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PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:23 pm 
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I have two nice examples of close-up performance on a D700. Both are presented at 100% crops here but you can click through the full-resolution originals as they came straight out of CaptureNX 2, with CA-removal but no additional sharpening (standard-settings). Both shots were hand-held, AF, VR=on, and at MFD of 50cm.

Roses (100% crop):
Image
Shot at 50mm, f/8.0, 1/60 sec, ISO 200

Ant (100% crop):
Image
Shot at 300mm, f/8.0, 1/250 sec, ISO 200

I'm pretty happy with what you can produce at MFD without any aid (like close-up filter).


Last edited by Thomas on Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:16 pm 
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Now that I had the chance to test the lens on a D700, here are the results from shooting Siemens-star targets.
I'm showing 100% crops here of a FX corner on a D700 body.

Nikon AF-S VR 28-300mm 3.5-5.6G ED @28mm:
Image
At 28mm the corners are quite distorted, but sharpness is pretty good.

Nikon AF-S VR 28-300mm 3.5-5.6G ED @35mm:
Image
The distortions are gone, good sharpness from the beginning.

Nikon AF-S VR 28-300mm 3.5-5.6G ED @50mm:
Image
50mm turns out to have some field-curvature: I had to refocus for optimal corner-sharpness vs. optimal center-sharpness. But the sharpness wide open is still the weakest so far, similar to the results at 105mm. Seems some astigmatism is creeping in. Stopping down improves corners nicely, at f/8 they're quite good.

Nikon AF-S VR 28-300mm 3.5-5.6G ED @70mm:
Image
Corner performance improves at 70mm.

Nikon AF-S VR 28-300mm 3.5-5.6G ED @105mm:
Image
Corner sharpness wide open takes another dip. For optimal results stop down to f/11.

Nikon AF-S VR 28-300mm 3.5-5.6G ED @150mm:
Image
150mm has better sharpness wide open than either 105mm or 200mm. Just don't forget to support the front-end of the lens from 100mm onwards as warping can ruin these nice results.

Nikon AF-S VR 28-300mm 3.5-5.6G ED @200mm:
Image
The corners get a little softer at 200mm, but improve markedly at f/11. So stopping down this lens can lead to very good performance. This is not always the case with other lens-designs.

Nikon AF-S VR 28-300mm 3.5-5.6G ED @300mm:
Sorry, but my setup didn't allow for an approriate distance to shoot the target in a comparable way. So you have to rely on my findings from my D300 tests.

All images developed in CaptureNX 2 at standard-settings (including auto CA-removal), only exposure compensation was used to match brightness. Shot with remote SB800. Focus was achieved in Camera Control pro 2 with contrast based AF in live-view.


Last edited by Thomas on Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:53 pm 
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Some remarks are in order when you compare the results from the D300 with the results from the D700:
1. Because of larger pixels the D700 is more forgiving with respect to resolution of the lens and CAs.
2. But outside the DX-frame it's harder for the lens to keep on a good performance.

(1) and (2) explain why some corner results look better on the D300 (=lens not stressed to the limit of its image circle) or look better on the D700 (=lens has relative even performance over the image circle and the D700 with its lower resolution paints a nicer picture. What the results show is that the performance of such a complex lens shifts a little depending on the focal length you use. Different effects cancel out or multiply depending on the position of the lens-groups in this zoom. This is the reason why I tested the lens at so many focal lengths.

If I had tested on a D3x and reproduced the crops at 100% they would have been 40% larger (as a result from the higher linear resolution) and structures in the testshots would have shown more defects. That's because the D3x looks at the lens with sort of a 1.4x loupe.
The D300 has the same pixel-density as the D3x, why don't we see the same effect here? Because the shooting distance with the D300 was approx. 50% larger (compared to the D700) to produce comparable images between both bodies at a certain focal length. That makes it easier for you to compare all the test-results across my reviews.
So some of the differences in the test-results may also result from the different magnification that I used on the D700 vs the D300.

But you see from this explanation that the discussion regarding comparison of lens results on different bodies can be quite challenging and one of my favorite places - after Camera Labs - for professional lens-tests simply writes "Please note that the tests results are not comparable across the different systems!"


Last edited by Thomas on Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:12 pm 
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I also did some comparison of the 28-300 on the D700 with the 18-200 on a D300. When you're not shooting flat test-targets one has to be careful not to fall into the trap of different dof (have a look here to see the astounding differences in oof-rendering between both combos).

In the following case I let the cameras AF on the tree which was standing almost 100m away and I'm only showing you a 100% center-crop:
Image

Here I have obviously hit the weak spot of the DX super-zoom: 135mm is not its favorite focal length...


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:02 pm 
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I've still some small test on my to-do-list but I think it's time for a conclusion:
The new Nikkor AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR seems to follow in the very successful steps of its smaller sibling the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR (see Gordon's review here).
It is the all-round super-zoom that you should always have in your bag!
Let's differentiate this statement a little depending on the type of body.
For FX:
- Either as a universal backup should the FL(-range) of your primary lens(es) fail to cover a photographic opportunity
- Or on your FX-body as the primary lens, with some specialty lenses in your bag for macro-photos > 1:3, ultra-wide/fisheye, ultra-long (>=500mm), or ultra-bright (f/1.8, f/1.4)
- Or even as your sole (or first) lens for your FX-body. Because it goes wide, far and close.
For DX:
- As your long standard zoom that needs something shorter to complement it below 28mm (equivalent 42mm focal length on FX-/film-bodies)

All in all, it delivers amazing quality for a 11x zoom throughout the range with a weak spot at 200mm. If you can stop down to f/8 you get very good results at almost any focal length. So the formula that Nikon seems to have taken from their 18-200mm (and multiplied by 1.5x) works quite well. It gains only a little in size and weight and the optical quality in direct comparison to the DX version looks even a little better. Handling is a breeze and build-quality is pretty high - by comparison the 18-200mm feels flimsy.

--------------------------------------------
Verdict: Highly recommended!
--------------------------------------------

Good points
Very flexible and convenient 10.7x zoom range.
Good image quality when stopped down.
Optical stabilization.
Quiet autofocusing on all Nikon bodies.
Good build quality and zoom-lock switch.

Bad points
The most expensive super-zoom for FX and DX bodies.
Suffers from zoom creep.
Suffers from zoom-shrinkage at close range.

--------------------------------------------
Please post comments and questions here.
Comparing D700 + 28-300 vs D300 + 18-200 gives you some insight on how these combos perform and what differences can be observed.
And a collection of shots with the 28-300mm in original size can be viewed there.
Considering buying this lens? Support Camera Labs by using the links on this page.
Check the price of the Nikkor 28-300mm lens here!

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D800+assorted lenses


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