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… (more…)

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