This article is written in response to “The Question of 18-300mm Lenses” article written by Romanas Naryškin. I used to like my 18-300mm zoom – I called it my Guilty Pleasure Lens (GPL). It was hands-down the most fun lens I ever shot with. When I wanted to just go out on an adventure outside and had no idea what I’d run into, instead of grabbing my FX body, my 16-35mm zoom, 50mm prime, 105mm macro, 80-400mm zoom and of course a manservant to carry all that gear, I’d grab GPL and my D7000 and blast on down the trail. Sure GPL wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but neither am I. In our shared ignorance we’d shoot grand vistas or cool nature abstracts or maybe even crawl through the dirt for a close-up or two. What a fool I was thinking I’d found a partner that liked to do all the things I liked to do.
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G DX ED VR lens that was released in June of 2012 along with the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens. Thanks to the popular demand of the 18-200mm and the full-frame Nikon 28-300mm VR lenses, Nikon decided to add another superzoom to the DX line. While the 28-300mm works well on both full-frame and cropped sensor cameras, its 28mm focal length is too long for general use on cropped sensor cameras (with an equivalent focal length of 42mm). Therefore, a redesigned version of the lens with wider field of view makes the 18-300mm VR a more attractive superzoom option for DX users.
The Nikon 18-300mm DX is a variable aperture lens with a 16.7x zoom range for enthusiasts that need a single, “all-in-one” lens for everyday and travel photography. The variable aperture of f/3.5-5.6 (which changes from f/3.5 on the widest end at 18mm to f/5.6 when zoomed in), along with the lack of the gold ring on the front of the lens indicate that the lens is not on the same level as professional-grade constant aperture lenses in terms of optics, which is quite understandable, considering what it can offer in terms of zoom range.
Nikon has just released a new DX lens – the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX, also known as “AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR“. This 16.7x superzoom lens is designed to work only with APS-C DSLRs like Nikon D3200, with an equivalent field of view of a 27-450mm lens. Boasting 19 elements in 14 groups, this lens is designed similarly to the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, except it is even longer in size and heavier.