Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Review

January 27, 2011 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | |

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#1 NYFA Photography

Looks like fun!

9:01 pm - Thursday, January 27, 2011

#2 Moshe ben-Shahar

Recently moved up to a D700, up from a D300s with Nikon 18-200VR, and of course got the 28-300 to replace the 18-200 for use as my main lens, and was highly gratified to find a really good and usable lens in a very compact (for what it is) body. The sharpness is very good indeed, even a bit better than the 18-200, which was already extremely good, and more than enough for most day to day photography. Corner light falloff is noticeable under certain circumstances , but not really a problem in most cases, but the distortion is fairly extreme and very noticeable in any photo with straight lines, which is one of the reasons I still need to keep a bag-full of primes. But as I say, for most general photography it does more than well enough. I also found it to work very well indeed with the Tamron (Kenko) pro 1.4X converter throughout its range! It was a tiny bit soft at the short focal lengths (hardly surprising, but still more than usable), and quite remarkably good at the longer focal lengths, even wide open! All in all, quite a remarkable performance!

12:34 pm - Friday, January 28, 2011

#3 Nikon P100 Review

Is that the Budapest Opera building on one of the photos? Next to the Danube? :)

2:53 pm - Saturday, January 29, 2011

#4 Zoltan Arva-Toth

The photos were indeed taken in Budapest - and the building seen in the Sharpness sections is indeed close to the Danube - but it’s actually the National Theatre, not the Opera House. You can, however, see pictures of the latter in our review of the Nikon PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5D ED tilt-shift lens. Take a look at images #9 and #10 on this page:

5:42 pm - Saturday, January 29, 2011

#5 Nikon P100 Review

Thanks, I have seen the Theatre buidling from the Danube side, from the cruise boat. Pity, did’t take any photos then :(

11:59 am - Sunday, January 30, 2011

#6 Golf Event Photography

If this can do on an FX camera what the 18-200 does on a DX, then it will make a brilliant all-rounder, perfect for travel or event photography in particular!

9:10 am - Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I bought this Nikkor after reading Ken Rockwells glowing reports, and a bunch of other reviews that stated how good it was apart from the distortion from 28mm. I liked the idea of the ‘one lens does all’ concept for travelling,  and had high hopes of this working nicely along with my Nikkor pro glass, 14-24mm & 24-70 f/2.8’s. I also carry a couple of fast Nikkor primes and a film lens that I still love, so the 28-300 seemed useful as a walkabout lens, and to maybe capture wildlife back home in Canada.

Sadly, it simply did not live up to expectations. I tried to love this lens, but in the end I didn’t even like it.  When it worked, it was pretty sharp,  but so often it was soft, soft, soft, and not even heading towards the far reaches of 200mm+  I tried stopping down, but in the end to me, the usefulness of the lens was so compromised that it fell out of favour.  Mine might perhaps have been a bad copy,  though that would be a first for me with any Nikkor in forty years of using them.  The softness spoiled the show for me, and so many images were not up to the clarity and detail I expected that I began to lose faith in using this lens.  It is made in Thailand and to me, the quality is just not there, with a terible ill fitting hood that never sits right or feels secure.  Even my old 1988 made in Japan 70-210 f/4-5.6D lens gave me far better and sharper frames (that was metal construction from the good old days).

I sold this lens in the end and lost a bundle in the process.  I went back to the 24-120 f/4 VR and for me, it captures better shots more often and more accurately, though I do miss the extended 300mm far reach of the other lens.  A real shame, and my experiences seem to be in the minority,  but there you go,  they are my experiences.  In a way, this lens did me a favour, as I’ve now gone back to my roots with the purchase of prime Nikkors, the speed and quality of which simply cannot be equalled by a compromised zoom.

4:26 pm - Thursday, May 26, 2011

#8 Herman

I just purchased this lens for my D7000 after a really bad experience with focussing on a brand new Tamron 18-270mm (randomly it just did not focus and I lost some valuable pics!!).

So being on and extensive trip to Canada and Las Vegas, I was forced to purchase a second ‘travel lens’ and decided on this one after quick reviews from Ken Rockwell. Day 1 and 707 photos later, I was stunned by the quality of this lens. Pin sharp through 28-300mm. I took my best shots ever of birds. Of nearly 40 bird pictures in flight, only 2 flopped. In the past it was nearly the other way around!

I cannot tell you how much I live this lens. It is now day 3 and 1400 photos later, I have only deleted about 20 (due to operator stupidity/lack of concentration).

I am not a pro, but also far from an amateur.I grew up with Pentax and Minolta film cameras in the 70’s and 80’s. Now I have a Nikon D200 (first proper DSLR I purchased 4 years ago), D300, D7000 (travel companion camera and loving it). I have around 10 Nikon lenses (4 x prime).  I also have 4 different point-and-shoot cameras - mostly Panasonic Lumix - FZ100, FZ45, TZ20.

Anyway, thought I will share this for what it is worth!

12:03 am - Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#9 Gary Hickson

I’ve had no problems with this lens, works perfectly on my D300 and D7000, sharp as a pin, very smooth and silent. All the people that slate this lens are forgetting it is an all purpose lens, to be used in all scenarios, it is a cracking bit of kit and I am so glad I bought one.

10:59 pm - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

#10 Glyn Davies

I have been very disappointed with my copy of the lens. Soft images and trouble with focusing being too slow to get the shot.  I really hoped this would be the lens to save me carrying a 24-70 & 70-200 when travelling. Unfortunately not. If it is a bad copy, I should really take it back. It is still under warranty.

12:32 am - Friday, September 23, 2011

#11 JD. Prasetyo

Mine is quite sharp. Only a minor lack from my 24-70. The contrast is also good, as good as my N-coat lenses (24-70 and 105 VR). Overall I am satisfied with this lens.
Oh, one more thing.. I tried 3 copies and 1 copy of 24-120 f/4 VR before chose one to be purchased. My dealer was kind enough to let me tried all copies he got (all brand new). Guess what? The variations among them is very minor, but it was there. There indeed was a difference between the 28-300 league with the 24-120VR in term of sharpness. Also when I compared with the mighty 24-70. The 28-300 is less sharp but not very much. So, I agree with Ken’s opinion about how sharp is this lens. Remember, this is more than 10x zoom. So there must be some aspect to be sacrificed.

12:09 pm - Sunday, September 25, 2011

#12 john

Hi All

About the focus. has anybody tried to compensate with the focus fine tune. All my lenses (14-24, 24-70, 70-200) were soft until i tuned them for the D800 now they are spot on

use a high contrast ruler and see where the focus point is

am thinking of getting this lens as changing lenses all the time means lost shots

hope this helps


10:11 am - Friday, October 12, 2012

#13 Daniel Ruf

I’ve been a life long Canon owner, but really wanted to try some of the Nikon creative tools and purchased a really fine D300s and a new 28 - 300 Nikkor lens.  It’s the worst lens I’ve ever owned and, judging from the responses, my issues with soft images is not so unusual.  I should have done a lot more research, sad to say.

6:16 pm - Thursday, November 29, 2012

#14 Mike M

The 28-300 lens is a very nice compromise, but it is exactly that. If I’m only going to shoot wide, I use the 24-70. For mid-tele I use the 70-200. But for a ‘grab 1 bag and go’ combination, the 28-300 on a D800 is hard to beat.
  I also have to AF fine tune all lenses. It looks like some folks already do that, and some need to.

6:18 am - Saturday, February 1, 2014

#15 bruidsfotograaf

Initial reviews looked fine, but thank you for adding some hands-on criticism with regards to sharpness. Was looking for an affordable 120-300 mm tele solution next to my Canon setup. Seems too much to ask for in Nikon mount; even third party doesn’t deliver.

5:32 pm - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Entry Tags

lens, wide-angle, nikon, super-zoom, telephoto, wide angle, landscape, superzoom, nikkor, f3.5, f5.6, 28-300mm, 10.7x, Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR Review, 28-300 mm

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