Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR £280/$395

Big­ger and bet­ter than Nikon’s 55-200mm Of­fer­ing

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

Un­like the more com­pact Nikon 55-200mm VR II, this lens is the size and weight you’d ex­pect for a budget tele-zoom. Both are DX for­mat lenses, but the non-re­tract­ing 55-300mm is 50 per cent longer and much heftier. The lat­ter is due not just to its size, but to the fact that the mount­ing plate is metal rather than plas­tic. As with only the AF-S 70-300mm VR in this test, the mount has a weather seal.

The VR sys­tem is of an older gen­er­a­tion than the one in the 55-200mm lens, and has a less ef­fec­tive three-stop rat­ing. Again, the au­tofo­cus sys­tem is based on an ul­tra­sonic mo­tor but, un­like in the 55-200mm VR II, the in­ner bar­rel and front el­e­ment ro­tate dur­ing fo­cus­ing. Op­ti­cal up­grades in­clude two rather than one ED (Ex­tra-low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ments, plus the ad­di­tion of an HRI (High Re­frac­tive In­dex) el­e­ment.

Per­for­mance

Com­pared with the 55-200mm, its au­tofo­cus speed is slug­gish, and it’s not quite as sharp at short to mid zoom set­tings. Sharp­ness im­proves from 200mm up­wards.

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