When I first started out in photography I was a complete beginner and had no idea what lenses I should buy. This was one of the first lenses that I purchased and initially I was very happy with it. Quality wise I get relatively decent pictures from this lens and overall the lens is well built. My major issue with this lens isn't really about the quality of the lens itself, but instead how it fits into the other Nikkor lens ranges.
For example when I first used this lens I was impressed with the 200mm focal range, however I noticed that there was also a Nikkor 55-300mm lens available too. I soon upgraded to get the extra 100mm and since then this lens has literally stayed in my camera bag ever since. For others with a bit more money there is also an excellent 18-200mm lens available, sure it's much more expensive but it is also better quality and has a more flexible focal length.
The problem with photography is many photographers end up wanting better cameras, better lens, so ultimately upgrade. It's probably better to save up and buy the best you can afford in the first place without taking small upgrade steps. So really my main issue with this particular lens is that price-point aside it is sort of a little redundant in the range. For those who can afford the extra, I would look else where.
I do the occasional bit of out-and-about photography when I can - and with only the kit 18-55mm I thought it was about time to get something else and went for this 55-200mm zoom lens.
It certainly does what it says on the tin - the zoom range is excellent and comes in really handy for shooting stuff like planes, the moon and distant buildings on the horizon.
I have no complaints about the optics other than that things have a tendency to blur more over the kit lens - probably my unsteady hands combined with a 200mm focal length. Image stabilization does pretty well otherwise.
Build quality is okay, but the zoom barrel does feel quite loose - you can easily slam it from 55mm to 200mm with quite a clunk - which is always un-nerving to accidentally do.
Autofocus works well; the only issues I've had have been in extreme low light situations where I've had trouble seeing to focus myself.
If you're looking for a 55-200mm and don't want to spend too much, this is a good choice, but if you don't mind spending a bit more it might be worth dropping another £100 for Nikon's 55-300mm zoom lens :P.
First off. Please ignore any review you read of this lens that judges it by its materials instead of it's performance.
Nikon have pulled of an absolute miracle with this lens, this is something they've done a couple of times before with high quality, low cost lenses that they produce in the thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands. Get it right and do it once seems to work here.
The 55-200 is a DX only lens meaning it will not perform on a full frame camera without cropping the image sensor and producing dark edges (except bizzarely at 80mm but ignore that). This lens wortks an absolute treat with all small format nikon DSLR's and produces image quality that rivals some very expensive competitiors.
For a start it uses ED glass, Nikons 'Extraordinary low dispersion' glass, this ensures clear light transmission and reduces abberation and distortion. Secondly it features the AFS system, not the full time manual focus that lets you overide the auto, but a quiet. efficient silent wave motor that is fast, accurate and able to keep up with any camera body's follow focus capability.
And now for the piece de resistance. VR. What a joy VR is, nikon claim that it will allow you to shoot handheld at up to 3 stops slower (in shutter speed) without losing clarity. This works, so well in fact that it's hardly ever worth turning it off. This ability to shoot handheld in otherwise impossible conditions makes this one of the first lenses I grab on the way to shoot any long distance subjects. It is worth remembering however that VR will not stop motion blur, that is motion from shooting a fast moving subject at too slow a speed. Only blur from camera shake. Personally this allows me to happily shoot at down to 1/4 second instead of 1/60th. A huge step up.
Quality wise the glass is just as good as many higher priced lenses, it's not a pro lens but it is made to a very high standard. The construction is all plastic, to keep costs down so the lens feels light and easy to handle. Unfortunately the lens mount is also plastic so you MUST be careful not to grab the camera by the lens as you may snap the mount off. And that would be a terrible waste of such a fine piece of equipment.
The lens itself features two switches, one for Auto/Manual focus and one to turn VR on/off. Most people can just leave these alone and go shoot.
The manual focus ring is right at the front of the long barrel and is fairly sensitive, using only about a quarter turn from close to infinity. Clearly designed with auto in mind.
With a 52mm thread this will accept most standard filters and if your kit is this, the 18-55 kit and a 50mm prime your filters will be interchangable.
Bundled with this lens you should get a front and rear cap and a lens hood. The hood prevents unwanted light bouncing into the barrela and cuusing low contrast images or flares. Make sure yours comes with the correct hood as it is a bayonet fit and expensive to replace on its own.
I picked my 55-200 VR ED up for £99 with postage which was a bargain. Expect to pay up to £149, you'kll be glad you did if you're looking for an everyday telephoto lens. It's not tough enough for pro work but the quality is outstanding.
The 55-200MM F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR DX Lens by Nikon is a great piece of equipment. In standard SLR terms, it equates to a focal length of roughly 80-300mm.
The build quality is good, but not amazing - as this is a budget model. The rubber zoom ring is comfortable to hold, and most importantly won't move on its own when you tilt the lens up or down. However, the focus ring at the end of the unit is quite disappointing - small and too easy to turn - it feels rather plasticky also.
Image quality is more than acceptable, giving pretty good results throughout the zoom range. There is a slight softness at maximum zoom, but nothing too drastic, and nothing that can't be fixed with a bit of Unsharp Masking in Photoshop.
The 55-200 features a superb vibration reduction system which works extremely well, ensuring shots taken at the long end of the zoom are blur free. Make sure that if you use this lens with a tripod, the VR is set to off, otherwise the slight kick that occurs when the VR sets in will result in blurred images.
For the price, this is an absolute bargain and is a must for any photographer who wants to get closer to nature.
A high-quality compact 3.6x DX zoom lens that features Nikons cutting edge Vibration Reduction (VR) system and exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM). With optics designed for the Nikon DX Format digital SLR cameras, this high-performance lens delivers a picture angle equivalent to that of a 35mm format, 82.5-300mm zoom lens.