This lens lags slightly behind the others on test for sharpness at the long end of its zoom range. At 200mm, it’s also less sharp than the Nikon 18-200mm. Meanwhile, colour fringing is more pronounced than from any competing lens at 300mm, although it’s well controlled at short to medium zoom settings. When launched, this lens ruled the roost for outright zoom range, although it’s since been matched by Nikon’s newer 18-300mm (left) and overtaken by the Tamron 16-300mm. One thing that really does make it stand out from the crowd is its sheer physical presence. Place all the lenses in this group test together on a table and it rises above the competition. Indeed, it’s not only 32mm longer than, say, the Tamron 18-270mm, but nearly 400g heavier. At 830g, it’s more than twice the weight of the Tamron 18-200mm.
Ultimately, it’s cumbersome for a travel lens and feels a bit of a mismatch on DX bodies like the D3300 and D5300 for general shooting. On the plus side, it’s well made, includes a weather-sealed mounting plate, dual-mode Vibration Reduction system, ring-type ultrasonic autofocus and a neat distance scale mounted beneath a viewing window. Even so, the Nikon 18-200mm matches it in all these respects, albeit with a shorter zoom range.
This lens outperforms the newer Nikon 18-300mm for sharpness and colour fringing at telephoto zoom settings, but distortions are slightly worse. Overall, it’s not particularly impressive, especially as it’s the most expensive lens in the group.