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

February 7, 2012 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


Optically, the Nikon AF-S Nikkor DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR is better than we expected it to be, based on its price tag and 5.5x zoom ratio. Centre sharpness, in particular, is very good at most focal lengths, including 300mm where most consumer zooms struggle. Bokeh is fantastic, vignetting is essentially a non-issue, and chromatic aberrations aren't too bad, either. Close-up performance is also decent for a non-macro lens.

The picture isn't quite as rosy when it comes to features, though. Yes, the lens offers Vibration Reduction but there are no separate Active and Normal modes as on the more expensive models, and it also appears to take more time for image stabilisation to kick in. Yes, it's an AF-S lens but it's quite possibly the slowest-focusing one at that. Shooting sports, kids and action in general can thus be a challenge with this lens. Also, focusing isn't internal, meaning the length of the lens changes and the filter thread rotates on focus. Finally, there is no full-time manual focus override, either, which is rather unusual for an AF-S lens.

In conclusion, the AF-S Nikkor DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens is a good choice if you are looking for good optical performance in an affordable telephoto lens, but if you wish to shoot fast-moving subjects on a regular basis, or plan on moving to full-frame in the future, you might want to look for alternative solutions.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3.5
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 4.5