Samples with the new AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

Photo © Bob Krist

Nikon announced several new lenses today, one of which I got to play with a while ago.

Of course, I knew that an announcement was forthcoming, I just didn’t know when (because like the husband, the photographer is always the last to know).

In fact, If I hadn’t gotten a nasty email from a Czech photographer this morning who absolutely hated one of the pictures used in the official Nikon web announcement (namely, mine!), I would have never known the lens was launched.

Ah yes, there’s nothing quite like getting a new orifice torn while you’re enjoying your morning java to really jump start your day!

Unlike my critic, however, I was blessed with the opportunity to play with a prototype of the 28-300mm for a couple of days out in San Francisco last February.

I have to say that this lens, along with the venerable 18-200mm Nikkor, has completely turned my head around when it comes to the viability of a variable aperture uni-zoom as a professional tool. This one, in particular, blew my mind and spun my head around 360 degrees…(think Linda Blair in The Exorcist!). I couldn’t find a downside to it.

It’s sharp end to end, not too big or heavy, and ergonomically pleasing to use. It features a zoom lock, which is important because, while it’s not overly large for what it is, it’s a substantial piece of glass, and I highly recommend keeping the zoom lock on while you’re walking around. You can read about the specs here and also see the full-sized samples here .

You know I’m not too technical (they had to loan me an FX camera, a D700, to shoot with) but I can tell you that this is an awesome piece of glass. You literally could shoot a whole job with this baby with no compromise that I could discern (although I’m sure someone in, um, the Czech Republic might be able to!)

The VR works well and makes up for the F/5.6 at the long end (although, as a regular user of the 70-300mm VR on my D90, this is no surprise, or hardship, for me). If I were an FX travel shooter, this lens would be in my bag (paired, most likely, with the 16-35mm f/4 VR).

Man, that would be a combination (throw in the 24mm f/1.4  and the new  85mm f/1.4 for available light and bokeh issues, and you’re in FX travel-shooting heaven, my friends! Four lenses that can do it all).  But if you could only carry one lens for your FX explorations, this would be it, no doubt.

Here’s another frame of a very cool performance artist called Chi Energy, whom I bumped into while shooting the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco:

Photo © Bob Krist

Hit the jump for more of Chi and San Francisco with the new lens…

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist

This entry was posted in Destinations, Ironies, Photo Gear, Technology, Travel.

116 Comments

  1. Thorsten August 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    Hi Mr Krist. Ups you did it again. You could test a prototype of nikon lenses at the bay areas. This is my favourite area in CA and i am looking forward to the new FX lenses. Do you think the new 28-300mm is better on a FX body than the 18-200mm on a DX body? Thank you. Greetings from the rainy germany. Thorsten

    • Bob August 19, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

      Thorsten: It’s a tough call, but I’d probably give the nod to the new lens on an FX body. It is sharp all the way out to 300mm. Bob

  2. Johann August 19, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    So do we get to see the email comments?
    As always the images Are superb.

    • Bob August 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

      Johann: No, they’re too painful for me to relive the memory:-). Thanks for your kind words, however! Bob

  3. Jacques August 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    The Nikon site shows your hill/tram picture (bottom left here) taken at 1/30th – 300 mm. I know Nikon VR is good, but was it taken handheld? (knowing you, that would not surprise me). And how is your back after carrying this heavy D700 coupled with this heavy lens? And by the way, how much does this lens extend? I remember using a Tamron 28-300 and frankly, I felt like… hum… well… a horse!

    • Bob August 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

      Jacques: No, It was on a tripod that I was running out to the middle of the street with at red lights. VR helped, though because it was a mad rush and the tripod center column was extended….not ideal for for long lens sharpness. B

  4. Matt August 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Bob,

    Love the shot of the San Francisco hill. Reminds me of an image you would’ve seen in a 1960s National Geographic.

    • Bob August 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

      Matt: Thanks…I think:-). B

      • Matt August 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

        Total compliment, Bob. :-)

        Seems like National Geographic did lots of American City features in the 60s. And every one of them had a telephoto shot down a street at dusk. Love it!

        • Bob August 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

          True Matt. And I was just kidding….guys my age are just very sensitive to appearing to be, um, guys of my age:-).

  5. Stepan August 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    I am so sorry I just did not like the blurry bird! Thats all! :) I hope you did not forget that I complimented your other photos!!!

    • Bob August 19, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

      No worries, Stepan.

      It’s just a tad hard to wake up to condescending emails that start out “your FIRST mistake, your SECOND mistake, your THIRD mistake….etc. etc.” If I wanted that kind of treatment, I could reread the letters I used to get from my mother-in-law.

      Honesty and criticism are always appreciated….but so are manners. I’m just old fashioned that way.

      BTW, I do appreciate that you liked the other pictures. It made my day:-). Bob

  6. Stepan August 19, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    One more explanation to the readers: I did not get why Bob did not delete the picture, why did he pass it to Nikon, why did they choose it to show it as a sample photo and why did they say the eye has stunning sharpness.

    Bob told me that “he has to hand in every frame he shoots on these assignments so the tech guys can see everything happening with the prototypes. What happens after that is out of his control” so only the last two problems remain unresolved mystery to me.

    Hope this explains all.

    • true nikonian August 21, 2010 at 11:01 am #

      Bob, this Stepan is a well-known asshole on Czech photo forums, famous for not having taking a single picture in all his life but criticizing all the new gear Nikon releases. So there’s no need for you to make any fuss over this guy and his comments – he’s an absolute zero, a stupid complainer; no need to take him seriously.

      • Bob August 21, 2010 at 11:13 am #

        True: He actually had a point on the point of focus in that particular sample, but it was the the extremely harsh, accusatory tone in the email that threw me…temporarily. I’m getting used to the abuse that can get heaved around the internet….just not before my morning coffee! Thanks, Bob

  7. Rob Byron August 19, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    This is great news. Finally a useable versatile zoom! Very exciting!

  8. David Kay August 19, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    Bob, Hope they also let you try the 24-120mm. That could be a real winner – at least that is what I am telling my financial controller(wife)! Love the pics, but the 70-300mm is hard to beat at those apertures. David

    • Bob August 19, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

      David: No, I only had access to the 28-300mm….they ration those prototypes out!

  9. Jimmy August 20, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks for the info on the lens. I had already set my eyes on the new 24-120VR when I switch to FF, but now it seems that my choice might not be so obvious. I bought the 18-200VR and then the 17-55mm because that was I wanted a better quality, I kinda fear that I will go through the same thing again. Question is how do I explain that to the wife, hahaha.

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 6:26 am #

      Jimmy: Yes, it’s always tough to sell it to the “boss” I know!

  10. Peter Korp August 20, 2010 at 1:35 am #

    I can imagine that you must have liked that 28-300 !
    I spent a whole holiday in south of France and Monaco
    and only had the 28-300mm Tamron VC and the Nikon 24-120
    in my case…… holiday means no H3 Hasselblad around.
    Boy did I love the reach of those lenses… it was all I
    ever needed.The VR was realy helpfull as carrying a tripod would have slowed me down and killed my holiday feeling……
    If the new Nikons are even better in lensquality they must be realy something : )

  11. Landscape August 20, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    Wish there will be a 24mp D800/D900 soon, to couple with this marvel. I’m optimistic this lens will be able to resolve even a hi-res sensor at optimum aperures. The only way to learn is trying on a D3X (expensive monster), or wait its tweener…

  12. ronny August 20, 2010 at 2:43 am #

    Hy Bob,

    Beautiful Pictures, congrats. Still i would love to se a direct compairson versus the 24-70 and the 70-200 2.8 professional lenses, as i think they are still sharper – don’t you think so?

    anyway – great job – and nice “travellense”
    ronny

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 6:34 am #

      Ronny: I’m sure somebody will do a direct comparison. Of course, you’re asking a alot, for a uni-zoom to compete with the finest specialty lenses in their respective (and much more modest zoom range) class. But, even so, I’d guess that you’d have to go to a pretty large print size before you’d start seeing any appreciable difference. And of course, those other two lenses will, unequivocally, perform better at f/2.8:-). Bob

      • Ronny August 22, 2010 at 12:45 am #

        Thanks for your answer Bob, i Know it’s far from beeing a fair comparison, but i have all 3 of the 2.8 lenses – and if you once seen there Quality you Never whant to go lower… But they are using all Space of my handlugage during Travel and if the Airline Looks at the weight of the handlugage i’m in Deep s*** ;-) so One Eye always Looks for the perfect Travel lense… But Hey – supersoom Never will Be Perfect, Not Even Zoom is… Life is about compromises… Thank you for your Time and the very nice Fotos…

  13. Brynjar August 20, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    Great pictures!
    Just wondering: How is this new 28-300 compared to the 70-300mm. Specially on the 300 side?

    Thanx!

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 7:24 am #

      Brynjar: It’s very close and I didn’t do any formal side-by-side comparisons, but my gut feeling is that out at 300mm, the newer lens might have the edge. I was really impressed with this lens racked all the way out to 300. Bob

  14. John Dear August 20, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    But one thing seems really funny concerning the published “28-300″ samples… I´m talking to the picture of the bird. The commentary says: “Cutaway shot from the 300mm end of the lens. Precise AF captures the bird’s eye with stunning sharpness”…. but when viewed at 100%, it is clearly visible that the eye is out of focus – the focus is on the wing, actually ;-)

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 9:48 am #

      John: Yes, I think there might have been better examples to use:-), or at least a different translation of the caption! B

  15. Giuseppe August 20, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    hi Bob. I own a Nikon D90 and I’d like to know if the 28-300 mm is a viable solution as a single lens to carry on travels, even though the D90 isn’t full frame.

    Please note that I tested the Nikkor 18-200 mm but it doesn’t suit my needs, because I tend to take a lot of shots in the 200/300mm range and very few extra wide angles with my current let of lenses.

    Other than the weight (which isn’t an issue), would the D90 and the 28-300 mm be a nice combination for travelling light? Thanks for your help!

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 9:44 am #

      Giuseppe: I wouldn’t consider this to be a good one lens/one body combination for a D90 because you are losing your entire wide angle range…the 28 becomes, what, a 42mm effective focal length, which puts it squarely in the normal lens range.
      If you can live without a wideangle, it’d be fine. But can you live without a wideangle if you’re only carrying one lens? I couldn’t, but to each his own!

  16. Giuseppe August 20, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    @Bob: Oh, I see. So on a D90, the “actual” range would be something like 42-450 mm… (sorry, I’m quite new to photography).

    Aside from the fact that I might still need to carry along my Sigma 17-70 mm (and probably sell my Nikkor 70-300), would the 28-300 mm produce the same sharp results on a DX camera that you’ve experienced on your tests? If there are any dramatic technical drawbacks, I’ll discard the 28-300 project and choose other options. Thanks again,

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 10:05 am #

      I don’t think there are any technical drawbacks (aside from losing the wide end) to using an FX lens on a DX body. You’re going to have to carry two lenses anyway, I’d stick with what you have (the 70-300mm) and if you want to upgrade, upgrade the Sigma 17-70 to say, a 16-85mm VR Nikkor. That’s they way I’d handle it if I were you. B

  17. Cedrik August 20, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    Hi Bob
    I am wondering if the 28-300 is good enough for sports photography. I was renting the Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G ED VR II to shoot hockey games, however the 200mm isn’t long enough for me. Should I consider buying the 28-300, or will the f5,6 cause problems?

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 10:53 am #

      No Cedrik, if I were you I’d get the 70-200 with a 1.4x converter or a 300 f/4 or 300mm f/2.8 for sports. You need specialty, or at least all telephoto glass for sports, not a uni-lens. Bob

  18. Giuseppe August 20, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    OK, now I understand. Thanks again for your time, I really appreciated it. Best regards,

  19. Andreas August 20, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    I have one of these lenses on order and am very much looking forward to taking it for a spin. Tamron’s 28–300 VC has been my stalwart travel companion on my D700, but it gets quite soft past 200 mm and the already slow AF also looses accuracy out there. I’m hopeful that this new Nikkor will resolve those issues after reading your comments and seeing your pictures.

  20. Xavier August 20, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Hi bob,
    Thanks for the review. It’s always very helpful when you have real photographers with plenty of experience sharing their view.
    I Will be traveling to china in October for 3 months & I think I might get this lens (for street photography) along with my 17-35mm f2.8 (for architecture) & my 105mm macro f2.8 , all on a D3.
    As photographers, I think it’s good to remind ourselves that some of the most memorable pictures taken in history might not be technically perfect, but they captured the moment. With this new lens we save quite a bit of weight over the 70-200mm f2.8 & it will save us time having to mess around swapping lenses, especially when walking the streets.
    Thanks Nikon.
    Next we just need a 17-300mm constant f2.8…only joking:)

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 11:42 am #

      Xavier: Sounds like a great kit for travel. Have a wonderful trip! B

  21. Sylvia August 20, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    What is your opinion on using the new 28-300 mm lens on a dx body? I have the d 90 but this lens interests me quite a bit. Is it a waste since I won’t get full frame? When they say it will magnify does this mean it will make things look to bigger than they are? Thanks for any answer I’m new to photography but totally love it.

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 11:57 am #

      Sylvia: Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or space to explain the difference between DX and FX. May I suggest you use Google to answer your question? In short, I wouldn’t use this lens on a DX body.

    • mk August 21, 2010 at 8:50 pm #
  22. Scott Thomas Photography August 20, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    I pre-ordered the lens even before I read your account, Bob. Now I am glad I didn’t wait. As a big support of the 18-200VR, I was confident Nikon would do this one just as well if not better.

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

      Scott: I think you’ll be a happy camper once it arrives! B

  23. Renee August 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    Hi Bob. In your answer to Q 24, you said there were no technical drawbacks with using the 28-300 on a DX body, but in Q29 response you say you wouldn’t do it. By technical drawback, can I assume no performance/results drawbacks? On my d300 I currently have the 18-200 but have been looking for longer focal length. At some point will go to a FX body but not in immediate future. I understand the loss at the wide end but otherwise, would I see any performace issues using this new lens on my d300?

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

      Hi Rene: I wouldn’t do it because you’re essentially losing the entire wideangle range using it in DX, and why would you want to do that? This lens is designed to be the FX equivalent to 18-200mm and that is a uni-zoom, walking around, do it all lens (but I think this one may edge out the 18-200mm in optical performance). But here’s the deal—if you have a DX camera and want a uni-zoom, buy the 18-200mm. If you have an FX camera and you want a uni-zoom, buy this lens. You can put truck tires on a car, and racing stripes on a Corolla, but the question you have to ask yourself is why? What advantage do you gain?

      If, on the other hand, you’re thinking of moving on up to FX, get this lens and use it happily on your D300 until you make your move….just remember to bring something wide. Bob

  24. Bruce August 20, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    I read your review with interest as this would ordinarily never be a lens I would consider with its 10x zoom factor. Lens like this usually suffer from vignetting, and from image quality problems at the wide end. I could not tell from your commentary or images as to either of these concerns, with the 28-50mm IQ being of more importance. VR is fine for static subjects but I prefer f2.8 zooms for general use. I have found your articles to be very informative over the years – Thanks!

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

      Thanks Bruce: I think the image quality is right up there, but this is not an f/2.8 lens, and if you know what you prefer, stick with it. In a perfect world, I’d like all fast zooms and primes too, but in my imperfect world with my bad knees and arthritic back, anything that will lighten my load and still make great, publishable pictures is of great interest. I think the takeaway from all this rigamarole has to be that this lens is good enough to use for any publication I work for, or have worked for. And that’s a pretty long and demanding list!

  25. Richard August 20, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    Bob
    Thanks for the review, and particularly the personal responses to the email questions, as a technical one often misses the practical applications for the equipment. One comment enquiring about this lens for DX use: Assuming it’s optical qualities are sufficient for FX use, they should be at least as good with the reduced DX sensor coverage. Then the only down side besides price and weight would seem to be the need for wide coverage, which could be obtained with any of several options including the 12-24, the 16-85, the 17-35, etc. The upside would be the availability of the lens for use with FX as well, should the photographer change from DX to FX or use both formats.

    Frankly, what I do with many of my lense purchases is focus first on the best optical solution for the task, whether DX or FX lens format, and then see if it’s economically feasible. With sports shooting, there are few DX options that are viable, since all the quality long glass is full frame f2.8 or f4 fixed. It’s the shorter focal lengths that provide the real choices, but even here, the full frame options are most likely providing the best optical quality.

    The real question is how this lens performs against similar DX lenses throughout it’s focal length range, and how the cost of different kits of similar quality would compare. On this premise, how would you evaluate this lens for DX use, assuming it would be paired with an appropriate wide angle lens for full range coverage?

    Thanks again for your contribution to photography!

  26. Renee August 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    ok got it. BTW, Brad and I will be in Philly area next weekend. We plan to stop in to see NH in character Friday nite. See you then.

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

      Rene: Look forward to seeing you there…does Brad know you’re planning on jumping up to FX format???? What is worth for me NOT to tell him?;-) Bob

  27. Zak Sherwood August 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    Thanks Bob, great non-tech preview of this lens. I’ve been considering the 70-300mm VR for my D300 to pair with my wide walkaround lens for travel, as the 70-200mm 2.8 is too big and heavy to cart around and not long enough when you really want zoom.

    Being unlikely to step up to full frame in the near future, the question for me will be: does the new FX lens through its 70-300mm range have better image quality than the current actual 70-300mm. I look forward to the impending technical reviews by those like photozone.de to see sharpness, vignette, CA, distortions etc of this new lens, which will help me make my choice!

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

      Zak: If you’re firmly in DX land, I’d stick with the 70-300mm….it may be longer than the new zoom, but it’s lighter, and then there’s the whole wide end that you’re losing in DX. This is an FX walkaround uni-lens. It’s size, balance, and focal length are expressly designed for FX. If you want something similar in DX, it’s the 18-200mmVR. Bob

  28. Albert Erickson August 20, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Bob, I just ordered the 24-120 and the 85 I shoot both the d700 and the d300. Have you had a chance to try that lens? It looks like a winner. Eric

    • Bob August 20, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

      Eric. Nope, just the 28-300. They ration those tastes out! B

  29. Don August 20, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    Hi Bob,

    Very impressive and as a D300 owner I really think this is going to be a nice lens for me. Yep there is no wide end but many times I’ve wished for a lighter lens than my 80-200 for street shooting, outdoor concerts,etc. and this may just do the trick. I just love the reach I will be able to get with it.

    Again, thanks for your impressions and shots! Well done!

    Don

  30. Mika August 21, 2010 at 12:32 am #

    Hi Bob. Do you think that the new 28-300 is faster in focus than the old 18-200? I’ve used the 18-200 with D300s and sometimes the focusing is’nt that fast. Or might it be that the D700 that you used is faster than the D300s? I also would like to know if you think the VR is improved compared to say the 18-200 VR II?

    • Bob August 21, 2010 at 7:36 am #

      Mika: I can’t say for sure. Keep in mind I had this lens for a couple of days, and my brief was to produce as many different pictures with it as I could and not to test it against existing or similar products. So my impressions are based on how it performs for the work that I do, basically editorial photography, and for that it does fine…. for all the other hair-splitting and comparison info, you’ll have to wait for the photo mags and the other sites who do those type of reviews. Bob

  31. Amar August 21, 2010 at 1:06 am #

    Bob, your samples looks good… for a point and shoot.
    10.7x zoom sharp end to end ??
    1kg lens on FX body is not too big or heavy???
    Apparently advertising does goes far for Nikon with Bob and Moose.

    • Bob August 21, 2010 at 7:42 am #

      Amar: You can’t please all of the people all of the time! BK

  32. Gerry August 21, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    Hi Bob,
    First time visitor, but it seems you respond to people’s post quickly! I was wondering what you think about the build quality of the lens. I have the 18-200 DX, and find that it does not come close to the quality of my prolenses. It kind of scares me when it is in full tele. It feels very flimsy to me. I was wondering if it has a similar feel to the 18-200, or if you feel it is more “solid”.

    Thanks

    • Bob August 21, 2010 at 7:43 am #

      Gerry: It feels more solid, and, consequently, it is definitely a substantially heavier feel on the FX body than the 18-200 is on a DX body. B

  33. Luis August 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    Bob: Do you recommend to use the 28-300 with DX format camera? Would be a grat super zoom.
    Amateur here!
    Thank you

    • Bob August 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

      No Luis…this is designed to be a wide angle to tele zoom for FX format cameras. Using it on a DX camera, you will lose the wideangle range and it will be much heavier than the camera.

  34. Thorsten August 22, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Here are comments form all over the world but everything ist the same: …the government = my wife…finacial controller = my wife and so on…lol I am so happy the the world is one small suburb. Guys we have so much in common. With a smile. Best regards Thorsten

    • Bob August 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

      Thorsten: Ain’t that the truth! Bob

  35. Autumn.Q August 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    Hi, Bob, an important reason made you one of my favorite photographers is your attitude towards travel photography through your words and your excellent images. While so many people are blaming their equipments and discussing to update their gears, the pictures taken with your consumer kits, if I could say this, are really ironic. I believe there would be many topics in different forums complaining about the “image quality” of the new, 10.7×zoom lens, but you gave your praise to it, that’s your style I had known from your blog. Anyway, no matter how we paying our attention to gears, the most interesting and meaningful things are the image itself, and more important, maybe the experience, the story and the life behind the image. Though I don’t totally agree with your recent comment about travel photography, the stories you told, like you wrote about Buenos Aries early this year, “blew my mind and spun my head around 360 degrees”, let me pay more attention to photography and travel itself, but not the cameras and lenses. If I didn’t get what I intended to get, that should not my camera’s fault, because Bob Krist who had taken so many nice pictures use almost the same gears, well, my D300 instead of his D90, : )

    • Bob August 22, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

      Thanks Qiuliang, I appreciate your kind words. Bob

  36. mike a August 22, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    i buy what i want to buy because I’M the man of the house….. just don’t tell my wife i said that. i want a new lens too. i’ve used up all my sneaky ploys to talk her into it so im open to suggestions. yesterday she said what do you want to buy now? man, she can now read my mind…oh crap.

    • Bob August 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm #

      Mike: They know….they always know….B

  37. Randy Duchaine August 23, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    Bob,
    I celebrate your talents and admire them ….you create on demand … any where, any place, any time, despite any challenge thrown at you.
    My admiration and respect always ……

    Randy
    http://www.randyduchain.com

    • Bob August 24, 2010 at 7:47 am #

      Aw shucks Randy! Hope you’re well. cheers,Bob

  38. Russ August 24, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    How about this one, oh great wise one…Sigma 70-200f2.8 NO VR (can’t afford the Nikon) or Nikon 70-300 f4.5-5.6 (w/VR) on a D90? One is 2 stops faster, but one has VR to pick up 2 stops. Speaking purely image quality with no consideration given to the functionality of the varying focal lengths. I could, someday, pick up a 1.4 tele extender to get me out to 280mm at f5.6-ish. (Sports, Travel, Concert Photography)

    • Bob August 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

      Tough call, Russ, as I’ve never used the Sigma. They make good glass, though, and if sports and stage shows are a significant part of your shooting, I might opt for the f/2.8 Sigma…there is an IS or VR version of this lens, you know. It’s a bit more expensive. Might be worth checking out. B

      • Russ August 24, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

        Thanks Bob. Deep down I know the right answer, I just have a hard time justifying the expense of the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 even a used one with the old VR is a pricey addition for a weekend hobby. I guess I could delay my sons college education for a few months :-)

  39. Dan DiMuzio August 24, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    I know that view in SF (Pacific Heights, right?) has been photographed by all kinds of people, but I do think that’s one of the prettiest captures of it I’ve ever seen.

    When I lived in SF about 20 years ago, I was struck by the seemingly accidental panoramas that were found in so many neighborhoods. And not just the expensive ones. It was a sort of visual drama that just couldn’t be found in most cities — beautiful architecture meets undulating landscape. That’s the part I miss most.

    Your composition did a great job of reminding me. Thanks for that, Bob.

    • Bob August 24, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

      Thanks Dan: It’s a typical postcard shot but the light was nice and fortunately, several people in the seven sisters Victorians had some lights on, so it makes a nice glow. SF is so beautiful, that’s for sure! Bob

  40. Scot August 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    The SF Chinese New Year Parade. One of my favorite assignments. A shout out to the dancers and acrobats, the kids, adults and volunteers – They work incredibly hard, yet, when I point my camera in their direction, they take a moment to pose, dance or act for me and the crowd. Have you photographed it any other years? (I missed 2010). Did these photos appeared anywhere?

    • Bob August 25, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

      Scot: No, that was the one and only time. Nikon didn’t seem to use any (probably because I couldn’t get model releases on everybody, but they mostly had masks on so I didn’t think it would be a problem). The weather was great, which is apparently a big change from recent years.
      Very nice folks in the parade, you’re right. cheers, Bob

  41. Billy August 26, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    Bob, thank you for your preview of this lens! Thanks to your awesome shots and impressions I’m really interested in this zoom for my D700. If you were me, for travel and hike photos, which lens will you buy 70-300 VR or the new 28-300 VR? (considering that I always carry with me a 17-35 f/2.8 also)Thank you in advance.

    Regards

    • Bob August 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

      Billy: How much would you miss the 35-70 range? And how much would the extra weight of the 28-300 over the 70-300mm mean to you. If it were me, I’d pair that 17-35mm with the 28-300mm. Bob

      • Billy August 27, 2010 at 3:45 am #

        Bob, thank you very much! I think 35-70 range is useful especially when travelling, not so much in hikes….I mean. Your personal choice to pair my 17-35 with 28-300 is strenghten my conviction to buy this new zoom.

        Regards

  42. John August 27, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Thanks for the review and samples, Bob!

    I do a fair bit of wilderness backpacking for landscape photography work and need a single lens to handle wide angle duties to a decent length zoom. Recently I’ve been using the Canon EF-S 18-200mm on a crop sensor body (approx. 29-320mm on FX). I’ve been wanting to go full frame, but IMO until now there hasn’t really been a single, workable FX superzoom that covers those same focal lengths in one lens. This seems exactly what I need to make the move to a D700 (or whatever replaces it).

  43. Aric Hoek August 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    Thank you so much for the review of the new lenses. They are always a high dollar ticket item, so I love finding good reviews. On another note, I have always been a bit weary of long lenses. As a wedding photographer, I need to have a fast lens in a church.

  44. Chris Margaritis August 29, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    I’ve been taking photos for years, have a growing collection of Nikkor lenses, including some of the high end ones. I’ve been using the D700 since it came out, but miss the range of the 18-200 on a DX camera. Sure, it wasn’t the lens to make a perfect image, and its mustache distortion could be horrid on architecture, but in a pinch, the thing could handle anything, and was the best multi-purpose lens there could be. You can carry a heavy number of lenses around, especially when you want to set up something really special. But for kicking around, exploring and just being a person rather than a heavy laden truck, the reach of an 11x lens is a wonderful addition to the collection, and would be my most used lens until specific needs dictate otherwise. Arguing against this is purism in its worst form, and sales of this lens will prove that camera still are needed for quick shots that capture special moments in time rather than fumbling for the right lens in your bag and bayoneting while the moment fades. So long as the reviews show a decent lens close in quality to the 18-200mm as this one does, I will be a happy 28-300mm customer.

  45. Andy Miller August 30, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    Thanks for the info Bob – I hold Bjørn Rorslett in high esteem as regards Nikon reviews and will be adding you to the list. I have switched to FX Nikon format, D3 and D700. My only DX camera is a D100 -converted for IR use. As a practical photographer – you understand the tools that help you make a living – so thanks for the info on the 28-300 Nikkor. I use an old 28-200 as my main walk about lens and will now be saving for the 28-300 – I usually carry the two cameras with set lenses depending upon what I am expecting to shoot. Possibly a third – just in case lens. People talk about MTF curves etc. but the real proof is in using the equipment and the results it produces – So thanks again for some real results – Andy M.

    • Bob August 30, 2010 at 7:14 am #

      Thanks Andy! Bob

  46. Larry Gentile August 30, 2010 at 6:14 am #

    Hi Bob, I’m in a quandary – my lenses are Nikon 70-300, Nikon 24mm, Nikon 50mm, New Nikon 16-35. I’ve been thinking of getting either the new Nikon 24-120 or the new Nikon 28-300. I shoot mainly landscapes, buildings, interesting doors, windows, I just don’t know which of these two I should consider any suggestions?

    • Bob August 30, 2010 at 7:15 am #

      Larry: It doesn’t seem like you need either lens, looking at your existing glass. Lots of overlap and double coverage. Is this going to be your single walkaround lens? In that case, what is more important to you, a wider wide, or a longer long. Otherwise, it looks like you have the waterfront covered, optically speaking. Bob

      • Larry Gentile August 30, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

        Thank you Bob.. I just got the 16-35 and love it. I had a D80 with the 18-200 and loved it. Now I shoot with the D700 and was thinking the same mind set D700 w/ either one of the two new lenses. But you are correct with my current glass I already cover a good range of distance, I also have the Nikon 105mm macro lens. I guess I was thinking when I travel to India and other countries for work bringing one overall lens would be sweet instead of an array of lenses. I really appreciate your expertise. Thanks again.

  47. Mario August 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Dear father Bob.

    I really like your samples shot with the new 28-300 VR. And I can’t wait to have this fantastic lens. Thank you very much for sharing.

    You had to lean a D700 and really never thought about holding this dream machine??? And you are still a DX believer after this experience?

    I cannot believe this, Bob.

    I know, when traveling, weight really does matter. And your D90s are real good cameras. But I would never ever give my two D700 away. And hey, you wear glasses, too. Like me. So, the D700’s finder must have been a pleasure for you, I guess.

    Thanks a lot, Bob and good luck on all your ways.

    Mario

  48. Stefon August 31, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    Hi, it is interesting to read your feeling toward that lens; just by looking at the range and the fact that it has VR and is quite sharp… I am not far from thinking (like you) that with a wide angle zoom you get an effective yet compact and not to heavy combo.
    Meanwhile, I’ll be curious to know which lens you use the most, just as a tip to know your “comparison” basis.
    Stefon.

  49. Anand September 2, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    Hi, Bob

    Thanks for the great review. I wonder if you have any thoughts on the comparison of this new 28-300 with existing Tamron 28-300 – the pre-XR, the XR and the newest one with VC?

    I realize that those lenses go down to 6.3 as opposed to 5.6 and the related effects. Is there anything outside of that to consider?

    Thanks

    • Bob September 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

      Anand: I have never used the Tamron, so I can’t say. Sorry!

      • Anand September 3, 2010 at 4:34 am #

        Thanks, Bob.

  50. Anand September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Hi, Bob

    Earlier today I had posted a question regarding this lens and the tamron 28-300s. I can’t find it now. Did it get removed by mistake?

    • Bob September 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

      Anand: All the comments are moderated, and often times, when I’m busy on an assignment, I can’t get to them in real time. Bob

  51. Billy September 3, 2010 at 3:02 am #

    Bob, I’m still writing to you for a question to ask. In the sample shot with the bird, the eye in not well focused, but I saw that the feathers are pretty sharp instead. Is it an error when focusing, maybe? Or do you think it’s likely a back-focus problem? (it seems improbable with af-s lenses…but I’m not a technician to surely say it)

    Regards

    • Bob September 3, 2010 at 5:35 am #

      Billy: That was an unfortunate choice in the photo editing and not anything with the lens. I only shot three frames of that bird, because he kept spinning his head around. And it was difficult for me to catch him where I wanted him. Why they chose one of them is beyond me. I hand in everything I shoot on those prototype assignments so engineers can look at everything. That one was not a great choice for the point they wanted to illustrate.

  52. Doward Jones September 3, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    Bob, How is the focus with the 28-300 in low light? I use my D700 for travel photos in the late evening. I also take some sports photos (high school football) at nighttime for my nephew. Always enjoy your images and perspective on photography. Thanks! Doward

    • Bob September 3, 2010 at 9:40 am #

      Doward: This wouldn’t be my choice for night football lens. I did a lot of twilight shooting with it, as you can see in the lead picture of this post, and it seemed fast and positive to me. Keep in mind that this is a generalist lens with a huge zoom range….it will not perform the same as a fast prime. But for the kind of travel work I do, it performed just fine. Bob

  53. Keith Gillett September 10, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    Bob, My 28-300 arrived yesterday. When compared with my f2.8 300 I noticed that it didn’t cover the same area. It appeared to be closer to a 250mm than a 300mm. I plan on using the lens for general purpose news photography, and some outdoor sports. After making this comparison, aren’t all 300mm lenses equal?

    • Bob September 10, 2010 at 9:57 am #

      Keith: I would think so.
      Having said that, I remember hearing something about wide to tele zooms and the way focal lengths are determined when Nikon and Canon came out with their 18-200mms years ago. You may want to Google it. Don’t hold me to it, but I remembered it was something about infinity versus close focus….one was equal in degrees of coverage, the other wasn’t, due to shifting elements. Or something. I didn’t follow it.
      This is way beyond my expertise and my elemental knowledge of lens design. Bob

    • Jim September 13, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

      Keith – I have been using the 28-300 vr for about 2 weeks now and I noticed the same thing but I am getting some great shots and the versitility is amazing. Perhaps it is more like the 250-270 range at the long end when compared to my 300mm F4 or even our 70-300 VR that I can get away from my wife (reason I bought the 28-300) I think you have to put this lens in perspective a true 11x or 10x or 9x or whatever you want to call it – it still rocks! It does not replace any lenes I have such as the 300mm F4 AFS, 24-70 AFS, 70-200 VR II, 50mm 1.4 etc. They all have a special place in the kit and no single lens will do it all. For walking about – Out to 200 thing thing is very sharp and at 300 when you need it- it beats cropping any.

      • Bob September 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

        Guys: According to my research, your prime 300 and your zoom 300 should be pretty close in coverage when focused to infinity. However, when used at closer ranges, the zoom will show different degree of coverage because of elements shifting and the like. And the greater the zoom range, the more pronounced the effect. So it’s going to be very prevalent in these superzooms. It’s like what happens to a macro’s maximum aperture—as you focus closer and closer, the lens gets slower.

        So in exchange for getting a 300mm that focuses down to, what is it, 18 inches, you don’t get the same coverage as a prime. This is an optical design thing that occurs in all brands. B

  54. Don September 13, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Hi Bob,

    I just picked up the 28-300 to replace the 18-200 that I was using with my D300S. I stepped up to the D3S and wanted to have all FX lenses. As the lens was pretty much unknown over here in Finland, no one had really tested it yet, I just took it on the odd chance that Nikon would not fail me. Anyway, it seems very nice and smooth and fits well with my 14-24mm zoom. In you opinion do you think that this is a pretty decent lens (28-300 mm) for my current set up? Thanks in advance and great shots.

    • Bob September 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

      Don: Sounds like a great pair of lenses that will cover just about anything. Have fun! Bob

  55. Josh September 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    I really like my 18-200 for travel photography. Yes, I am sure some pixel peeper can show that using a prime lens would be better. But… If I had to carry all those prime lenses, I would not be taking many photos. Instead, I would be huffing and puffing and resting in the local pubs. Didn’t some fellow win the nature photograph of the year a while back with a photo taken by the 18-200?

  56. IdahoJim September 13, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your insights Bob. I always appreciate it when a working pro is willing to take time to share their thoughts on new products such as this.

    Also thanks for sharing your pics. Forget the lens, you do some great work!

  57. Pete Beckett September 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    Hi everyone,
    I have a D200 with an 18-200mm VRII that I regard as my “P&S” camera. It’s an absolutely awesome combination for grab-shots and lightweight hiking. The 18-200 lens has always amazed me. I use it on a D3 with the ISO turned up for candid shots of the grandkids, for which it’s unrivaled!

    Then came the 28-300! I ordered one immediately B&H started taking orders. It arrived 2 days before I left for ANPAT-10 with a bunch of fellow Nikonians. I took the new lens, but dared not leave any others behind. After looking at the MTF curves on the Nikon web site, my expectations for the lens were not high. To be perfectly frank, I anticipated that I would return it after ANPAT.

    WOW! My flabber has rarely been so gasted! Wild horses couldn’t tear this lens away from me! On the D3, images are barely, if at all, discernable from those taken with my “professional” Nikkors at equivalent apertures and focal lengths! I find this new lens to be absolutely tack-sharp at 300mm at f/8 and the VR to be excellent. Autofocus might be a wee bit slower than that of the f/2.8 lenses.

    So why do I need all my other F/2.8 Nikkors? Oh yes, for shooting at f/2.8…

    This lens deserves to be in short supply, so get your order in ASAP. You will not be disappointed!

    Pete

    • Bob September 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

      Jim Glad you are pleased! Bob

  58. Ivan Sorensen September 21, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    Alright, my turn. I have a D90, a 35 1.8 and 18-200 3.5. I bought the 18-200 to replace my wonderful 18-55 ‘plastic fantastic’ that crapped out after it got soaked in a rain shower.

    I shoot landscapes usually at somewhere between 18 and 30mm, seldom longer than that and a smattering of portraits. Occasionally I get the urge to shoot wildlife but because I simply cant afford the outrageous prices for fast long glass I have to shoot stationary wildlife or animals that move very slowly. Most of the time I find that 200mm is just not long enough to reach and tap a Blue Heron waiting for a frog on the shoulder.

    So here’s my thinking. I have the wee prime if I need short fast and sharp. I have the mid zoom for my normal outdoor scenes and/or outdoor portraiture.

    Will this new 28-300 medium fast allow me to get more of those hard-to-reach wildlife thingys that I cant get now and not drive me into the welfare lineup? If so count me, in because I am surmising from this Q&A going on here that this new lens has some respectable image quality.

    Ivan

  59. lindayoga August 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Again… Very stunning!!
    I love San Fran. Seeing photos always brings me back to the 60s, But wow…. have times changed!!
    Thanks again sweet heart.
    Linda

  60. Mike H Sy August 31, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Hi Bob! Nice shots made with the 28-300. I was really skeptical of this lens at first. Why? Well my bro-in-law has one but its canon. Its humongous & heavy. Especially when they went to Korea he was lugging around a 5dmkII with batt grip, 580exII & the 28-300. He had a back-ache after that tour. Back to the point well i saw the 28-300 in the flesh and I saw its not exactly that big and as compared to canon’s offering. But in your opinion… would you choose the 28-300 over the 24-120 f4? and why?
    Thanks in advance!

  61. Joanna Bridges August 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Hi Bob,
    I admire your work and would appreciate your advice. I just got the D800, upgrading from the D300 (which I still love) and a 18-200mm lens (great travel lens). I also have two old lenses from my Nikon film camera days: f/2.8, 35-70 (with macro feature) and a f/4.5-5.6,75-300 lens, neither of which have VR. I am looking at the 28- 300 VR lens as the first lens to buy for the D800. Would you agree? Also, how do the old Nikon film lenses, such as the two I have, compare to the new ones with VR? Thanks so much.

  62. Bob August 20, 2010 at 7:05 am #

    Here’s another opinionated lens review…without the reviewer actually having used the lenses! My, but we do live in a virtual world:-). BK

9 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by photo blog feeds and Booom, photo feeds. photo feeds said: Photo © Bob Krist Nikon announced several new lenses today, one of which I got to play with a while ago. Of course… http://bit.ly/dzxM60 [...]

  2. [...] Check them out here [...]

  3. By Recap | Nikon Rumors on August 19, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    [...] and Photographyblog have a hands-on with the D3100. Check also Bob Krist’s blog – he has posted some samples photos from the new 28-300 [...]

  4. [...] out Bob Krist’s samples on his blog taken with the AFS 28-300 f/3.5-5.6 where he had a prototype to test in February. He mentions that [...]

  5. [...] photos with the new Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR Link! Looks pretty okay to me. It seems like it is a bit hit-and-miss to me though. The portraits of the [...]

  6. [...] Our Recommendation: I’m personally not a big fan of “super-zoom” lenses because you sacrifice a lot. For a “super-zoom” lens like this, you lose image quality, deal with higher distortion, slower aperture, and it also makes you a lazier photographer. That’s right, a lens like this will diminish the artistic quality of your images because instead of training your brain to look for different perspectives, you can just zoom into your subject or object. But if you’re looking for a “snap-shot” lens, a lens that you can just take pictures with, here it is. For only $1,049.95, you can’t beat the range you get. If I had a D700 or D3s, I guarantee you, it will never see this lens. Cameras of that professional quality would benefit from a better lens like the Nikon 24-120mm (above) and that is the lens I would recommend for you to get instead of this one. Photographer Bob Krist seems to like this lens. Read his review here. [...]

  7. [...] anything from landscape to sports/wildlife with that range, and an acceptable f-stop of 3.5 to 5.6. Bob Krist claims that it’s sharp all along the range, although we haven’t heard anything substantial from Ken Rockwell or [...]

  8. [...] We won't copy any here, if you want to take a look at his photos and thoughts on the new lens, pop on over to Bob Krist Photography. [...]

  9. By Tech-linkery… « Voyages Around My Camera on August 23, 2010 at 11:42 am

    [...] Samples with the new AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR [...]

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