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

With a fantastic focal range of 55-300mm and its lightweight design, this sleek telephoto from Nikon could be the second lens you’ve been craving!So you’ve just opened your camera bag and there it is… your new DSLR with its lonely kit lens attached, the empty space beside it screaming for another piece of gear, but what? Some would suggest a flashgun, we would recommend a longer focal length lens. Not always the cheapest option but a great way of shooting more subjects. And with a focal length of 55-300mm, Nikon’s new extended range telephoto zoom could be just the ticket.

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

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

Why buy a telephoto?

Buying your first telephoto lens can always be a bit of a headache. Short telephoto, long telephoto, expensive pro spec or budget zoom? Both 70-300mm and 55-200mm lenses are already popular choices for Nikon users wanting to expand their portfolio with nature or action images. These focal lengths combined together allow you to cover a great range of 55-300mm. Those of you wanting to embrace these focal lengths are in for a treat.

Classy performance

With its Silent Wave Motor, focusing in quiet situations is easy. No need to worry about frightening wildlife away with a loud clunky focusing mechanism here! When we were testing the lens outdoors in bright lighting conditions we did find the focusing to be a bit hit-or-miss. With the focusing point set to the centre of the frame the focusing was tracking all over the place before finally settling on my subject. When the sun went down and we were shooting in low light conditions the lens was actually much more precise, and allowed me to put the VR to the test. The first thing we’re always keen to see on a lens that has the VR switch is just how effective the function is. Sometimes we find that as soon as you switch over to VR the lens almost seems to overcompensate your movements, leaving you feeling slightly dizzy. The Nikon on the other hand is very subtle and copes with camera shake perfectly.


  • Street price: £269 (As of July 2016)
  • Maximum aperture: f/4.5-5.6
  • Filter size: 58mm
  • Autofocus motor: Silent Wave Motor
  • Aperture blades: 9
  • Lens hood supplied: Yes
  • Image Stabiliser: Yes
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.4 m
  • Weight: 530g
  • Dimensions: 76.5x123mm
  • Verdict:

This review was first published in the December 2010 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.