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Need advice - Thinking of Upgrading from 18-55mm to 18-300mm

I am thinking of upgrading to the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm F/3.5-6.3G ED VR Wide Angle & Telephoto Lens priced in UK for £629

I like landscapes & Waterfalls, but also like to experiment with other types light bars etc.

is this a good step up?

Comments

  • From what I've read, this is a pretty nice lens if you're looking for an all-in-one lens. It certainly covers a big range, and it's optically not bad, and apparently well made. The VR is said to be very good, and unlike the cheaper kit lenses, it has a manual focus override, normal and sport VR settings (the latter best when shooting on a vehicle), and a metal mount, with at least a little weather protection.

    However, you should be aware that this is a really big lens. If you're using a D3200 especially, you may find it disproportionately large and heavy. It has a big filter size too. If at all possible, I'd look for a brick-and-mortar dealer so you can mount it and try it out and see how it feels. Nikon's prices are such that for an official US import version (recommended for repair options) there's almost no difference between the stores and the reputable web discounters. If you know for sure what you want, you'll save with B&H or Adorama or the like, but if you aren't, the difference to try it out is only going to be a few bucks, and may be well worth it if you have a store nearby.

    It's also not at its best at full zoom, and like the 55-300 (which I do have) although it's pretty decent at 300, it gets soft if you have to crop much, and if your aim is wildlife, it's not likely to be the best choice.

    If you're not concerned with the bother of lens changing and travel compactness, I'd consider going with less overall zoom, and trying for more specialized lenses. For landscapes, although it's also pretty expensive, you might do better with one of the shorter zooms. The 16-85 DX is a nice all around lens for carrying, and goes just that bit wider, making it nice on landscapes. I have that one, and though it is not as killer sharp as some others, it's quite decent, especially in its midrange. The very expensive 16-80DX is similar, but sharper and faster. If you don't need either the 16 mm. width or the very long tele, you might consider the 18-140, which is a mid-quality lens, a bit less expensive than the 16-85, but very nicely made, robust, and killer-diller sharp throughout its range. My wife has this one and it really does deliver.

    Unfortunately, the new 10-20 DX-P lens recently introduced will not function on a D3200 (P "pulse type" focus motor simply does not operate at all including manually). But if you're interested in landscapes, it might be worthwhile looking at other options in the very wide range. 10 mm is super-wide. 12 is very wide indeed.

    If you're planning to shoot wildlife, and especially if you expect to have to crop, as often occurs when shooting in the wild, I'd look at other long tele options. The now-discontinued (I think) 70-300G-VR (not other earlier models without the VR) is quite good. The 55-300 DX is fair but not really up to heavy cropping. There are a couple of interesting newer P-type lenses, but these are not compatible with the D3200. I think Tamron has also made a compatible 70-300 lens which might be worth a look.
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