Nikon 28-300mm Lens- Quick Review
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I recently have had the chance to borrow a Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5 - 5.6G AF-S ED VR lens and was very impressed with it. So much so that I decided to write up a quick Blog review on it.
So first, let’s get some of the technical jargon out of the way. What exactly does “28-300mm f/3.5 - 5.6G AF-S ED VR” actually all really mean (see below)? If you already know most of this, then just skip on down to the review section.
Technical Jargon (Specs):
Let’s start with the “28-300mm”. This is a zoom lens and “28-300mm” is referring to the available focal length of the lens. It is an FX designated lens, which in Nikon terms means it is designed for a camera body that has a Full Frame sensor- such as the Nikon D600, D700, D800, and D4 to name a few. But, it is fully usable and compatible with Nikon DX bodies also like the D3200, D5200, D7000, D90, etc…
The “f/3.5 – 5.6” designation is referring to the minimum aperture rating of the lens. Aperture refers to the size of the lens opening- the bigger the opening (aperture) the more available light can come through. A large aperture (or “wide open”) is typically f/1.4 or f/1.8 whereas a really small aperture is f/16 or f/22.
With this lens the aperture value will change depending on the focal length. So at 28mm the largest possible aperture value you can select is f/3.5 and that is the lens's widest opening (more light/faster shutter speeds). Fully extended at 300mm and the largest possible aperture becomes f/5.6 (a smaller diameter/less light).
The “G” designation means it is a newer lens without a manual aperture control ring.
“AF-S” refers to the focusing system and means that the lens is driven by the Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology for really fast and quiet auto-focusing.
“ED” stands for Extra-Low Dispersion Glass and is produced by Nikon to provide lenses with better built in optimum correction against Chromatic Aberration (or color fringing).
And finally the “VR” equates to Vibration Reduction. This is a Nikon image stabilizing technology built into the lens to reduce camera shake/blur.
So all of it is really good stuff and helps in some form or fashion!!
The focal range coverage of this lens makes it extremely versatile! You can go from 28mm wide to 300mm zoom instantly. For me this would be a GREAT lens for traveling in almost any situation. Instead of packing multiple lenses with different focal lengths, you basically have an awesome all in one lens. This is beneficial for shooting in various environments such as tightly cropped images in a big city all the way to capturing distant subjects in the outdoors.
Ease of use:
Very easy to use, like most other zoom lenses. Once nice feature is that it has a Locking mode where you can lock the lens in at 28mm. I find this nice and handy if your images are requiring a constant wide angle- you can just lock it in and it’s one less thing to worry about.
I did notice that there was a little more tension on the zoom ring than what I'm used to. But this is most likely because with this lens when you zoom in/out the lens barrel protrudes/retracts. But overall I didn’t find any problem with it.
It’s pretty big and a bit heavy, but not too bad since it is built very well. To me it’s actually big when it is at 28mm, but fully extended it seems okay in my opinion. The optics for this lens are really good- the lens itself has 19 lens elements that include 2 ED glass elements and 3 Aspherical elements. In layman’s terms this just means that it’s packed with really good quality Nikon glass.
Additionally, I was really impressed with the Auto-focusing system; it’s really fast and accurate and the lens produces super sharp images! And the VRII system is great for assisting against motion blur.
Currently it is priced at a little over $1,000.00 (amazon.com link). The price point isn't bad at all considering the overall quality of this lens. However, if it were a couple hundred dollars less then this would be an incredible bargain for what your getting!! But, like most Nikon brand lenses, it is priced appropriately. There are some serious (and cheaper) 3rd party lenses being produced by Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina that are getting ALOT of raves and may be worth consideration if you are looking at purchasing a lens of this type.
However, this is a NIKON lens with amazing Nikon glass which covers such a wide focal range, and does it very well! So, I’d have to say that if you want to shell out for a great all around lens and want Nikon brand instead of 3rd party, then this is your lens. Another added benefit of Nikon brand is that they typically hold their value and durability for much longer.
I could go on and on with more specifications and technical babble, so let me cut myself off.
I would highly recommend this lens to anyone that is looking for a great “overall” lens that is willing to invest the money for it. If I owned it, then it would be THE ONE lens I’d take with me for personal travel and vacations. I think color rendition is really good; it has fast and accurate auto-focusing and is a really, really sharp lens. And best of all it is just a really FUN lens to use!
All this comes with ONE CAVEAT- and that is you may need plenty of available light… Remember that the widest possible aperture is f/3.5 at the lower (28mm) focal range- but that minimum amount reduces to 5.6 when fully extended at 300mm. So as long as there is plenty of available light this lens won’t be an issue. But, if you are in low light or unfavorable light conditions you may find this lens might be a little on the slow side which could cause some motion blur to your images if not adjusting your settings accordingly.
Overall I would rate this as an intermediate level lens, so it should be more than suitable for most people. I would love to have one and personally it would be my go to lens for things like travel, birthday parties, family events, and places like the zoo, the beach, etc…It is a Nikon lens, so that is an added bonus because I know I can count on the quality behind the brand.
The best advice when lens shopping is to figure out what need or want (zoom, macro, wide angle, etc..) and then compare different lenses from multiple manufacturers and try to make the best decision based on your need/want, quality, and cost.
There are a lot of great sites out there that you can rview samples from specific lenses and/or camera's before purchasing:
Be sure to take a look at some quick sample shots I took using this lens at the link below (image sizes were truncated for web optimization):
Also feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any additional questions!