Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR £430, $500

A ‘budget’ lens THAT oozes up­mar­ket qual­ity

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

Pick up the 70-300mm VR and it im­me­di­ately feels more solid and bet­ter built than any of the other Nikon lenses in the group. Like the 55-300mm VR, it has a metal mount­ing plate with a weather-seal, but it also adds a dis­tance scale be­neath a view­ing panel. The fo­cus ring doesn’t ro­tate dur­ing au­tofo­cus and is more con­ve­niently placed, at the rear of the lens.

It’s the only Nikon on test to boast a ring-type ul­tra­sonic au­tofo­cus sys­tem, as also fea­tured in the Tam­ron VC USD lens. The Nikon’s au­tofo­cus is a lit­tle quicker and even qui­eter, mak­ing it the fastest lens on test. The early-gen­er­a­tion VR only has a CIPA rat­ing of 2.5 stops, but it’s sur­pris­ingly ef­fec­tive when shooting from an un­steady plat­form, thanks to its ad­di­tional ‘Ac­tive’ mode.

Per­for­mance

Two ED el­e­ments help to de­liver ex­cel­lent con­trast and sharp­ness through­out the zoom range al­though, as usual, sharp­ness does drop off a lit­tle at 300mm. Even so, im­age qual­ity is su­perb over­all, and it’s the best handling lens in the group.

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