While APS-C D-SLRs are very well catered for when it comes to multi-purpose superzoom lenses, if you’re a full-frame shooter, the choice is rather more limited. But now there’s Nikon’s 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR.
Designed specifically for Nikon’s full-frame FX D-SLRs such as the D700 and D3S, the 28-300mm offers a very flexible zoom range for those looking for an all-purpose lens that’s suitable for anything from landscapes to tight action shots. It’s also quite at home on a DX-format D-SLR, offering a 35mm focal length equivalent of 42-450mm. There’s a variable maximum aperture of f/3.5-5.6 and Nikon’s AF-S technology, used to reduce AF noise. To help manage the risks of camera shake at the longer focal lengths of the lens, there’s Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, which offers the ability to shoot at a shutter speed 4 stops slower than you would normally be able to.
Thanks to the 10.7x zoom, there’s a few optical elements in there that make it a pretty weighty piece of glass. There are dedicated switches for M/A, VR and whether VR is Normal (suitable for panning) or Active, as well as one to lock the lens at 28mm so as to stop the lens ‘creeping’ down when slung over your shoulder.
The zoom ring is relatively stiff, but smooth through the range, while the manual focus ring is a touch on the small side and positioned quite a way back towards the rear element. While those who have faster glass may notice slower AF speed compared to what they may be used to, AF performance on the whole is good, only really struggling in low contrast scenes.
Results from the lens are more than adequate – sharpness is good, though when it’s wide open, vignetting can be a slight issue. It also suffers from minor distortion at wider focal lengths, but on the whole, the lens puts in a solid performance – especially considering the focal range.
The 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR is a good option for those full-frame shooters looking for a versatile superzoom, but if you demand the best optical quality and performance, then there are more focused alternatives available with shorter zoom ranges.
- Street price: £269 (As of July 2016)
- Construction: 19 elements in 14 groups
- Maximum aperture: f/3.5-5.6
- Minimum aperture: f/22-38
- Aperture blades: 9
- Minimum focus: 0.5m
- Filter size: 77mm
- Dimensions: 83x114.5mm
- Weight: 800g
- Visit: www.nikon.co.uk
This review was first published in the January 2011 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.