Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens leaks in Europe

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

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED DX VR lens leaked on Nikon Europe website today. This lens has been on my list of upcoming announcements for few months now. The related patent can be found here. I have no exact announcement date, but I believe it should be in the next few weeks. I also think that there will be a new DX body to go along with that lens.

Main features:

  • DX format 16.7x zoom lens with versatile 18-300mm focal range (FX/35mm equivalent:27 to 450mm)
  • Vibration Reduction II (VR II) stabilization system enables more flexible hand-held shooting and lets you use shutter speeds that are up to 4 stops slower.
  • Maximum aperture of f/5.6 at the telephoto end of the range.
  • Zoom-lock switch keeps the lens secure when not in use.
  • 9-blade rounded diaphragm opening makes out-of-focus elements blend together smoothly.
  • Three ED glass and three aspherical lens elements ensure high resolution and superior contrast.
  • SWM (Silent Wave Motor) for fast, whisper-quiet autofocus.
  • Compact and lightweight design for a lens with this range.


  • Focal length 18-300 mm
  • Maximum aperture f/3.5-5.6
  • Minimum aperture f/22-32
  • Lens construction 19 elements in 14 groups (including 3 aspherical lens elements and 3 ED lens elements)
  • Angle of view 76 °-5 °20 '
  • Focusing Nikon Internal Focusing (IF) System with autofocus controlled by Silent Wave Motor and separate focus ring for manual focus
  • Minimum focus distance 300 mm focal length: 0.45 m (1.48 ft) from focal plane
  • Maximum reproduction ratio 1/3.2x
  • No. of diaphragm blades 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
  • Filter-attachment size 77 mm (P=0.75 mm)
  • Dimensions Approx. 83 mm diameter x 120 mm (distance from camera lens mount flange)
  • Weight Approx. 830 g (29.3 oz)

MTF charts:

Lens design:

In 2012 Nikon is expected to announce also new 28mm f/1.8G FX and 16-85mm DX lenses.

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  • seb

    I have got too much lenses and I often get back pain walking whit all that staff in my camera bag so…please….NIKON make one lens for those in needs to prevent back pains …please make ”Universal Soldier 10-600 f 2.8 vr” for us …Ppplllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaasssseeeeeeeee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)))

    • Yes, and that lens is supposed to prevent backpains….

      • R!

        I’m waiting the one with the tai massage option!!!!

        • JC

          Oooh! And make it an AF-S tilt/shift micro zoom with VRiii as well!

          • WA

            In carbon fiber and for less than $2.000!!

            • jason

              and a fake-lens coffee cup replica

            • mikils

              And make it come with a free camera attached; to be chosen between D800 and D4

    • And now that you gave them the idea, they gonna make it!!But i got a question, why not make it f1.4 or 1.2?I think its better to have more light in right?

      this lens gonna look like hahahah

      • seb

        I’d say f 0.9 🙂

        • Rolf

          Hmmm. At f/0.9, a 600mm would only have about 2 inches DOF at 25 yards. Focusing *might* possibly be an issue on such a beast 🙂

          Combine with the issues of size even for a 600mm f/2.8, I think I’ll pass, even if it sounds good on paper (sort of like a lot of laws that get passed) :-/

        • Vladimir

          and pancake, of course!

      • Ray

        Dunno about the lens, but I’d certainly buy that tripod…

    • gory

      and a built-in tripod

      • BBhaswaran

        It will also have a Built-in Coffee Machine in it

    • Weten

      Oh my God, unless Canon would fight back by introducing 16-200mm, I suspected to have made a wrong decision last month by buying a Canon 600D if that 18-300 really hit the street.

  • EvanKr

    Yet another all-in-one for uncle Ken to rave about.

    Why couldn’t Nikon make something for the upper end DX marker for once, if you’re a serious enthusiast who shoots DX, right now your only real option would be the 17-55 2.8 which is ridiculously expensive, or the 16-85 which is too slow. I would’ve loved to see a 16-85 with a constant f/4 aperture.

    • Global

      They do make it — its called FX lenses (the serious lenses).
      There are a ton of them — go for it.

      I think what you really are asking for is for Nikon to make “cheap pro” lenses. But that’s not very easy, because of the redundancy of production issues. Its far better to have a “cheap entry” line (18-55, etc), a “mid-level” (1.8 lenses, such as 35, 85), and a “high end” (compatible with FX pro cameras).

      If you make a 28/1.4 FX and 28/1.4 DX, and everything else, then you are making a lot of redundant lenses.

    • RC

      The only reason the 17-55 even exists is because Nikon didn’t have FX back when it was introduced. I agree with Global. Get an FX lens. Serious and DX seem oxymoronic to me. It will be more so as more FX cameras get introduced. If you’re really “serious,” why aren’t you shooting FX? It’s also funny that you’re complaining about slow lenses in an age where shooting at ISO 6400 or higher is possible.

    • Aristotlish

      I own the trinity, some specialty lenses and various other glass that rarely gets removed from my stash of equipment in the closet. But if this lens had decent IQ, I would slap it on my D7000 in a heartbeat and use it for some of the casual reportage I’ve found myself getting into lately. I’m so damned tired of lugging around three lenses to take editorial photos that would look just as fine on a client’s PC screen with something that weighed a lot less. Yeah it’s variable aperture, but at 300mm, that f5.6 still has respectably narrow DOF. Sure 18mm is a bit too narrow for my tastes if I’m buying a lens with UWA functionality, but nothing a few steps backwards won’t fix.

      Add something like this to your entourage of 14-24, 24-70, 70-200 and you have a very nice all purpose alternative to lens changing and dual bodies.

    • Vandyu

      I’ve wanted a 16-85VR for a long time, but the price has held me back. If it were $499 I would have jumped on it. Right now, I have a first generation 18-200VR with the infamous zoom creep ($750) and the 70-300VR ($500). I’d pretty well lose my shirt if I got rid of both of them to buy the 18-300VR. But, if the lens got good reviews, it would be tempting since I’m not fond of carrying both of the other lenses.

  • RondoX

    Nikon has been on a real aggressive streak lately.

    They silenced all the nay-sayers with the D800’s performance. And buried the D3s, D3x, and everyone’s precious D700 in one swoop.

    I’m betting the performance tests of the 18-300 will silence everyone again.

    Just look at the MTF charts and especially the lens design.

    19 elements in 14 groups with 3 ED elements and 3 aspherical elements, and a 9 blade rounded diaphragm.

    That’s a lot of fire power.

    It will undoubtedly outperform 18-200, it has the best lens design of any consumer lens in Nikon history.

    • At 830 gms, it is on the heavy side. Add a D300s or a D7000 and the combined weight will be nearly 1.5 kgs or more. One agrees that it is just one lens and one body option but carrying this combo around all day will be tad difficult.

      • Jim

        Excuse me! IF this lens plus one body is already too much weight for a 24 to 450mm equivalent you should look in the Nikon 1 department!

    • Not sure if its going to outperform 18-200, but for sure its gonna be pretty close to it, since Nikon will try to keep 18-200 in game as well.It is my guess that 18-300 price is gonna be well above 18-200 maybe by 150-200bucks.

    • Dr SCSI

      @RondoX, I noticed the complicated lens design as well. If it out performs the 18-200 VRII, I think the price will come in around $1399.

      • RondoX

        Yes, simply based on specs alone, this thing is gonna be pretty expensive.
        Perhaps around the price of the 28-300, if not more.

        Considering that is will be the most expensive DX lens to date, (besides the 17-55 2.8 of course) you can’t help but start to think that an expensive DX camera is coming.

        I always thought the 28-300 was a little big and heavy for the D700, and with the D300s already discontinued, there really isn’t a DX camera readily available that suits this behemoth of a lens.

        Doesn’t really make any sense to release a D3200 or a D5200 or even a 7100 along side this lens. Those bodies are just way too inexpensive and small.

        And Nikon Japan has had a history with mega zoom semi pro bundles.

        D200, D300/D300s, D700, and now, the D800 all bundled with mega zooms.

        All the clues show that a big semi pro DX camera is coming…

    • Perhaps so. But at some point you cannot get around the laws of physics or diminishing returns. The range is simply too great to expect stellar performance throughout the range.

      It may well be a solid “all-in-on” travel performer. But I would likely shy away from it for really serious work.

    • DS

      “And buried the D3s, D3x, and everyone’s precious D700 in one swoop.”

      D3s = 9 to 11 fps. Completly useable pictures at ISO 51,200. The D800 has definately NOT buried the D3s. D3 and D3x? Absolutely. You will not see the d800 in the hands of any pro who shoots sports or does very low light theater work. Sorry.

  • Matt

    The best you can do is a 24-290 f2.8.
    It usually sells for over $80,000

    • Bondi Beach

      Brilliant! Is there a model with a built-in tripod?

    • RaVax

      > Weight: 24.25 lbs. (11kg)

      Who was complaining about the 18-300 weight? 🙂

  • Robert Gange

    Maybe we will see the D400 at the same time. Hope so.

  • Mock Ken Well

    I haven’t heard or seen this lens, it has great bokeh and is sharp once stopped down to f64, all you need is a good 6mp camera and this lens for pictures as good as a D800. Remember to shoot jpeg on the low setting for best results.

    • RC

      You don’t get him I guess. I do, and pretty much everything he says is spot on.

  • I still waiting the Nikon D400. I hope it coming soon

  • photo-Jack

    The specs sounds nice. But the problem with this kind of construction is, that the front element is so heavy that the lens zooms out as soon as you tilt it down (like the 28 – 300 does) and that the focal length shrinks considerably the closer the focus distance is. Expect about 100mm at closes focus distance.

  • Srini

    While carrying a single 18-300 looks like a great idea, how seriously do we need this monster lens? I think anything more than 120 – 135 mm (max I think) is unecessary. I cannot imagine lugging around 1.5 – 1.7 kg body + lens…

  • Toli

    If, the leakage are holding-up Nikon is beating Tamron in term of focus length all-in-one zoom system…not bad.

  • Bufo55

    My take: this is Nikon’s video DX lens, kinda like the 14-140 Panny, but with an even greater (16x !) zoom range. Yeah, it’s an all-purpose walkaround lens, but the Nikon has a video strategy – revealed in the D4 and D800 – and its working its way into the DX line. For the strategy to work, they need a lot of processing power – so I expect the new DX body to be on the higher end. A D400 with all the video features of the newest models: uncompressed HDMI out, electronic smooth aperture, 1080×1920 pixel crop mode, etc. All in time to sell to well-heeled prosumers attending the Olympics. (And by the way, that’s why Nikon is prioritizing long and fast exotics now – they want everyone to see the pros shooting with black with gold stripe lenses, not white with red stripes).

    • Bert

      Only Canon fanboys care about stripes.

      All other brand users there’s good and bad lenses. Nobody knows what a gold stripe means in Nikon/Sigma/Pentax etc. There are plenty of non-striped good lenses and we just get on with shooting.

      Canon users buy lenses for the red stripe. They whinge when a good lens comes out and doesn’t have a red stripe (because it’s EF-S and only EF can get red stripe). They don’t care when a red stripe has crap optical quality (70-300L?). They won’t buy a lens until a ‘red stripe’ version comes out (100mm macro?). The most important character in their equipment list is a red ‘L’.

  • ter

    Still would like to see an upgraded 80-400.

    • Neomovie

      Nikon really need to update the 80-400vr to afs vrII, and need to add vr to afs-300D, and publish the replacement of d300s, D400, as we know, only with 300 f4.0 is,400 f5.6, and 100-400 are atract so many unprofessional bird shooter to buy these lens+ 7d. at least in China, the situation is so. as one nikon user, we only can buy the afs300 f4.0 @ a cheap price. the 80-400vr is too slow and got bad vr performance.

  • D400

    How is an MTF chart?

  • chaz

    make it FX dam it

  • wow

    once again they beat canon to the punch 🙂

  • AM

    It looks like this lens also has the lock to prevent it from creeping. I’d just wish that it was an improved lock that allows to lock the zoom at any focal length and not only at 18mm.

  • Bip

    This is good. Nikon is on the right track again.

    Looking forward to Nikon redesigning the antique 300mm f4, and perhaps introduce a 70-200mm f4, too. Not everyone need an f2.8. I often leave these two lenses behind in favour of the 28-300mm or 70-300mm.

    • wanderer

      Mmm… 70-200 f/4… the single item that gives me Canon envy.

      • D400 = FX


      • gravity

        You know, if you have a camera that can autofocus older lenses, there are plenty of 70-210mm f/4 s out there. just sayin.

  • This lens could replace some of the glass in my bag for sure. Any estimate on price? Around a thousand bucks perhaps?

    • D400


      • Yeah you’re probably right now that I’ve scrutinized the specs. I can justify the cost by selling some old glass, and less lenses to carry around…this, a 35mm, and a macro should be all I need for field trips. Definitely will be ditching my 55-300mm DX at the very least.

  • rafael nuno

    at last… the super cover-all lens i’ve been waiting for. If priced <USD1000, I'll definitely buy. Byebye my 18-200 and 70-300…

  • Spy Black

    I don’t know why everyone’s so hot for this thing. Lenses with zoom ranges like this are always inferior in IQ. The 18-200 Nikkor is a case in point, and that’s 100mm less. The IQ of the 18-200mm is bad enough, the 18-300mm is going to be pure garbage. You simply can’t have a lens with that much zoom range and expect it to actually look good, period.

    • rafael nuno

      Dunno about you, spy… but I’ve been taking pretty good photos with my good old D70s + 18-200 for 5 yrs now, 200K shutter count still going strong. And yes, I’m no pixel peeper, but my friends and family always tell me, my pictures are so good they ask for many 30x45cm prints. So I guess 18-300 should suit my case well, considering I only have ‘photographically uneducated’ people to woo… Plus I can get rid of my 70-300, the good looking but often-stay-in-the-closet lens.

      • Spy Black

        Ultimately what a photographer does with his gear will dictate the value of a shot, I was just commenting on the IQ of such designs. If you compare your lens to shorter zooms in the same image ranges you’d notice the difference. As long as you’re happy with it, that’s all that counts for you.

        • RC

          I bought the 18-200 when it first came out, and I LOVE it! A bit soft off-center though wide-open, so if this new one is as good as the 16-85, I will seriously consider getting it.

          • I boguht the original 18-200 five years ago as well for a railway trip simple because I did not want to lug my D2Xs around with a 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8 glass and aside from the 135mm where the lens performs at its worse, the glass does perform pretty well.

            A lot of people talk IQ out of glass and camera bodies, but in reality, 95% of images taken are taken by tourists, hobbyists, and amateurs, with little to no reproduction,or print value as it is.

            Hobbyists and amateurs like to talk a big game about specs, and IQ, but even then 99% of those shots reside in a local hard drive occasionally to see the light of day on a message board, forum, or Flikr account. the 1% that does make it to print, tend to make it to the family album seldom beyond 5×7.

            Even in my field, where I do this for a living, my images never get beyond 6×8, and are printed in a newspaper format, or to our online edition seldom longer than 1024. The few that do go to magazines, seldom are larger than 8×10, with those instances, the end reader really does not care about camera gear, post, IQ, pixel peeping or any of it.

            In fact during last two gallery showings, I had plenty of photographers who couldn’t tell if an image at 8×10 take with a D2Hs or D2Xs in JPEG from what came out of M3 and Summicrom.

            If a new 18-300 can perform as well as the first or second generation 18-200, then I would likely consider it for my next trip, otherwise, I’ll stick to the 18-200. One thing I can say for sure, I’ll never try to take on a 14-day international rail travel trip again lugging f/2.8 glass around. It’s bad enoguh lugging it around for a few hours a day for work as it is.

  • German Torero

    That’s good for business Nikon! Way to go. In the meantime, in the generous times that you are in now, why dont you give us the D400 and the 50-150 f2.8 VR for us lowly dx shooters. If not, why dont you let Sigma off the hook with the OS squabble and let them offer their 50-150 OS. You have a hand with this, dont you? Just asking…

    • Srini


      “please stop ripping UK/Irish customers as it is pretty unfair!

  • As a D3s user, I still use my D300s with 18-200VR as a personal travel camera. It’s all I take out with me when I travel as I don’t want to mess around with a bunch of lenses and such and it’s proven to be pretty great as an all-rounder.

    This will be an awesome replacement for the 18-200VR. Must have. 🙂

  • If priced reasonably, I will definitely buy one.
    Otherwise, I might get the 28-300 VR.

  • I’m waiting for a D400. WHEN????? and what price will be?

  • Bob

    Does this mean that 28-400 is not far away?

  • Weten Harjan

    Oh my God, unless Canon would fight back by introducing 16-200mm, I suspected to have made a wrong decision last month by buying a Canon 600D if that 18-300 really hit the street

    • RC

      Canon already has an 18-200. That’s not that different than an 18-300. Tamron makes an 18-270.

  • coco

    now i want to see a 18-400 f3 – 5.6 from tamron

  • Stephen

    Nikon needs to make a 50-150 f2.8DX to complement the 18-55 f2.8DX.

    Still waiting.

  • Now with this lens Sigma and Tamron have to come up with something new. Would be great if it’ll be a faster lens.

  • hois

    If the IQ is better than 18-200 and 70-300 then it will be all what I need beside the new Tokina 11-16 DX II.

    • JeffP

      Considering the 18-300mm VR has 3 ED glass and 3 aspherical lens elements I’m sure it will be sharper than the 18-200mm VR II or 70-300mm VR. My main concern is distortion at the wide end.

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