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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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This article is brought to you by the "Ask B&H Photo" Forum. B&H New York kindly has supported Nikonians by providing this lens for review to Nikonians Academy Director and author Mike Hagen.


Photographers are always searching for the single lens that meets all of our needs. It has to be sharp at all focal lengths and apertures without costing too much money. Like you, I’m always intrigued when a lens manufacturer announces a new “all-in-one” zoom lens that would allow me to travel without a bag full of lenses. However, I also know the reality that all-in-one zooms often don’t live up to the advertising hype.

As a working pro, I need tools that get the job done. My lenses have to produce results that I can publish in books and magazines and also look great hanging on a wall as a large print.


Nikon 28-300mm mounted on Nikon D700 camera body

Nikon’s newest super zoom, the 28-300mm has big shoes to fill considering Nikon’s history for creating some of the sharpest lenses in the world. Nikon has been making great zoom lenses for many years and created a cult-like following with their famous DX 18-200mm f3.5 – f5.6. This lens was so popular when it first came out that it took years for Nikon to catch up with all the backlogged orders. As Nikon’s FX cameras (D700, D3, D3s, D3x) have gained prominence, shooters have been looking for a similar lens designed for the full frame camera. Nikon answered the call with the AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR.


Nikon 28-300mm lens at maximum zoom (300mm)

The lure of a super zoom is that you can buy just one lens for travel and you won’t need to carry along a bag full of gear. Traveling with just one lens will save enormous weight and bulk. For example, when I travel with my f2.8 lenses, my bag can weigh over 25 pounds! I bring a couple of SLR bodies, a 14-24mm f2.8, 24-80mm f2.8, 70-200 f2.8 and a teleconverter. The 28-300mm covers most everything I need for travel in a relatively compact package. With this one single lens, I can cover everything from medium-wide-angle to telephoto with the twist of the wrist.




This 10.7x zoom lens has VR II stabilization that works incredibly well for low light photography. During my testing, I was able to hand-hold photos in the lowest light levels with my Nikon D700 and D7000 cameras and still get sharp images. For example, look at this photo I took in Disneyland handheld at 1/8 second. The image is sharp and holds up well when I zoomed in on my computer monitor. I took many other photos at shutter speeds ranging from 1/4 sec. to 1/30 sec. and was always impressed with the VR system’s ability to stabilize the image.


Disney’s Cinderella castle at twilight. Nikon D7000, 28-300mm @ 55mm

This lens has two VR options to choose from: Normal and Active. Use Normal for most situations where you are hand holding the lens while standing on solid ground. Use Active when you are shooting from a moving base such as a boat or a moving car.


(8 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.

User 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.

User 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 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!

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