't deserve much when there are third-party lenses at far cheaper prices that can match it.
Over the years I have had two of these lenses, using them on film cameras and DSLR cameras.
First off, this lens can produce good results, but it is best used at the longer end of its reach (300mm) and also if you stop the aperture down to f8. I found rather too much lens distortion at its shorter focal lengths and rather lacking in 'edge' when shooting with the aperture at minimum. With the lens providing a rather 'slow' f5.6 at 300mm, you'll need good light to get the best out of this lens by going down to f8.
It is supplied with an effective hood, the HB-15, but that is about it as far as extras go. The build quality of the lens is very much of the plastic kind, though to call it flimsy would be untrue. I have seen far worse 'plastic' lenses around than the Nikon 70-300mm ED
Autofocus performance is rather slow and noisy, not one of the better examples of the AF-D type screw-drive focus lenses that driven by the camera. None of these old style AF-D lenses are rapid compared to modern AF-S or HSM types but they seem to work better on the more expensive 'pro' type DSLR camera.
Despite the tag of 'ED' (Extra low Dispersion glass) this doesn't put the lens optics up there with the real thing from Nikon. Out of 13 glass elements in this lens, just one is of 'ED' glass. Chromatic aberration effects with this lens are still better than without any 'ED' component, but the knock-on benefits usually associated with a good 'ED' lens are not so apparent in the images from this lens.
If you do wish to use this lens in manual focus, I did find the focus ring fairly smooth and responsive on my versions, the zoom control was also easy to use and smooth.
With the recent arrival of the Nikon 70-300mm AF-S VR version of this lens, all thoughts should be on this.