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AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR review: AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

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The Good Good focal length reach for the price. Lightweight. Well balanced for the D3100 and lighter Nikon DX cameras.

The Bad Slow autofocus. Soft images at 300mm.

The Bottom Line The 55-300mm lens is a decent, though not stellar, addition to any Nikon photographer's kit if you shoot on the DX format and need an extensive telephoto reach.

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7.5 Overall

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Looking for a telephoto lens to take photos of distant subjects, and own a Nikon DX camera like the D3100, D5000, D90 or D7000? The 55-300mm lens from Nikon is one you may want to consider.

Debunking the letters

There's plenty of letters provided on the lens barrel, and they are all reasonably easy to decipher if you know what to look for. AF-S means it's an autofocus lens with an integrated motor, G means there's no aperture ring for manual aperture adjustments on the exterior, and ED is extra-low dispersion which is a fancy way of saying the glass on the lens is optimised to help lower chromatic aberrations.

The DX moniker means that the lens is intended for use on Nikon's DX cameras rather than full-frame FX ones (though they can be mounted on these bodies, with resulting images at a reduced resolution and with black surrounds).

Our review was conducted using the 55-300mm lens attached to the Nikon D3100.

Design and features

The 55-300mm appears the same as any number of other Nikon DX lenses, with a black plastic casing and rubberised focus and zoom rings. There are two physical switches, one for automatic/manual focus, the other for turning vibration reduction on and off. When attached to the D3100, it feels light and mostly nimble despite the focal length of the lens. On its own, the lens weighs 530 grams.

55-300mm image sample

A shot taken at the 55mm focal length, with 100 per cent crop underneath. (Credit: CBSi)

With a maximum aperture of f/4.5-5.6 it's definitely not a fast lens. In fact, it's slightly slower at the wide end than the 55-200mm lens from Nikon, that also comes in a kit configuration with the D3100. It has a filter thread of 58mm and included in the box are a lens hood and a lens carrying case.

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