67mm filter thread

Aperture Variation

70mm – f/4.5
70-135mm – f/4.8
135-180mm – f/5.0
180-210mm – f/5.3
210-300mm – f/5.6.

f/5.6 is par for the course at this price point.

Buttons and Switches

Focus switch – M/A Auto with Override; Manual mode.
VR – Off, Mode 1, Mode 2.

Build and Action

Mostly plastic casing with the modern Nikkor black finish with a slightly mottled texture. Edge of the outer case is metal, and the inside barrel is plastic, although there are some metal bits in there too. Lens mount is metal and it has a rubber flange around the mount. There is no tripod mount.

Both focus and zoom rings are a bit stiff, in that fine movements will bit difficult to do. Zoom ring is stiffer than the focus ring and on my copy has a very slight change in stiffness as it is rotated. On the other hand, there is no zoom creep at all, and although stiff, both rings don’t require much torque to turn, making it quite easy to use.

The strength of the lens is pretty good. After dropping it from my bag onto the kerb, the lens was fine except for a few minor scratches – zoom ring was fine, ditto focus ring – the only problem is that the VR system went kaput. Like a lot of modern tools, the weakest part in any lens is the electrical bits – this is no exception. Replacement of the VR system was £200, parts and labour. Thanks to Fixation for that.

Autofocus Performance

Good Light: Infinity to Wide to Infinity: ~1.1 seconds (so roughly 0.5 seconds each way and a short stop at infinity).

Poor Light: Infinity to Wide to Infinity: ~2.3 seconds.

In outdoor light, AF is fast and accurate. As long as you point it in the right direction, it’ll lock on. Indoors, or in generally lower light, the motor steps down to a slower setting but it still generally accurate.

Optical Qualities

Optically this is actually a surprisingly good lens considering the focal range and the price point. It doesn’t seem to flare or ghost unless you point it at the sun, although it does lose contrast if the sun is just out of frame.

From 70mm all the way to 200/250mm, I’d say that this lens is optically excellent to the point where the optics can resolve to pixel level at 16MP on a DX-sized sensor. The corners are only a tad softer than the centre. Also, you can use it wide open without any noticeable loss in performance (or rather, the performance wide open is already good enough to resolve pixel-level details without needing to stop down). There is a degree of chromatic aberration in challenging scenarios, and the tendency to fringe is worse in the corners.

Much has been written about the drop-off in performance at 300mm, and my experience is similar, although I don’t think it is quite as bad as some people have said (then again, I am a DX shooter). Yes, it does get a little softer – you can stop down if you want, but most of the time I’m quite happy to shoot wide open. Corners suffer noticeably worse than loss of sharpness in the centre. Another issue that comes up at 300mm is the purple fringing, which can be quite noticeable in the corners if you’re not careful, yet less in the middle.



Optically excellent between 70-200 even wide open;
A lot of bang for your buck/pound/euro;
Lightweight for the focal range;
It’s an FX lens as well;
Stabilisation works really well.


Weakest at 300mm (it’s not bad though);
Build quality isn’t quite so bullet-proof.

This is the lens that spends far more time on my camera than any other, mostly because I shoot moving things like cars, aircraft and wildlife. In that respect, this lens does a damned fine job, and coupled with the DX crop factor, allows me to work in the sweet focal range. The loss in sharpness at 300mm is a little annoying, but not that big a deal to get frustrated with. Overall, I’m a very happy customer. Large focal length, fast AF, light. Perfect for travelling with, and it usually does. Did I mention that the VR works really well? The VR works really well!

The only things this lens is losing to the larger 70-200 f/2.8 is that extra stop of aperture and a bit of AF speed. On the other hand, you have another 100mm, a heck of a lot less weight and another grand in your pocket. It’s not really a fair comparison – people will use the 70-200 for different reasons than the 70-300.