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Keywords: Nikon Nikkor Wide Mid Tele Zoom APS-C DX AF-S VR Stabilized


sjkip

Registered: October 2013
Posts: 12
Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor review by sjkip
Review Date: 3/5/2015 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Impressive focal length range; handy size; saves having to change lenses in the field
Cons: Vignetting at 18mm; not super sharp; focus breathing at 300mm with close subjects; significantly overpriced

I've now taken hundreds of shots with my Nikon D7100 to compare the A. 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G DX with B. 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G DX and C. 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G FX, chosen best of three in all categories and carefully compared them.


Here's what I've observed:


1. There's bothersome vignetting at 18mm with A, notably more than with B.


2. Focus breathing with A is unacceptable at 300mm from closest focus to about 10 feet; it drops off quickly after that, as well as with lower focal lengths.


3. At all focal lengths, subjects at 100 feet to several miles away, A and C are identically sharp. If there's any difference at all, I couldn't see it.


4. Ditto, last in respect to contrast. C is supposed to lose contrast at 300mm. But if it does, so does A. I see no difference. They're both good at 300.


5. B is much sharper than A with close subjects, i.e., about 6 feet away, at each focal length; with more distant subjects, they're more similar, but B is still sharper.


6. C auto-focuses more reliably than A at 300m with a Kenko 1.4x teleconverter. It's a matter of f/9 v. f/8; that small aperture difference seems to matter.


7. Distortion is bad with A at all focal lengths, except from around 24 - 35mm (35 - 50mm FX equivalent). The D7100 in-camera distortion control works pretty well with RAW images from A, but not as well as with B. With A at 18mm, DC isn't very good, so residual barrel distortion needs post-processing.


Conclusions:


A. Nikon has tried to do what probably can't be done with today's technology: Produce a lens that is very sharp from 18-300mm with easily controllable distortion.


B. A seems to be an upgrade of the 18-105 f/3.5-5.6G DX, which is inferior to B. I have owned them both and got rid of the 18-105.


C. I would only recommend A to someone who doesn't have other Nikon lenses and wants to cover the 18-300mm range with one lens. It's perhaps okay for that. If someone is willing to use B and C, they can be picked up at virtually the same total price, and offer more utility and flexibility. I would not buy it.


D. Overall, I would rate A at 7.0 on a scale of 10; not even 8, as I think it's drastically over-priced. A USA model, new, should sell in the $600-650 range.


E. At 300mm the lens zooms out so far that I'd worry about damaging it with even a slight tap against something out there.


F. Finally, I rented A hoping to like it and eventually to buy one. I now have no intention to buy one, even when they become much cheaper, which they will when the news spreads.


 






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