467 of 476 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Bargain - Sharp Lens with VR for $250!
This lens is sharp even at wide apertures, the VR (image stabilization) works great, autofocus speed is more than acceptable, and it it is very light and compact. The fact that it costs $250 and has effective VR is pretty amazing - no other company offers a lens with this feature for anywhere near this price.
As for image quality, search the various internet...
Published on April 13, 2007 by Henry
772 of 853 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy the f/2.8 lenses
If you looking for something relatively inexpensive and fun to carry around, this is the lens for you. Quality is good in good light, most of the time, and can be exceptional sometimes. The plasticy feel doesn't bother me because I avoid carrying around a hunk of metal.
The VR works like a charm in good light.
However, I've noticed softness (at all...
Published on October 1, 2007 by just another customer
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467 of 476 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Bargain - Sharp Lens with VR for $250!,
This review is from: Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Nikkor Zoom Lens (Camera)This lens is sharp even at wide apertures, the VR (image stabilization) works great, autofocus speed is more than acceptable, and it it is very light and compact. The fact that it costs $250 and has effective VR is pretty amazing - no other company offers a lens with this feature for anywhere near this price.
As for image quality, search the various internet photo sites, such as dpreview and nikonians for sample photos taken with this lens by real users. The results are impressive! My copy produces similar results. The previous reviewer must have a bad sample.
Of course, the lens is slow (like almost all consumer zoom lenses), in that its widest aperture is smaller than a professional zoom or prime lens, so it's not a good choice for action photography in lower light conditions (like indoor sports without flash or outside sports at dusk). But a fast telephoto zoom will cost at least three times as much and weigh a ton.
I give the lens 5 stars based on a combination of image quality, value, and compactness/lightness.
276 of 285 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VR really works and the price can't be beat.,
This review is from: Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Nikkor Zoom Lens (Camera)I had the 55-200mm non VR version for about 5 months, sold it to essentally recover my cost, and bought the VR version as a replacement. The non VR version was very compact and light, and produced excellent photos, but the slightly larger VR version is so much more usable I don't miss the other lens at all. The VR works as advertised and allows me to take pictures at 3 times or more lower shutter speeds than the non VR version. While I would love the 18-200mm VR for the convenience, I will never be able to justify the $750 price, so my 18-55mm kit lens and this lens will likely cover my needs as long as I own my camera. I also seriously considered the 70-300mm VR, but couldn't accept twice the price for only 50% more reach. And at twice the length of the 55-200mm non VR version, it would be too awkward for me to carry around. I am very satisfied with this 55-200mm VR lens and if you are considering it, please give it a try. You will not be dissapointed.
344 of 357 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than I thought.,
This review is from: Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Nikkor Zoom Lens (Camera)My Nikon ownership goes back over 30 years to the days when cameras were made of metal and carrying one with a few lenses tested your stamina.
Times sure have changed. There's hardly a metal camera to be found and you can carry a bag full of equipment in one hand. The Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR Zoom Nikkor is the latest lightweight from this heavyweight of the camera industry.
Plastic construction right down to its lens mount. This thing looks and feels like the label should say Fisher Price and not Nikon. However, looks can be deceiving as I soon found out.
My only reason for buying this lens was that I needed to fill a void in my kit until I saved up enough for a 70-200mm f2.8. I had no intention of keeping the 55-200 VR once the 70-200 arrived.
After shooting with the 55-200 for a few months I've come to appreciate what it can do. It's limited to use in good light as even VR can't change the laws of physics. In this case, it's not even the current VR-II but the original VR that Nikon developed a few years ago.
With sufficient light and good technique, the 55-200 is capable of very good performance. No, it's not as sharp and contrasty as the 70-200. It's also not going to survive the bad weather or a few solid knocks that professional use would expose it to.
Where the 55-200 excels is in its portability and above average performance. For travel or just walking around, it would be hard to beat this lens if it's used within its limits. I use mine on a D80 and have no problem getting excellent 13x19" prints.
As an added bonus, it works very well with the Nikon CL3T closeup lens and does double duty as a macro zoom. Again, it's not a substitute for a real macro zoom like the Nikon 70-180, but it's not intended to be.
Given my original opinion of this lens, I have to admit that I've gotten much more than my money's worth out of it. Instead of selling it, I'm going to keep it and use it when my 70-200 is just to big and heavy to carry around.
If you're on a budget or just want a nice, lightweight lens in this range, take a look at the Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR. Like me, you may be very much surprised at what it can do.
77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very GOOD lens,
One problem a lot of people are going to have with this lens is its feeling of cheapness. It is very light and feels insubstantial and, for a Nikkor, cheaply made. It is a high quality item - the quality of the plastics used is good, and it is put together well enough to function as well as it does, after all, which is not to be taken for granted - but it is not a good "feeling" lens. The zoom ring has a light feel combined with a bit of static friction, the combination of which makes it easy to overshoot your intended framing when adjusting, and often you will need to go back and forth several times to get exactly the framing you want, which takes extra time and effort - and which, for me at least, reminds me of the lens' cheapness each time it happens. The focus ring is hard to find and too fast for fine control, and it doesn't have any range markings or depth of field markings at all. In addition, you have to flip a switch to go between manual and auto focus, unlike most other AF-S lenses. Other reviewers have concluded that the lens just wasn't really intended to be used much as a manual-focus lens, and I tend to agree. It is workable, but not intuitive and slower than it would be with most lenses. Since manual focus is necessary for many types of telephoto shots, this is a real factor for some buyers.
By the way, the light weight of the lens is not always a positive factor, and it is not a negative factor only due to build and perceived quality issues. When tripod-mounted, the sharpness of any camera/lens setup is limited by vibration, and a heavier lens damps vibration more effectively. This is not a minor point. The difference between a heavy lens and a light lens is easily visible as blur, especially with shutter speeds in the range of a second to a small fraction of a second. Using this lens will require a heavier tripod, better technique, or that more attention be paid to avoiding these shutter speeds. VR does not help when the lens is used on a tripod, and should be turned off.
Image quality has been said by other reviewers to be very good, but just a shade short of Nikon's very best lenses. Again I agree. My sample was not quite good enough to be sharp at all apertures, having some abberations that caused mottled fuzziness at certain settings at wider apertures. This would not be immediately apparent in a normal print, but could show up as areas of less detail, somewhat randomly, that might be noticeable when they happen to coincide with a point of interest in a photo. These are caused by imperfectly aligned or imperfectly manufactured lens elements and tend to move around as the lens is focused and zoomed. Most lenses do this to some extent, but many of Nikon's better lenses, if you get a good sample, seem completely free of it. My wonderful 16-85mm zoom has not a trace. The good news is that they tend to go away as a lens is stopped down, as the lens is then seeing through a smaller area of glass nearer its central axis, which is less sensitive to alignment. Other than this, the lens doesn't really need to be stopped down - sharpness over most of the image field is nearly as good wide open as at f/8 or f/11. This is actually pretty common for today's ordinary zooms, as they don't go to wide apertures - spherical abberations, which are what cause a loss of sharpness wide open, are much more important for "fast" f/2.8 lenses and primes.
Contrast is very good at pretty much all apertures, in fact I would say that the 55-200 is very close to as contrasty as any lens I've used, and for a lot of people that is going to be much more important than sharpness. Contrast makes images look striking no matter the size they are displayed at, whereas minor sharpness issues are only really important for large reproductions, if at all.
These are most of the major points. A few other miscellaneous items of note:
- VR is excellent. If you are only going to have one telephoto lens, make sure it has VR. It is indispensable unless you use a tripod all the time. It is really remarkable, for somebody like me who started with film cameras in the '80's, to be able to hand-hold a lens at 100-300mm-equivalent focal lengths and not worry about shutter speeds. It really works, very well, and you will get shots with it that you would never have a chance of getting without it.
- This lens has a plastic mount. I don't worry about that at all. It actually gives the lens a very nice, frictionless feel as it is mounted and unmounted, and if anything it ensures that the camera's own metal mount will stay free of wear indefinitely. I can't imagine the plastic mount would ever wear out, and since the lens is so light, a metal mount is simply not needed. The only concern would be if you were to mount the lens to a very heavy camera, and then pick the camera up using the lens. You can get away with that with a metal-on-metal mount, but not with a plastic one. Probably not a problem with anything smaller than a full-on professional-sized DSLR.
- Vs. Nikon's 70-300mm VR: The look of these lens' images, and the feel, is also similar. The 70-300 shares the 55-200's cheap, sticky zoom, but the 70-300mm lens has enough of an edge in every important performance category to move it from the "very competent" category to the rather sparse category of truly superlative lenses. It adds quicker and better manual focusing, with a distance scale (but no depth-of-field scale) and immediate manual-focus over-ride; much faster AF; and better VR. It dwarfs the 55-200, being considerably longer, bigger around and heavier, but is still far more manageable than any of the pro telephoto zooms. Overall, it is a better lens - but the 55-200 holds up surprisingly well. It costs about twice as much as the 55-200, used or new.
I would buy this lens again in a heartbeat if I didn't feel as though I could justify more money for one of Nikon's more expensive telephoto zooms. Even if I did, this and an 80-200 f/2.8 would be a fine combination: one for hand-held, one for tripod use. Nikon doesn't really offer any telephoto zooms that have the whole package of desirable features, which in my view includes reasonable weight, VR, good sharpness across their range, and good focus performance. Even the very expensive lenses give up MORE than one of these qualities. I would not even consider a lens without VR in this range, unless as a second lens for tripod-only use, which limits the choices to only a few, unfortunately imperfect, lenses. There might be comparable third-party lenses: I think Tamron makes something along the lines of a 28-300 or so that tends to get mixed reviews and that has their equivalent of VR. I don't have any experience with it. My thinking is that any lens will tend to get good reviews most of the time, so I'd tend to pay extra attention to the poor ones and try to figure out what they mean. Quite possibly the 55-200 is actually the better lens. For many photographers it may be the best of all even without factoring in its low price.
1/29/10 - I've added another one of these to my bag. I've been using an eclectic and constantly-varying mix of Nikon and 3rd party telephoto zooms since I wrote this review, and I've come across a very good copy of the 55-200VR and use it constantly for casual and product photography. It stands with a small group of other mostly-Nikon lenses that have proven to be terrific lenses despite their low prices. The 35mm f/1.8, 18-105mm VR and 18-55mm GII are among the other lenses I put in this category, all of which are small, light, easy and fun to use and all of which create excellent, sharp, contrasty images.
I've had the opportunity to own and use many different Nikon lenses and have posted my impressions of some of them here on Amazon. For those interested, here are short summaries. I have used all these lenses on Nikon DX-sized DSLRs, most recently my current D90. Refer to the full reviews for further detail.
Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AF-D: *** Competent, sharp lens is a good fit as a bargain DX "normal" prime. Slow f/2.8 max aperture poor. Very inexpensive in used market.
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM: *** Poor focusing consistency and below average large-aperture acuity combine for disappointing real-world performance. Fast max aperture, very capable if used with appropriate care.
Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-G: ****1/2 Terrific lens at a bargain price. Not without flaws, but excellent in all important respects. A pleasure to use.
Nikon 35mm f/2 AF-D: **** Sharp, especially at large apertures, moderate contrast. Classic "normal" lens for DX but consider new 35mm f/1.8 AF-S instead.
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D: *** My sample was unacceptably poor at large apertures. Perhaps a below-average sample. Focal length not ideally suited to DX.
Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-D ****1/2 Very good short-to-moderate telephoto on DX. Acceptable at large apertures, very sharp stopped-down, moderate contrast. Potentially excellent for portrait use.
Nikon 16-85mm VR ***** Very sharp at all settings, excellent contrast, very useful zoom range including true wide-angle at 16mm. Excellent VR. Best-kept secret for DX users.
Nikon 28-200mm AF-G *** Of two samples, one was excellent and one poor, so watch for sample variations. Very good contrast. Not ideal hand-held due to lack of VR. Not ideal for tripod use due to design.
Nikon 70-300mm VR *** My sample had very poor performance above 200mm, good to very good elsewhere. Good contrast, generally very good focus performance. Good sports/action lens. Not good where critical sharpness is desired. Possibly a below-average sample.
772 of 853 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy the f/2.8 lenses,
The VR works like a charm in good light.
However, I've noticed softness (at all apertures) often enough where I would not use this lens for any professional work. For example, the Nikkor 180 f/2.8 blows this lens away in quality of manufacture and resulting photos.
I've also noticed softness and noise in almost all of my night photos using this lens, even with a very heavy tripod and no wind.
The focusing system on the lens also is slow as molasses. I tried to capture the Blue Angels flying low over the homes in my neighborhood (an awesome annual occurence), and each shot was blown as the lens hunted for focus. Plenty of good light for high shutter speeds (midday, 1/2500s at f/4), but by the time the lens was focused, the subject had moved so far the photo was blown.
If you want to have fun and need a good lens, buy this one. If you are a professional or OBAM (obessessed amateur), save for the higher quality lenses because you'll be disappointed.
I wish more people would objectively weigh the positives and the negatives in their reviews so that those considering buying this lens can make an informed decision. While this is a very good lens on a tight budget, this is not a great lens directly compared against other similar (and more expensive) lenses.
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light weight lens ideal for traveling,
This lens is quite sharp from 55mm to 105mm wide open. From 135mm to 200mm, you may need to step down or do some post-processing to sharpen the image a little. VR works as advertised. You general gain about 3 stops. For instance, you should be able to get reasonably sharp images at 1/15 sec at 55mm, and 1/30 sec at 200mm.
Vignetting (darker corners) is not noticable from 55mm to 105mm. Vignetting is very pronounced wide open from 135mm to 200mm. Again, stepping down one stop relieves the problem.
If you are looking for optical excellent telephoto zoom, you may want to consider 70-300mm VR. If you need a lens you can take with you without breaking your shoulder, this lens is a good choice.
120 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Bargain VR Lens!,
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The obvious next step for Nikon D40x owners...,
65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the VR works perfectly,
My previous digital camera was a Canon PowerShot S1 IS. Without being aware of it, I became used to that little camera's image stabilization. I casually took handheld shots that came out tack sharp. I didn't realize how dependent I was on the image stabilization until a few months ago when I got my Nikon D80. I love the camera but was driven to using a tripod for most of my shots. I was taking close-up photos for publication and had to have perfect sharpness. And, I have two kittens; kittens beg impromptu, handheld shots. I was excited when I found this lens because of the low cost.
You really can take photographs three stops slower than is possible without a VR lens. That means more depth of field for close-up shots (used with a filter-like close-up lens). I'm taking my first manual mode outdoor photos so the extra speed range helps me out of tight spots.
The rest of the lens (construction, zoom range, weight) are just fine. One unexpected advantage is the lens' 52mm filter size. Most of my lens accessories (close up lens set, teleconverter, extension tube set) are 52mm.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, small, light and CHEAP,
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