146 of 158 people found the following review helpful
All in one convenience at a price
, 31 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens (Electronics)
This is a lens that buyers should think carefully about purchasing to determine if this is suitable for your needs.
The new successor to the popular Nikkor 18-200mm, this new lens sets a new record for zoom range for a superzoom lens. Superzoom lenses on DSLR's are well known for being compromises on an optical level due to the very long zoom/focal lengths at play, in return you get an "all in one package" but with a downside too.
I'll kick off with a quick pros and cons bullet list to aid quick reading.
+ Convenience, this is the main reason you might consider this lens, you get a 27-450mm "equivalent" focal range in one lens.
+ Decent build quality, not pro level (obviously) but feels well put together and using good quality plastics. I won't list metal mount as a pro because it's a sure fire must have for a lens this weight!
+ AF is fine not fast but not that slow considering the range, AF-S is quiet as expected
+ Quite good at the wide end sharpness wise even before stopping down (corners are not great though)
+ Vignetting/fall off not as bad as you might think it's there at the wide end 18mm wide open shows it clearly, visible at the tele end a bit too but over the range not bad here.
+ Usual Nikon "package" is decent ie lens hood, lens case..but at this price you'd expect it
+ VR works well enough though a little slower to engage than other Nikon VR lenses I've used
- Heavy 830g then add the camera body weight on top, the fun part of lugging this around all day just got a lot less
- Big distortion esp wide end, turning to pincushion at telephoto, not unexpected for a super zoom, can be corrected in camera or via software.
- Not very sharp at 300mm, needs to be stopped down for improved performance. Edges/corners are weak even stopped down at 18mm
- CA quite notable esp at the 18mm mark
- Flash shadowing a problem unless using an on camera flash
- Takes a big 77mm filter, fine if you have that size, but can be costly for filter purchases
- Corner performance not great across most of the range never really that sharp even stopped down
On an optical level I will say it's probably better than it's rivals all things being equal and v the Tamron and Sigma superzoom offerings. On the other hand this lens is much more costly than those options, and quite a bit bigger as well as quite a bit heavier!; and whilst a bit better on optics, not hugely so. You could pick up say a Tamron 70-300mm SP VC for a lot less, whilst that isn't a light lens either (bit lighter than this) it easily beats this Nikkor on optics across the board.
Unless convenience is a top priority and you just want one a one lens solution (let's be honest though an SLR is there "to change lenses" that's the idea), I would personally pass on this lens and go for a decent tele zoom or the 18-200mm (which is lighter and cheaper) but again presents some weaker optical compromises too. If you can live with a shorter range the Nikon 18-105mm cheaper build or not also beats this in it's optical range.
Think carefully on this one, whilst the price has dropped a bit this is still quite expensive for what is bascially a kit lens performance across the range.
I've now tried the Nikon 18-140mm and feel that lens is the one to go for if you want a day trip lens with good optics and a longer range. Granted 140mm isn't 300mm, but it's far cheaper, is better built than the 18-105mm, and in it's range is optically superior to the 18-300mm. I would recommend that over this lens.
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