As well as comparing the two models, we’ve also compared the image quality of the new-ish Nikkor 18-300mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR. Although this is a higher-grade ($999) mode with a truly impressive 16.7x zoom ratio, that capability will inevitably limit the optical performance.
The fact that it does well against the more modest 18-140mm f3.5-5.6 is evidence of the maker’s technical know-how. Still, the 18-140mm has the higher overall IQ and better sharpness levels overall. The 18-300mm also has disappointingly high levels of chromatic aberration, corresponding to six pixels at 1:1 on-screen. That said, it’s not unexpected in a model that pushes the current boundaries.
Against the earlier 18-135mm model, the new lens performs very similarly overall. Any increase in sharpness is always welcome, even if it results in a slight increase in chromatic aberration and shading, as it has done in this particular instance.
More importantly, the new model has more uniform sharpness across the image field. The improvement is visible at various focal lengths and apertures, including the tele-end where it’s all the more difficult to achieve.