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Lens Reviews

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

Mike Hagen (Mike_Hagen)

Keywords: nikkor, 300mm, normal, lenses, nikon, 28_300mm

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Autofocus was extremely accurate, nailing almost every single photo. All the resulting photographs were sharp and contrasty, and produced professional quality results throughout the focal range.

AF speed wasn’t as fast as my f2.8 lenses, but that’s to be expected. I didn’t have any trouble tracking movement. For example, I went to a local Minor League baseball game and used the lens to track players as they pitched, hit and run. The AF system accurately followed all the action in AF-C mode.


Tacoma Rainiers pitcher. Nikon D7000, 28-300mm @ 300mm

Photographers who are interested in resolution test target results will quickly find out that the 28-300mm isn’t as sharp as Nikon’s Nano coated lenses. However, absolute resolution isn’t the point of this lens. The truth is that in real world shooting scenarios, the resulting photographs are amazing. As I compared photos taken with other lenses side by side on my calibrated Eizo computer monitor, it was near impossible to distinguish a difference between the 28-300mm and other pro glass in my arsenal.


Purple flowers. Nikon D700, 28-300mm @ 300mm

The 28-300mm has a minimum focus distance of 18 inches at all focal lengths. This means that you can set your camera on a tripod, then zoom the lens to different settings and not have to change the position of the camera. This constant focus distance is especially helpful when composing for flowers, bugs or other close-ups where moving the tripod will be difficult.

The 9-blade iris produced a very nice Bokeh as long as the background elements were a distance away. Bokeh improved dramatically when shooting images at 300mm.


Pink flower and ferns to show example of bokeh. Nikon D700, 28-300mm @ 200mm

(7 Votes )
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Originally written on June 16, 2011

Last updated on October 16, 2014

Mike Hagen Mike Hagen (Mike_Hagen)

Expert photography teacher

Gig Harbor, USA
Basic, 149 posts


kam leung (professorune) on July 4, 2013

This lens combined with the 17 -35 f2.8 gives me a range from 17 to 300. Only problem is the long end of this lens doesn't really give a true 300 focal length.

Zita Kemeny (zkemeny) on April 17, 2013

Good lense explanation. Thanks.

User on February 1, 2013

I have an unopened 70-300/f4.5. Should I sell it and get the 28-300? IQ is my issue.

dai ngo (daiqngo) on August 3, 2012

I'm using the 28-300 on my D5100 DX body. That lens, coupled with the 12-24 DX, give me pretty much all the range I need for aviation photography. So far, I have no complaint, except for the weight of the 28-300 (almost 1 kg). No lens creep problem when you engage the 28-lens lock.

Stephen Ng (stephen27) on June 28, 2011

Thanks a million Mike for providing the review on the Nikkor AF-S 28-300mm, f/3.5 - 5.6G ED VR lens including providing some photographs shot by the lens. Such reviews and photos are really very useful especially coming from a professional as it helps me make up my mind. I will definitely be getting this lens soon.

User on June 26, 2011

My experience is that if you want reach the 70-300mm is a better lens and much sharper and focuses faster at 300mm. Whereas the 28-300mm is an extremely capable lens it in my view does not replace the 70-300mm for birding, sports etc. There again if the 28-300mm is equally as capable at 300mm, then I guess it would have replaced the 70-300mm anyway.

Stephen Ng (stephen27) on June 25, 2011

Hello everybody, Greetings from Singapore. I am an avid photography enthusiast and have a D700 and f/2.8, 24-70mm zoom lens. Appreciate it greatly if anybody can recommend me books (please provide me the website too) on how to improve my photograpy skills please. I used to order books from Amazon.com but have decided to stop completely after they made an illegal deduction without my approval (double deduction made)making use of my credit card number provided for the first order.

Stephen J. Mott (sjmott) on June 24, 2011

Anyone have any experience using this lens for action photography on a DX body? Specifically, would this lens be a good one lens solution "air show" lens?

User on June 21, 2011

This lens will work with the Kenko x1.4 Pro DG as I read the post here and tried it. It maintains autofocus, but there is a softening of the image. Why would anyone want to as at 28mm the aperture is 6.3 and at 300,, f8. The nikon teleconverters will not fit at all.

User on June 21, 2011

Great review. However, For me there is a small "but". As many who contributed to my thread will know, my only criticism on my model is the highly annoying AF motor noise. After sending it to Nikon UK and receieving it back with a note "no fault found" I pushed them and they said the noise was caused by the piezo design of the motor and was perfectly normal. Apart from that the lens works superbly, sharp crisp images at all focus lengths. I have received some looks from people next to me when using it in a quiet location however! Anyone else got one that does that please?

Joe Swick (joeswick) on June 21, 2011

Carrying 2 cameras with the 24-70 & the 70-200 is a nice way to shoot on the road. Having this really sharp lens changes my street walking. I have been very pleased on the D700 & D300s. A good value price and I can get good mileage with 1 camera. Lens hood keeps falling off I had to use tape to keep from dropping the hood. Mike -a good lens for Africa? I will bring mine.

Richard George (Arninetyes) on June 21, 2011

I bought this lens for use at work because of its flexibility. It works quite well for that purpose combined with my D700. Two things: 1) My copy does have lens creep. The barrel lock is very much needed. 2) My wife saw it, tried it on her D40, and I haven't seen it since. And, no. I can't afford a second one.

User on June 21, 2011

Nikon has yet to acknowledge if this lens works with a teleconverter. There is no information published yet, that I have found, and Nikon has not responded with a reply.

Gertjan Welgemoed (Welgemoed) on June 20, 2011

Yes, I agree, it’s a rather good lens for an all-in-one. My brand new copy however had to be adjusted by Nikon Service, due to a fluctuating front and back focus over the zoom range on my D3S. Nikon’s QC allows probably some flaws... Thanks to NPS adjustment was done in less than one day.

Gertjan Welgemoed (Welgemoed) on June 20, 2011

Yes, I agree, it’s a rather good lens for an all-in-one. My brand new copy however had to be adjusted by Nikon Service, due to a fluctuating front and back focus over the zoom range on my D3S. Nikon’s QC allows probably some flaws... Thanks to NPS adjustment was done in less than one day.

User on June 20, 2011

Mike, how does this lens work with the Nikon teleconverters?

Don Murray (DR Mumbles) on June 20, 2011

This is a great lense. A friend has the lense but lives too far away to let me use it. Maybe Mrs. Santa will be generous around Christmas. The barrel lock is worth the price increase, my 18-200 is aggravating but, works well if the wide rubber band doesn't dry out and break. If you can afford one jump on it. DRM

AL K. DORIS (akdoris) on June 19, 2011

Yes, it is true! The 28-300mm is a superb lens at a very reasonable price. I would recommend it without hesitation...!!!

Anthony L. DeWitt (aldewitt) on June 16, 2011

Darn you Mike. Now i am going to have to buy this lens for my D700. I loved the photos!

J Van Den Heuvel (Shuttercup) on June 16, 2011

I like the fact that they put a barrel lock on the lens to stop lens creep. I hated my 18-200 for that!