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.
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.
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.
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...
on 21 March 2013
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.
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!
Nikon AFS DX Nikkor 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 G VR lens
Having bought the Nikon D3100 camera kit (with 18-55mm lens) (see my separate review), I needed a telephoto for wildlife photography. Previously I have been using a Panasonic FZ8 bridge camera (with a 1.7x teleconverter) but decided to move to a DSLR for greater lens flexibility , image quality and low light capability.
After agonising whether to buy the 55-200 mm Nikkor lens (on offer at 30% less), I opted for the "longer reach" lens. With the small DX sensor in the D3100, the lens behaves as an equivalent to an 83 -450 mm lens on a full frame or 35mm camera - an excellent option without going to specialised ( expensive) lenses .
After an initial disappointment as to the " reach" of the lens vs the Panasonic FZ8 kit ( whose zoom is an equivalent to 36-432mm on a 35mm/full frame camera - or a massive 734 mm with the converter giving surprisingly sharp photographs) , I have explored the capabilities of this Nikkor lens in more detail.
Zoom / Telephoto range - despite my comment above , this is a good range ( at least as good as the Panasonic without converter ) and , unlike the Panasonic ( with converter) , excellent focus through the whole range .The zoom is a standard twist and the focal lengths are marked on the lens barrel.
Aperture - The aperture is set by / in the camera - not on the lens . The possible limitation of maximum aperture of F4.5 - 5.6 is less of an issue with the in camera variable ISO ( with low noise on the D3100) and VR stabilisation.
NOTE - For professionals , the corresponding F2.8 Nikon zooms ( costing megabucks) would be first choice giving better depth of field control and allowing lower ISO / higher shutter speeds to be used
Autofocus - works well ( the lens motor is reasonably quiet) but will focus on a " nearest " object unless the primary autofocus set up is adjusted on the camera ( See manual and "Nikon D3100 for Dummies" - Julie Adair King) . Certain items totally fool the camera system totally, so manual focus ( DO change the setting on the lens from A to M!!) is possible. In manual focus the lens movement is very light ( care needed) and there is no way of setting for maximum depth of field by the old "hyperfocal distance" method - not likely to be an issue for most modern amateurs. The D3100 has no depth of field preview either .
VR - image stabilisation - with static objects it DOES allow a slower shutter speed to be used than the traditional "reciprocal focal length" rule ie at 300mm use a shutter speed of 1/300 second. I found the VR gave improved sharpness down to 1/50 second at 300mm - don't rely on it with moving objects however - increase the shutter speed. When the camera/lens is used on a tripod DO turn off the VR.
SUMMARY The lens is a reasonable compromise of compactness , robustness, functionality and price. It is designed for full auto mode although manual operations / override are possible
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.
on 9 May 2011
Although I didn't buy my Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens through Amazon (where most my online shopping is done), I felt this was the best place to put a review.
I bought this lens to compliment my Nikon D40 with kit lens, and it compliments it superbly. The quality of image at 300mm focal zoom is outstanding, probably due largely to the Vibration Reduction.
After debating between the 55-200mm and 55-300mm models, I'm really pleased with choosing this model, especially with the extra focus and the fact it wasn't substantially more expensive.
One small word of "warning" for anyone with a D40 or D3000 with kit lens looking to buy this, it is (inevitably) a bit fair larger than the kit lens, so you may want to consider this when thinking about your size of bag, or wanting to keep having your DSLR as a "carry-around" model. However it's not exactly massive and it's relatively light.
Top, top lens.
Nikon 55 300 VR
I bought this lens because it covers a good range, is compact and light. I own top end Nikon gear including FX bodies and the mighty 200 to 400 F4 and 70 to 200 2.8. So why did I want this I hear you ask ? Well carrying a big FX body and one of the big optics is certainly not a walk around combination. The weight really puts you off using them in a casual way. I have a Nikon D7000 as a backup DX body and thought this lens would be great as a nature walk around lens. The lens is a DX and is designed to work with DX bodies like the D5100 and D7000 etc. I use the D7000 this lens and the 18 to 85 DX and it's a great set up covering just about everything and light enough to carry around all day!
The price I paid was a bargain compared to local shops and the lens I have received came in a Nikon sealed box with caps, hood and carry pouch. The guarantee was a UK/ European wide one not a USA one as another reviewer has mentioned. There does seem to be some source variation with these on Amazon.
The lens is made of lightweight but good quality plastics and feels well put together. The lens mount is metal. For a consumer lens I would consider it to be well made, better than I expected to be honest. It is certainly nowhere as solid as the big expensive kit I have but I would never put a lens like this through the torture they get in the field. The zoom mechanism is smooth.
It has Nikons Vibration Reduction feature which does work and allows you to shoot at 300mm with shutter speeds around 100th of a second and the results are sharp. There is a switch on the lens so that VR can be switched off - this is for use when the camera is on a tripod.
The image quality is very good considering the price I paid. These days image quality is more down to the techniques used to capture the subject rather than the optical quality. Even consumer lenses like this have come on a great deal and produce very acceptable quality. There is some distortion which is easy to correct and not really that noticeable. I find the lens is sharp at all focal lengths if stopped down to F8 or 11 and perfectly acceptable at 5.6. I am impressed with the image quality for the price on my 16 million pixel D7000. This is now my favourite carry anywhere lens. I think with modern lenses image quality is more down to understanding your subject and how to use the lens within the chosen situation. I don't read many lab tests as I want to take real pictures and not pictures of lines etc.
A few niggles
The lens barrel rotates during focusing so using filters could be a pain to use if you have the square type or Polarisers, I just use a UV on it to protect the front element. You also have to use a switch to go to manual focusing and the focus ring is small. When out at 300mm (about 450mm on a DX body) the focus does hunt so you may need manual. The more expensive Nikon lenses have instant override but that's why they are much more expensive I suppose! Apart from the two minor niggles this is a great lens and A3 prints from it look great.
To sum up, a great inexpesive lens for telephoto work on bright days.