Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.55.6G ED VR
A comparatively grown-up DX-format lens that goes the extra mile in telephoto reach
Back when Sigma and Tamron made DX-format telephoto zooms in this price and focal length range, as Nikon still does, one thing they all had in common was a maximum focal length of 200mm. It’s fair enough, in that this equates to the 300mm reach of traditional budget telephoto zooms for 35mm film cameras (and FX bodies). However, once you’ve tried the extra effective reach enabled by a 70-300mm on a DX body, you can feel short-changed.
A step up in build quality as well as size, this DX-format lens has a metal rather than plastic mounting plate, with a rubber weather seal ring, as fitted to most upmarket Nikon lenses. It also features a three-stop stabiliser, nine-blade diaphragm, two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements and one HRI (High Refractive Index) element. Overall, its specifications and features are a step up over the other DX-format Nikon lenses on test. One drawback is the lack of internal focus and, unlike the other two lenses, the front element rotates during focusing.
Autofocus is a bit slow and, like the other Nikon DX-format lenses in the group, there’s no full-time manual override, nor a focus distance scale. Sharpness is pretty good and overall image quality is impressive.