That lens is my most used lens. It stays on the D40 for instant use. I find it sharp, has quick focus response, has nice bokeh, has a nice macro capability and feels good in hand. The only downside is that if it is carried on the camera lens down, it wants to creep to the long end (200mm). I've fixed that with one of those rubber wrist bands fitted around the zoom ring. Also it is a good fit for your D3100 and will have full metering and auto focus function.
Thanks for that heap of information- I read the whole thread and I'm still undecided about buying the 18-200 @about $850. The D3100 is a good deal with the 18-55 and a bag for $400. (used but like new from a neighbor). I'm going to research a bit now on the 70x300. My wife would like to be able to take some nice wildlife shots at moderate distance and that was one reason the 18-200 with 11x was appealing over say a 55x300 5.5x, sold in a package with a D5100 @ about $1050.
>...My wife would like to be able to take >some nice wildlife shots at moderate distance and that was one >reason the 18-200 with 11x was appealing over say a 55x300 >5.5x, sold in a package with a D5100 @ about $1050.
If you want to shoot wildlife at moderate distance, the 55-300 would work much better than the 18-200. Not only is the 55-300 100mm longer, it also is sharper at the long end. I have both lenses and like them both, but the 55-300 is definitely better at the long end.
Thanks Marty, but what I still don't understand then is that the 55-300 is listed @ 5.5x and the 18-200 is @ 11.1x. My binocular/rifle scope brain tells me we'll get closer close-ups with the 18-200...........no?
No! You are comparing Magnification Factor to Zoom Factor. Magnification Factor is based on the angle of view of the human eye that is about 50mm for a 35mm format camera. If you divide the maximum focal length by 50 you will have the Magnification Factor (MF). A 200mm lens has a MF of 4X which means when looking through a 200mm lens the subject will appear to be 4 Times closer than you would see with your eye alone. A 300mm lens has a MF of 6X (300/50 = 6) . With a 300mm lens the subject will appear 6 times closer or larger than you would see with your eye alone. Again the longer the focal length, the higher the magnification. To this we can add the 1.5X crop factor of a DX body further increasing the MF but for simplicity I will disregard it for now. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
Just to add that at focal lengths smaller (wider) than 50mm the Angle of View or Field of View will get wider as the focal length gets smaller therfore the subject will appear much further away than they actually are. In 35mm format: Wide angle lenses are 35mm or shorter. Normal lenses are 45-60mm. Telephoto lenses start at about 70mm and higher. The longest Nikkor lens available new is the 600mm f/4. A few decades ago a Nikkor 2000mm reflex was available new. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
Welcome to Nikonians! I think you are confusing Zoom Factor "X" with focal length. The Zoom Factor is equal to the longest focal length of a zoom lens divided by the shortest focal length of the lens. The longer the focal length the closer distant objects will appear. The Zoom Factor between 200mm and 300mm = 300/200= 1.5X Therefore a 300mm lens provides more reach than a 200mm lens. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
I'm a little late to the game with my reply, but I have some experience (but still consider myself an amateur).
I had a D40 with the 18-55 & 55-200 VR set up and hated it (my wife too due to constant swapping of lenses (as shoot everything from our kid to wildlife, to car racing).
When I (we) upgraded to the D5100, it was with the agreement that I get us a more 'all-in-one' lens. So we got the 18-200mm VR lens and love it. It was a great can-do/walk around lens. It does come up a bit short for the longer range photos (birds in trees).
If you are focusing (pardon the pun) on wildlife, you probably wont to get something with a farther reach (300mm). The 55-300 (on paper) would probably be the most budget friendly while giving you the reach. I'm looking at getting the 70-300mm to use for my motorsports shooting, as I would like some quicker AF (what I read, the 70-300 is quicker to AF than the 55-300 and my 18-200).