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on Jul 17, 2012 in Camera Tech, Gear Just Introed!

Nikon 18-300DX

When I saw the announcement for the new Nikon 18-300AFS DX lens, I thought it might be an ok knock about lens. I mean really, that’s a huge zoom range! I’ve never been a big fan of these zooms, the normal tendency is vignetting and less then tack sharp results. To say I’m more then pleased is an understatement. Being a DX lens, I shot with it on Sharon’s D7000 and for the last week, been having fun with it. First thing you’ll notice, it doesn’t vignette.

OK…it has a huge range…now what? The one thing I needed to know before moving forward, it is sharp? At 18mm, sharp really is a relative thing because at 18mm, things look sharp because they are small, you can’t really tell. Here’s the Sunday scene at Lake Mary, pretty typical for Mammoth in the summer.

Zoom out to 300mm and shoot the colorful kayaks in the center of the frame (that is an impressive range!)…

Is it really sharp? You can’t tell from these kinds of test posted on the web. You have to take the work of the reviewer. I think it’s sharp, I’m actually surprised to be saying that. Now it’s not a true zoom, you focus on a object at 18mm and then zoom out to 300mm, the focus point is not retained. The lens really expands at 300mm (there is a 18mm lock and that front does move when extended). But that’s not the point of this lens. It’s meant to be a one lens does all so you will focus every time you compose. But is it sharp? On our Sunday walk, we had a Bald Eagle grab a trout on the other side of the lake and even though it was an ugly eagle, it was a viable field test to see if the lens is sharp.

See, an ugly eagle. To give it its due, it just fledged its young for the year, it earned the right to look tired. When it flew overhead, I zoomed out to 300mm and shot. That’s what you see above. Pretty small image size but when we crop in 200%, we get this…

To be honest with you, those are results I simply did not expect. I’m totally impressed by the results of the 18-300AFS! I have no problem recommending it to you, being a great first lens, only lens or additional lens to any camera system!