Nikon 28-300mm VR lens on DX

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kenneth_cortland, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. Has anyone who has used this lens talk about its sharpness? I would like to know how this lens compares with the 18-200mm DX lens? I use a D90, and this lens is intriguing for travel purposes because of its range. I would think that coupling this with a 12-24mm and a fast prime would make the perfect vacation kit for DX shooters, but I'm concerned about the softness and lens creep issues that plague the 18-200mm. Any thoughts on this?
     
  2. I think this is a FX lens so 18-200 for your DX camera should be good enough as a travel lens.
     
  3. A gap between 24 and 28 mm does not sound very ideal to me at all. I think for DX the ideal travel combo would be the 16-85 and 70-300VR coupled with a 35 f/1.8.
    The 28-300 has just been released, so reviews will start coming in soon enough.
     
  4. The 28-300 has higher performance than the 18-200. I'm using mine on a D200 modified for IR and obtain great results. For a change its VR feature functions really well.
     
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I just bought the 28-300 AF-S VR yesterday, partly due to the positive feedback from Bjorn Rorslett: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00X75W.
    I am not going to comment on its sharpness until I have more experience with it. The 18-200 is fairly soft on its long end; therefore, it is not difficult to beat it. Construction quality is good on the 28-300; of course the barrel is still plastic and the lens extends in two sections when you zoom from 28mm to 300mm, but it feels reasonably solid and the front does not wobble as the 18-200 DX does. Similar to Version 2 of the 18-200, there is a little lock to lock the lens to 28mm to prevent creeping, but mine does not creep anyway while pointing downward, at least not yet. (That problem may develop when the lens gets older.)
    The main downsides are cost and f5.6. The 28-300 becomes f5.6 from about 105mm and longer. It is not a problem under bright daylight; you definitely feel the slowness in the evening and indoors. I also find that 28mm is not quite wide enough even on FX.
    Since you are using a DX-format D90, I would get the 18-200mm DX super zoom instead of the 28-300, which is mainly for FX bodies. 28mm is definitely not wide enough on DX, although it may be ok if you also have a 12-24 to cover your wide end.
    When zoomed to 28mm, the 28-300 is reasonably small, similar in size as my 17-35mm/f2.8.
     
  6. Thanks all. I actually owned the 18-200mm DX previously, but it was a MAJOR pain due to the zoom creep and the IQ softness issue. Maybe I had a bad copy, but my take on the 18-200 is that the lens was pretty poor (compared to the 16-85 I have currently). I would have to hold the zoom ring if I wanted to take a picture of a bird in flight or anything else that was above my eye level. I don't think the gap between 24 and 28 is a major thing for me at all, but that break point might be when this lens is coupled with a a DX wide angle.
    The 16-85 and the 70-300 actually became my travel kit (and a really good one) after the 18-200mm, but once I bought an ultra-wide angle, I now carry three zooms plus the prime. Oftentimes I'll leave the the 16-85 at home since my prime is a 50mm and sits pretty much in the middle of the 24mm to 70mm break, but the 16-85 is the sharpest of those three zooms IMO. In any event, three lenses plus a prime is starting to be a pain, which is why I'm interested in this new FX lens. I'm going to give it about six months and then check back to see if the zoom creep problem arises. Right now, I'm asking for early thoughts on IQ compared to the 18-200. The sample images I've seen so far look really good though.
     
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    You should find the construction of the 28-300 noticeably better than that for the 18-200. For any 11x zoom, the barrel has to be able to extend in two sections so that the lens can get shorter at its minimum focal length.
    The barrel of the 28-300 is a mix of metal and plastic. As shown in the image below, the front section is actually metal; it feels considerably colder when I touch it. The middle barrel is plastic and the main body is mainly plastic and with rubber grips for the zoom ring and focus ring. The lens mount is metal, of course. There is the rubber O-ring around the mount to seal out moisture.
    When this lens is zoom all the way to 300mm, there seems to be an internal lock so that even though I applied pressure on both ends (with lens caps on), it would not collapse. When I zoom back a little to 290mm, the lens would collapse if I apply pressure. Therefore, I don't think you'll experience the creep problem Kenneth describes for shooting birds on the long end.
    I expect the price for the 28-300 to drop below $1000 in the US within a few months. Eventually it'll probably be a $900 lens. I got it so soon since I am eager to test it early on. There is also no initial shortage at all; Amazon, B&H, Adorama all have it in stock from the beginning. My local store got like 6 early this month and they sold them all immediately, but they got another half a dozen again this past week. Availability is certainly not an issue and that is why I think the price will drop soon.
    00XGok-279873584.jpg
     
  8. An "all purpose lens" that only goes wide to 28mm on DX is not, imho very use-able. The 18-200 would be better for you if you must have one lens. I'd buy a 16-85 and a 70-300 myself. Probably not a whole lot different pricing than the 28-300.
     
  9. Also, I've gotten some fairly amazing shots at the "soft long end" of the 18-200. If you can get to f8 or f11, it's pretty nice, post-processed correctly, all the way up to 8 x 10. It's a fantastic vacation lens.
     
  10. i think kenneth is on to something.
    the 28-300 could be attractive to DX users, especially if they already have a 12-24. a lens starting at 42.5mm equiv is never going to be ideal, but that will be mitigated somewhat by the 450mm equiv. stabilized long end. put it this way, a 28-300 is more ideal for DX users than a 12-24 and 70-300 for travel, though obviously a better pure walkaround for FX.
    shun, do you have any sample images you can share?
     
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I used the new 28-300 like crazy yesterday evening and this morning. I actually have quite a few images with it, but until I carefully compare it against the 300mm/f2.8 AF-S, it is premature to discuss results. I also happen to have a Tamron 70-300mm/f4-5.6 Di VC on loan to photo.net. That Tamron is a $400 lens but optically, @ 300mm, f5.6 it is just a bit less sharp than the 300mm/f2.8 AF-S stopped down to f5.6.
    If sharpness is important to you, I wouldn't buy a 11x zoom. Consider the 300mm/f4 AF-S for birds in flight. AF is fairly seriously compromised when your maximum aperture is f5.6.
     
  12. That Tamron is a $400 lens but optically, @ 300mm, f5.6 it is just a bit less sharp than the 300mm/f2.8 AF-S stopped down to f5.6.​
    If that's true (I have no reason to doubt you) that would be fairly amazing, wouldn't it?
     
  13. I hear the thoughts on the 18-200mm, but for me it just didn't cut the mustard. I'm not sure the 28-300mm will either, but I'm willing to investigate what others are seeing in terms of image and build quality. Again, I love the 16-85 and 70-300 combo I currently have for travel, but adding an ultra-wide angle plus a prime in my bag while I'm on vacation is a bit much.
    Eric, I think you understand where I'm coming from...a 12-24mm and this new 28-300mm would seem like a perfect travel pair. I think it beats coupling the 12-24 with the 18-200mm in terms build and image quality, and it keeps weight down versus the 12-24mm/16-85mm/70-300mm combo.
    Just my thoughts...
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have played around with the 28-300 quite a bit by now, and I can repeat my test results. At 300mm, it works quite well on the 12MP D700. Of course it is not as good as my 300mm/f2.8 AF-S and 300mm/f4 AF-S stopped down, but the results are quite good for a super zoom. On the 12MP D300, since the pixels are denser, I find the 28-300mm a bit soft @ 300mm/f5.6; stopping down to f8 gives you good results. I have tried AF and manual focus with live view, and the results are the same.
    I think I am a little less excited about the new 28-300 than Bob Krist and Bjorn Rorslett, but for a super zoom, it is a very good lens and I think it is better than the 18-200 DX on the long end. The fact that a 11x zoom can produce very decent results is amazing. Construction quality is certainly better than the 18-200 and the Tamron. What bothers me most is still the fact that it drops to f5.6 from 105mm and up. Moreover, it is not quite a 300mm lens @ "300mm." Even focus to infinity, it clearly covers more area than my 300mm/f2.8 AF-S, 300mm/f4 AF-S, and the Tokina 70-300mm Di VR @ 300mm.
    If you are shooting birds in flight on a DX body and are looking for sharpness, I would say a superzoom such as the 28-300 is definitely not the way to go.
     

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