Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens

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Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens

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Description

Fitting the lens to the camera is a doddle and within minutes I was taking photos of deer and squirrels away in the distance. This lens really does open up a whole new world of photo opportunities. See the video for a real demonstration of the telephoto lens in use at several focal lengths. It is possible to take good close up images, not quite macro, but still close up. In terms of features, the Nikon AF-S Nikkor DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR is a bit of a mixed bag. One one hand, it has Vibration Reduction on board – hence the VR abbreviation in the product name –; on the other, it isn't as sophisticated as on some other Nikon lenses. There's an on-off switch on the lens barrel, but there's no choice between active and normal modes. Likewise, the lens has a built-in auto-focus motor that allows AF operation on every Nikon DX camera body, including entry-level offerings like the D3100 or D5100, but – unlike with most other AF-S lenses – focusing is not internal, and manual focusing is not possible when the focus mode selector is set to the 'A' position, as shown above. The lens has no distance scale and no focus limiter, either. VR is the second version like my 16-85mm and works very well at 300mm. The only thing I noticed about the VR is that it takes a half-second or so to stabilize, so you have to be a bit patient before you press the shutter.

Macro results are fair for this lens, with a magnfication of 0.28x, and a close-focusing range of 1.4 meters (around 4 and a half feet).If corner shading is an issue at all, it's when the lens is used at its widest apertures, and then, at 100mm or longer; even then, we note corners that are only 1/3 EV darker than the center. Stopped down, corner shading is negligible.

Sharpness and performance are extraordinary. A lens this inexpensive never used to have the right to be this embarrassingly good. VR ( Vibration Reduction or image stabilization) works great; I can shoot at 1/30 at 200mm and get sharp shots without a tripod! The results are amazing on my 12 megapixel D300, and the 55-200mm VR is so tiny it feels perfect for travel on my D40.

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This is by no means an over-exaggeration – this is how small the new 300mm f/4E VR really is when compared to its predecessor! My next series of tests involved driving to and wandering around a local Spanish mission. These tests, with my D7100, were not comparisons, per se. But I have taken so many earlier shots at the same locations with several lenses that I tend to remember the earlier results. My principal purpose, though, was not comparison but just to see what the lens does with a variety of subjects and its full range of focal lengths, with and without the Kenko 1.4x TC and in or out of crop mode. Although the bokeh looks a little “edgy”, it is not as bad as the bokeh on the 28-300mm. The Nikon 28-300mm bokeh looks very dirty in comparison.

which on a DX camera gives angles of view similar to what an 80-450mm lens sees when used on an FX or 35mm camera. Now here is where things start getting interesting for the 55-300mm – it performs sharper not only wide open, but also stopped down to f/8.0 in the corners: The Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF ED VR is physically just like the Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR, earning it “world’s lightest 300mm full-frame lens” title. Nikon was able to achieve this by using a Phase Fresnel (PF) lens element, which can effectively reduce the need to use complex lens elements for correcting chromatic aberrations and ghosting. Basically, the use of a Phase Fresnel lens element is what allowed Nikon to significantly reduce both the size and weight of the lens. Not for: Film or FX digital cameras. Slow autofocus and needing to move a switch to get to and from manual focus makes the 55-300mm poor for moving subjects; use the 70-300mm VR instead for fast action, as well as for film and FX. This lens is mainly for outdoor shooting with lots of light. Low light is difficult, but nothing a flash can't solve. However, using a flash will limit your max shutter speed to 1/200's of a second, and if you are zoomed all the way in handheld it is best to try to keep a shutter speed of 1/400 or faster. As a result, you'll have to be extra steady when using the flash if you are zoomed all the way in.At 300mm, if you're way out of focus, you may have to try a couple of times to get the camera to wake up and focus. This is because you can get so far out of focus at 300mm that the camera has no idea what's going on, since the image becomes just one big blur. If this is a problem, focus on something else halfway to your intended subject to get the camera sort of in focus, and then it ought to focus the rest of the way to the subject next time you hit the shutter. This isn't a lens issue as much as an issue with all supertelephoto AF lenses. When it comes to corner performance @ 200mm, the Nikon 55-300mm takes the lead just like in the 105mm corner test. The hood is a new design and snaps on to the front element (easier to put on for sure because you don't have to line up any notches). It's always loose so it rotates freely (not too easily though). To remove it, you have to depress two tabs and pull it off. I don't get the feeling this is a solid design here and worry that any bang on the hood will break it off. I'm hoping it's sturdier than it feels and I think Nikon got a little cheap here.



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