Nikon adds 18-300mm superzoom, 24-85mm zoom lens

Two new models offer Nikon shooters a flexible all-in-one or travel lens and an image-stabilized alternative to the company's midrange zooms.

Nikon's AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens works on higher-end full-frame SLRs.
Nikon's AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens works on higher-end full-frame SLRs. Nikon USA

Nikon announced two image-stabilized lenses today, a 16.7x superzoom that reaches from 18mm to 300mm and more modest model reaching from 24-85mm.

The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, with a $1,000 price tag, is geared for travel shooters and others who are willing to sacrifice some optical quality for versatility. It's designed for Nikon's mainstream DX-format SLRs, whose image sensor is smaller than a 35mm film frame and therefore gives the lens an equivalent range of 27-450mm. And it's a notch more expensive than Nikon's earlier 18-200mm superzoom, which costs $850.

Nikon's AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens
Nikon's AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens Nikon USA

The AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR, which costs $600, is geared for use on full-frame FX-format SLRs such as Nikon's new D800. It provides a lower-cost, image-stabilized alternative to Nikon's 24-85mm F2.8 model, and to its top-end, $1,890 24-70mm F2.8 model.

The two new lenses are scheduled to arrive at the end of the month.

Each of the new lenses uses Nikon's second-generation vibration reduction technology, which Nikon claims can let people shoot four stops better -- for example, at 1/50 of a second instead of 1/1000 of a second. Such claims are often exaggerated, but there's no doubt VR helps a lot -- allowing a person with shaky hands to get by in lower-light conditions where it's not always possible to shoot at a fast shutter speed.

The 18-300mm also has a nine-blade aperture, three extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements to cut chromatic aberration, a 1.48-foot close-focus distance, and zoom lock switch to keep it from extending during travel. The new 24-85mm model has a 7-blade aperture and one ED glass element.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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