Best superzoom for Nikon DSLRs: 8 tested

With their colossal zoom ranges, superzooms offer unparalleled versatility

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs  8 tested

Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR - £695/ $940

Noticeably larger than the DX-format lenses on test, this full-frame model gives a zoom range that's almost identical to the effective 27-300mm from 18-200mm lenses on an APS-C-format body. It has a newer design than the Nikon 24-120mm lens, and four-stop Vibration Reduction with 'Normal' and 'Active' mode options.

The extra length of the lens is even more noticeable at full stretch, but zooming from 28 to 300mm demands a little effort, as the zoom ring feels a bit sticky in places. As with the other Nikons on test, the ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system is quick and quiet, and comes complete with full-time manual override.

Performance

As with the Nikon 24-120mm lens, barrel distortion is well restrained at the widest-angle zoom setting, and pin-cushion is similarly low at the telephoto end. That's quite an achievement given the greater 10.7x zoom range. Sharpness is similarly impressive between 28 and 250mm, but drops off quite noticeably at 300mm.

Sharpness

Great performance in the 28-250mm range, with sharpness dropping off at the maximum 300mm focal length.

Lab test at f/8
Sharpness at wide angle: 2147
Sharpness at mid range: 1459
Sharpness at telephoto: 781

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs  8 tested

Fringing

Colour fringing is a little noticeable in the central region of the zoom range, but well controlled at either end.

Lab test at f/8
Fringing at wide angle: 0.33
Fringing at mid range: 0.6
Fringing at telephoto: 0.46

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs  8 tested

Distortion

A close match for the Nikon 24-120mm, distortions are well controlled, especially considering the extra zoom range.

Lab test at f/8
Distortion at wide angle: -2.48
Distortion at mid range: 1.18
Distortion at telephoto: 0.99

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs  8 tested

Image quality verdict

Image quality is good overall. Our only reservation is that sharpness could be a little better at the maximum 300mm focal length.

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs  8 tested

Taken at 28mm (min)

See full res image

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs  8 tested

Taken at 300mm (max)

See full res image