87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2013
I have a D5100 with the 18-55mm kit lens, bought this as an extension to the kit lens and I'm so happy I did. The AF is not as noisy as the 18-55mm kit lens and I'm sure it's slightly quicker at focusing. I was considering buying the Sigma 70-300 due to the cheap price however decided to stick with Nikon. At time of buying I paid £195 which I think is really cheap, on average they sell secondhand for around £185 on eBay so only £10 more for a new one, happy days! Nice weight to the lens makes it feel good quality. Bought a 58mm Hoya UV filter to go with it as you should for every lens you buy. Only done test shots however ever at 300mm it looks tack sharp. If you're thinking of buy a larger zoom lens to go with your kit lens then I would highly recommend this one, I would get this over the Nikon 55-200 because the 55-300 has metal contacts whereas the 55-200 has plastic contacts like the kit lens, plus you get the extra 100mm so will be sharper at 200mm. Looking forward to using this for wildlife photography. If you have spare money and are thinking of buying one then stop messing about trying to decide on Sigma, Tamron or Nikon, just buy the Nikon, it will have the edge on the others and will be worth the extra few quid. Happy snapping.
411 of 423 people found the following review helpful
I bought this lens to use with my Nikon D3100 DSLR kit. I am relatively new to DSLR photography and wanted a lens that I wouldn't have to keep changing in the field.
I was pleased with the kit lens that came with the D3100 (18-55mm) and this second lens maintains that trend in terms of ease of operation and clarity of results. There is a built in auto-focus motor and it is easy to zoom manually using the wide rubber surround. Being a 55mm to 300mm lens it covers a wide range of scenarios without too much compromise. For example, I had previously been using a Panasonic DMC FZ38 superzoom bridge camera with an 18x maximum zoom to capture wildlife shots etc. This Nikon lens gives a similar level of zoom capability but with even greater clarity. It can also cope well with shots that require less zoom and bit of a wider angle, although, clearly it can't go as wide as the 18-55mm kit lens. This means in certain circumstances you have to change lenses in the field. The Nikon 55-300mm lens also has a highly effective anti-shake (Nikon VR - Vibration Reduction) mechanism - I was concerned at how I would keep a lens of this magification steady at full zoom, but, I need not have been as the VR is very good.
The Nikon 55-300mm lens is supplied with a lens cap, lens hood and storage bag which provides protection against dust etc. but the bag is no substitute for the protection of a proper case or compartment in your camera bag.
An alternative approach to delivering even greater versatility might be to buy your DSLR in "body only form" e.g. without a kit lens and buy an 18-270mm or similar lens possibly from a third party such as Tamron - budget wise this would work out at a similar cost to adding this lens to the D3100 kit (e.g. the camera plus 18-55mmm lens), provide almost the same versatility and reduce the need to change lenses in the field.
I am sure serious photographers could find shortcomings with this lens but as a simple hobby photographer it delivers the quality and versatility I am seeking at a reasonable price. On that basis, I am delighted with my purchase, and, therefore, this Nikon lens comes recommended.
345 of 364 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2011
I bought this 55-300mm lens for my sports photography and in particular rugby, a fast paced sport which is mostly played in low light, rain, snow and other unfavourable conditions. As a Nikon D5000 owner I have read multiple reviews stating deficiencies in the camera (99% of which are completely baseless and the consumer lenses such as the 55-200mm (which I own and upgraded from only due to needing that bit more range). I shot this Saturday's game in super low light rain storm and got 452 perfectly excellent (extremely quickly and efficiently focussed) photographs! to those who think this lens won't work for them in daytime sports or landscapes or any other scenario, forget it.. It's a great lens and if you don't think you will go FX anytime soon (£1300 camera plus treble that in lenses minimum) then dont hesitate.. The lens is well built, the right size and handles well. Get it bought and don't listen to Rockwell and all the other curve geeks out there! Plus vood sent me this in good time.. For free... Same lens in Jessops is 280 quid! Peace...
79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
I have had this lens for a while now, and find it difficult to fault. Bought it originally to go with a D3100, as a natural extension of the 18-55mm kit lens. I have to say I am delighted with the way it performs, and consider it to be excellent value for money. Your next real alternative from Nikon is the 70-200mm, designed for FX cameras. I have the opportunity to briefly swap lenses with someone who had a 70-200mm f2.8, so was able to compare this lens directly to it. Obviously the FX offers a wider maximum aperture, and was a lot faster to autofocus, but the quality of the shots I took with the two lenses were not noticeably different.
My only gripe, like a some of the other posters on here, is that the lens was not quite as it might seem. Whilst others have complained of grey market imports, I believe mine was intended as part of a camera/kit lens combination (the D3100 and D3200 are both available with this two lens combination) as it came in a plain white box (not the usual shiny gold Nikon one) and had no accompanying paperwork at all i.e. guarantee or instructions. I had a similar experience with an 18-200mm purchased via Amazon Marketplace, which I returned for a refund. That lens was over three times the price of this one, so I was not going to accept it, however I could not be bothered sending the 55-300mm back as it was fairly cheap and the lens worked fine. In both instances, it was not made clear when purchasing these lenses that they were in fact kit lenses being sold separately to make more money. Not sure how you can tell in advance if the supplier intends to send you UK stuff or imports, but beware in case your prized purchase turns up without the expected accompaniments.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is not from a professional perspective, but a complete novice, so if you are looking for a technical review, abandon ship now.
Got this on a Nikon D5100 and whilst it is a bulky and heavy lens, it does tend to balance fairly well in the hand. You can go from zero to full zoom in one simple twist. Exactly like the other Nikon lenses I have, it is solidly built, smooth to zoom in and out and whilst the auto focus motor isn't the quietest I have, it certainly isn't noisy.
On full zoom I can hand hold the camera and still get a blur free image. This is not down to my steady hand, but the vibration reduction. When looking through the view finder you can visibly see the VR take effect when you partially depress the shutter release.
My main use of this lens is to great huge panoramics. I set the lens to full zoom on a scene or historical building. Take between 50-100 images and when stitched together you have a vista on the computer that you can zoom right into. I do most of them handheld and despite the odd blur, most images are pretty sharp.
From a novice point of view it give brilliant results when using the full auto mode and it is easy to use. No doubt one day I will learn to use the features of my camera and lenses and I am confident that I will still want to use this lens - If I get good pictures in auto-mode now, how much better can I get them when I know what I am doing!
106 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2013
Let me start by saying that the delivery was fast, so kudos to that.
Now to the Lens, I wanted something light for my travels instead of taking my work camera Nikon D700 which is a pain to carry around the neck all day with all the other lenses I have when you want to relax, for travels instead I have a Nikon D90 with 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G and now this 55-300mm (it's very light) which is more than enough. After recieving this lens, I did some tests and got to say this big plasticky piece of glass is not to be underestimated and is a terrific performer.
Despite it's build quality, it provides pretty good images at mostly all apertures and focal lengths.
wide open in the center it is sharp, contrasty and soft in the corners with some vignetting and a slight loss of contrast; After f/11 it starts to get a bit soft in the center with some slight decay in contrast and in the corners vignetting is more controlled, it's a slightly softer and the loss of contrast is more noticeable. The sharpest aperture of this lens is f/8.
In terms of focal lenghts this lens is a star performer from 55-200mm with almost no chromatic aberration, very sharp and good image quality overall (contrasty images), after 200mm to 300mm image quality decays a bit in terms of sharpness and contrast but it's still good and usable, chromatic aberration is slightly more noticeable at 300mm, viewing the image at 100%.
Also tested the responsiveness of this lens and I'm impressed, Autofocus it's pretty fast in good light conditions and some dim light circumstances, although it has tendency to hunt for the subject when there is little light, when it finds it, snaps right into focus. Went on a casual Sunday to a football game to try further it's responsiveness in action photography and I'm amazed with the results, in good light conditions it snaps the subjects right into focus with AF-C (Continous Focusing) mode it almost no chance of hunting for the subject.
Only things that makes me sad about this lens is two things:
- VR Mode, I feel the absence of Normal Mode and Active Mode, it only has the switch to turn it off and on, the VR system itself is good though.
- No manual focus override system (M/A - M Switch) only M - A (Manual - Automatic) Switch.
Overall it comes down to this:
- Sharp images from f/4.5|5.6 to f/11, being f/8 it's peak.
- Crispy Images from 55-200mm with pretty good and usable images at 300mm.
- Overall good optic quality for the price.
- Almost no presence of Chromactic aberration from focal lenght 55-200mm.
- Low chromatic aberration at 300mm that doesn't become intrusive in the image quality, only noticeable if you go pixel peeping.
- VR Mode is functional and good despite not having the Normal/Active function.
- Light which makes it good for travels.
- Zoom/Focus ring feel sturdy despite being plastic.
- Autofocus is excellent and responsive in good light conditions, it snaps right into focus on your subject.
- Build quality, despite the metal mount which is ok, the plastic body may not please those who shoot under harsh conditions and look for something affordable, but then again something had to be sacrificed to be light.
- Clunky Manual/Auto Focus Switch, it is annoying especially for those who have the Manual/AF switch in the camera like me, Manual Focus Override (M/A - M Switch) would be a better addition.
- Lens Hood is so badly constructed with a thin layer of plastic that it feels it's going to get torn apart at any moment if something comes at it, it's still useful though.
- Autofocus has tendency to go hunting for the subject in dim light conditions, it can become an annoyance for some, specially if they shoot action photography, but what to expect from a f/4.5-5.6 lens, it's still usable but don't expect it to snap right into focus in dim lights.
Despite the not so good things about this lens it's still a good purchase for those who are looking for an excellent lens in terms of Price/Quality, you will not be disappointed as this lens, sure is a star performer.
Sure, the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR may offer a slight more image quality, Manual Focus Override, VR Mode with Normal/Active and slightly better AF than this lens, but unless you're planning of moving for Full-Frame later and can't afford the best performer Telezooms right away, there is no a reason for buying the more expensive 70-300mm, if you can't deal with the Cons you can spend the extra money, but if you're willing to live with the cons like I am, it's still a perfect choice for a Telephoto Lens and you won't regret it!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2012
Lens arrived quickly and packed in original box.
The lens complements my D3000 and it's lightness makes no difference to the camera when hand held. The sample picture I uploaded has no additional filtration apart fom the UV filter fitted to protect the lens (focusing was manual). The only potential bugbear is the fact that the end of the lens rotates whilst focusing, which could make using certain filters a bit tedious, something I've yet to try out. That said, I suppose for the price and results there has to be some sort of compromise.
I'm very happy with the lens, if like me your new to digital photography, and have a limited budget, this is an excellent buy.
194 of 212 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2011
This is a superb lens at a great price. I was unsure how it would work with my humble Nikon D40 but I am delighted. The build quality is excellent (even better than my 55-200 Nikon as the base ring is metal, rather than plastic). I've only had it about 2 weeks but I have tried it in a number of situations and light conditions. Bearing in mind I'm a complete amateur I think the results are very good, partly, I think, due to the VR. The cat & church pictures above are posted to show the quality at different distances. Obviously makes my little light bodied D40 feel a bit 'front heavy' but its worth it for the quality it brings to distant shots.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2015
I started using this lens a couple of years ago with my first DSLR, a Nikon D80. It was very much a learning curve, as that camera's limited performance in low light meant that image grain was a constant problem.
However, now that I've upgraded to a D7100, whose ISO algorithms - in common with most current DSLRs - are vastly improved, the 55-300 has really come into its own.
As with any 'budget' zoom lens, you're limited by maximum aperture (in this case f/4.5). Along with the inherent instability as a result of the extra weight (in spite of its capable Vibration Reduction function), it therefore makes sense to use as high an ISO and shutter speed as is practical. Usual advice for hand-held is to use a shutter speed that is at least equivalent to the lens's longest focal length.
With that in mind, when I use it, I usually end up with a minimum ISO of around 640 and that allows me to capture sharp detail. Even if I push it to 4000 or so, there is still no discernible loss of quality. During a recent zoo trip I kept it on the camera throughout and at one point, quickly took a shot of a butterfly (since I didn't have time to switch to a macro lens and so simply moved back a few feet). I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of clarity and resolution in the resulting photo.
In view of what you could pay for a similar 'high-end' lens, I reckon that for the zoom flexibility and image fidelity (particularly if you aim high with your shooting parameters), this lens represents great value for money.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2013
I use the nikon 16-85mm DX VR lens on my D7000 for everyday use. When I had 35mm film equipment the longest lens I owned was an independent 300mm f5.6. It was an ok lens, but it took some considerable technique to use for subjects that were not stationary or in good light.
Since swapping to digital I have missed the extra reach for the odd shot, and the opportunity to capture some subjects from an alternative viewpoint. I looked at both this lens and the 55 - 200. Thom Hogan's thoughts were informative and my decision came down to the non high street price available through Amazon and the relatively little extra this bigger lens cost over the shorter one.
Having now used the lens in anger at the Goodwood Festival of Speed I concur with the shortcomings other reviewers have highlighted; the manual focus is a fiddle and the auto focus is not really quick enough for really high speed action. I also feel there is a tendency to loose contrast easily (general flare) when shooting almost directly into the light, even with a lens hood in place.
However, for what the lens cost me (£110 less than the current high street price) I think it is exceptional value and would recommend it if you do not need that critical element of handling in the performance. I did contact the seller before purchase to check that it was not a refurb model and that the included warranty would be honoured in the UK. No and Yes. Very pleased.
If any one wants to see a sample image taken with the lens, you can go here (assuming Amazon doesn't remove the URL): [...]