The last announcement from today is the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX lens, an update to the existing Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED VR DX lens that was announced back in March of 2007. The lens was announced together with the Nikon D3100, because it is a DX lens and will most likely be a part of the future two lens kit for the D3100.
NOTE: A full review of this lens can be found in my Nikon 55-300mm VR Review article.
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX Specifications
Here are the lens specifications:
- Focal length: 55-300mm
- Maximum aperture: f/4.5-5.6
- Minimum aperture: f/22-29
- Lens construction: 17 elements in 11 groups (with two ED glass elements and one HRI lens element)
- Angle of view: 28°50’ – 5°20’
- Minimum focus distance: 1.4 m/4.59 ft.(throughout the entire zoom range)
- Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.28x
- No. of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded)
- Filter-attachment size: 58mm
- Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): Approximately 76.5 x 123 mm/3.0 x 4.8 in.
- Weight: Approximately 530 g/18.7 oz.
- Supplied accessories: 58mm Snap-on Front Lens Cap LC-58, Rear Lens Cap LF-4, Bayonet Hood HB-57, Flexible Lens Pouch CL-1020
And additional information from the Nikon press release:
The new AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR fills a variety of roles as the perfect lens for family picture takers and photo enthusiasts alike. This lens is the ideal complement to the 18-55mm VR DX-format camera kit lens, such as the one coupled with the just-released D3100 D-SLR camera, and provides users with an affordable way to achieve super zoom focal lengths from 82.5mm to 450mm (35mm equivalent). The 55-300mm VR lens brings the benefits of longer focal lengths into range for users when capturing distant subjects, such as at athletic events, family gatherings and summer vacations. Additional features include a Tripod Detection Mode, which allows users to keep VR image stabilization activated and automatically compensates for minute vibrations when mounted on a tripod. Additionally, a High Refractive Index (HRI) lens element is implemented to keep the lens compact while offering high contrast even at maximum aperture. The optical construction consists of two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Elements that effectively minimize chromatic aberration, even at the widest aperture settings.
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G vs Nikon 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX MTF Charts (Left: Wide, Right: Tele):
To compare, here are the Nikon 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX MTF Charts (Left: Wide, Right: Tele):
In terms of performance, both look very similar to me. The Nikon 55-300mm seems to have a slight edge in the corners when shot wide open at the widest zoom of 55mm, but everything else looks the same, even on the telephoto side. From the charts, we can see that the Nikon 55-300mm performs equally well @ 300mm as the 55-200mm @ 200mm, which is certainly good news, because those extra 100mm will certainly be handy for distant subjects.