Nikon Nikkor 18-300 mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens – Review and Test Report
Having previously paired a Sigma 18-250 mm zoom with my Nikon D90, I lusted after Nikon’s new 18-300 mm, the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. I used the 18-300 with a Nikon D7100 and spent several months using it.
Superzooms, it turns out, are burdened by compromises, mostly involving size and weight.
First, the 18-300 is the longest-range superzoom currently available as an interchangeable lens. It outdistances the competition, such as the Tamron 18-270 which has an aperture of f/6.3 at full telephoto, but it’s also arguably the largest and heaviest of its kind.
While I loved the lens, I hated lugging it around. It barely fit in my eveready case and, given my penchant for one-handed shooting while driving, made its presence known. Nikon’s VR II optical image stabilization helped out, especially under lower light conditions, and Nikon’s Silent Wave focusing motor was without question silent. Another useful feature is that the user can adjust focus while in autofocus mode, something the Nikkor 18-200 mm also supports. Its weight derives from the 19 lens elements arranged in 14 groups. Nikon uses its Super Integrated Coating to minimize flare and image quality was extremely pleasing.
The lens will mate to all Nikon DX-format DSLRs as well as FX-format models using DX crop mode.
The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300 mm is without question one of the best lenses I’ve used but I ultimately found it impractical for my needs due to size and weight. To paraphrase an advertising campaign from the 1960s, the 18-300 is a silly 50 millimeters longer, but at 830 grams, it’s almost twice the weight of my 18-250 and for those that travel frequently, every silly gram counts.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)