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Nikon launches AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR superzoom lens

By dpreview staff on Jun 14, 2012 at 04:50 GMT

Nikon has launched the AF-S Nikkor 18-300mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR lens, a 16.7x superzoom for APS-C DSLRs. The 18-300mm offers the highest ever zoom ratio for a Nikon interchangeable lens, giving a 27-450mm equivalent range on one of the company's DX-format cameras. The lens is a much more complex design than the existing 18-200mm - utilizing 19 elements in 14 groups and, at 120mm long, is 23% longer. It features a 77mm filter thread and will be available from June 2012 at a price of around $999.

Press Release:


MELVILLE, N.Y. (June 14, 2012) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the addition of two new lenses to the legendary NIKKOR lineup, the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR and the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lenses. The new 18-300mm VR lens is a versatile and compact 16.7X all-in-one super zoom DX-format lens, while the new 24-85mm VR lens is an ideal standard zoom for any FX-format photographer. These optics were designed to meet the needs of all types of photographers, from those looking to capture everything from family outings to elusive wildlife and stunning landscapes. The new 18-300mm and 24-85mm lenses deliver the performance and superior image quality that photographers of all levels have come to expect from NIKKOR lenses whether capturing still images or HD videos.

To capture stunningly sharp images with excellent clarity and color reproduction or HD video that exhibits sharp critical focus with a dramatic depth of field, the new 18-300mm VR and 24-85mm VR lenses will empower photographers with a variety of exclusive core NIKKOR technologies. Both lenses are equipped with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) II image stabilization system which provides the equivalent of a shutter speed approximately four stops faster. The built-in Vibration Reduction will help photographers create blur-free images and video while shooting handheld and in challenging lighting conditions. Two focus modes, manual-priority autofocus (M/A) and manual focus (M), are easily selected in both lenses as well. When either lens is in manual-priority autofocus (M/A) mode, users will be able to instantly switch from autofocus to manual focus operation by simply rotating the focus ring, even during AF servo operation. Additionally, both lenses feature an internal focusing system, providing fast focus without changing the length of the lens while retaining working distance through the focus range, and Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology designed to deliver fast, accurate and quiet AF performance. The lenses also boast Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC) which provides superb color reproduction, color consistency and reduced flaring.

“Whether a pro on assignment, a photo enthusiast or an indie cinematographer, all Nikon users appreciate and rely on the vast selection and reliability of NIKKOR lenses for all of their imaging needs,” said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc. “The new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm VR and AF-S
NIKKOR 24-85mm VR lenses are fully optimized to capture stunning images and videos while meeting the growing needs of photographers of all levels around the world.”

The NIKKOR 18-300mm VR Lens: Nikon’s Longest Focal Range

Building on the popularity and versatility of Nikon’s telephoto zoom lens lineup which includes both the NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 and 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lenses, the new 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens is Nikon’s longest focal range ever, with an astounding 16.7X ultrahigh-ratio zoom range. The DX-format 18-300mm VR lens is surprisingly compact, lightweight and covers a focal range from wide-angle 18mm to super-telephoto 300mm, equivalent to a focal length of 27mm to 450mm in FX/35mm format. At the 300mm focal length setting, the lens’ large f/5.6 aperture enables photographers to shoot at faster shutter speeds with shallow depth-of-field. This new super telephoto zoom lens is ideal for taking stills when travelling and for all around general photography including landscapes, portraits and distant subjects. The 18-300mm lens is also excellent for recording HD video as it can be used for wide establishing shots, medium close-up shots and extreme telephoto sequences when the users want to separate the subject from the background.

The construction of the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens consists of 19 optical elements in 14 groups with three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements that effectively minimize chromatic aberration, even at the widest aperture settings, and three aspherical lens elements that virtually eliminate aberrations at wide aperture settings. The new lens also incorporates a nine rounded blade diaphragm to help achieve a natural looking dramatic separation between subject and background.

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR also has a dedicated zoom lock switch which secures the lens barrel at its minimum length and will prevent the lens from sliding during transportation. Additionally, the 18-300mm VR lens is ideal for capturing close-ups with great detail, as it offers a 1.48 ft. minimum focusing distance at 300mm, as well as a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:3.2X.

The NIKKOR 24-85mm VR Lens: The Standard Zoom for FX Shooters

Ideal for photographers seeking an FX-format compatible standard zoom lens, the new AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens delivers sharp, crisp and high-quality images and can be assigned as an everyday walkabout lens. Covering the frequently used focal-length range of 24mm to 85mm, this lens is a great companion for any FX-format shooter and is ideal for shooting stills of landscapes, architecture, head and shoulder portraits, candid shots or group shots. For HD video shooters, the 24-85mm VR lens is a natural choice when filming landscapes, large groups of people or when wide field establishing shots or medium close-ups are needed. The 24-85mm lens is a great everyday lens that is compact, lightweight and easy to carry on any photo assignment or family adventure.

In addition to the lens’ built-in Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens features Auto Tripod detection which recognizes when the camera is mounted on a tripod, even during HD video recording, to help deliver specialized VR correction. The lens construction of the 24-85mm VR lens consists of 16 optical elements in 11 groups with one Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass element, three aspherical lens elements and a seven rounded blade diaphragm.

Price and Availability

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens will be available at the end of June 2012 for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $999.95*. The AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens will also be
available at the end of June 2012 and will have a suggested retail price (SRP) of $599.95*. For more information on these new NIKKOR lenses and other Nikon products, please visit

*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time. Specifications, equipment and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.

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Total comments: 167
By IcyVeins (Jun 14, 2012)

Nobody is going to buy this lens except for suckers and people who want to brag about how badass their lens is.

By GarysInSoCal (Jun 14, 2012)

You're RIGHT... and that will be THOUSANDS of GWC shooters in the APS format. Nikon isn't stupid and this lens will sell like pancakes!

By voz (Jun 14, 2012)

You wanna bet? How about people who want a large zoom range, and don't care that much about edge to edge sharpness and/or shallow focus? I know quite a few of those (they use a 18-200 today).

By IcyVeins (Jun 14, 2012)

Those people can buy a Nikon P510 and get 24-1000 mm in a portable camera that costs half as much as this lens.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 28 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By eenymac (Jun 14, 2012)

Yeah, they can get a P510... if they want substantially worse IQ and other options! I use the old Tamrom 18-250mm as my general walkabout lens for convenience. It sits on my Pentax K5 and fits in my laptop bag, so I always have a camera with me. If I want to go somewhere specific and look for specific subjects I'll then ditch the Tamron UZ and take the primes in the camera bag. It's a compromise, but everyone knows that, including many who will buy this lens. It may well surprise with some good IQ, maybe not enough to satisfy the self proclaimed gearheads and pixel peeping experts, but good enough for most.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
By marike6 (Jun 14, 2012)

Superzooms are about convenience but some of them, like the 18-200 VR are very good performers. You just have to keep in mind that at 200mm you are not going to get stellar 300 f4 type resolution. But from 18-100 it's capable of extremely sharp images. From 100-200 performance drops a bit, but is good enough for many situations. There are always trade-offs in photography but for travel, few lenses are more versatile.

By JakeB (Jun 14, 2012)

Not all trade-offs are equal, Marike.

The entire point of owning a dslr system is access to interchangeable lenses for the simple optical fact that a single lens covering such a huge range involves massive optical compromises.

And then the proposition is to travel to highly photographable locations and come back with images suffering from so-so IQ.

And why? Because the so-called photographer whines about a few extra pounds in his/her travel kit.

That's real dedication to your craft.

By Hauer (Jun 14, 2012)

The launch of yet another DX lens at this stage must mean that there is still hope for a DX dSLR being the long awaited D300/300s replacement in the not too distant future!

By russbarnes (Jun 14, 2012)

There is for the first time solid intel on a D400 and as you say this lens announcement shows that Nikon are still very much committed to DX, backed with the 3xxx and 5xxx series too of course.

1 upvote
By cgarrard (Jun 14, 2012)

D600, here is your 24-85mm kit lens. Not much longer now.


photo perzon
By photo perzon (Jun 14, 2012)

18-200 is 20 ounces. 18-300 is 29. That is quite fair, no?

By Absolutic (Jun 14, 2012)

That is what I was asking myself. The specs are great, but 810 grams for a 'lightweight travel lens" on DX? That's huge for what its intended too. I know many complain about the weight of 28-300VR on FX. The 18-200VR is 560 grams which is significantly less. Not sure 200 to 300 on this thing would be much of a benefit. Meaning if I owned 18-200VR I'd think real hard before paying a $1000 for an upgrade here.

Bart Hickman
By Bart Hickman (Jun 14, 2012)

I wonder how fast the focus is. The 18-200 is pretty good, but not great. I hope they upped their focus speed game with this new one.

By MattBrisVegas (Jun 14, 2012)

Just what I never wanted!

How about an affordable 14mm DX lens? Now that would be something to get excited about.

I know, I'm dreaming. Too many holes in the zoom lens lineup to fill before addressing basics like a true wide prime.

By Peiasdf (Jun 14, 2012)

You can always get the Tokina labeled 11-16mm. They are basically the same company.

By MattBrisVegas (Jun 15, 2012)

Yeah, great, another zoom.

All I want is true wide angle lens I can afford and in as small a package as possible to replace the wonderful 20mm f/4 which became just barely wide with the move from film to APS-C sensors.

I see no advantage whatsoever in attaching an 11mm and a 16mm lens to the 14mm I'm after so I wish I didn't have to pay for them and lug around the extra weight.

By caissam (Jun 14, 2012)

I am missing the weight?!

By dgreene196 (Jun 14, 2012)

According to Nikon's website, 830 grams or approximately 29.3 oz. Not a lightweight lens, certainly.

For comparison, the 70-300 zoom weighs 26.3 oz. (745 g). I used that as a comparison because that's a lens with which I am very familiar. So, for pretty much an DX camera, you've going to have a pretty front-heavy combination. But that's the price of a super-zoom like this.

Jim Laux
By Jim Laux (Jun 14, 2012)

Looking forward to seeing some sample images on this one. If the quality matches the 18-200 or the 18-105, it may be worth the price, especially on higher-ISO bodies.

By dgreene196 (Jun 14, 2012)

The close focus distance of 1.48 feet at 300 mm is also really impressive. For those folks who buy a DSLR and then choose to go the one lens route, this lens offers a huge range with the ability of pretty solid close-up shooting.

If the image quality can stand up to the 24 MP sensor in the 3200 (and likely other future Nikons), lots of buyers will be very happy.

Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Jun 14, 2012)

f/5.6 @ 300mm is impressive. I am not a big fan of super-zooms but I am sure many people will prefer to buy this lens over primes.

By SulfurousBeast (Jun 14, 2012)

Yes, envious of the Nikonians. Will Canon follow suit?

Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Jun 14, 2012)

I shifted to Nikon after D7000 release. I have a couple of fast(f/2.8 or faster) lenses with the kit. Soon I am planning to get D800(or if the rumours of D600 are true then D600).

1 upvote
By aurtos (Jun 14, 2012)

Hi all, as we have been again blessed by Nikon with 2 new walk-around-/travelling lenses - does anyone know whether they are weather/rain resistant?

Alan 02860
By Alan 02860 (Jun 14, 2012)

Why an 18-300? Because Tamron has been HUGELY successful with their 18-270. I expect that the image quality will be there in spite of the long range, in spite of the doubters. I will reserve judgement until people have had the opportunity to use and test the thing. How can anybody say it is no good when nobody's even seen it?

1 upvote
By tkbslc (Jun 14, 2012)

300mm f5.6 is available on many lenses for well under $500. I don't consider it impressive.

Comment edited 7 seconds after posting
By volcan357 (Jun 15, 2012)

The thing is that if you have to change lenses you can miss a shot you didn't want to miss. I have a D7000 with the 16-85mm VR and the 70-300mm VR. I usually have the 16-85mm VR on the camera. So I went to town the other day and wanted to take a shot of some Indian women and their little girls in their typical dress (I live in Panama) but I couldn't because I didn't have the 70-300mm VR on my camera. What is the IQ of a missed shot?

Peter Terlouw
By Peter Terlouw (Jun 15, 2012)

the whole world is waiting for an AF-S and VR version of the 80-400 and Nikon keeps throwing out these silly consumer lenses like cup-cakes.

1 upvote
By rembrandtj (Jun 16, 2012)

I was already planning to buy the 28-300 when this info came in my email. At f5.6 on the on the telephoto end, this is a better option with other lenses at f6.3. It may come with a high price tag, but it has its advantages for some users.

By vesa1tahti (Jun 25, 2012)

Let's hope the Nikon 18-300 is better than Tamron 18-270 PZD. Waiting for samples.

Total comments: 167