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Nikkor 18-300mm Zoom FirstLook

When  we purchased our first Nikon DX camera (D40), it came with an 18-55mm kit lens. Knowing that we would want to “reach out” further, we purchased a 55-200mmzoom in addition to the kit. We used that combo for a while, but when we upgraded the body to the D90, we knew we didn’t want to be switching lenses when hiking about in the wild. So we bit the bullet and coughed up the cash for the 18-200mm DX Zoom. That turned out to be an excellent decision. We used that D90/18-200mm combo for almost three years. Granted, the 18-200mm zoom was nowhere as sharp as the 50mm 1.8 prime, nor could it reach out as far as the Sigma 50-500mm super-zoom, but the lens was so versatile for everyday shooting that it rarely came off of the D90.

In mid-June, Nikon announced that they would be releasing the AFS-DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR at the end of the month. As soon as we heard the announcement, we placed a pre-order for the lens on Amazon. The package showed up over the weekend. Knowing that RainyDayPhotography readers would want a FirstLook immediately, we thought we had better get some unboxing and comparison pics posted ASAP (Front viewLens elements18mm length300mm length).

As expected, everything about 18-300mm lens is bigger and heavier. It takes a 77mm filter vs the 18-200mm’s 72mm. This bigger zoom weighs 1.5x more than the smaller unit (29 oz vs 19 oz). At almost 2 lbs, this lens is not light. However, considering the alternative (multiple lenses, swapping, dust issues), we think the trade-off is well worth it. Go here if you are interested in the  detailed specs for the 18-300mm zoom.

As typical with Nikon, both lenses will work with all of our Nikon DX bodies. For everyday shooting, the standard setup will now be the D90/18-300mm combo. However, when we want to travel light and still have maximum versatility, we will grab the D40/18-200 pair. If we think we need a bit more reach, we’ll pop on the 18-300mm. How great is that?

We will be spending the next week doing test shots around the office. We will also take it out for a spin. FirstShots will be posted soon.

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