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Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300 mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR

24 February 2015
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • very useful focal range,
  • good resolution in the frame centre at all focal lengths,
  • proper correction of coma at longer focal lengths,
  • moderate vignetting at longer focal lengths,
  • slight astigmatism at longer focal lengths,
  • good performance against bright light,
  • quite silent and accurate autofocus,
  • excellent stabilization efficiency.

Cons:

  • weak image quality on the edge of the frame at all focal lengths,
  • high lateral chromatic aberration near the maximum relative aperture of 200-300 mm focal lengths,
  • significant barrel distortion at the wide angle and distinct pincushion in the 35-100 mm focal range,
  • modest standard accessory kit.

I would have a huge problem if I had to say why there are two Nikkors 18-300 mm present on the market. Perhaps underestimating the rivals is one of the reasons. In 2012 Nikon, by offering an 18-300 mm model as the first, managed to beat Tamron when it comes to the focal range. Perhaps they assumed that, as a market leader they can afford more. As a result they didn’t care that much about optical properties but the suggested price remained steep. After all a creative marketing division is able to persuade potential customers that size still matters…

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However the rivals haven’t let the grass grow under their feet. When the Tamron 16-300 mm, two times cheaper than the Nikkor, appeared on the horizon, Nikon started to get nervous. As a result they launched another 18-300 mm lens, cheaper, physically lighter and optically better than its predecessor. Unfortunately it cannot offer better optical properties than the Tamron. These are comparable instruments with similar minimum performances; in particular categories sometimes one is better sometimes the other. Still the Tamron has two distinct assets: a much more useful focal range and a lower price. It is quite enough to make that lens more recomendable than both Nikkors. Now it’s Nikon’s move – we are waiting for a 15-300 mm device…