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Subject: "Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?" Previous topic | Next topic
leungkev Registered since 06th Dec 2005Wed 21-Dec-05 01:51 PM
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"Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"



          

I just received my new D50 with the 18-55 lens and I am looking to by a second lens, especially since I'll be doing some travelling in the next couple of months. However, I don't have much to spend so I am deciding between a 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED and 70-300mm f/4-5.6G. They seem to be both fairly inexpensive for used ones.

  

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Reply message RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?
James23p Moderator
21st Dec 2005
1
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Covey22 Moderator
21st Dec 2005
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edmun
21st Dec 2005
3
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alembicbassman
21st Dec 2005
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Covey22 Moderator
22nd Dec 2005
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cgaengineer
21st Dec 2005
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John317
22nd Dec 2005
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James23p Moderator
22nd Dec 2005
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leungkev
22nd Dec 2005
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Covey22 Moderator
22nd Dec 2005
11
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Covey22 Moderator
22nd Dec 2005
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K1W1
22nd Dec 2005
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Headshrink
23rd Dec 2005
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MarieBoyer
23rd Dec 2005
14
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Headshrink
24th Dec 2005
15
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MarieBoyer
24th Dec 2005
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fdh
25th Dec 2005
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skiboarder72
24th Dec 2005
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MarieBoyer
25th Dec 2005
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Headshrink
26th Dec 2005
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skiboarder72
30th Dec 2005
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Reply message Adding a second lens to your D50
Ranger Tim
01st Jan 2006
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Headshrink
03rd Jan 2006
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12th Jan 2006
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James23p Moderator Awarded for his wide variety of skills, a true generalist both in film and digital photography Nikonian since 25th Apr 2004Wed 21-Dec-05 06:19 PM
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#1. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 0


Memphis, US
          

I would go with the 55-200 and here's why. The 55-200 has ED elements and its a DX lens designed for your D50. Plus it has a Micro AF-S motor making focusing much faster than the 70-300G. The 70-300G is very slow focusing and no ED element. I had one and though the picture quality was okay and for the price very good it is still slow. The other thing is the DX lens is smaller and shares the same filter size of your 18-55. Hope ths helps. Jim

Share, Learn and Inspire
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I will use film until the last roll and last lab are gone. Go Navy

  

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Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberWed 21-Dec-05 07:51 PM
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#2. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 1


US
          

A couple of things to take into consideration:

1. Micro-AFS isn't much faster or efficient than screwdrive. Don't fall into the marketing trap. True ring-type AFS (available on the pro-level lenses like the 17-55 or the 70-200 VR) is a lot faster and efficient. Canon has a similar arrangement - their consumer lenses use a slower micro-USM motor, and their top-end lenses use ring-type. Focus performance not only depends upon whether the lens has an internal motor, but also the AF module of the camera body. The CAM900 on the D50 is decent, but starts to lag against anything with more than one cross sensor - CAM1300 (F100, F5, D1), CAM2000 (D2).

2. It's not the number of ED elements, but the size and placement in the optical formula that really make the difference. For a while people debated the 70-300 D ED versus the G, but based on my own personal experience (I owned both at one point), the tiny ED element buried in the middle of the D version really didn't make that much of a performance improvement. Now contrast that against three different fast telephotos that I've owned (Nikkor 80-200/2.8 two-touch screwdrive, Sigma 70-200/2.8 HSM, Nikkor 80-200/2.8 AFS) and I can tell you that the large ED/LD elements towards the front of the optics really helps. ED, like AFS, can also be used as a marketing buzzword when it really doesn't get you much more in the way of optical performance.

3. Focal reach is focal reach. For an older photographer like myself, 300mm is 300mm and it beats 200mm. The "1.5x crop factor" will not change that fact. As a part-time airshow and concert/event shooter, I know the better shots are the ones you can crop in-camera - meaning you got the framing right the first time because you had the optical reach to begin with. If in doubt, go for the longer focal length if you can afford it. As for optical quality, well, I submit to you an older shot of the Blue Angels with the 70-300 G. Is it stunning? Absolutely not. But I had the reach to fill the frame and still come away with acceptable results.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
Nikonians Team
Nikonians News - Fresh Everyday!

The Covey Blog!

My Plan:

Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.

See My Nikonians Gallery

  

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edmun Registered since 16th Sep 2003Wed 21-Dec-05 08:51 PM
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#3. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 2


eugene, US
          

Armando says it like it is.

ledmun

  

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alembicbassman Registered since 30th Oct 2004Wed 21-Dec-05 08:58 PM
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#4. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 3


The North, GB
          

The 70-300 G is good but does have some chromatic aberration at 300mm

I owned one for 6 months but got bored with it.

The problem is that there is no mid range tele zoom on offer from Nikon that vastly impoves on the 70-300 G (The 70-300 D ED has pretty much samey performance and it's double the price)

I'm saving for an 80-200 f/2.8 now

  

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Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberThu 22-Dec-05 01:05 AM
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#6. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

You will not regret an 80-200/2.8. This is what that lens gets you:



If you click and look at the larger picture, you can see the lens is absolutely unforgiving in this kind of portraiture - every wrinkle is visible - the stubble on his chin, the embroidery on the shirt, the grain on the wood. It's worth every penny.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
Nikonians Team
Nikonians News - Fresh Everyday!

The Covey Blog!

My Plan:

Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.

See My Nikonians Gallery

  

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cgaengineer Registered since 31st Oct 2005Wed 21-Dec-05 11:16 PM
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#5. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 2


Winder, US
          

I submit to you an older shot of the Blue Angels with the 70-300 G. Is it stunning? Absolutely not. But I had the reach to fill the frame and still come away with acceptable results.


Hey!! You stole that picture from me!! No actually I have a very similar picture in my collection I took.

the 70-300G is a great lens for the money, not the fastest and not the best quality...but for the cost it is a bargain. As some have already said, there is virtually no difference between the G and the non G version except the apeture ring.

  

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John317 Registered since 13th Dec 2005Thu 22-Dec-05 02:27 AM
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#7. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 2


Redding, US
          

Armando what is your opinion of the Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED AF Zoom-Nikkor Lens I have a D50 and an N80 and I'm trying to get lenses that will work on both.

John317
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are

  

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James23p Moderator Awarded for his wide variety of skills, a true generalist both in film and digital photography Nikonian since 25th Apr 2004Thu 22-Dec-05 03:31 AM
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#8. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 7


Memphis, US
          

Armando I understand the marketing hype but I have used both lens the 55-200 is alot faster than the 70-300G(used on my Daughters D50) also I found the picture quality better. Now is it slower than the pro level AF-S lens and the older G version yes it is slower than my 24-85G AF-S but we are talking a 175$ lens vs a lens that cost 300+ and the pro lens that cost 1000$ plus. Is the 70-300 a bad lens no for 125& its a good lens but I feel the 55-200 is a better lens.IMHO

Plus they share the same filter size of his primary and it has 2 ED elements. The ED elements are the secondary large front element(this by the way is the largest element in the lens tied with the primary front) and a medium sized element in the middle group no small ED elements. Plus he stated he didn't have alot of money putting the 80-200 2.8 AF-S lens out of reach. Just food for thought.

Share, Learn and Inspire
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I will use film until the last roll and last lab are gone. Go Navy

  

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leungkev Registered since 06th Dec 2005Thu 22-Dec-05 05:16 AM
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#9. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 8



          

Yes, the 80-200 is definitely out of my range. It will be one of the 55-200 or 70-300G. I guess my main concerns are (1) quality, and (2) whether I will miss the difference from 200-300mm. 200 would seem long enough and there don't seem to be many zoom lense that go to 300 anyway, but I would love to get some close up wildlife and sports shots.

I have never owned a telephoto lens or SLR camera before so I don't know how much zoom I'll want. I just know that the 70-300 is good value, but I have read some good reviews for the 55-200 as well and it is newer and only slightly more expensive, especially when buying used. It would seem to be a better match with my D50 + 18-55 (although I don't think I'd miss the 55-70mm range).

  

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Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberThu 22-Dec-05 01:12 PM
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#11. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

Let's put it this way - lenses are like gas stations in the middle of the night - you never have one when you really need one. Or depicted more accurately, you never have enough reach (tele) or angle (wide) when you really need it. You might think 200mmm is enough now, but then you're at a point where you realize you need just a bit more reach - and the lens you're using (in this case, the 55-200) can't take teleconverters. In a pinch, you can use third-party Kenko and Tamron TCs with the 70-300. It'll be slow as heck on the long end, meaning effective aperture f8, but mechanically and optically, it is possible - which gets you to 420mm in a pinch.

My opinions are simply that - opinions. Take 'em or leave 'em. So if you'd like to see the word of a working Nikon shooter, I submit to you two reviews:

http://www.bythom.com/55200lens.htm

http://www.bythom.com/70300lens.htm

Okay, now I'll warn everyone - I'm getting on the soapbox. Micro versus true AFS aside - general photographers need to understand that AFS is only an enhancement to assist you in getting the shot. One really needs to learn things like anticipation shooting and prefocus - and those techniques are independent of whatever technology you happen to have - it's worked for manual-focus shooters, AF+screwdrive, AF+AFS.

The same deal is true for the optical performance of a lens. Without the correct lighting and exposure, no amount of aspherics or ED elements will help at all. Discarding the hood because it's an inconvenience is another one of those practices that one needs to "unlearn."

In the end, lens selection is all about two things - what do you want to achieve with that lens, and are you picking the right one for the right reasons? Telephotos are difficult - primarily because most candid shots occur between 24mm and 90mm. So pick a telephoto that won't break the bank, but will give you the reach you need. 300mm is a lot of reach, and the fact that you can link a third-party TC to allow you, in a pinch, to get to 420mm, is even more incentive. You can't do that with a 55-200. Enough said, the air is getting thin up here, so I'm off the soapbox now.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
Nikonians Team
Nikonians News - Fresh Everyday!

The Covey Blog!

My Plan:

Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.

See My Nikonians Gallery

  

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Covey22 Moderator Expert in various fields including aviation photography Awarded for his contributions to the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Charter MemberThu 22-Dec-05 12:25 PM
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#10. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

John317 - The D version offers a slightly better build over it's G sibling - things like metal versus plastic lensmount, a wider focus ring. In the end, their performance is about the same. I used the D back when I was running a two N80 body setup, the results were very acceptable. In the right lighting and using very saturated film like E100, I got some great shots of wildlife in the Florida swamps. What's nice about the 70-300 range is that you get a very light but decent performing lens. At f5.6 and 300mm, it's just a touch soft. Stopping down to f8-f11 puts you right in the sweet spot. This lens will work well on both your chosen bodies.

"Toodle-loo from Covey22!"

-Armando
Nikonians Team
Nikonians News - Fresh Everyday!

The Covey Blog!

My Plan:

Get out of the car.
Get closer to the subject.
Pick the right mid-tone this time.

See My Nikonians Gallery

  

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K1W1 Registered since 19th Nov 2005Thu 22-Dec-05 08:52 PM
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#12. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 10


Melbourne, AU
          

I got the 18-55 and 70-300 lenses with my D50. I hardly use the 70-300 (maybe 50 photos out of 3000 so far). It's big, heavy,(relative to the camera) slow and needs so much light that you either need a tripod or ISO1600 most of the time.
It's fairly ordinary over 200mm anyway.
Personally I'd seriously look at something like a Sigma 18 - 125 if you are on a budget or the 55-200 if you want Nikon only.

  

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Headshrink Registered since 22nd Dec 2005Fri 23-Dec-05 01:55 AM
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#13. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 12



          

Great string guys. Like many on the D50 forum, I am a first time SLR/DSLR user. I bought my D50 with the 18-55 kit lens in October and have loved it. I have also really enjoyed and benefited from the excellent knowledge base in these forums. I do not think that I have ever seen a more useful or polite forum. I have spent the last two months or so learning from this and other sites, as well as from some videos. I knew absolutely nothing about photography before this and at times the learning curve feels very steep. I was dealing with the same desire to be able to have more tele zoom than the kit lens affords. After doing some research on this site and at KenRockwell.com I decided to go with the 70 – 300 G lens. Fore the money I just figured that you couldn’t beat it and the reviews that I read indicated that the picture quality was comparable to the ED lens. I wanted a larger telephoto lens to photograph my two daughters at the park and later in sporting events. So far I have been very pleased with the pictures, the best that I have ever shot, but then again my only comparison is to my old point and shoot coolpix. I learned the old fashioned way that the 70-300 G is not a great low light performer by photographing my daughter’s ballet recital. I am finding all low light photography to be very challenging and am hoping for an SB 600 for Christmas. Anyway, I have enjoyed the longer range of the lens, especially for $140.00 US. My very unknowledgeable two cents.

Headshrink

  

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MarieBoyer Basic MemberFri 23-Dec-05 03:11 PM
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#14. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 13


Portsmouth, US
          

Well said. Exactly where I am at in all this. I am looking at zoom lenses as well, and seriously considering the 70-300 G. For the price ($100 right now), how can you go wrong? (Even the Sigma APO DG, which everyone likes, is $200.) I read your comments about the 70-300 G carefully, as I am a D50 newbie who wants the zoom to take photos of my girls.

I have the D50 and 18-55 kit lens. Based on the reviews here and at dpreview, I just purchased the 50mm f/1.8 at B&H for $100. Received it last night. Wow. You should try it. No flash and the photos of my girls are very sharp. The combination of the softer ambient light with the sharp subject is as nice as everyone here describes. Highly recommend it for your next lens purchase.

Let me know about your experience with the sb600. That will be my next purchase, after I decide on the zoom. I am going broke!

D50 Newbie Lurker

  

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Headshrink Registered since 22nd Dec 2005Sat 24-Dec-05 02:21 AM
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#15. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 14



          

Marie, so glad that you mentioned the 50mm f/1.8. I have just started thinking about that lens as a possible indoor lens for these family shots. Thank you for your opinion on it and yes it will very likely be my next purchase. Of course that will mean that I will have to get another bag. I am trying not to go gear crazy but I have a tendency to do that with any and all gear whether it be computers, backpacking, rock climbing, etc. Can you post one of your indoor shots with your new 50mm? I will let you know how the SB600 works out.

Headshrink

  

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MarieBoyer Basic MemberSat 24-Dec-05 02:46 AM
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#16. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 15


Portsmouth, US
          

I do not think I can post yet, as I have not YET become a member. That will happen soon.

The lens is tiny, by the way. It will take up almost no space in your camera bag. It will make your Nikon D50 seem light as a feather and less intimidating-looking than the longer lenses.

I am having a good time with it so far. I was out tonight taking Christmas shots in the neighborhood in low light. The shots are very nice in low light.

I also used my flash indoors and those were nice as well. But then again, with the flash, my kit lens is great too.

D50 Newbie Lurker

  

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fdh Registered since 14th Dec 2005Sun 25-Dec-05 03:45 PM
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#19. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 15


New York, US
          

The 50mm f1.8 looks would be my choice for a second lens. It's inexpensive and it's fast. It can be used for available light photography and it would be superb for portaits. It's light and easy to carry it with camera around your neck casually. Also having a prime (non zoom) lens gets you much more lens for the money than a zoom lens. In particular 50mm lenses give you the most value because it's a "standard" lens that sells in volume. On the d50, because of the smaller sensor than full frame 35mm a 50mm lens will be equivalent to 85 mm on a "normal" 35 mm camera. This would be a great focal length for portraits. I was playing with another similar digital dslr yesterday that came with an 18-55 mm zoom and put on a fast 50mm f1.4 lens to see the difference. I was able to take available light (non flash) shots easily whereas on the zoom, with f5.6 at it's maximum telephoto setting that would have been impossible. Between f5.6 to f1.4 was a difference of 4 f stops. That amounts to being able to take pictures at 1/125 of a second on the fast 50mm lens vs 1/8th of a second on the zoom with full aperture in both cases at the same focal length. Now you would have to use a tripod with the zoom where you could hand hold your camera with the fast prime. The f1.8 lens is only slightly slower than the 1.4, but close enough not to affect the speed significantly. Also you get to have fun being "creative" with narrow depth of field on the fast 50mm. So you can create that "blurring" of the background on your portraits much better at 1.8 than at 5.6. Good luck and have fun!

Frank

Frank

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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skiboarder72 Registered since 28th Oct 2005Sat 24-Dec-05 03:29 AM
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#17. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 0


Rochester, US
          

how about the sigma 70-300mm APO super II, i was in a similar decision with my D50 and i decided to go this way, im getting the lens in a few days so i can let you know how it is, it was about 200$ and has a macro mode which was worth it for me, look at some sample shots on pbase theres some really impressive stuff

pm me in a few days i'll let you know what i think

http://www.joshjonesphoto.com/

  

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MarieBoyer Basic MemberSun 25-Dec-05 03:21 AM
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#18. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 17


Portsmouth, US
          

I will look forward to hearing your thoughts. I am close to a decision. Eager to be swayed toward that reasonably priced lens.

D50 Newbie Lurker

  

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Headshrink Registered since 22nd Dec 2005Mon 26-Dec-05 04:39 PM
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#20. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 18



          

Well after reading all the great praise for the 50mm 1.8 I think I will have to get it with my Christmas gift certificate.

I received my SB600 last night for Christmas and so far I am very pleased.

  

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skiboarder72 Registered since 28th Oct 2005Fri 30-Dec-05 05:58 PM
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#21. "RE: Which second lens to choose, 55-200 or 70-300G?"
In response to Reply # 20


Rochester, US
          

well i have my sigma 70-300mm APO lens and i am very impressed, the macro feature works well and the lens is very sharp even on 300mm, it's built well, the only drawback is that it's fairly noisy focusing but its not anything to scare a bird off

http://www.joshjonesphoto.com/

  

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Ranger Tim Registered since 31st Jul 2004Sun 01-Jan-06 11:12 PM
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#22. "Adding a second lens to your D50"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

The process of adding a second lens to your new D50 seems to dominate the psyche of most users immediately after acquiring their new camera. Many of the older, more pragmatic pros, artists, and teachers would always emphasize learning to "see the subject" first with the kit lens (usually a 50mm) before endorsing the purchase of another focal length. This would give the new photographer some time to learn their new tool. This would also let them find their limitations and subject interests. I think this is a legitimate way to start someone out on the proper path to more satisfying pictures, but this typically does not suit today's casual user, bent on instant gratification.

How serious you are about the pictures you take is an important factor in how you determine which lenses to choose for your SLR. Do you shoot 30 or 40 shots of a flower, only to ponder over them in Photoshop as to which is the sharpest, has the best exposure, etc., and then post process for an hour or more, trying to produce the best rendering possible? Or is your preference to shoot pictures as they occur, preferring not to focus on technique, but more on the visual elements and the artistic flavor you can impart to the image? Or is it simply a wish to document your life experience with above average snapshots, captured with the camera set in a mostly automatic mode, that the family will surely enjoy, but are not really intended for any photo contests?

It is almost impossible to pigeon-hole all users into a "this lens should be next" routine, however, I am not trying to imply that this post does. What I am saying is this; Most users should be careful to let their photography evolve, as this will point out the need for other equipment and additional devices to supplement their photographic explorations. Buying a new or used lens that simply fills a focal length void, is a recipe for ending up with expensive things you may not use much in the end. I know this first-hand!

There are many roads to follow in this hobby/profession and we cannot master every specialized craft under the umbrella of photography. If some of you are like me in that you are not independently wealthy and must weigh the choices you make regarding expensive Nikkors, Speedlights, etc., then the choice of the next piece can be daunting and filled with second guesses. I only get to add a new piece of gear every once in a while, and I am usually torn between several choices. Sound familiar?

Now that I am stepping off my soapbox we come to the subject of this post:
leungkev would like to have a new lens, one that satisfies these criteria; 1) inexpensive, 2) travel use, 3) something to complement the 18-55 DX. We could certainly make good use of more info, such as, do you favor existing light, shoot candids, Landscapes, etc.

Let's rule out the expensive 70-200's, 80-200's, etc., and everything else that is over the 55-200 DX price threshold. That leaves us to compare these three;

55-200 DX - faster focus, small, convenient filter size vs. lack of reach for "long" shots

70-300 G - 1/3 larger magnification, lightest 300mm available, versatile vs. long, big, tends to creep when not in use, slower focus

50mm D 1.8 - Great for low light, tiny size, super sharp, good portrait lens, inexpensive vs. looks cheap, duplicate focal length, use your feet to zoom

Some USED lenses might be considered - 70-300 ED so you can use manual focus and aperture control with an older Nikon teleconverter (hey, it works and it's cheap!), older f/4 zooms that have decent optics, perhaps find a good deal on a 60mm D macro. This kind of choice is the benefit of being invested in one of the largest camera systems in the world. Don't we all love it? ; )

Enjoy whatever you end up with and post some pics to show us how it turns out!

Tim
Camp Ranger, BSA

Tim
Camp Ranger, BSA
http://home.earthlink.net/~streagle/index.html

  

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Headshrink Registered since 22nd Dec 2005Tue 03-Jan-06 08:03 PM
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#23. "RE: Adding a second lens to your D50"
In response to Reply # 22



          

Well said Tim.

  

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Duc Hunter Registered since 12th Jan 2006Thu 12-Jan-06 04:18 PM
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#24. "RE: Adding a second lens to your D50"
In response to Reply # 23


Jacksonville, US
          

Just a quick commentary on reach. I started out satisfied with my 70-300 for motor sports work and have some very nice shots with it. As time has gone on though I found I needed more reach. I say “reach is like heroin, once you get some you will always want more!” So, now I have my trusty 70-300 because it is light and a nice lens that I use often. I also have a 50-500 Sigma for when I want sharper pictures and more reach! Yes, it is a lot more $$$ than the 70-300 but it really out performs it as well. As others have said here too, once you get wider you will want more as well. So my new "short" lens is a 18-50 Sigma EX F2.8. It is bright, fast and wide and replaced a 35-70 Nikon I had left over from my film days.

Any of the lenses you mention are nice. I agree with the positive comments about the 70-300, nice lens. Regardless of how you choose you will be happy, and eventually you will want more. That is life, given this hobby we have chosen. Good luck!

  

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