Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR (FX) - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (full format)


The Nikkor shows moderate barrel distortion at 70mm switching to quite pronounced pincushion distortion at 135mm and 200mm, which is reduced to a moderate level at 300mm. The general characteristic is typical for a lens in this class, however the amount of distortion is a bit on the high side.

Move the mouse cursor over the focal length text marks below to observe the respective distortion
70 mm 135 mm 200 mm 300 mm

The chart above has a real-world size of about 120x80cm.


Vignetting is visibe at max. apertures but comparatively well controlled at around 1 EV. Closing the aperture by one f-stop solves most of the issue from a real-life perspective.

We're performing our vignetting analysis based on (uncorrected) JPEGs straight from the camera. The JPG engine of the Nikon D3x features a rather flat gradation curve, thus has a moderate contrast characteristic, resulting in comparatively low vignetting figures - the corresponding Canon figures are roughly 40% higher due to the more aggressive default contrast setting.

MTF (resolution)

At its short end, the lens delivers excellent sharpness in the image center, however borders and corners show only good resolution throughout most of the aperture range. The situation is similar at 135mm, but with better border and corner sharpness, reaching very good values at f/8.

At 200mm the image center sharpness drops to very good values, with equally good borders and corners stopped down to f/8. At 300mm the center sharpness is still very good, but corners and border drop to good values.

Please note that the MTF results are not directly comparable across the different systems!

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

Chromatic aberrations (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are rather high, ranging from around 2 to more than 3 pixels. However, please note that lateral CAs can easily be corrected in software or by the camera itself (most modern Nikon DSLRs remove CAs on-the-fly if you shoot JPGs).

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