|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.
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