Nikon 55-300mm VR Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR lens that was released in August of 2010 together with three other lenses – Nikon 85mm f/1.4G, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and Nikon 24-120mm f/4.0 VR. The Nikon 55-300mm VR lens is a major update to the existing Nikon 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6G ED VR lens that was released in 2007. Just like the 55-200mm VR, it is designed to be used with the Nikon 18-55mm DX VR kit lens to provide expanded focal range for telephoto shots. Nikon 55-300mm is currently the cheapest way to get to true 300mm focal length in Nikon’s current line of lenses, with a little more shorter range to work with than the Nikon 70-300mm VR lens.

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

It is an ideal lens to be used for family events and vacations to capture distant subjects, and the use of Vibration Reduction (VR) technology makes it easier to get sharp photographs at slower shutter speeds, especially when shooting at 300mm. Similar to the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens, the Nikon 55-300mm VR comes with two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Elements, which due to less air bubbles and glass deformities within the glass elements help minimize chromatic aberration and deliver sharper images at large apertures. The Nikon 55-300mm VR lens is only designed to work on Nikon DX (cropped) sensors and has an equivalent field of view of approximately 82.5mm-450mm (in 35mm equivalent), which makes the lens particularly good for reaching distant subjects. Autofocus is practically silent, thanks to the Silent Wave Motor (AF-S) within the lens.

In this review, I will do my best to provide a thorough analysis of this lens, along with some image samples and comparisons against other Nikon professional telephoto lenses.

1) Lens Specifications

Main Features:

  1. Compact DX-format zoom lens with High Refractive Index lens element, ED glass and VR II image stabilization allows expanded photo and video opportunities that are designed to bring the action closer to the photographer.
  2. Nikon VR II Image Stabilization/Vibration Reduction, engineered specifically for each VR NIKKOR lens, enables handheld shooting at up to 4 shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible, assuring dramatically sharper still images and video capture.
  3. HRI (High Refractive Index) Lens Element is essential to keeping the lens compact while offering high contrast even at maximum aperture.
  4. Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables fast, accurate and quiet autofocus.
  5. The minimum focus distance is at 4.6 feet at all focal lengths.
  6. 5.5X Telephoto Zoom lens is ideal for capturing distant subjects at athletic events, family pictures, dramatic sunsets, travel and more. Angle of view is equivalent to a focal length of 82.5 to 450mm in FX/35mm format D-SLR.
  7. Tripod Detection Mode reduces vibration that may occur due to shutter release when mounted on a tripod.
  8. 2 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Elements effectively minimize chromatic aberration, even at the widest aperture settings.
  9. Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) enhances light transmission efficiency and offers superior color consistency and reduces flare.
  10. Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm renders more natural appearance of out-of-focus image areas.

Technical Specifications:

  1. Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet
  2. Focal Length Range: 55-300mm
  3. Zoom Ratio: 5.5x
  4. Maximum Aperture: f/4.5
  5. Minimum Aperture: f/22
  6. Format: DX
  7. Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 28°50′
  8. Minimum Angle of View (DX-format): 5°20′
  9. Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.28x
  10. Lens Elements: 17
  11. Lens Groups: 11
  12. High Refractive Index Elements: 1
  13. Compatible Format(s): DX, FX in DX Crop Mode
  14. VR (Vibration Reduction/Image Stabilization): Yes
  15. Diaphragm Blades: 9
  16. Distance Information: Yes
  17. ED Glass Elements: 2
  18. Super Integrated Coating: Yes
  19. Autofocus: Yes
  20. AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
  21. Minimum Focus Distance: 4.6 ft. (1.4m) throughout entire zoom range
  22. Focus Mode: Auto/Manual
  23. Filter Size: 58mm
  24. Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on
  25. Dimensions (Approx.): 3.0×4.8 in. (Diameter x Length) 76.5x123mm (Diameter x Length)
  26. Weight (Approx.): 18.7 oz. (580g)
  27. Supplied Accessories: HB-57 Snap-on Type Lens Hood, LC-58 Snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, CL-1020 Soft Lens Case

Detailed specifications for the lens, along with MTF charts and other useful data can be found in our lens database.

Mountain Pika

NIKON D300 + 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 270mm, ISO 400, 1/500, f/8.0

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