55-200mm f4-5.6 VR AFS DX Is It Worth Buying?
I need a lens in this range. I know Nikon lens are expensive but this one sells for $100-$150 dollars used. Is this lens worth buying, or will I be throwing my money away? I am trying to take sharp images, will this lens do it? I can always wait ands get a more expensive lens if the difference is dramatic. I know you get what you pay for. I am not a professional photographer but I like to try to make good images. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance,
Edit: I forgot to mention that I have a D7100. I checked out Ken Rockwells site and he seems to like it.
#1. "RE: 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR AFS DX Is It Worth Buying?" | In response to Reply # 0tekneektom Nikonian since 18th Nov 2011Sun 01-Dec-13 03:18 PM
go to http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Nikon/AF-S-DX-Zoom-Nikkor-55-200mm-f-4-5.6G-ED-mounted-on-Nikon-D7100__865
DXO tests various lenses with camera bodies. The score of 13 with the 55-200 on the D7100 is less than stellar. Many people dislike DXO ratings, but it seems to me to be a good starting place.
Before switching to a D800 I used the D7000 with 18-200 and found that at around f/8 I got very satisfactory results. But, the D7000 doesn't have the pixel power of the D7100 and it seems that the higher the pixel count the more discriminating you have to be in lens selection.
There may be others that will disagree, but based on the DXO score of the 55-200 on the D7100 I'd wait for a better lens - especially if you're buying used. If you really want the 18-200 go to https://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Store/Refurbished-Cameras.page#!ptc_s:LENS You can buy a refurbished lens directly from Nikon for only $149.96 and it looks like they're giving an additional 10% or $15.00 off so you might get it for $134.00 and get a warranty.
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#2. "RE: 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR AFS DX Is It Worth Buying?" | In response to Reply # 0briantilley Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Sun 01-Dec-13 03:46 PM
Either of the AF-S DX 55-200mm Nikkors (there are two versions, one with and one without VR) are very good performers when used for suitable types of photography. By that I mean that neither will equal the performance of something like the AF-S VR 70-200mm f/4 Nikkor (though the difference may not be as big as some might imagine), but for the price they are difficult to beat.
The 18-200mm mentioned above scores about the same on DxO - and costs considerably more - so unless the desire is for a single lens covering the whole focal length range (and since you have the 16-85mm DX Nikkor already I suspect that is not the case), the 55-200mm would probably be a better buy
#3. "RE: 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR AFS DX Is It Worth Buying?" | In response to Reply # 2Sun 01-Dec-13 04:22 PM
Tekneektom and Brian,
Thank you for your insights, they will definitely help me when deciding to buy this lens or not. I have found Adorama is selling a refurbished one for $109.00. I think this is the direction I will take. Again, thank you for your timely and thoughtful information.
#4. "RE: 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR AFS DX Is It Worth Buying?" | In response to Reply # 0
Nearly all of Nikon's lenses are pretty darn good. The 55-200 is not as good as the 18-55VR but that one is surprisingly good. I've had both, and used them on top cameras - and neither of them are embarrassed when mixed in with files from their "obvious betters" such as the 24-70/f2.8 and 70-200/f2.8, even if they clearly aren't equal either.
More of the issue with the 55-200VR is that it is slow (f/5.6 slow at 200mm) and that its focusing is not so quick - or flexible. But it's a nice, light lens that does as advertised or better.
If you get a used one, it's hard to spend more than about $100 or so, and at that price, you can hardly wrong. Even if you hate it, you can still sell it for $75 or more!
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
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#5. "RE: 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR AFS DX Is It Worth Buying?" | In response to Reply # 4Sun 01-Dec-13 07:56 PM
That is my thinking exactly, if I don't like it I can always sell it. The fact that the lens is slow does not bother me much because I almost always use a tripod.
Thanks for the advise,
#6. "RE: 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR AFS DX Is It Worth Buying?" | In response to Reply # 0
When it comes to an inexpensive tele-zoom, you need to make a bit of a decision on the importance of VR, aperture and sharpness.
Most of these lenses offer versions with and without VR. And with VR comes a higher cost. But for many subjects, you need a shutter speed of faster than 1/250 sec to freeze subject motion, so VR is less important. For example, for birds you are shooting at shutter speeds where VR should be turned off.
The other thing to keep in mind is that most of the less expensive tele-zooms have a variable aperture which means at maximum zoom you have a relatively slow aperture. In this case they are f/5.6 at the long end wide open.
The final factor is sharpness. All the tele-zooms are sharper in the center of the frame, but if you intend to shoot landscapes or images that require the entire frame, it's the area outside the center that matters. And you typically get better sharpness stopped down at least one stop - so that puts you at f/8 and adequate light levels become a challenge.
If you are using DxOMark for evaluation, be sure you pick the camera body you are using. These lenses all test better on higher resolution cameras like the D7100. But there are big differences in test results for FX vs. DX, so choose carefully.
The economy lenses I would consider are the 55-200, 55-300 and the 70-300. All versions come in VR models. The sleeper in this group is the 70-300 ED (not the cheap G lens and not the VR version). The 70-300 ED (non-VR) test results on the D7100 are actually better than the newer 70-300 VR - especially across the field.
You can probably find a used copy of the 70-300 ED for $100. The lens originally sold for around $289 new. Stay away from the 70-300 G which sells new for around $120 and used for $75 or so. A number of Nikon pros considered the 70-300 ED their preferred light telephoto. John Shaw used it for wildlife and for close ups. Bill Lea told me he had more published images with that lens than any other lens he owns. And there is very little that can go wrong mechanically since it is not a VR lens.
KEH.com has a copies of the 70-300 D ED in EX+ condition with hood and caps for $109, and EX condition for $99.
This lens uses 62mm filters, but I would not use a filter. I do think the hood is important to protect the front of the lens from damage and direct sunlight.
And by the way - the 70-300 is an FX lens. That helps a little as the outer edges are normally softer than the center. On a DX body, you are cropping out the outer edges which helps with sharpness overall.
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#7. "RE: 55-200mm f4-5.6 VR AFS DX Is It Worth Buying?" | In response to Reply # 6Mon 02-Dec-13 08:51 PM
Thank you for your reply, it is very informative. I know very little about lenses and you shed alot of light on my understanding. I have decided to try both lenses, the 70-300 and the 55-200. They will both be coming in the mail shortly. Adorama has free returns if I don't like the 55-200. I am going to compare these two lenses for myself and see which one I like best. Fortunately they do not cost a whole lot of money. I am anxious to give them a try.
Thank you again for your input it is very appreciated.