Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

20 January 2015
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

  • very useful focal lengths range,
  • good resolution in the frame centre,
  • moderate astigmatism,
  • good correction of coma at longer focal lengths,
  • moderate vignetting at longer focal lengths,
  • silent and accurate autofocus,
  • good stabilization.


  • weak image quality on the edge of the frame at longer focal lengths,
  • significant longitudinal chromatic aberration at the biggest focal length,
  • huge lateral chromatic aberration,
  • distinct vignetting at the wide angle,
  • high barrel distortion at the wide angle and noticeable pincushion at longer focal lengths,
  • unfavourable price/quality ratio.

Instead of a summary it would be enough to present a comparison between the Nikkor AF-S DX 18–300 mm f/3.5–5.6G ED VR and the Tamron 16–300 mm f/3.5–6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO. The Nikkor is noticeably more expensive, physically heavier and bigger. It provides a faster aperture at longer focal lengths but in the middle of the range its fastness is actually worse. Also optically the Tamron seems to be a bit better – especially when you take into account its lower distortion and chromatic aberration across the focal range. What’s more you can set focus from a smaller distance than in the case of the Nikkor. The stabilization is equally efficient in both instruments; still the Tamron provides a wider so more useful focal range, after all there is a distinct difference between 16 and 18 mm. In my humble opinion there are absolutely no arguments for buying the Nikkor lens.

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Even if the Nikkor didn’t have any slip-ups connected with e.g. the chromatic aberration correction, its high price would prove rather prohibitive. I understand that a 18-300 mm lens is a very versatile instrument; still many Nikon users with their reflex camera get very often almost equally versatile Nikkor 18-105 mm VR. It’s enough they additionally purchase the Nikkor 55-300 mm VR or the full frame 70-300 mm VR, both cheaper than the tested lens, and, for a lot less money, they get longer focal lengths and noticeably better optical properties.

Perhaps the Nikon company wasn’t completely blind when it came to this particular product because less than two years they launched a very similar but a bit cheaper Nikkor AF-S DX 18–300 mm f/3.5–6.3G ED VR. Can that new Nikkor compete successfully with theTamron? You will be able to find out reading one of our next reviews.