Nikon 18-300mm VR – Best Travel Lens (Change-lens Free)

August 6, 2012

Nikon 18-300mm DX VR lens

In this article I want to revisit the Nikon 18-300mm VR lens. For those of you who haven’t read the first part, visit the Nikon 18-300mm VR review first, this will give you in-depth information that you need to know about this lens. The Nikon AF-S X 18-300mm VR already found itself in the hands of loyal Nikon photographers and lens reviewers. It’s time to check out how satisfy those people are with this new lens.

If you want my personal opinion, I think that the 18-300 mm is an amazing lens for those who don’t want to switch between lenses, and those who want an all-in-one travel lens and have APS-C size DSLR camera. The range of this lens is just incredible. I personally own the Nikon D3100 with two lenses, the 18-55mm VR and the 70-300mm VR ED, both amazing sharp lenses.  The 18-300 mm can easily be an alternative to this setup. I don’t like changing lenses. If I was to shoot with a special lens (ie. 1:1 Macro, Wide-angl, fast prime  lense), that’s a different story. For general purpose and daily use, the Nikkor 18-300 DX VR is probably the best option that you have right now.

Let’s start with some 18-300 mm video reviews from photographers who own the lens.

Nikon AF-S DX 18-300 VR Lens Review by Jeremy Smith Photography. I’ve seen many of his photos and I think that he is a very talented photographer. In this video he talks about the 18-300 and express his impressions with this lens. In my review you can also read how the 18-300 compares to the 18-200 mm and the 28-300 mm.


Jeremy pointed out that the lens is a bit soft at 300 mm and give you some test shots to backup its claims.

Let’s take a look how the 18-300mm compares to the 28-300mm in terms of size. The next image is from, which let’s you view compare camera sizes side by side, even attaching various interchangeable lenses.

Nikon 18-300 vs 28-300 mm size comparison

Nikon 18-300 vs 28-300 mm size comparison

Here’s a video footage showing the Nikon AF-S SX Nikkor 18-300mm mounted on the Nikon D7000

PhotoSummit demonstrates the Nikon 18-300 mm performance in video mode, checking out the lens wide and zoom capabilities. She mentioned that the lens is a bit heavier for her. The lens weights 830 grams.

Here’s another Nikon 18-300 mm f/3.5-5.6G VR test video, take a look..


Nikon 18-300mm VR Reviews

There are already numerous reviews on the 18-300 mm VR, here are some links to those review pages:

Nikon 18-300 mm review on camera debate
Ken Rockwell review of the 18-300mm
Photoforum user review

In general, and I read all reviews, the performance of the 18-300 mm lens in its largest focal length 300mm isn’t something great to write bout. It won’t match the performance of a dedicated telephoto/telephoto zoom lens. It’s a compromise between image quality and convenience as slrgear mentioned and I have to agree.  Some people recommend getting the 18-200mm. I personally think that if you really want one lens you and don’t like changing lenses, or as I said, searching for the perfect travel lens – this lens is it!

“Remember, it’s all about the great moments you bring home with you.”

You need to understand that when you buy such a lens you will put pay in image quality in one way or another. However, I think that the difference is not big. If you are doing a lot of pixelpeeping of course you will find differences and all the cons that those reviews have mentioned about the 18-300mm. I personally bring some a bit soft photos to Adobe Lightroom and apply a bit amount of sharpening and my image turns out great.  If you look at SLRgear review, you can see that the 18-200mm is a bit sharper, but just a bit.

As I told you earlier, I own the 70-300m VR ED and 18-55 mm and I will get the 18-300mm instead of those two any day. As an amateur photographer, these difference doesn’t really matter. The pros outweigh the cons.

If I wanted to go pro, I would have gotten the 18-200 f/2.8 VR anyway. So I think that you should be putting things in perspective. Understand that you are making a compromise, but it’s not big.  You are buying this lens because convenience is more important than having a bit of softness degree here and there. Just imagine yourself traveling and needing to change lenses from wide angle to telephoto zoom lenses..I hate that. I prefer shooting with one lens and continue shooting without always thinking ahead when I need to change lenses. This by itself worth every dollar I pay for this great lens.

Having said that, you shouldn’t get me wrong, the 18-300 mm image quality great, it’s really a versatile lens. It’s on the heavy side, but it’s better than carrying a bag with two or even three lenses that fits in that focal length range.

Here are some Nikon 18-300mm sample images (via flickr)
Scotty would be proud.

Commissioner of the RCMP declares 'open' the 65th Annual Glengarry Highland Games in August 2012

Lake Superior Scottish Regiment - Canadian Army Reserves - Tug-of-War team at the Glengarry Highland games 2012

Peanuts?  What Peanuts? I didn't see no stinking peanuts.

Photostatic52:Red - Civil with a touch of Red- HBW!


Remember, it’s all about the great moments you bring home with you. The Nikon 18-300 mm will give you the chance to enjoy taking photos, shoot and shoot, don’t worry about changing lenses, get those amazing moments and come home with tons of beautiful images to share with the world. Oh, and if you are going to buy a new DSLR, you might want to consider buying the body alone and buy this lens. There is no reason to buy the 18-55 mm kit together with this lens. Hope you make a smart decision and be happy with it. Thanks for reading.

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