Based on the popularity of all-in-one models for Nikon’s DX-format cameras, the 28-300mm VR was built specifically for FX and currently is the only such lens for full frame. Pull QuoteDX lenses—because they need to cover only a relatively small sensor area—are lighter and more compact, and often cost less than their FX counterparts. FX lenses, with roots in the days of film, far outnumber DX lenses in Nikon’s lineup—but don’t worry, you can mount an FX lens on a DX camera body just fine. It’s important to understand, though, that the size of the camera’s sensor determines how wide an area you actually see when looking through the lens. We point out this distinction because Nikon makes both DX- and FX-compatible lenses. This provides a way to accurately compare lenses made for either sensor format. Based on the popularity of all-in-one lenses for Nikon DX-format cameras, the Nikon 28-300mm VR was built specifically for full-frame—it’s currently the only all-in-one lens for FX. Nikon has a lens simulator on its site that illustrates the relationship between the different sensor sizes, focal length, and how the image looks. See the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
If you’ve just bought your first DSLR, chances are it’s got an APS-C sensor (which Nikon calls a DX-format sensor). A bigger number means a closer, narrower view of the scene. You can expect noticeable distortion at the ends (the Nikon D810 does have automatic distortion correction built into the camera) but the lens is sharp throughout its zoom range and good captures good images overall. And although the Nikon 28-300mm is heavy at over 28 ounces, it’s actually lighter than many of the zooms above including the Nikon 24-70mm, 14-24mm, and Nikon 70-200mm. You can expect distortion at the ends—all new Nikon full-frame camera models do have automatic distortion correction—but the lens is sharp throughout its zoom range and captures good images overall. You’ll find any lens’ focal length expressed as a distance in millimeters. For any given lens’ focal length, a camera with a DX (APS-C) sensor shows a narrower view of a scene than a camera with an FX (full-frame) sensor. Here’s a handy tip: Because DX sensors offer just two-thirds the diagonal view of FX sensors, you can multiply the focal length of any lens you’d mount on a DX-format camera by 1.5 to get its full-frame equivalent.
For the ultimate in versatility, the Nikon 28-300mm VR literally can serve as the only lens in your bag. The company’s pro-level, full-frame sensor cameras are branded as FX-format. DX lenses—because they need to cover only a relatively small sensor area—are lighter and more compact, and often cost less than their FX counterparts. To standardize this difference in scene coverage, we’ll refer both to a lens’ true focal length (the one marked on the lens) as well as its full-frame-sensor equivalent. For any given lens, a Nikon DX-format camera will show a narrower view of the scene (indicated in red) than an FX-format, or full-frame, camera. The Nikon 28-300mm is heavy at over 28 ounces, but it’s actually lighter than many of the zoom lenses below including the Nikon 14-24mm, Nikon 24-70mm and Nikon 70-200mm. If you own a Nikon full-frame camera, you already know about the pitfalls of mounting a DX lens on an FX body and, quite frankly, are far enough into the photography game to do without a novice-oriented guide like this one. If a DX-format lens and an FX-format lens each offer the full-frame equivalent of a 90mm focal length, you’ll know that when looking through either of them on their respective cameras your view of the scene will be the same.