The Question of 18-300mm Lenses

Today, Nikon has announced a new DX zoom lens for beginner photographers. Covering a vast focal length range of 18-300mm, it’s not the first Nikkor with such parameters – the similar 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens has already been announced a while ago, not to mention all the third-party competition from Tamron and Sigma. However, the new lens is designed not to just deliver a very wide zoom range, but deliver it in a smaller, lighter package. To put it into perspective, the new lens weighs a whopping 280g less than the bigger version. Quite an achievement and will surely be tempting for those few who need such a lens, but it came at a bit of a price both literally and figuratively. And that raises a question – who is actually going to need such a lens?

Nikkor 18-300mm f3.5-5.6G VR DX

Lens Overview and Our Thoughts

As I’ve already mentioned, this lens’ most attractive aspect is the relation between size/weight and dimensions. It really is much, much smaller than Nikon’s older lens with the same focal length – it is 79mm in diameter and 99mm in legth. For the sake of comparison, the old(-ish) Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II, whilst sporting a narrower focal length range, is almost exactly the same size. So how did Nikon manage to bump the zoom range? The answer is simple – maximum aperture at the long end is a miserly f/6.3 and I would expect it starts quite early. And that’s the thing with this lens. Put it on a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor camera, set it to 300mm and what sort of image quality are you left with? f/6.3 might not seem all that different from f/5.6 – both don’t make overexposing the shot in anything but the brightest environment an easy job. And yet if you think that lenses generally reach their peak performance stopped down a little… and that f/6.3 is already affected by diffraction, and that at 300mm the lens is probably at its worst level of performance anyway, there’s not much hope that this lens will be even remotely impressive, unless compared to something equally uninspiring. And here’s another interesting fact. It is currently priced at, wait for it… $899.95. I’m sorry, that’s two AF-S 50mm f/1.4G lenses, and for me, one is enough to go through a wedding with decently diverse results.

You’ve probably noticed my skeptical tone by now. I will be straightforward – I do not like this lens nor any other 18-300mm class optic. Why? Because they are too much of a compromise. Here’s what Nasim thought about the f/3.5-5.6 version of this lens in our review:

The Nikon 18-300mm is a very average lens with average performance overall. It is optically worse than the 18-200mm and it is much bigger and heavier in comparison. It has plenty of distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting and other issues, but worst of all – its optical performance and focus accuracy at long focal lengths is disappointing. Personally, I would rather opt for the 18-105mm kit lens or the 18-200mm, both of which are cheaper and better optically.

Can we expect a lens that has compromised even more on image quality to actually perform not just better, but on an acceptable level? More importantly, lenses like this one cover such a vast range of focal lengths, it’s almost as if the manufacturer is implying the buyer does not actually know what he wants or, crucially, needs. I strongly believe that if you need a single lens that goes from around 28mm to 400mm and over (full-frame equivalent), you are better off with a super-zoom point-and-shoot camera. There’s just no point in owning a big, heavy DSLR with a big, heavy super-zoom lens, both of which cost a lot of money and don’t actually make much sense in terms of image quality. If you own a big, expensive kit, it should perform like a big, expensive kit. Which is to say, brilliantly.

That brings me to Nikon’s official press release which you can see further down. I usually try not to read what manufacturers have to say about their products because of all the marketing talk. Only very rarely and just some of them sound like their product aren’t actually the best thing that has ever happened in this world or any other, but are judged reasonably realistically. But a short phrase caught my attention whilst I was formatting the press release – “delivering superior performance and image quality”. Sorry, superior to what, exactly? Such an empty statement. There is a chance it won’t be a bad lens, but it won’t be a bad lens compared to another lens in the same category. So, again, superior to what? And in what light with that maximum aperture at the long end of the zoom range? And on what camera? A modern 24-megapixel D7100? Let’s not kid ourselves. Yes, it’s small and light for its parameters and, possibly, won’t be as bad as one might think. But those are just guesses. What is certain is that it won’t be good in absolute terms. This is a lens one buys to sell in a few weeks or months. Even soccer moms are better off with a 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR and 55-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR or similar duo.

Hand on heart, I could not recommend such a lens to anyone. Certainly not for $900. Decide what you actually need from your gear and focus on that. Buying a lens you’ll find yourself trying to get rid of is not just costly in terms of money, it’s costly in terms of creativity and satisfaction with what you own. And very few people would be satisfied with such a lens for long.

Key Specifications

Here is a short list of key specification of the new Nikkor AF-S 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G VR DX lens:

  • Focal length range of 18-300mm (27-450mm full-frame equivalent)
  • Maximum aperture range of f/3.5-6.3
  • Vibration Reduction
  • 16 elements in 12 groups, 3 aspherical and 3 ED glass elements
  • Seven rounded diaphragm blades
  • Silent wave ultrasonic motor with full-time manual focus override
  • Focuses down to 0.48m (18.9″)
  • Maximum magnification of 0.32x
  • Made of plastic with a metal mount
  • Weighs in at just 550g (1.21 lb)
  • Measures just 79mm in diameter (3.11″) and 99mm in length (3.9″) at shortest zoom setting
  • 67mm filter thread
  • Priced at around $899.95

Official Press Release

Here is the official press release by Nikon:

THE NEW AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300MM F/3.5-6.3G ED VR LENS IS A VERSATILE YET COMPACT AND LIGHTWEIGHT TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS THAT ALLOWS USERS TO GET CLOSE TO THE ACTION

MELVILLE, NY (April 10, 2014 at 12:01 A.M. EDT) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the latest addition to its legendary NIKKOR lineup, the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR telephoto zoom lens. Designed for the DX-format photographer looking to get more out of their D-SLR camera, the versatile NIKKOR 18-300mm is a compact and lightweight 16.7X all-in-one telephoto zoom lens that delivers high performance and superior image quality. Whether capturing still images or HD video, the 18-300mm lens is built to help users capture content with vibrant colors and sharp details, plus shoot sports, vacations and wildlife with confidence.

“With the addition of the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR to the NIKKOR lens line-up, DX-format photographers have a compact and lightweight all-in-one telephoto zoom that can handle any photo or video challenge,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “With the 18-300mm lens, DX-format photographers will be able to capture sharp images and video with incredible detail. Additionally, the lens incorporates renowned NIKKOR optics and technology like a Silent Wave Motor (SWM), three Aspherical and three Extra-low Dispersion glass elements, as well as innovative features like Vibration Reduction image stabilization.”

An All-In-One Telephoto Zoom Lens

With the introduction of the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR lens, DX-format photographers have a compact and lightweight telephoto zoom lens, over 30 percent lighter than the acclaimed AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens, that produces the incredible results users have come to expect from Nikon’s NIKKOR lens lineup. The 18-300mm lens boasts an impressive 16.7X ultrahigh-ratio zoom range, offering a focal range from wide-angle 18mm to super-telephoto 300mm (27mm to 450mm equivalent in FX/35mm format). The new lens provides photographers with compositional freedom that is ideal for everyday use, whether capturing close-ups, sweeping landscapes, portraits, architecture, nature, sports and fast moving action. When recording HD videos, users will have the ability to capture wide establishing shots, medium close-up shots or extreme telephoto sequences that best complement their creative vision. With the new 18-300mm, photographers that currently use DX-format D-SLR cameras, like the Nikon D3000 and D5000 series, now have a versatile telephoto zoom lens to upgrade their current lens arsenal or complement their kit lens.

Delivering Superior Performance and Image Quality

Incorporating proven NIKKOR lens optics and technology, the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR lens offers an extensive feature set that produces vibrant color, sharp detail with minimal distortion, whether capturing still images or recording HD video. Helping to ensure sharp photos and video even in low-light situations while also combatting the effects of camera shake, the 18-300mm comes equipped with Nikon’s renowned Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization, providing the lens with four stops* of stabilization to help make shooting a blur-free experience, even while handheld.

Weighing a mere 19.4 ounces, the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR is remarkably compact and lightweight, making it a lens that is comfortable to carry regardless of the photo excursion. The construction of the 18-300mm lens contains 16 optical elements in 12 groups and includes three Aspherical (AS) and three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements to produce maximum contrast while minimizing lens flare and ghosting. Its three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements effectively minimize chromatic aberration at even the widest aperture settings. Also, the new lens incorporates a seven rounded-blade diaphragm, which helps achieve a beautiful and natural background blur. Like many of Nikon’s newest NIKKOR lenses, the 18-300mm has a Silent Wave Motor (SWM), designed to deliver fast, accurate and quiet autofocusing (AF) performance, plus Internal Focusing (IF), which gives it a more compact, streamlined lens design.

Price and Availability
The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR lens will be available in May 2014 for suggested retail price (SRP) of $899.95**. For more information on NIKKOR lenses as well as other Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

*Based on CIPA Standard. This value is achieved when DX-format compatible lenses are attached to a DX-format digital SLR camera and zoom lenses are set at the maximum telephoto position.

**Suggested Retail Price (SRP) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

Pre-Order Information

Oh no. You are not getting links from us, no chance. Get a 24-120mm or a 50mm lens instead if you need something versatile. Try some 35mm prime or an 18-140mm VR, too. Might as well ask what our readers think you should do on our forums. Unless you really, really think this is the lens for you, do yourself a favor and don’t think about it. And if you do actually think this is the lens for you, sorry, we are not going to help you find it.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Derek Riehm
    April 10, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    LOL. Well said, you don’t mince words! It’s refreshing to see some really blunt commentary on a really bad idea for a new lens.

    • 42
      ) Kathleen O'Reilly
      April 11, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Ditto!!!!

  2. 2
    ) Shane
    April 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Wouldn’t it be great if Nikon held a raffle? I’d pay $10 to enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize – a seat, with speaking & voting privileges, during a meaningful “new product development” meeting in the inner sanctum of Nikon’s World Headquarters! Vote might not count for much, but sure would feel good to say my piece and stomp my foot as a Nikon customer from age 20 to current 60+!!

    • April 11, 2014 at 1:55 am

      The first question I’d ask in such a meeting would be – “What on Earth possessed you to create this idiotic thing?” I really could never say what they were thinking when they were designing this. :)

  3. 3
    ) Guest
    April 10, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Who is actually going to need such a lens?

    Well, probably the same people who think they need a D800, a D4s, a 800mm f/5.6E, a 58mm f/1.4, etc. whether they actually need it, or not, and whether actually have genuine photography talent, or not. Apparently, gear matters to a lot of wannabe photographers out there, which is just how the photography industry likes it. $$$$$

  4. 4
    ) Jerry
    April 10, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Given the review, I know I would not want it after reading your review. But the lens in the advert sounds great. People would want that lens. I hope they read your review! Overall I think A lot of people like the DX format and they want lenses made for DX. Not everybody is a pro who demands full format. There a lot of new entries, people buying their first DLSR, who are passionate hobbyists, or they want to take pics of the kids. They want a good quality camera. They don’t want the extra cost, heft and volume of a full frame camera. They usually start with DX. They may never move to FX. This is the market that wants more variety, and better quality DX lenses.

    • April 11, 2014 at 1:48 am

      …and for all those reasons, Jerry, this really is a terrible lens for basically everyone. ;)

      • April 11, 2014 at 10:56 am

        “Hand on heart, I could not recommend such a lens to anyone.”
        “…and for all those reasons, Jerry, this really is a terrible lens for basically everyone. ;)

        Let me reply to this in only a few words: Nonsense and nothing else.

        I have the former heavier lens. It is great used on both Nikon D5100 and Nikon D7100.
        I have used it for all purposes, also wedding. The pictures was excellent and the bride and groom appreciated very much all 250 pictures. So I am really happy that I bought the lens before reading all negative reviews on the web, including the last one by Romanas Naryškin.

        • April 11, 2014 at 11:14 am

          Herald, thank you for your input. Three things. First of all, you did not buy this lens, because it is only available for pre-order. You are talking about a completely different lens, which Nasim reviewed and did not find to be spectacular, merely acceptable for what it is.

          Second – this is not a review.

          Third – I, too, could use this lens for weddings. I could use just about any lens for weddings. That does not make it a good choice or a good lens, that does not mean I’d be satisfied with the results or that the result would be good, and that does not mean I would ever choose it willingly whilst having alternatives, even my trusty 50mm. Whether you liked the images or not, and whether your clients liked the images depends not on the lens or gear that you use, but on your client’s expectations and requirements, and also your skill to hide the lens’ imperfections and use it to its fullest, of which there are plenty. People shoot weddings with point-and-shoot cameras. So? Does that mean that point-and-shoots are great options for weddings? No. It either means the photographer is insanely talented that he is able to utilize the advantages of such a camera and hide the disadvantages well or the complete opposite, or that the clients don’t care that much about their photographs or/and do not know better.

          I, too, shoot weddings. My photographs are out there for everyone to see and judge me for who I am, if they like. And again – hand on heart, I could not recommend this lens to anyone. Desperately need an 18-300mm? Get the older version, not this “compact” one. Especially for that price.

          Thank you for you opinion, this is mine. :)

          • April 11, 2014 at 11:49 am

            I have for myself compared AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II with my other lenses AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 mm f/2.8G ED VR II and AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G. The result is : the superzoom is excellent.
            I have read and commented Nasim’s review some time ago. His review is of the same kind as your opinion, nothing to care about.
            You talk about that people shoot weddings with point-and-shoot cameras. That has nothing to do with my pictures taken wih the superzoom.
            It is waste of time discussing this further. This is my last word.

            • April 11, 2014 at 11:54 am

              I will repeat one more time – you have not tried this lens, because it is not the 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 that you mentioned. Another point is – whether it is excellent or not really is a matter of opinion. Whether you like it or not is really your thing, but that does not mean you can be disrespectful towards someone who disagrees with you.

              It has everything to do with your pictures taken with the superzoom. What’s good for you might not be good for me, what your clients liked mine might have hated, and vice versa. Which basically means that the fact you used a different lens in a wedding and found it satisfactory is merely your impression and opinion, just like this article is my opinion. Just what I was trying to tell you.

              You are right about one thing, though – this is a waste of time. :) Have a good day, Harald.

            • April 11, 2014 at 12:19 pm

              Herald, please see my response #47 that I wrote to Patrick – very relevant for you to read in my opinion.

            • April 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm

              Herald, when you say that the 18-300mm compared to the 70-200mm f/2.8G and 50mm f/1.4G was excellent, are you saying that it was better or as good? In what way? Are you shooting everything at f/8?

            • 77
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

              This is actually a reply to Romanas but there isn’t a reply button :-(

              Harald didn’t say he used the new 18-300. He was referring to the existing 18-300. More importantly though is YOUR disrespect for him! Although you don’t say it explicitly, you HEAVILY imply that his opinion is worthless. I know you’re pretty young so you need to learn that NOBODY’S opinion is better than anyone else’s. I don’t care if it’s Nasim, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, or whoever. You can respect one individual’s opinion more than another’s but it isn’t inherently better.

              This is the meat of every complaint I’ve ever had on this site. The lack of humility is mind boggling. That’s NOT to say everyone is guilty of it but it is a blot on an otherwise interesting and informative site.

              Or not…

              Okay. I feel better now. Really!

              • April 15, 2014 at 7:55 am

                Patrick, once again sorry for how the replies work, I’m not sure this system is all that suitable for extended discussion. Might consider finding a way to move those to the forums in the future, we’ll see. Anyway, back to your thoughts.

                Herald was complimenting a lens that has much less compromise than this one. I did not really say a word about the older Nikkor other than how it was optically based on our review and how I did not much like 18-300mm lenses in general. However, I did not say I thought it was useless an no one should buy it. No. I might not like the older lens, but it makes sense for those who need all-in-one, which is basically what you are saying. But that is not the lens that’s the main subject of this article, is it? And so Herald gave an example of lens that has much less compromise than the new Nikkor. Why? Firstly, because it has a slightly wider aperture at the long end. Secondly, because Nikon did not try to make it as compact as it possibly can be. That is why I said Herald did not try this particular lens about which the article is written. This particular lens, in my opinion, is too much of a compromise. It is a lens not for those who need an 18-300mm lens, but for those who deliberately want to buy a poor lens for a lot of money. And it is a lot of money. I was not being disrespectful, I was merely trying to show Herald he missed the point somewhat.

                As for the part where he used a lens at a wedding and his clients were happy, I was merely pointing out that this fact said nothing about the lens itself, how good or bad it was. And that’s true. One can shoot weddings with whatever it is he wants. A pinhole? Sure. Why not. Clients will be happy if they like pinhole. Key point here – if they like pinhole. Other clients would be unhappy if you shot their weddings with a Canon 1Dx and a set of top-grade primes and zooms – if they are used to being photographed with a digital Hassy. On the other hand, if a photographer is so damn good he can deliver astonishing results with a rather poor 18-300mm lens, all the better for him. But does that make that particular lens a good lens? Does that mean this talented photographer will go and buy it simply because he can pull it off? No. Because it is his talent, not the lens. And he knows how to work with what he has. But when it comes to this new lens, it’s just not a good choice, even on paper. It just isn’t, not for that price. That is what I was implying.

                One of our readers has actually sent us a small article with some image samples that he took with the existing 18-300mm lens and the monstrous Nikkor 800mm lens. Not only was the article extremely funny, the image samples were simply spectacular. Properly, properly good photography there and shows just how much talent matters and gear does not. But I wasn’t trying to say you can’t do good photography with 18-300mm lenses, what I was trying to say and what is the point of this article, is that this new lens, for that price and with that only ever so slightly more expensive sibling, makes absolutely no sense. It is redundant and silly and serves only to flood the market. have you noticed how many super-zoom lenses there are for Sony E mount? Or Nikon CX? Or how many extremely similar, slow zoom lenses there are for m4/3? They are not necessary, as is this new Nikkor.

                Might have lost my cool there for a bit, but I was not being disrespectful.

  5. 5
    ) Don B
    April 10, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I love my Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G DX ED VR lens. It works great on my D7000 and my D800.

    Since I hardly ever take pictures of brick walls, I don’t notice any distortion. I am very pleased with it.

    I agree this new ( slower ) lens would not be my choice.

    • April 11, 2014 at 1:49 am

      Don,

      I can respect that. What other lenses do you use on those cameras?

      • 102
        ) Don B
        April 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        I have a 70-200 Version 1 2.8 G lens, but it must be defective. When I take photos with it at f2.8, only one small part of the picture is in focus. The background is always out of focus. It must be broken, right ?

        :)

  6. 6
    ) Patrick O'Connor
    April 10, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    There will be people who buy it and love it. Hopefully, they won’t read this article and realize they must be idiots. Maybe you guys should hang out at your local Walmart and inform others, among the unwashed masses, how stupid they are…

    • April 11, 2014 at 1:50 am

      Hopefully they won’t, Patrick. Would not want someone being personally offended over anything, let alone this. :)

      • 20
        ) Patrick O'Connor
        April 11, 2014 at 5:22 am

        I just don’t understand why you, and others, feel the need to editorialize reviews. When you state that a particular lens is garbage (basic summarization of your review), if someone has, and likes, that lens, they might be a little offended. And, really, who are we to judge what is a good or bad lens? The best lens in the world is the one that allows us to make the kind of photos we want to make at a price we can afford.
        I know you think I get upset over stupid stuff, and sometimes I do :-), but your characterization of this lens, and be extension the people who would like it, lends nothing to the review. I don’t understand why you would even make more than a casual mention of such a lens. There’s really very little to say about it. It is what it is.

        • 21
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          April 11, 2014 at 5:23 am

          …and “by” extension.

          It’s too early to be writing on blogs!

          • April 11, 2014 at 7:29 am

            Patrick, hello, I am always intrigued by your comments, you make good points. :)

            There is, of course, something I would like to say. First and foremost, this is not a review. It just isn’t. It’s an opinion about a new lens Nikon launched. And opinion that states it’s too expensive, unnecessary, won’t be impressive optically, and thus completely redundant. In my opinion, it is not a good purchase. And I have a right to share that opinion, correct? When Nasim finds time to review it, he will be very objective about it, as he always is. But right now, this is just my input, and not just regarding this particular lens (which I really do think is absolutely unnecessary and very much overpriced), but the class on the whole. Too much of a compromise.

            As for judging, I am in no position to say that a particular lens is crap for a particular person. But I can actually compare a lens to other lenses I’ve used and express my opinion. Whether you trust that opinion or not, that’s a different matter entirely.

            You said that “the best lens in the world is the one that allows us to make the kind of photos we want to make at a price we can afford.” So true! Do you think, then, that this lens, with these parameters and at this price – especially at this price – actually does make sense and supports your argument? I think your arguments actually supports my thoughts about this lens :)

            • 28
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 11, 2014 at 7:53 am

              And, for my part, if I didn’t care about you or your comments, I wouldn’t reply to them :-)

              Well, yes; it is an opinion piece and qualifies in every regard for that purpose. My only point, and this applies to all such writings, is to convey your opinion without unnecessarily hurting someones feelings. These days, there’s always someone who’ll be offended by anything, anyone says but if there’s no purpose achieved, why do it?

              For the majority of people using the cameras for which this lens was designed (not all DX shooters, mind you, but a certain subset), this lens is perfect for the results they want. Imagine a young family at the park with their small children and maybe a dog (I like dogs!). This lens would be light enough, considering the other stuff they have to bring, and has enough range to easily capture the kids and dog (did I mention I like dogs?) from close-up to some distance without changing lenses. Sure, some of the pictures will be blurry and few, if any, will have a pleasingly narrow depth of field but…they’ll get the pictures. They’ll be happy. Grandma and grandpa will be happy. And believe it or not, a lot of these people visit this site. They only slip under the radar because they don’t feel confident or knowledgeable enough to comment. Don’t you wish some of the regular posters felt that way! ;-)

              Would I buy it? Maybe. Well, not really but still… For me, the 28-300 is a compromise for taking my dogs to the park (they’re with me most of the time since, as I think I previously wrote, I like dogs). It’s not as much a compromise as this 18-300 would be but you get the point.

              • April 11, 2014 at 8:13 am

                Again, you make very good points. But then, the 28-300mm really is much less of a compromise. Want an alternative for FX? You are looking at a 28-450mm lens. It’s never going to be good.

                I also see what you are saying with your example of the family in the park. But wouldn’t you rather suggest the photographer in that family to save up $100 more and buy the bigger, heavier, but less compromising on quality sibling of this lens? Or even make do with the older, better 18-200mm version, which, let’s be fair, really is enough for most about anything? If the new 18-300mm cost, say, $500 or thereabout, I’d not say a word against it. I would not say it’s garbage, because at that price it really would make sense for those few who actually do need such a zoom range. But at its current price, I believe it to be absolutely redundant.

                Other than that, I can not argue with you and will take your words into consideration in the future, I promise. There is a reason why I try and make my articles a bit more… lively? As you said, editorialized? Yes, probably. There is a good reason. I don’t want to start droning on. :) With all these announcements, I’d either go nuts preparing them, or I can save myself by adding a little bit of provocation. As you can see, it paid off – we are engaging in a discussion which would likely not have happened were it a simple announcement post. Right? ;)

            • 31
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 11, 2014 at 8:37 am

              There’s a fellow, where I work, who aggrevated me for months over what kind of camera he should get in anticipation of the birth of his first daughter. He eventually bought a T3i and they dig it out once a month to get an updated photo of her. I’ve talked to him about lighting and f/stops and composition but…no thanks. While they have a capable camera, there is no photographer in the family. I can guarantee he’d be more impressed by a lighter lens with greater range than its “bigger, heavier, but less compormising on quality sibling.” I can’t argue about your issue with price but, just like everything else, for some people (me and those who go without food to buy film) it’s way too expensive. For others: ‘yeah, that seems about right.’
              If the truth were told, I’d probably miss our little back and forths if you droned on about stuff. And I can certainly understand how it would make you go nuts! I imagine it’s not a long trip for you, anyway. ;-)

              • April 11, 2014 at 10:30 am

                That fellow would be better off with, say, a Fuji X20 or similar, I think. But then wanting to make an impression with a big, heavy DSLR is important for some and the marketing team at Nikon knows this. :)

                And, no, it’s not a very long trip, sadly. :))

            • 37
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 11, 2014 at 10:59 am

              I tried to talk him into a point-n-shoot but he was not to be deterred. I’m not sure he was swayed by making an impression so much as the desire to get the best results possible, without paying a fortune or having to do (learn) too much. Someone on Nikon Rumors suggested a D1x00 line of cameras that would, among other things, do away with all but auto and scene modes for just this kind of audience. This new 18-300 would make a good kit lens for it, assuming (and conceding your point) the price was more like $500.

              • April 11, 2014 at 11:03 am

                But Patrick, “best result possible” and “not paying a fortune” don’t go along well with that lens. Although, as I mentioned, the bigger 18-300mm makes a little bit more sense and I can see it being used by beginners with low expectations.

            • 43
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 11, 2014 at 11:18 am

              I wish you guys would go to a system that allowed “replies,” more than a few comments deep!

              I was referring to his choice of camera, not this lens. The fact is: everyone has their own reasons for doing what they do. I’ve endured countless comments that start out, ‘why did/didn’t you…?’ and my reply is always the same: “Because I wanted/didn’t want to!” In the end, that’s the ONLY thing that matters.

              But again, this goes back to your comments regarding a review versus an opinion piece. I actually prefer opinion pieces that include facts based on experience. This one and Bob V’s articles regarding the Df…not so much.

              • April 11, 2014 at 11:31 am

                I’ve just talked to Nasim, he too likes our little discussion and how civilized it is. Your opinion is supported by great arguments, Patrick, and I respect and understand it, even if I do not agree with it completely. :)
                As for the replies, I will see what can be done!

  7. 7
    ) Hans Ernst
    April 10, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Such a pity that Nikon keeps on making these moves.
    What if a new DX+this lens owner think of Nikon when he runs in to
    pictures of a friend that were taken with another brand and a good lens.
    I’m not a Df fan, but we all were very interested before it came out,
    because it promised “Pure photography”
    I’m sure that is the one reason why new DX customers prefer to buy a Nikon.

  8. 8
    ) Nick C
    April 10, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Sigh. DX shooters need this like they need….

    Let’s assume we are fine at the kit level (or slightly better than kit). So no more 18-xx(x) needed/wanted. I think there is room for enthusiast/prosumer additions (both in build quality and max aperture). How about new mid-range either a replacement for the 16-85 (yes I hear one’s coming) or the 17-55. Or something new like a 15-45 to 50 at around f/2.8 (probably not possible at a reasonable sale price) or f/3.5. Or give us two such lenses, one being a high spec f/2.8 variant and one with a slightly greater (variable) zoom range.

    Wide angle lenses are a weak spot. What about an f/3.5 11-22 (plus or minus a bit), again built to a relatively high standard.

    Telephoto? Well, if they aren’t bringing DX wide angles to market, they’re sure not going to deliver a 50-150 f/4 DX telephoto (or similar). Although to be fair, the longer FX alternatives are less of a compromise on DX than wide angle on DX. A 70-300 works just fine unless there are low light requirements.

    D400. Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, they need to come clean and indicate intent. I don’t think they’ll lose any additional customers by saying “it’ll never happen” (at least additional customers beyond those leaving because of lack of vision on the DX side, poor quality control, etc etc)

    The reason I have stuck with DX is that it offers decent performance (for me) with good focusing ability, image quality, full CLS capability, at a decent size and cost. But I’m in no hurry to upgrade to a newer body given the apparent lack of commitment by Nikon. Last weekend, I bumped into a friend who had a new Sony RX10. I was truly impressed with the size and lens. It’s not going to out-perform a DSLR, but it seems to come very very close for many situations. And at smaller size / greater convenience. If I were looking for a single take anywhere camera, that might be at the top of the list.

    Bottom line. I’m a customer with money in my pocket looking for a reason to spend it and I am not sufficiently compelled. That’s a problem for any company.

    • April 11, 2014 at 1:53 am

      It would seem Nikon can’t be bothered with releasing lenses that are actually important. Sometimes I wonder if the people who run these companies spend their time behind closed doors with no outside contact and try to guess what might work and what might not. And fail completely. At this point, that’s just lack of common sense. Very, very weird, sad, disappointing and a little funny.

      • 29
        ) Patrick O'Connor
        April 11, 2014 at 8:03 am

        There’s a comedian, Scott Dunn, who does a bit on the difference between famous people and important people. He talked about why important people (eg. Gandhi, Mother Theresa, the Pope) don’t do commercials. It was very funny. Anyway, while it would be silly for important people to do commercials, they wouldn’t be commercially successful even if they did. Nikon is in the business of making money. For them, it is “important” to make money. For US, it is important for them to make money. If you only want important lenses that don’t do very well commercially, there’s always Zeiss!
        And that, my friend, is common sense.

    • 119
      ) Keith C
      April 18, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      Nick C wrote: Bottom line. I’m a customer with money in my pocket looking for a reason to spend it and I am not sufficiently compelled. That’s a problem for any company.

      I’m in agreement. I’m a customer with money in my pocket looking for a reason to spend it. I thought Nikon as a system was top notch, but still no 300mm f4 VR.

      I’m a bit disappointed in my new 80-400mm AFS VR Nikon lens as well.

      Is Nikon morphing into a consumer electronics company?

      I have to be honest here…I’m quite “miffed” at Nikon these days….and I have money to spend….and they offer me nothing to spend it on?

      Why spend engineering time on this lens in lieu of the much wanted 300mm f4 VR? What is there to indicate that Nikon is morphing into nothing other than Sony or Samsung?

      Just wanted to vent a little!

      Thanks!

      KC

  9. April 11, 2014 at 1:51 am

    At the same time Sigma is moving fast

  10. 15
    ) Chris
    April 11, 2014 at 2:48 am

    About the only time I can see this being useful is as a holiday lens where you want 1 lens to just shove in a bag. In which case, rent it. Or get a 18-200 which will almost certainly do a better job.

    For a purchase to own set I’d probably go for something like 18-105 and the 70-300 VR, used you could probably buy those two and a body for less than this lens.

    It does seem that Nikon needs to hire some new people in market research, that or the enthusiasts really have no idea what gear is actually making Nikon money. It must be the latter or they wouldn’t be producing so much DX “so what” kit. But then Canon seem to be listening, so does Sigma.

    • April 11, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Chris, totally agreed with your thoughts there. If I needed a single lens to carry around, the 18-200mm would be a better candidate for me than the 18-300mm. If I did not mind multiple lenses, I would just go with the kit 18-55mm + 70-300mm or 18-105mm + 70-300mm…

    • 64
      ) Erik
      April 12, 2014 at 9:08 am

      My guess is that this lens will bring in a lot more money to fill Nikon’s coffers than say the FX 58. Just look what they have cheaped out on; no FL window, all plastic, less glass. All this is production value optimizations. But the price says it’s a PRO grade lens, at least to the uninformed. How sad.

  11. 16
    ) Paul
    April 11, 2014 at 2:49 am

    I’m writing a piece for a South African weekly on the state of the global camera business in 2014. Releases like this lens smack of desperation to win (naive) customers in an increasingly fractured market.

    Sad to say, have dumped all my Nikon DX gear and gone to Fuji, keeping only a couple of my film-era primes (and my trusted FM2).

    • 120
      ) Keith C
      April 18, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      Interesting comment on Fuji. I bought my wife the X-E2 with the 18-55 and the 55-200 and they are awesome!

      Fuji just needs a longer lens….say a 400mm f5.6 of the same quality as there other lens. Prime or zoom…doesn’t matter.

      Nikon as a system is starting to disappoint a bit (although I still like their camera bodies).

      Is Fuji the new Nikon?

      KC

  12. 17
    ) timarts
    April 11, 2014 at 3:51 am

    “delivering superior performance and image quality” – maybe to third party counterparts of Sigma and Tamron; its like Nikon is moving backwards with this lens release. Maybe they tried to address a common reason for switching to CSCs which is the weight of the camera system, but this doesn’t really solve anything.

    Sigma and Tamron are doing something better with their recent lens releases; namely the 18-35mm 1.8 and 24-70mm 2.8 VC.

    Could it be that nikon is just making these to claim that their system has a wide lens selection?

  13. 18
    ) SteveB
    April 11, 2014 at 4:40 am

    While I certainly understand the predominately negative comments here, the fact is that most of us Dx shooters already understand that we must accept certain compromises in equipment and time. I started out using a kit 18-105 and 70-300 with my D5000. However, I soon found I didn’t like having to juggle lenses every time I wanted to move from a wide shot to something longer, particularly when traveling. Call me lazy but I finally traded those in for a wider-range Sigma 18-250. No, this is not a great lens, but since most of my photos are displayed on a computer or TV screen, it is more than adequate. I also own Nikon 12-24 and 35mm lenses, but find I use these only on rare occasions, so don’t normally carry them along on trips. I suspect Nikon knows how popular these mega zooms are with many amateurs like myself and would expect to sell a lot of these 18-300s even at $$$$$.

    • April 11, 2014 at 7:34 am

      Steve,

      that explains why Nikon has an 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR for $1000. Which isn’t a great lens, but does the trick for some people. It does not explain why Nikon thinks it needs a second 18-300mm lens that’s smaller and lighter, yes, but has an even narrower aperture and is very likely to be even worse optically. It costs $900. That’s insane.

      • 33
        ) steveB
        April 11, 2014 at 10:06 am

        Some people may have thought about buying the previous 18-300 but decided not to due to the size and weight, so I give Nikon credit for revising it. As to the price, I think I recall that the Nikon 18-200 originally cost about the same as this one now, so comparatively it’s a bargain.

    • 56
      ) Nick C
      April 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Point well taken. There is no doubt that a substantial market for convenience zooms exists and that market deserves to be presented with a good options. I’m not opposed to convenience zooms but rather the continued re-iteration of consumer spec zooms at the expense of: 1 or more wide prosumer zooms, an upgraded 17-55 (or similar), a constant aperture telephoto, maybe a few DX primes (although I can live with the 1.8 FX primes), etc. There is a market for convenience zooms. But there are serious gaps in Nikon’s DX portfolio and I can’t help think that the R&D, manufacturing, and sales/marketing efforts that went into the 18-300 could have been deployed elsewhere where the need is greater.

      Nick

      • April 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm

        Totally agree Nick!

      • 121
        ) Keith C
        April 18, 2014 at 11:57 pm

        Perhaps Nikon has thrown in the “proverbial towel” with the release and warm welcome of the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8?

        This Sigma lens seems to cover at least a few of the well needed DX primes and does it with quite well.

        I’ve had this lens for about 2 months and love it!

        Something is up at Nikon I think…they seem to be relinquishing there “domination” of the “go to” camera optics company to others in lieu of releases like this….

        Still miffed at Nikon.

        KC

  14. 19
    ) Mark Finney
    April 11, 2014 at 5:08 am

    I would never use this to take stills, but it’s probably better than the lenses on low-priced video cameras. That’s its one place of use; as a walk-around lens for a DX-equipped videographer.

  15. 22
    ) Nestor
    April 11, 2014 at 5:59 am

    It is a very contradictory release, with f 6.3 at 300mm this lens needs the latest bodies capable to focus to f8, on the other hand the latest bodies needs faster lens in order not to be affected by difraction (at least if you like to get your camera full potential).
    It seems that the UNcoordinated management at Nikon knows that new cameras focus at f8, but they are not aware that 6MP, 10MP or even 12MP (DX) sensors dissappeared long ago.

  16. 23
    ) Roger Ball
    April 11, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Two people have reviewed a lens, and neither has seen it. What happened to credibility?

    • April 11, 2014 at 7:30 am

      Roger,

      what happened to distinguishing a review from an opinion? :) Here’s a review – take a look:

      http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-24-120mm-f4g-vr

      It is nothing like this particular piece, which is not a review nor should be seen as one. It’s merely an opinion inviting a discussion, that’s it.

      • 39
        ) Patrick O'Connor
        April 11, 2014 at 11:10 am

        I’m not sure that’s the best example you could come up with. Everyone tells me Nasim’s reviews are good but I find them to be very subjective. I’d read several reviews on the 24-120 that said it was only mediocre and not really much better than the 24-85 but finally bought it based on Nasim’s review. He gave fair facts but his summary led me to believe there was some “secret ingredient” that other lenses didn’t have. I returned it, two weeks later, because it wasn’t much better than the 24-85 and I had to really look closely to tell the resulting photos apart. In another article, he compared the two at 24mm and concluded the 24-85 was inferior. One focal length! You’ve gotta be kidding me.
        Additionally, he doesn’t care much for the 28-300 but several world renowned photographers use and like it. I dunno. Just sayin’…

        • April 11, 2014 at 11:27 am

          Patrick,

          from a certain point, all reviews are subjective. Mine are more subjective than most and I am proud of that, actually. My 50mm article was very subjective, my Lightroom review is quite subjective and my Mamiya review was extremely subjective. My upcoming 85mm article will also be very, very subjective. I mean, the person reviewing the lens will do his best to provide objective evaluations of certain very specific aspects of the lens. However, the final judgement, final conclusions are always more or less subjective. That’s how it is supposed to be, even. We are photographers, not men in white coats working in labs and measuring MTF all day. So what might be a minor difference for you, might mean a world to Nasim and vice versa. In the end, all one can do is read the review, read the conclusions provided by that reviewer and then make your own conclusions – is that lens good for you personally or not, do you find the strengths reviewer pointed out to be strengths or not. Finally, Nasim always provides actual images to compare sharpness so that you can decide for yourself if the difference between two particular lenses is noticeable to you or not.

          For example, I would not dare buy the 28-300mm lens myself. Some say it’s pretty damn good and very close to the 24-120mm f/4, others blame it for breathing, poor AF and then some. I’ve seen reviewers praise the 24-120mm and bash it. It depends on which one of them I trust most, who’s judgement I trust most, who’s view on what a certain lens should be like is most similar to mine. Then there is the matter of lens copy variation, centering issues, testing methods and so on.

          There is one very well knows and often mocked photographer out there who, if I remember right, liked the 28-300 a lot. But I do not like that photographer’s work nor his view on equipment, we are completely different and have completely different needs, so I would not buy a lens based on his review.

          That said, I would probably only buy a lens based on my own impression with some initial guidance from Nasim. :)

          • 53
            ) Patrick O'Connor
            April 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm

            Gee. I wasn’t sure which post to reply to since my response would mostly overlap. I chose yours since it was first.

            I wasn’t suggesting that a review shouldn’t be subjective but that the degree to which Nasim’s are, tempers their value.

            A lot of reviewers post images for comparison but most (not Nasim’s) are internetized (you like that? I just made it up!) versions of modest value. For those that do include links to full-sized versions, I’ll admit to being more than a little lazy and don’t go to the trouble of looking at them. I could be wrong (and often am) but since the shots were taken under differing conditions, despite the best efforts of the reviewer, I would prefer to rely on the reviewers analysis. This, of course, is a fools errand but, since I’m a fool, it’s what I do. With that in mind, the best course of action is to find a reviewer who’s style of photography, judgement as to what is important, and objectivity align with your own. Again, this points back to my second sentence.

            I know which photographer you speak of and his review of the 28-300 was one reason I balked at it at first. He does, however, usually take a very pragmatic approach to his reviews. I just don’t have enough salt to take with them. Not that it means anything but I was referring to Joe McNally, Bill Fortney, Matt Kloskowski, and Joel Sartore, among others.

            Nasim, I was in fact referring to the 24-85 review. I’ll try to refresh the page but I’ve already made up my mind. I bought the 24-120 to replace the 24-85 that came with my D600 but, as you accurately stated, found it to be generally better but, in my own opinion, not enough to justify the cost. If it were cheaper, or I win the lottery, I’ll buy it again.

            Please don’t take any of this personal; I’m just a guy with a camera and not enough knowledge or time to use it well. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) opinions don’t require much of either! ;-)

            Anyway, my original point was that there isn’t always a lot of difference between an opinion piece (regarding camera gear) and a review. Nasim’s reviews illustrating that as well as any. I still read them; I just have to take them with a grain (but only a grain) of salt. :-)

            • April 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm

              Don’t worry about replying, we’ll both see it eventually :) This whole comment tree can get a little complicated with such large discussions. In any case, just because I like having discussions with you so much, I will let you in on a secret – you should take any review with a grain of salt ;)

              Nice talking to you!

        • April 11, 2014 at 11:48 am

          Patrick, I think you will find that no matter how we reviewers try to be objective in what we see, there is always the subjective part that you could never get rid of. How you feel the lens in your hands, how you look at it “overall” and how you liked it in the field can only be subjective. I don’t like superzooms and my review of the 18-300mm or 28-300mm lenses reflect that. I try to back up my claims with lab results, but someone like you could easily state that a superzoom could be a great compromise in some situations and that I should refrain from bashing such lenses in reviews. However, it is my review and what I feel about a lens – why should I change my opinion based on what others might think? If I were to write content to please everyone, you would see my praise every single piece of gear that comes out. Would you trust such reviews?

          In regards to the 24-120mm lens. If you look at other reviews, you will surely find a mixed bag. Some people state that the 24-120mm is excellent, others will say it is mediocre. Some said it was terrible. Since that lens came out, I handled at least 4 different samples of that lens and guess what – every single one of them performed differently in my lab. One was downright terrible, while the other three varied in performance at different focal lengths. The Imatest charts that I have on my site were updated several times to reflect the base case scenario – from the lens sample that performed the best among the group. Unfortunately, it seems like Nikon’s QA problem with that lens is pretty bad and the variance in performance is much greater than I expected. My hope was that Nikon would tighten its QA for such lenses, especially given the fact that we have super high resolution cameras like D800 that will notice any sub-par performance issues. Not sure if anything was done to address that, but one thing is clear – people’s feedback on that lens varies greatly, just like lens variance does.

          Now in regards to the comparison of the 24-85mm vs 24-120mm – what article are you referring to? Are you looking at the review of the 24-85mm lens? Looking at the page 5 of the review, I can see a comparison of all focal lengths: http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-24-85mm-vr/5

          Perhaps you were looking at the very first cached version of the page. I updated it a while ago, since others also requested that I provide a comparison of other focal lengths aside from 24mm. I went ahead and cleared the cache just in case, so let me know if you still see the old info. When you go to the above page, press CTRL+F5 to force your browser to not load from the cache.

          Please let me know if you have any questions!

          • 65
            ) mg428
            April 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

            I wish you had published these results earlier. I waited for them for so long before pulling the trigger for 24-85 VR instead of 24-120 VR. For so long only the comparitive measurements at 24mm were available with the extra bit of information “(to be updated soon)” where “soon” turned out to be 1,5 years. In fact that information is still present in the review.

            Please take this as a constructive criticism: although you and your team probably have lots of things to do that keep you busy and although you are not obliged to publish a review/article, there is no need to make a promise-like statement and don’t deliver it within a reasonable timeframe. I also vaguely remember I had contacted about the status of this review’s update but did not receive a reply. Last, I am not gonna read the whole 24-120 f/4 VR review now but if you did not state in that review that you had to go through 4 samples of this lens, at the very least in the summary/conclusion section, then you hide a crucial fact from your readers.

            My criticism has just led to another question: I was wondering whether you had tried only one 24-85VR, because this lens might have variation as well (perhaps more likely because of being a lower quality kit lens without gold ring). If so, then it would have been better to explicitly state that you compared the best variation of a lens with a random variation of another lens. Because comparing a lens to another is already comparing apples to oranges to some extent, and when batch variation comes into play, it would really be like comparing apples to oranges. In short, while I can totally understand you may not and are not supposed to try more than one sample of a particular lens, if you do so for whatever reason and if they happen to be quite different, then it is ideal to point this out in its review as well as when compared to another lens which was not tested against another sample of the same lens.

            • April 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm

              I am sorry for over-promising and under-delivering. I remember at the time I was going through my Imatest results and the 24-120mm results were inconclusive, so I could not publish more than one focal length for a comparison.

              I will go back to both review and mention the fact that I tested multiple samples. The 24-120mm was not something I used 4 samples for immediately – that was over a period of like 2 years. The 24-85mm VR, on the other hand, was two brand new test samples provided by B&H. Both were more or less very similar, would say maybe 5% sample to sample deviation…

        • April 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm

          Patrick, on your comment about some world-renowned photographers using the 28-300mm. I remember once watching David Ziser’s video where he was shooting a couple with a cropped-sensor Canon DSLR and a mediocre zoom lens. David literally did not care about what he was shooting with and he was focusing on lighting, composition and posing – things that truly mattered for that environment. Did he end up with bad pictures? No, of course not. He is a master photographer, someone who has shot weddings all his life and started out back in the film days. You give him the 28-300mm and he might praise it too. Heck, you give him a crappy point and shoot and he will make an amazing picture. At the end of the day, all gear is good, even gear that we would avoid using at all costs. However, if you put it at a different perspective – if David Ziser were given a full-frame 5D Mark III, an amazing portrait lens, would his pictures look much better? In my opinion, yes, they would. Does he need such gear? Probably not – his methodology is not to get insanely sharp pictures with aesthetically good looking backgrounds. His objective is to please the customer and he does a phenomenal job with that. He sells like crazy and he is very successful at his marketing. I still remember him talking about a wedding he shot, where he made 6 figures just from selling prints from a single couple.

          I am not David Ziser and will never be. I really value his opinion, but would not listen to his suggestion on what camera and lens to buy, because I know he would not even provide his opinion on what the best gear out there is. I would thoroughly enjoy watching him work, would value his opinion on posing, composition and lighting. That’s what he is best at.

          Nikon Df haters really got bummed by Joe McNally when he talked about the Df and praised it. There was some nasty commentary on poor Joe, he certainly did not deserve that. At the end of the day, it is how you connect with your gear. Who cares about another person’s opinion for the most part? Reviews are not supposed to be driving factors for making a decision – they are merely someone else’s opinions – decision influencers at most. I always tell our readers to read multiple reviews before they make their final decision. I always tell our readers to take everything I say with a grain of salt. Because I recognize that what I feel about a certain camera or lens might not connect the same way with another person. Df haters hated my Nikon Df review and called me a Nikon “fanboy”. I love that camera and really enjoy shooting with it. Its image quality is amazing and pixel-level performance is phenomenal. There are some things I don’t like about it, but the camera overall is not even close to being what others have said about it. Bob Vishneski knows this very well and I knew that people like him will never relate to such a camera. And that’s OK – I let him publish his Nikon Df mock-up and other articles making fun of the camera. I wanted to let our readers know that even between the writers at PL there is a huge difference in opinion when it comes to gear. Bob hates the Df, I love it. Romanas Naryskin and Laura Murray love film and I don’t see the point of it – at best I feel indifferent about it. Initially, I had some really intense arguments with Romanas on film and its future, but we both respected each other’s opinions and agreed to disagree. Stuff that like that happens every day and it creates discussions such as these.

          At the end of the day, none of this really matters. It is your choice how you should be enjoying photography and with what gear :)

          • 54
            ) nestor
            April 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm

            Hi Nasim

            I think this one (your reply #47) is the best answer to this argument.
            Personally I don’t like neither 300mm DX nor FX superzooms, but it is my personal point of view. I don’t like the Df but I must acknowledge it is an excelent alternative to a D4s, and so on.

            We must understand as readers that we have different needs, and not all of us wants the same, what is good for one is bad for others and so on. Photographic gear is just a tool, it is not necessary to use a micrometer if you are a clothier, but I bet a special made one would work, and a measuring tape is not enough to make a 1/4 wave or less mirror for a telescope, and I bet too that even a special made one would not work at all. Your kind of works defines and narrows your tools selection.

            Then as I see we have 3 groups here, a)the ones doing video, I have no opinion, I don’t use my cameras for video, b) the ones who work raw, and wanted to HAVE real info in their files, not oversampled images (you get this above lens resolution or difraction), and c) the ones who use jpeg and/or downsample the images.

            Everyone has different requirements, perhaps this lens is excelent for group c), I don’t know, but I belong to group b), that means closer to Nasim way of thinking.

            It is all subjetive, but sometimes you must see the results and ask yourself if it is good enough for your kind of pictures.

            And repeating Nasim

            At the end of the day, none of this really matters. It is your choice how you should be enjoying photography and with what gear :)

          • April 12, 2014 at 12:21 am

            Great response Nasim, It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

            You have what you have to get what you need. “Want” is not always a factor. For some great examples look at National Geographic not all the shots are “art” nor are they in focus, and no one really cares that much about what camera and lens….as long as you got the shot. (there is also and excellent video series on iTunes U from Nat. Geo. “Masters of Photography” that demonstrates this perfectly).

            So maybe this lens will choke, who cares? It clearly isn’t something for the “wedding crowd” so what? Maybe some soccer mom with a D3100 might get this and be totally happy, so why reign on her parade? Maybe they will sit on the shelves for months or maybe they will fly off quickly.

            The specs look like crap to me, plain and simple, the f/stop is horrible and even if I cropped my D800 to DX I would not consider this lens. However, if I did so, and handed the camera to, lets say, my stoner brother, and he goes to the zoo and uses the zoom to get a shot of a monkey(and who doesn’t love monkeys) and he is happy, well then okay. If he is not happy, if the picture looks like garbage we can blame it on the lens or his “current state”. There is a market for this lens, it is called “hot bright summer day with no clouds in the sky so the f/stop doesn’t matter day”. Soccer mom. My brother. + a little PS or LR to correct distortion, and add artsy dark vignette.

            But that is a moot point….not because my brother is thousands of miles away, but because even on my old D3100 I would not put this on due to the insanely stupid price. Jack it down to $400 out the door, and it will be a new walk around town kit lens on the old DX.

            That’s just me being subjective.

  17. 24
    ) A Guest
    April 11, 2014 at 7:19 am

    While this graph supplied by Nikon looks superb, at the wide end at least, indeed most people don’t generally use such a range. 300 mm on DX is just too long (=450 mm). In reality, many would be quite happy with a ‘true’ 180mm at the long end (even 200 is not often needed): less weight, higher quality, less cumbersome. Crop a few pixels when necessary. So, for an all-purpose ‘walkabout’ lens, a 24 (not 28)—180 mm zoom on FX, which becomes of course 16—120mm zoom on DX. F4 throughout, to save weight. ED glass, Nano-crystal coating (which makes all the difference to sparkle), VR essential. “Simples”! Please make both, Nikon.

  18. 32
    ) BOB
    April 11, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Has anyone seen the MTFs and what did they tell you? Better than the old lens?

  19. 41
    ) Scott
    April 11, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Most people starting out don’t understand aperture … or what goes into image quality … or any of the other things that become second nature for experienced photographers to consider. They do understand zoom because that was one of the few controls they used on the point-and-shoot they just replaced.

    I shoot a lot of basketball and volleyball games at the small college where I work, and I’m constantly amazed by the parents who show up with a nice SLR paired with either the kit lens or a super zoom. They’re shooting indoors at f/5.6 and wondering why they aren’t getting as good of shots as I do with my selection of primes (even my 70-200 f/2.8 is too dark for our gym). During a high school tournament we host, the yearbook photographer for one of the schools was standing next to me using a kit zoom. I handed him a prime to try out, and it was as if a lightbulb clicked on in his head. He suddenly understood the importance of aperture … and he made sure to stick close to me the rest of the tournament to borrow lenses. And it’s hard to admit it, but there was a time I was that kid.

    I dare say lenses are more important than bodies, but people starting out don’t understand lenses. So they go buy a Tamron or Sigma super zoom. I think this is purely a business decision on Nikon’s part; they can’t force consumers to educate themselves, so they’ll offer them what they want instead of letting their money go to third parties. Sad, but true. It’s surely not intended for the sort of people who seek out sites like this one.

    • 114
      ) drew PARNELL
      April 17, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I agree completely with that Scott.
      People should not ask “what’s the point of a lens like this?”, instead observe it pays for R&D to the better Nikon lenses. Many folk on this site think they know the answers, but I don’t doubt Nikon know them better. “Nikon spent money” funds better kit. “Tamron or Sigma spent” likely doesn’t.

  20. Profile photo of Kevin Lin
    52
    ) Kevin Lin
    April 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I love the article, there should be more bold articles like this directly point out the weakness of lenses. So Nikon can focus on making more high quality, less expensive lenses. What is the fun to own a dslr without a good performance lens.

    • 75
      ) Patrick O'Connor
      April 14, 2014 at 11:45 am

      I think the key word in your comment is “fun.” If someone has more fun with an all-in-one zoom than changing lenses all the time, that’s fine.
      I’m getting ready to go to Japan, next month, and am making a lot of compromises given the realities of international travel and the fact that this is a vacation, with taking photos as a secondary consideration. I’m pretty sure my wife and her family (they live there) would groan if I showed up looking like a pack mule with a lot of lenses, full-sized tripod, etc. It’s agonizing for me but…c’est la vie.
      I’m guessing Nasim or Romanas would bring a small mirrorless in a situation like that but, to me, that’s a greater compromise than I’m willing to bear. For some reason, they can accept the reduced quality of an APS-C mirrorless camera and lenses but not a superzoom!? And before anyone calls me out for that, let me remind them that this is an “opinion” comment and not subject to negative replies ;-)

      • 76
        ) Kevin Lin
        April 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm

        First I don’t object superzoom, but do you really need a 18-300mm (27-450mm full frame equivalent) lens for vocation? How about 16-180mm, I think most people will be much much more happy with it.

        Second, we know optical performance of new 18-300mm lens is worse than original 18-300. Base on most professional reviews, even original 18-300mm didn’t score high on optical performance. Nikon is really take a step backward.

        • 79
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          April 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm

          What lens you need for vacation depends on where you’re going and what kinds of thing you’ll see and do. If you’re an experienced photographer with a critical eye, you’ll definitely be happier with the 16-180. If, however, you’re just posting photos on your facebook page, you might be happier that you got a shot at 450mm (equivalent) that you couldn’t get at 270mm (equivalent).

          Again, this lens is NOT targeted at professionals so that’s not really relevant, is it!?

          • 82
            ) Kevin Lin
            April 14, 2014 at 9:08 pm

            Again, if you love this lens, No one will stop you from buying it. What we doing here is to logically and responsibly inform people what they should expect from this lens. As a long time Nikon fan, I never hesitate to recommend good lenses to my friends, like new F1.8 G series, with the same standard, I will not recommend this 18-300mm, Of course you can ignore All other people’s opinion as long as you Love this lens.

            • 83
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 15, 2014 at 6:11 am

              Logic and responsibility dictate that you consider all factors in your recommendations. Of course optical quality is important. But do you know just how much optical quality someone is giving up by going from an 18-200 to an 18-300? Low light performance is really important for some people (like me) but is the person you’re informing care about that? We all like shallow depth of field at times but does your audience even know how to achieve that?
              Personally, I wouldn’t buy this lens but then, I’m NOT the intended audience. I also wouldn’t buy the 200mm f/2 because, again, I’m NOT the intended audience. Perspective is a wonderful thing but you have to move around to achieve it.

          • April 15, 2014 at 7:28 am

            Patrick,

            I really do understand what an intended audience is and if you’ve read some of my other articles, I often point out that this or that product is not for everyone (like my VSCO review, for example, or the 50mm lens article), but works great for those who know what they are getting. My point with this article about this lens is that it is a bad choice for those who do need a 18-200mm/18-300mm class lens. My point is that this one takes compromise too far. Much too far. If you need an 18-300mm lens, there are likely better options, even the original Nikkor 18-300mm probably performs better. Naturally, I can not say for sure, we haven’t tested it, but even the basic specs – that awful aperture – already dictate that it is a step too far down the compromise road. And so if a person walked up to me and said he wanted a lens that did everything, I would point him to the older 18-300mm or, even better, the older still 18-200mm lens.

            • 86
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 15, 2014 at 8:03 am

              I understand your point and, generally, agree with it. I don’t mind lugging around a sack full of lenses, etc. if I need them but for some people, weight is a greater consideration than for other people. I’m NOT saying this lens is objectively better than any other. My point is, for SOME people, it might be better in some situations. The larger point is to not disparage anything for its own sake but, rather, for particular purposes.
              I would give up photography before owning a mirrorless camera but can certainly understand their benefits for street photography (which I don’t like), certain action photography (which I’m too old/lazy to do), or just personal preference. I would never say, ‘I can’t recommend mirrorless cameras to anyone.’

          • April 15, 2014 at 11:02 am

            Sorry, Patrick, but you did not *quite* understand. I agree with what you just said, fully, but that’s not quite what I was talking about. Let me give you a similar example to your mirrorless cameras. I personally would never buy a compact super-zoom camera. You know those small-ish point-and-shoots that have 10x zoom or so? They are small, but their lenses extend absurdly far and the sensors are tiny. Yet I can understand why someone would want one and need one perfectly. I do not have to like it to understand its purpose.

            Now, let’s say some camera manufacturer has just released a run-of-the-mill compact super-zoom camera. It has all the usual features with all the usual drawbacks, but makes sense. Even if only just. Let’s say the camera costs $500 (I do not actually know how much those cameras cost, but it doesn’t matter in this case, we just need a price point), which isn’t exactly reasonable, but then no different from competition. Then, a few months later, the same manufacturer releases another such camera with very similar parameters. It also has a nice zoom range and is even more compact, but to achieve this not only did the manufacturer have put in a smaller battery that’s enough for barely 100 shots, and a screen that’s very difficult to see outdoors, but the lens, for the camera to be even smaller and lighter, starts at f/4.8 and ends up being f/7.1 at the long end. With that tiny, tiny little sensor. And the camera costs $460.

            So, a friend comes over to you and tells you he wants to buy one of the two cameras. You have tried the “older” model, weren’t impressed, but it made sense given the advantages. It was a decent compromise. You haven’t tried the second camera, but it doesn’t look all that good on paper – very expensive, a little bit smaller, but that aperture and that price don’t promise much good, nor does the fact that the camera really is small, which naturally means there wasn’t as much freedom when designing the lens, either. Which one would you recommend? The one for $500 or the one for $460?

            In my opinion, you’d have to want a poor camera, you’d have to deliberately try and find the worst possible camera for as much money as possible to want to buy the second one. The concept is good – one camera does it all. The actual thing is silly and pointless.

            Do you now understand? I understand very well why people would buy an 18-300mm lens. I would not, but that doesn’t really mean anything else than the fact I would not find it useful for my type of shooting and my photography. However, I do not understand why would someone want this particular lens and not the original Nikon 18-300mm. This particular lens is too much of a compromise. The first one was enough, there was never the need for a second one. What there is need for are fast wide prime lenses for DX, not this rubbish.

            P.S. I do not much like lugging around my gear ;) Part of the reason why I love small prime lenses so much!

            • 94
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm

              In your analogy, I agree with you. Regarding the old 18-300 vs the theoretical (since it hasn’t been made or tested yet) 18-300, the difference in weight could be a big difference for some people. For me (a pack mule), not so much. I could continue on and defend the new lens but that really isn’t my point.
              1. Someone buys something and likes it.
              2. The great and powerful OZ (er, I mean Romanas) says there’s no point for anyone to use it.
              3. Our theoretical “someone,” reads the article and….
              4. What will they think?

              P.S. I don’t much like lugging gear around either. I think the “Bird guy,” in your group, said something to the effect that he’d like to have lenses to shoot moose and birds in the same trip but couldn’t lug them around. Since I don’t have a lot of time to get out, I can’t dedicate a trip to shooting one thing so…I lug! :-(

          • April 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm

            lol

            Alright. Sorry, Patrick. Perhaps I just lack manners or am just too straightforward at times (and I know that to be my fault which I very much try to beat when I can), but this lens is unnecessary. Need an 18-300mm lens? Get the first one. Bought this one? Well, you probably should not have. Does not mean you can’t do properly good photography with it, does not mean I am going to judge you or call you names or even think one bad thought about you, but that fact does not make it a good lens or even a good purchase at that stupid, stupid price. And I am not criticizing the person who will buy it – and there will be plenty who will – I am criticizing the product and the company that released it, because I think it’s rubbish. Not that they care, but I did not like what Nikon did and I said it. When I do like what they did, I say it just as loudly. Mind you, people tend to react to negative opinion that much more personally and it spreads easier, too. Unfortunately.

            At least no one will tell me I am biased when talking about a manufacturer who’s products I use. :)

            • 98
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm

              “…no one will tell me I am biased when talking about a manufacturer who’s products I use.”

              Really? Because I was beginning to think you and Nasim read Fujiboy magazine and fought over who got to take it to the bathroom first! :-)

              Sorry. A bit crude but I DID attend all-boy, Catholic schools, growing up. Maybe those stupid ties, I had to wear, were too tight!?

          • April 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm

            I do like Fuji, but not because it’s Fuji, but because I think they make great cameras and great lenses and take care of their customers. ;)

  21. April 11, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Ummm I don’t really get the hate towards the idea of making such a lens…. It is kind of the “dream” lens if only the quality followed.

    My friend http://stefanoborghi.com used the Canon 28-300 3.5-5.6 L lens for a lot of his trips around the world and he was really happy with it…
    yes it wasn’t the sharpest lens out there but he managed to capture many amazing photos because of the versatility of this lens….
    http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/426-canon_28300_3556is_5d?start=1

    it is heavy And MASIVE !!

    Today he sold it and switched to the combo 24-70 and 70-200 in order to get sharper images to be able to print big… does he regret his switch ? well I think that he does sometimes.

    He now takes “better” photos but less of them with the new combo

    Cheers

    • April 11, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Duncan,

      it’s not about taking better photographs, it’s about too much compromise. The Canon 28-300mm lens is completely different and if you’d want to compare it to an equivalent APS-C sensor lens, you’d be looking at a 18-200mm lens. And it is big and heavy, meaning no compromise was made to make it more compact. In the case of this Nikon, it’s an 28-450mm equivalent with an f/6.3 aperture at the long end that’s also been made small. :) How good can it be even theoretically? I’m no physicist, but pretty sure not very good. Too much compromise, I think, and especially for that price.

      • April 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm

        yeah sure. They can’t be compared but I see a lot of people who take photos because they want to have good memories and they are not looking at quality as much as how much they can capture with one camera….

        I mean how many bridges are being sold with crazy 24-1000mm ?

        as for me I would rather have a brighter lens like the sony RX10 24-200 2.8 than a beast like the Nikon 18-300 for sure.

        I really don’t know what is up with Nikon in that regard.. They came up with that new massive 1 cx lens the 70-300 rather than making a 24-200 2.8 (full frame equivalent)….. sigh

        • 122
          ) Keith C
          April 19, 2014 at 12:31 am

          Hey wait a second…

          Ever take a picture of a Wilson’s Warbler at 100 feet? That 70-300 CX lens has some merit!

          Not a lot of merit, but it could to be awesome in just such a circumstance….

          KC

  22. Profile photo of Daniel Michael
    62
    ) Daniel Michael
    April 12, 2014 at 3:59 am

    Another fun article Romanas!

    It still strikes me odd that people can’t tell the difference between an opinion piece and a full review!

    Even though this isn’t a review, there is always an element of subjectivity in any review. The only reviews that aren’t are the ones that have just a pure test element and no opinions (i.e. something like DXO). In the end its up to the reader to read a number of reviews and not just one combined with a more ‘scientific’ test. I for one would never rely on one review before buying anything. Sometimes this means I take too long in deciding but hey, I’d rather spend my money wisely.

    Photography is an art in the end, and so there is always going to be some subjectivity. So we pick the photographers we like and use their opinions. Would someone use a review by a famous reviewer that, in his setup of a Nikon DSLR, advocated to always have the JPEG setting on ‘vivid’?
    I don’t think so!

    Thanks for the Saturday morning chuckle!

    • April 12, 2014 at 4:12 am

      It was my pleasure, Daniel, thanks for reading!

      • 107
        ) nestor
        April 16, 2014 at 7:58 am

        Hi Romanas

        I agree with you about superzooms, I prefer to have 2 lenses covering that range that one alone.
        But it is my personal opinion and taste.

        I think this argument with Patrick is taking too much of comments, and instead of expressing his opinion what he does is trying to impose it. I understand him, but I don´t buy his ideas.

        As everything perhaps (and only perhaps, because for me it doesn´t makes sense to test in such conditions) this lens could be an excellent performer with a D7100 at JPEG, BASIC and SMALL.
        But I don´t share the idea of buying a 24MP camera for using at 6MP. But if someone does so it is perfect for him.

        Perhaps this is the subjetivity we talk about.

        Anyway nice report and discussion.

        • 108
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          April 16, 2014 at 9:01 am

          When you read, do you actually think about what you’re reading or just look for keywords that support your pre-conceived ideas!?

          I have NEVER said this is a great lens or that anyone should buy it; merely that ANY opinion piece should acknowledge other points of view without necessarily supporting them. In college, one of my composition professors taught that you should NOT do this in an argumentative essay, of which an opinion piece is, however I (of course) disagree. You can argue your point of view without denegrating or ignoring those with an opposing opinion.

          This lens will NEVER be an excellent performer but then, photography is about a lot more than excellent performance. If you were to research the greatest photos (based on their impact) taken throughout history, you’ll find that most of them were vastly inferior to what this lens will likely produce.

          • 109
            ) nestor
            April 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm

            I read your comments (quite a lot of them) and other readers comments, it is you who doesn´t read or doesn´t understand comments which aren´t in line with your line of thinking.

            In all this discussion it is clear seen what for this lens is, and who could use it. Some one thinks it is a garbage lens, others ones don think so. I think all the users universe was covered.

            I will not argue with you, and I´ll explain why, you are not only expressing your opinion, you are trying that all others agree with you.

            Sorry, I can take this blog (which by the way it is not mine) as a personal site.
            When I have such pre-conceived ideas as you mention I will start mine, doing so I will not pollute sites like this one.

            Keep thinking the way you do, but please if you need so many comments to express yourself, take my advice seriously, start your own site, or find a psychologist.

            I hope you don´t fell offended, it is not my intention, I repeat it is not my site to start an argument. I don´t like starting a discussion at your level, and I will not do so just to give you the pleasure of repeating yourself.

            Anyway I will not respond you any longer, I have better things to do.

            • 110
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm

              Not offended at all. I have seen a psychologist (years ago) for an unrelated issue. Maybe I’ll look her up. Thanks for the advice :-)

            • April 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm

              Keep it cool guys, no one’s been offensive here so far ;)

  23. 66
    ) Keith R. Starkey
    April 12, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I am really getting into photography. It’s becoming something of a means of both expressing and pulling out of myself, someting I’ve never experienced before. The camera is becoming a part of me. With that said, I have no intentions down the road of going pro, but I do want, both now and then, to have the flexibility in a zoom to meet most any every-day encounter and get good results as an amateur (with a DX frame right now).

    Hey, I might be at a wedding one day, or I might be at a sport event, and I might be at the park or on the street. Either way, I’d like to know if there’s a concensus that can be reached about a better-than descent, nice, not-too expensive but not-too cheap zoom (ranging anywhere from of 18 to 300) would be. What does everyone here suggest for DX users?

    Surely there’s a good over-all zoom in which everyone could say, “Yeah, that would work well.” (There’s got to be!)

    • 74
      ) Patrick O'Connor
      April 14, 2014 at 11:34 am

      You’re not going to find a consensus on this subject. In my never-to-be-humble opinion, however, the most important factor is your mode of delivery. If you’re going to email photos to friends and family or post them on the internet, all of the Nikon 18-xxx and some of the third-party lenses will be fine. If you want to make a large print of that great photo you took at your nieces’ wedding, and give it to her as a present, get a higher quality (narrow zoom range or prime) lens. I’m not making specific recommendations because there are a lot of sites (including this one of course) that can guide you far better.

      • Profile photo of Keith R. Starkey
        78
        ) Keith R. Starkey
        April 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

        Thanks, Patrick.

        And if my niece is gong to get married, she and I are going to have a talk before I take any pictures…because I ain’t got a niece! (Wow! This photography stuff is complicated!)

        Thanks gain,

        Starkman

        • 80
          ) Patrick O'Connor
          April 14, 2014 at 2:07 pm

          The “complicated” stage is easy. The hard part comes when you know what you want and have to convince your wife you need it! ;-) Unless of course you ain’t got a wife, either! In that case, it’s smooth sailing ahead…

          • Profile photo of Keith R. Starkey
            81
            ) Keith R. Starkey
            April 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm

            For me, it’s smoooth sailing ahead!

  24. 68
    ) Tim
    April 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Photography is often emotion, and there’s a lot of emotion here. Guess none of us would be worth our salt if we didn’t spill over. But aside from all legitimate subjectivity, if only for the fact that we all started somewhere and we are all standing on the shoulders of others, I recall reading something about the impossibility of making a great zoom that encompasses wide angle, mid range and tele. Think it was Thom Hogan, but I am not sure.

    Would it be nice if we got an article about it? I don’t think it’s easy, but yes, I am putting forward a challenge. -;)

  25. 69
    ) ertan
    April 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Given the range and average optical quality, I think this is a useful lens for average user. People have been using 18-250/270mm lenses for years now. If a lens is not for you, then don’t buy it :)

  26. 70
    ) ThangNhoc
    April 13, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Romanas Naryškin, nice to be smart at photo stuffs…food and fool, you must be a film dude…for years, is it the eyes behind the lenses or is it I Can’t taking pictures with cheap lenses???…If you are my son, I put a roll of film and this 18-300mm Lenses up there!!!

  27. 71
    ) Johny Wong
    April 13, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    I’m very surprised to see many people get offended with Roman’s opinion. Basically Roman just said he doesn’t like this lens. He never say any photographers who use this lens is bad photographers. He never say photos that are taken with super-zoom are bad. He never offend or criticize any person with this article. I don’t understand why people feel personally offended by this article.

    Your gear is not YOU. Your gear is non-living material. You can love it, hate it, praise it, neglect it, etc. It won’t complaint or defend itself. So why people take love, hate, or praise that is pointed to their gear to themselves.

    • 72
      ) Patrick O'Connor
      April 14, 2014 at 7:47 am

      In general, I agree with you. The problem (or maybe I should say MY problem) is, this lens if very obviously targeted at a certain class of photographer. By disparaging the lens, without acknowledging its appropriateness for the intended audience, you could easily infer that Romanas is discounting that group as credible photographers.
      Put another way, if I were to state that a wide angle lens wasn’t useful for bird photography, it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings because that’s not what they’re intended for. If, however, I were to suggest, as Romanas appears to be doing, that wide angle lenses are useless, as a landscape photographer you might be a little put off. However, if you were a beginning photographer, as is the target for this lens, you might go further and question your legitimacy as a photographer. Getting disrespect from your peers isn’t that big a deal; getting it from those who are clearly more experienced and knowledgeable hurts.
      Since his original article, Romanas stated that his biggest problem is the price, and on this we agree. Unfortunately, that point is hidden among a lot of hate (well, okay, maybe “hate” is too strong) for the lens (and others in its class) in general.

  28. 73
    ) Patrick O'Connor
    April 14, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Arrgh. I HATE (and in this case, “hate” is too mild) making typos!
    Should have been, “…MY problem) is, this lens IS very obviously…”

    • 87
      ) Kevin Lin
      April 15, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Wow, you are like Nikon professional promoter of 18-300mm here after reading through all comments.

      No offense, everybody entitle to their opinion, you Love it, I won’t disagree with you. You hate it, I won’t disagree with you neither. We just merely express our opinion toward this particular lens. You really don’t have to CORRECT everybody’s opinion.

  29. 88
    ) Patrick O'Connor
    April 15, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Everyone is welcome and entitled to their opinion. I don’t really care about this lens one way or the other. What I do care about is people and their feelings, in as far as I’m able to spare them without compromising my obligation to inform them. Every lens, camera, car, bicycle, and hammer has an intended audience or it wouldn’t be manufactured. Companies put a lot of money into market research before manufacturing a product. To say (and I’m paraphrasing here) that a particular product is useless for anyone, is to say that those people who do find it useful are fools/idiots/or whatever. What’s the point?
    Of course I don’t have to correct anyone’s opinion but it would be nice if I could temper their need to express it in certain situations. On the other hand, I can’t even control myself so… ;-)

    • April 15, 2014 at 11:14 am

      Patrick, not once did I feel offended by your arguments, you did nothing wrong. If anything, I should have done a better job at expressing my thoughts more clearly. ;)

      • 95
        ) Patrick O'Connor
        April 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm

        You weren’t offended? Looks like I’m going to have to step up my game! ;-)
        I would NEVER want to have to write articles like this because, as your referenced earlier, doing so in a neutral manner without going nuts would, well…drive me nuts.

        You might not realize it but I’m a perfectionist. EVERYTHING I do is either perfect or not. Obviously, that means they’re not and I’m miserable. However, I accept (and even expect) imperfection in the work of others!? Doesn’t make a lot of sense, huh? The fact that I’m surrounded by people who strive for mediocrity could be the reason for both.

        Anyway, I like you and Romanas and even (gulp) Bob V. If not, I wouldn’t bother responding. I guess it’s nice to not be liked sometimes…

        • April 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm

          Patrick, you will absolutely love the next article that’s coming up, it is about the Nikon 18-300mm :D

          • 113
            ) Patrick O'Connor
            April 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm

            I’m sure I will :-)
            You know, I really DON’T mean to offend anyone. I’m just too direct. Sometimes the anonymity of the internet makes people act like jerks, who wouldn’t in person. Not me. This is the way I am in person too :-(

            And, for the millionth time, I really don’t care anything about 18-300 lenses! ;-)

  30. 90
    ) Don B
    April 15, 2014 at 11:11 am

    These photos were taken with the Nikon 18-300 lens and a Nikon D7000. I used a tripod, and I shot these from my back yard, and my neighbors porch light was burning bright. These were poor conditions at best. These are not great photos by any means. I would consider them snapshots. They do give an idea of what the 18-300 lens can do with a D7000 camera. An experienced photographer could have done much better than these with the same equipment. I was just experimenting.

    These are straight out of the camera jpgs, converted from raw. No lightroom adjustments were made except for the crop in lightroom 5.4.

    http://www.acdseeonline.com/shared-photo/Donald29/MxQ771N3rwEvk08E70db/18193039/#18193039

    1st photo, pre eclipse is 1/125 sec f18 ( yes 18 ) iso 100 300 mm
    2nd photo mid eclipse 1/2 sec f 5.6 iso 1250 270 mm

    So, the 18-300 lens can take a snapshot of the moon.

    • 92
      ) Don B
      April 15, 2014 at 11:19 am

      I forgot to mention, that these were taken April 15 2014, the the night of the bloodmoon. The moon was pretty dark for the 2nd photo.

    • Profile photo of Keith R. Starkey
      93
      ) Keith R. Starkey
      April 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Oh my gosh, Don…

      These are the worse photos I’ve ever seen. That lens is horrible. It’s a conspiracy, which you are part of, to swoon people away from what is the best lens in the world. I see it all now. (The best lens in the world, you ask? The 35mm f/1.8 DX, obviously. Duh! And on my D3200, taking photos of the moon last night with it, you’d never know it was a moon when I got done with it. Talk about creativity. Maybe… maybe that wasn’t the moon after all. I’m not sure now. Some stupid blood-red object was in the way.)

      Romanas was right: the lens should be crushed and burned with all websites conforming to its necessary demise, with no one being able to post pics on the Web, ever, taken with that lens. Never! (Well, I guess it’d be OK on Ebay, if the lens is being sold grey market for, say, $20.00. I’m in.)

      And Patrick…well, let me tell you about him. I happen to know he’s ordered ten of these lenses (backup means a lot to him), and he plans to crush and burn all his other lenses, taking pics with this world-rejected lens that Romanas hates so much, and send his pics to Romanas, stating that he actually only uses macros with pop-up flash, especially when taking pictures of the moon, when stupid blood-red objects aren’t in the way (the creativity just never stops flowing around here. What photography!)

      Kidding folks! Just trying to keep the hatred, death, destruction and heated conversation going here. All in fun. Don’t attempt to take the lenses away from Patrick…he also has a fleet of retired police-force German Shepherds trained as well to take pictures with that lense! You won’t win, not even Romanas, with his fleet of drones, programmed to swarm houses in which the lense will reside by unsuspecting consumers who should have bought the 35mm f/1.8 DX instead.

      Really, cool shots, Don. And what a cool moon that was, eh. Oh, and and Patrick…I’ll buy one of those lenses from you (and a Shephered too) before Romanas enacts Senate Bill 457, requiring all social media sites to report suspects using this lens, or suffer the wrath of his drones! E-mail me immediately!

      • 97
        ) Patrick O'Connor
        April 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm

        Now that thar’s funny; I don’t care who you are! :-)

        I don’t have any German Shepherds but my Golden Retriever and Australian Shepherd will lick you to death! And they HATE it when I bring out my camera…

        • Profile photo of Keith R. Starkey
          100
          ) Keith R. Starkey
          April 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm

          Love to keep the lighter side of light in balance, ya know. My mother would love the Aust. Shep. She lost dog with a mix of that and Rot a few years back. Darned dog was so aggressive he’d get ticked off at himself when he wandered into his own territory! Way too mean for my test.

          Anyway, thanks much,

          Starkman

          • 103
            ) Patrick O'Connor
            April 15, 2014 at 1:51 pm

            Travis (my Australian Shepherd) is aggressive in a “play with me,” way. His only problem is when the neighborhood kids talk my wife into letting them play with him and Haru (her Golden whose name means “Spring” in Japanese). No matter how often I tell them, “don’t run,” they do and Travis feels the need to herd them…

            • Profile photo of Keith R. Starkey
              105
              ) Keith R. Starkey
              April 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm

              Ah, the herd instinct. Yeah, my former wife’s Collie always wanted play protect/herd with any kids that were around. Being blind in one eye, however, kind of confused the Collie as to which way was which, and it confused the kids: “What, does he want us huddle up? Are we having a meeting? Is he bothered by the fact that we completely shaved him?” (we had to shave him once because of a very bad skin irritation. Wow, a shaved Collie. You haven’t seen anything until you see that!) Very good people dogs, they are. Even when shaved!

      • 101
        ) Don B
        April 15, 2014 at 1:08 pm

        As an 18-300 evangelist, I must say I really enjoy using my drone with the 18-300 lens to spy on Romanas. And chasing Golden Retrievers with the drone is totally fun!

        http://www.acdseeonline.com/share-view/Donald29/jYYWdvbTy9aWCvzpchdY/

        Thanks for the good humor folks. You know I am just kidding. I hardly ever spy on Romanas.

        • Profile photo of Keith R. Starkey
          104
          ) Keith R. Starkey
          April 15, 2014 at 2:08 pm

          Oh…my….gosh!

          You know, it was one thing when I realized that bomb humor was no longer acceptable when traveling, and now drone humor isn’t humorous anymore either. I quit. I give up. I’ll never tell another joke…not with a D7000 flying around these places drone facilitation. (Patrick, quick: I say we convert and let the drone–Wookie win…you DO remember Star Wars, don’t you?)

          What a rig, Don. That’s a cool setup! Myself, I’m thinking of going with the 18-200mm, something I think will give me all-around versatility when I’m not priming it.

          I’m also interested in learning about some of the older lenses (even though the D3200 doesn’t have a motor built into the body). I’d like to know what best-kept secrets, if you will, are out there with regard to older zooms, hek, even older primes, for that matter—I was considering the 35mm F/2D before I found out about the f/2.8G. I don’t mind autofocusing for anything besides wildlife and sports (I think there’s something of a bit of fun in manual focusing).

          But, alas, cash! Oh, if it were not for the fiat, worthless…I MEAN loyally government-issued, surely-it’s-gold-backed dollar. One of these days, though. In time.

          • 106
            ) Don B
            April 15, 2014 at 4:48 pm

            Flying radio controlled quad copters, hexacopters, and octacopters are becoming a popular sport. They are like camera lenses, you keep wanting more. And, they can get expensive. I don’t fly my quad with a camera. I really prefer just flying it around and trying not to crash.

            I don’t know anything about the older Nikon lenses, but people do swear by them. I try to not collect lenses, because I never have have my DSLR with me. A camera that is not with you takes no pictures.

            My next good lens will be in a cell phone. I always have that thing with me.

            I hope people will chime in here to give you advice about the older lenses.

  31. 115
    ) James
    April 18, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Nasim, Romanas,

    I’m curious, when does a lens’ optics ever have *anything* whatsoever do to with the quality of a photo? A lens’ optics is the *last* thing an artist needs to concern himself/herself with when making a good photo. I’m shocked that the two of you don’t understand that. I mean, really, were the two of you just born yesterday??

    • April 18, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Lovely tone there, James ;) I will answer nonetheless. I was speaking strictly of technical image quality, not artistic quality of any particular photograph. There is a very simple reason for it – the latter depends solely on the photographer, whilst we are discussing a lens. But perhaps you do not think gear is worth discussing, only photography itself. A very idealistic, if somewhat extreme/radical opinion that would be. One I could support only to a certain extent. I can go ahead and answer the next question that might or might not pop up in your mind – not every photographer is an artist, wants to be an artist, strives to be an artist or ever will be an artist. In fact, an enormous margin of photographers are not artists.

      What this article is about is a lens that’s, in my opinion, overpriced and unnecessary in Nikon’s lineup. But you can read, surely you understood that and your comment is merely a test of my ability to answer as politely as I can given the circumstances ;)

      And, finally – no, we were not born yesterday. I, for example, was born in 1990 and, though young, am not one day old. :)

      Have a good day!

      • 117
        ) Patrick O'Connor
        April 18, 2014 at 9:57 am

        I didn’t get an email of your reply, only James’ comment, and so was going to reply (not in your place, which of course would be impossible). Your response was, while fundamentally similar to what I was going to write, much more comprehensive than mine would have been :-)

        Dear Diary,
        Today, Romanas and I agreed on something. This will be my last entry since the end of the world must be imminent…
        ;-)

        • April 18, 2014 at 9:58 am

          I think you are exaggerating slightly about the world end! There, you see? Back to normal ;)

  32. 123
    ) Pete
    April 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Romanas,

    I’m curious. Did you read John Sherman’s article in response to yours here?

    Based on John’s excellent response and the stunning photos that can be had with this lens, I am definitely going to buy it – this new one, of course, because it’s lighter. What a great lens! :-D

    Pete

    • April 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Pete,

      yes, of course, I read it several days before it got published and loved it, even mentioned it somewhere before it was published. :) However, it is not so much a response as a different take.

      My main gripe with the new lens is it’s too expensive and unnecessary, because there is the older lens that’s less of a compromise. John wrote about how any lens can be used to capture great photographs, which is absolutely true and not something I’d ever argue against. However, my article stands – if you have a choice, there are far better ones than this lens, some for less money, some for but a little more, and although good photography can be made with any lens, that is down to photographer, not the lens. In other words, in order to buy this particular lens one would want to deliberately spend a lot of money for something that’s not very good. Need an 18-300mm and that’s that? Get the older one. :)

      • 125
        ) Patrick O'Connor
        April 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm

        I wouldn’t buy or pan the new lens before seeing how good (or bad) it actually is.

        • April 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm

          Perhaps that’s wiser than my approach, and yet I can’t help it, mostly because of that awful aperture at the long end which, I suspect, starts much earlier than at 300mm. :)

          • 129
            ) Pete
            April 24, 2014 at 2:52 pm

            I just read Patrick’s comment. Romanas, tell us, what is bad about the aperture? I really don’t get your logic or your negativity, given the quality of John’s photos made wiht the 1st gen lens. I think you’re being very unfair, Romanas, but we’re all entitled to our opinions.

      • 128
        ) Pete
        April 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

        Romanas, I’m confused. Why do you think this lens series is bad? Did you actually see the photos taken by John using the 1st gen lens? They’re amazing! What other lenses do you think are better than this 18-300 series? John’s pics with that lens speak for themselves.

        • April 25, 2014 at 2:15 am

          Oh how I wished not to start this again…

          Alright. The very last time I repeat myself – I think this topic has reached its limit and we are now going in circles. Might as well just quote what I already wrote in the article:

          “Put it on a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor camera, set it to 300mm and what sort of image quality are you left with? f/6.3 might not seem all that different from f/5.6 – both don’t make overexposing the shot in anything but the brightest environment an easy job. And yet if you think that lenses generally reach their peak performance stopped down a little… and that f/6.3 is already affected by diffraction, and that at 300mm the lens is probably at its worst level of performance anyway, there’s not much hope that this lens will be even remotely impressive, unless compared to something equally uninspiring. And here’s another interesting fact. It is currently priced at, wait for it… $899.95.”

          That aperture is absolutely useless in anything but the brightest locations. And yes, I have not forgotten the performance of current DSLR cameras at high ISO’s. That’s still not enough.

          Finally, the fact that someone can make good images with a similar lens is absolutely missing the point. Pete, Patrick, I could hand John one of the worst lenses I’ve ever tried – the Porst 135mm f/2.8. It’s absolutely dismal, at least my copy is. And you know what? He’d probably manage some pretty impressive shots with it. Does that mean someone should buy it from me for a thousand dollars? No! Because it is a poor lens, it’s barely worth 10 bucks, if even that much! The fact is those images show not what a lens can do, but what John can do. It does not make the lens better than it is, and we are talking about a lens, not the person using it, and you are choosing to buy a lens, not a lens plus John packed in a separate box to use it for you. Not once before buying a lens have I thought – ah, I’ll buy something ridiculously poor, but for a lot of money, because I can pull it off. John’s article shows not the quality of the lens – it shows his brilliant choices of light and composition, it shows John’s “quality”. If I was given such a lens and had to pull it off, I would, but I would not choose it myself, I would not voluntarily spend such an amount of money for something that is not a good tool just because I am capable enough to use tools that are not very good. The older 18-300mm lens is already not very good, but it makes sense, and if I had to choose between the two right now, I would choose the older lens. Even if the newer one is not all that bad optically, that aperture is enough for me.

          Do you understand now? I hope you do. It’s not agreement that I am looking for – as you said, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but understanding someone else’s opinion is absolutely crucial in any discussion, otherwise discussions would never, ever end.

          • 131
            ) Patrick O'Connor
            April 25, 2014 at 7:33 am

            I’d prefer not to be lumped in with anyone else. If anyone agrees with me, they’re obviously not paying attention! ;-)

            Yet again, I have to say that my only beef with your opinion was that it discounted anyone else’s. You implied, without actually stating, this lens wasn’t any good for anyone. While you did say that was your opinion, the strength of your arguments made it pretty clear (even for a casual observer such as myself), there was no room for dissent.

            As often as we correspond, I feel like I should start sending you birthday cards or something. :-)

            • April 25, 2014 at 7:34 am

              It’s the 14th of July, Patrick, you have plenty of time to pick out a nice card ;)

            • 133
              ) Patrick O'Connor
              April 25, 2014 at 7:41 am

              No wonder we disagree so often…we’re both “Cancers.” My birthday is July 12th. :-)

          • 135
            ) Pete
            May 17, 2014 at 1:14 am

            Romanas, this is a direct quote from John in his response to your unfair and narrow-minded article:

            “It was fun putting the worst-rated Nikkor up against the best (as well the top 16mp DX vs the top 16mp FX). Just goes to show that pretty much all lenses these days are real good for what most people shoot.

            Now, what do you say to *THAT*! Way to go, John!

            • May 18, 2014 at 7:03 am

              Pete,

              I could quote what I’ve written to a few readers previously, including the comment to which you just replied, but that would do no good given that you obviously missed the point of what I was saying. I could also try and explain how you missed the point of both my article and probably of that written by John, but somehow I also think that would do no good. I could then say you are re-starting a discussion that has ended a while ago and where pretty much everything that could be said has already been said, but everyone has his right to leave a comment, that’s what this section is for. So I’m not going to bother with any of these options thus saving your time and my own. :)

              What I can politely ask you to do is try and refrain from such remarks as “narrow-minded”, or at least add “in my opinion” to make them sound less offensive and by doing so to not discredit your own opinion. As you can see, Patrick and I also don’t always agree, but it never turns into an ugly, offensive argument, we always respect each other. I understand perfectly well there are few subject you and I agree on and that there is perhaps even some tension on your side simply because how aggressive most of your comments are under articles written by me, but there is no reason to act in such an unpleasant manner simply because you don’t think what I think. Otherwise, no one is going to bother answering your comments.

              I really do hope you have a nice day and have time to enjoy it – the weather is great here in Lithuania today, I’m just a bit sad there’s too much work to be done to really enjoy all the sunshine.

  33. 127
    ) Patrick O'Connor
    April 24, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t understand why you think it’s aperture is so bad!? If it were specifically for wildlife or were a lot shorter, sure. But I don’t think its intended audience is doing any serious wildlife photography and with a FOV equal to 450mm (or much earlier), it’ll isolate almost any subject. In fact, its long range will help individuals, who have no idea what aperture is, get a narrower DOF.
    The only real question, in my mind, is what value does the decreased weight bring to the table. Each individual has to decide that for themselves.

    • 134
      ) FGP
      April 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Some of us who are a tad older and whose hands are not up to the job, really appreciate having a lighter weight lens : ) surely an individual thing.

  34. 137
    ) Ashiyawolf
    June 13, 2014 at 1:08 am

    I think it is underestimated how much people seem to value the lighter weight. Ken Rockwell states that he hated carrying his old 18-300, but loves using this new version, and others share his sentiment.

    Also, while this forum, as well as other Nikon forums, have the pro users very upset at this lens and declaring it garbage even before it was available, reviews from people who have actually bought it are very positive and many say it is a great upgrade from their older 18-300 and even the 18-200, with better sharpness across its zoom range as well as great low light responsiveness.

    I do acknowledge that this lens is for a non-pro audience, but I’m DX owner for a reason, and its perfect for me. I think it also keeps Nikon relevant in this time of lightweight point-and-shoot superzooms.

    I also recognize that the slower apeture could be an issue for older cameras, but since I just upgraded to a D7100, this seems like a very happy match for it, the way that my D90 was well paired with the 18-200. I think that the pairing needs to be part of the consideration.

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