The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR is almost twice as costly as Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX. Why is that so?

The only difference I see is the internal Focus. If that ignored are there any other differences between the two in terms of clarity. I was wondering if the 70-300 is worth all that extra money just for the IF!

Amazon links below

Nikon 70-300

Nikon 55-300

  • \$\begingroup\$ also pls keep in mind that for 70-300 on a nikon 7000 will act as 105-450mm due to crop factor.. that can enhance your reach in telephoto.. \$\endgroup\$
    – user9448
    Apr 17, 2012 at 18:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Both lenses get the same crop factor. A DX lens isn't 'adjusted', it just produces a smaller image circle. They will have the same field of view where they overlap. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Apr 17, 2012 at 19:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Extending what @rfusca said, the 55-300 performs like an 82-450mm in 35mm-equivalent terms. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 17, 2012 at 19:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I first heard about this lens from Moose Peterson's blog. Moose is a professional wildlife photographer. His recommendations carry weight IMO. This is near the top of my glass wish list. moosepeterson.com/blog/2009/05/28/nikons-best-kept-secret \$\endgroup\$
    – user6956
    Apr 17, 2012 at 19:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ The 70-300 focuses much, much faster than the 55-300. The 70-300 feels almost instantaneous at large focus distances. With the 55-300 one can watch the focus slowly change in the viewfinder. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szabolcs
    Feb 13, 2015 at 18:21

3 Answers 3


The 70-300 is a full frame (FX) lens, the 55-300 is APS-C (DX).

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Just to expand on this: Full-frame means the lens has to produce an image on a larger surface area. That usually means larger lens elements, and the more glass you have, the more expensive the lens. \$\endgroup\$ May 16, 2011 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, that explains it. I don't need it for my D7000. Will probably go with the 55-300 or a tamron \$\endgroup\$
    – sarego
    May 16, 2011 at 18:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, I have read some other forum threads and on most places, people recommend 70-300, not only because of the FX. They say, that 70-300 has a better quality, faster AF, sharper at 300, etc. What's your opinion? I have the same dilemma now. Thanks :) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 27, 2011 at 9:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Generally FX lenses are aimed at users of FX cameras, both of which are expert and pro-level, so naturally the quality will be better for the FX lens. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 27, 2011 at 11:45

The 55-300 is meant only for DX cameras and the 70-300 is a good choice for both DX and FX cameras.

Beyond that, their build quality is noticeably different: the 55-300 is lightweight and the focus and zoom rings are not particularly smooth. The 70-300 is a little heftier with smooth focus and zoom rings. (To be clear, the 70-300 is not built like an f2.8 zoom, but it's nice.)

Image quality: for the price, I find the 55-300 to be quite good. Stopped down a little, you probably can't tell the difference between it and the 70-300. Which is to say, the 70-300 is clearly better wide open.

All considered, the 70-300 is clearly the better lens and in my opinion it's worth the price. If the price of the 70-300 is too high for you, I wouldn't hesitate to get the 55-300; it's a good lens for the price.


70-300mm is definitely faster than 55-300mm. I have tried and tested both of them on my D90. After few months of research, and savings, I went for 70-300mm and it definitely worth the price.

Why not 70-300mm ?

In my opinion the only reasons why someone shouldn't go for the 70-300mm is the price (compared to 55-300mm) and the weight of the lens.

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    \$\begingroup\$ When you say the 70-300 is faster, I assume you are referring to autofocus speed, yes? The apertures are the same. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 16, 2012 at 20:20

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