I have used the Nikon 16-85 and Nikon 70-300 for some time and been pleased with
the image quality of both. I was skeptical about the 18-300 because of it's range. I spent a couple of days comparing the iq of the 18-300 with both of the other lens, using the same D300 with the same settings. I could not tell the difference. I was impressed enough with the 18-300 that I took it alone to Yellowstone and Glacier about 3 weeks ago. I was pleased with the lens in every way.
Some of the photos are below
Some of the comments being made about this lens are being made by those who have not tried it. I was doubtful, too. But pleased with the lens