NPhoto - - Test Team -

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.

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