>If you want to see something alarming, turn off the Auto >Distortion Control in the Camera menu. That reveals the >complex edge distortion at 18-22mm or so and at 250-300mm or >so, with in-between focal lengths reasonably well controlled. >Without auto distortion control in the camera, the lens would >be a real dog for many photographers. ADC is not perfect, but >it turns otherwise alarming edge distortion into something >either barely noticeable or entirely invisible.
I wish that distortion was the only thing that I had to worry about with my 18-300. It really hasn't been sharp enough for me to worry about distortion. I shoot the same scene with my 70-300 & it is much sharper. Since you are looking at results on a D5200, I may try my D5100.
>As for overall sharpness in real world shooting, the fact that >it's effectively a superzoom means that (VR notwithstanding) >photographers have to ensure their handheld and tripod >techniques are solid. VR hover, as seen through the >viewfinder, can ruin a photographer's technique. I watched a >research assistant try the lens in my offices. Mounted on the >D5200 and then on a D7000, the research assistant complained >that the lens seemed to be backfocusing. So I watched her >doing a couple of handheld test shots. What was happening is >that she would quiet herself, aim, half-press to lock focus, >then almost imperceptibly lean forward just before fully >pressing the shutter button. Obviously, she was shifting >position while in AF-S mode. I watched her do the exact same >almost imperceptible position shift/lean while testing in >AF-C, and while doing a focus reaquisition >half-press/lift/half-press/release type of action.
I would be interested if she uses the same technique with other lenses, and gets the same results.
Pretty sure that my D7000 isn't helping all that much. It's going to the service center this week. It is back focusing, albeit a small amount. A small amount can make a difference in the leaf or a blossom being in focus. But I get the same soft photos on my D300 with the 18-300.
There has to be a reason that Nikon is selling them for 30% off during the rebate period. When I get my D7000 back, I will do some bench testing. I do so want this lens to be a keeper for this track season.