When Nikon announced a new super telephoto DX Lens in the 18-300 VR I did not give much thought to it. As a full time pro this is not a lens that I would carry in my bag. However, this lens is not billed as a pro lens nor should any of us try and compare it to a pro lens.
I know a lot of you may be expecting me to say this smells like “don’t buy it” but the truth is this lens is pretty good for what it offers. We will get to image quality and price in a few paragraphs but for now I want to remind you guys to look at this lens for who its geared towards.
This really is one lens that could replace three other lenses in your bag. This DX lens offers a huge zoom range from 18-300mm or the equivalent of 27-450mm. That is just an INSANE amount of reach. You can do everything form wide angle group shots to long distance sports captures all the way to shoot a building a long ways away.
With such a large range there are bound to be some issues. At 18mm you will notice the bowing of straight lines. These liens should be straight but instead take on an extreme bend which can be corrected in lightroom with the lens correction tool. It actually is a very effective tool when you want to get rid of those imperfections.
Another issue I saw with the lens was in the edge detail. You can see some major aberration going on from purples to other interesting colors. You will also notice some vignetting around the edges of the frame when you are shooting at the wider angles.
Now onto the positives about this lens. One its built extremely well with a metal mount and very nice VR mode with both active and standard. Two the range is just insane, to be able to go from an ultra wide to a full on detail shot at a distance makes this a winning lens.
There was one feature that surprised me more than anything. That was the ability to focus while zoomed out to 300mm from around 8 inches from the subject. To be able to close focus from that short of a distance is just incredible.
In the end you have to look at who this lens is for. Its for that person who does not want to take 2 or 3 kit lenses with them but once one lens. Sure that lens may be $1,000 but some people would rather pay that than have to not only change lenses but carry around multiple lenes.
Remember this is not a lens that a PRO would use on a photo shoot they were getting paid for. Its for anyone who just wants to capture the moment that was in front of them and not knit pick every single issue in the images.
If you are interested in picking up this or any other Nikon Lens please check out AllensCamera.com 215.547.2841.