Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm

This is often the first extra lens many photographers get, as they find the zoom range of the basic, 18-55 lens, quite limiting. Nowadays there are other options too (like the 55-300mm), so the price for this can be very tempting.

+ small and light, considering it's a zoom tele
+ good image quality, especially until ~150mm. Excellent between 55-100mm
+ cheap

- if you need excellent performance at 200mm, it's the weakest point of the lens. Not bad, but not awesome either.
- slow at 200mm (f/5.6).
- 200mm isn't as long as you would think for some applications.

The Nikkor AF-S VR 55-200mm is perfectly fine for birds in flight, too - as long as there is sufficient light and you can get close. In other words, fine for ducks in parks. But too short for wildlife

Intended Users
Great for:
  • novices needing more reach than what the 18-55 can give
  • users who seek excellent image quality between 50mm-100mm but don't want to spend too much
  • when money matters, this is a great choice overall

Not for:
  • people who need a tele zoom for birds, sport action or similar activities.
  • people who need image quality at the 200mm end of the tele
  • photos in indoor halls (desperately slow at the long end)

Excellent from 55-100mm, very good until 150mm, and adequate at 200mm. The photo was taken at 105mm and f/8

    Final Verdict
    All in all a good lens, but, like with the 18-55, the advancing amateur will quickly outgrow it. Pretty slow at the long zoom end (f/5.6 @ 200mm can be very limiting). 180-200mm is the weakest point of the lens. Regarding the VR feature, unlike with the 18-55, VR is immensely useful. Definitely worth the extra money - novice photographers who don't use tripods or other support, will be shocked at how blurry and low-quality (technically) photos can be when you use a 200mm f/5.6 lens without VR...

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