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Showing 1-10 of 841 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,056 reviews
on June 17, 2016
I have only purchased Nikon lenses for my camera because I'm not sure how well the other name brands will work as far as focus and such. This lens has good range and produces some nice clear images once you get the hang of the lighting and zoom. My wife and I dabble in photography as a hobby but this lens has definitely broadened our abilities in the little time we've had it. We have a Nikon D3300 and the auto focus works just fine and the twist to zoom in and out makes for quick response for your target.
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on September 18, 2012
I just purchased this lens a week ago to compliment my also recently purchased D3100. I was enticed by the deal currently running through the end of September which gives you $100 off the price, and I have to say, even at full price, this lens is great! The zoom range means that you can do everything from basic portraiture to capturing subjects from a moderate distance. I took my D3100 and the 55-200 to a wedding this weekend, where I shot about 300 photos, 169 of which ended up being "good enough" to "incredible" (by which I'm giving my subjective interpretation of my shooting ability, not necessarily an objective review of the lens' quality). Outdoors during the ceremony, the lens focused fairly fast, and I was able to get decent shallow depth of field at full zoom so that I got some great candid portraits from afar of the couple (approximately 40 feet away), with pleasingly (though not amazingly) blurred foreground and background, and a few turned out well enough that I feel they could be printed and framed and while not professional level, would definitely be eye catching. During the evening, and inside the banquet hall where the lighting was not so great, the lens had some trouble with moving subjects too far away to light up with the built in flash. However, portraits of people who weren't moving much, and action shots within range of the on board flash, came out just fine.

The lens does give decently sharp images across the frame, I'm sure there are better lenses out there but for the money I'd say this one is a solid buy. The auto-focus is decently fast and quiet, the zoom range makes it great for anything from portraits to capturing subjects from afar, and the construction is decent enough that you don't feel like it'll break just from normal use. Overall, I'd buy this lens again (and again, and again...). Oh, and as an added bonus, 55mm on this lens has max. aperture of 1/4.0, which is twice as big as on the 18-55 kit lens (which has max. aperture of 1/5.6 at full telephoto). What that means is that you get a bit more light through the lens to the sensor with the zoom lens, if I understand optics correctly. That *should* make this lens better suited for portraiture and moderate lighting situations at that focal length, than the kit lens.

Sorry, not the most technical review, but I have to admit, for $150 this lens let me capture some amazing moments at a dear friend's wedding, and you can't really put a price on that!!!
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on September 11, 2014
This is an okay/average lens at best, which may be exactly what you're looking for in this price range, in which case I say go for it... it's cheap, gives you a decent focal range, the vibration reduction feature works great, and its capable of taking pretty good pictures as long as the light is good. This lens doesn't perform well at all in low light, and the auto-focus can be pretty slow if you're trying to shoot anything in motion (i.e. a bird in flight, sports action, etc). The sharpness decreases as you move towards the long end and lower apertures, but this is to be expected at this price range. If you're a casual photographer who just wants to have a budget lens with a decent reach to photograph everyday things, this is probably a great option for you. If you're an amateur photographer with ambitions to really work on getting quality photographs, I would recommend saving up a couple hundred more dollars and go with something that's going to perform better and last longer as your skill set grows. As for me, I bought this lens as a beginning photographer to supplement my 18-55mm kit lens. I've since sold both of them to upgrade to better equipment, but they were good first lenses to learn on. With the benefit of hindsight, I would have skipped this lens altogether and gone with a higher quality telephoto... but everyone is different and has different goals.
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on December 24, 2011
Short version of my review: this is a superb Nikkor lens at a ridiculously low price - buy it.

Slightly longer version of my review: When I bought my D3100 9 months ago, I tried a 55-200 in the camera store. The demo lens was not impressive as it creaked nonstop on the camera body and I was not thrilled with a plastic lens mount on a relatively large lens, so I decided to get a Tamron 70-300 instead. The Tamron is a fine lens for the money, had a metal mount and is fully capable of hand-held shooting at 70mm, but there is no way I can take a sharp image at 200mm or 300mm without a tripod or monopod. So I decided it would be nice to have another tele lens that I could actually use handheld. When I saw that Amazon was selling the 55-200 VR for $149 with a free UV filter and free shipping, I decided that for such little money, I would take a chance on this lens and buy myself a Xmas present, so I got the Nikkor.

To my pleasant surprise, the lens I received does not creak at all. It is sharp, has fast autofocus and I can take sharp, beautiful handheld images with ease at 200mm with this lens. VR is for real! The quality of construction is better than I remembered on the demo lens and the plastic lens mount, while certainly not my first choice, is acceptable for the ridiculously low price I paid. I treat all my camera equipment with great care - but the occasional accident does happen. I recently dropped my Panasonic LX-3 from a height of 4 feet on to a cement floor. Luckily, it was in its case and sustained zero damage. I doubt that dropping a DSLR with this lens from the same distance would result in no damage.

I highly recommend this lens at the current price of $149 - it really is an incredible deal at that price point!

Update: Now that I have been shooting with this lens for close to 6 months, I am even more impressed with it now than initially. It works very well for portraits and close-up photography, so I keep it on my D3100 most of the time now. I even won a photography contest using this lens to shoot cherry blossoms. This lens is the best bang for the buck of any lens I have ever purchased: I paid less for this lens than my friend paid in sales tax on the last lens he purchased! Highly recommended.
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on June 25, 2014
There are faster, longer, and higher-quality lenses on the market. That's a no-brainer. You can find lenses that beat the humble 55-200mm f/4-5.6G in every possible respect. But that doesn't make this lens any less valuable in a startling lineup of lenses. It's an excellent performer all around at rock-bottom prices. It makes an amazing second lens for a beginning DSLR user, with no two doubts about it. Here's the breakdown.

PROS
+ It's thoroughly manageable to carry. This lens is ridiculously light and reasonably compact for a telephoto zoom. If you get a chance to handle its bulkier cousins, the 55-300mm and the 70-300mm (or third party equivalents), you'll appreciate just how little the plastic 55-200mm weighs. It also takes up next to no space in just about any gear bag, whether you bought it or improvised. You know what they say about the best camera, right? Same goes with lenses-- if you didn't carry it with you, it's not doing you any good! Even with the hood, it's compact.
+ Versatile zoom range. The 55-200mm reach gives you the ability to take shots while walking around without trouble. The wide end (55mm) is a medium telephoto in DX terms, but you can still be reasonably close in before having trouble fitting something in the frame. 200mm isn't going to get you near exotic wildlife, but you'd be surprised at how well you can grab birds or other small creatures with "just" 200mm. With the increasingly high-resolution sensors DSLRs are fitted with, you're also likely able to crop inwards a bit further if needbe.
+ Quiet. Focusing and vibration reduction are both very discreet, enough so that I'm more than comfortable using this lens during events. Audible? Sure, but not enough to bug anyone more than your standard shutter. Speaking of vibration reduction though...
+ Vibration reduction. It works. And it's completely worth it. You must remember that you're still going to get subject blur at lower shutter speeds, but for all intents and purposes I've been able to forget about handheld shake for daily shooting with this lens. It's really quite remarkable. On the other hand, don't think you're going to be doing much shooting during a car chase or anything.
+ Image quality is excellent. The lens is sharp with no particularly nasty characteristics, and no distortion that can't be fixed by your average post-processing RAW developer (or indeed, in-camera JPEG correction).
+ Beautiful compliment to the 18-55mm kit. Its aperture at the wide end (f/4) handily beats the kit lens' f/5.6, which can give you a little more breathing room if you need it without overlapping enough to make the kit lens superfluous.
+ Precise build and functional, tactile controls. The zoom ring is well damped, not prone to creeping, and turns with a great degree of precision for such a cheap lens. Sure, the manual focusing ring is tiny, but if you do need to use it I've found it works just fine (although a bit on the looser side). Infinitely better than the kit 18-55mm's ring, in my opinion.
+ Internal focusing. The lens doesn't extend unless you want it to, and the filter ring doesn't mess about if you're into polarizers or graduated ND filters.
+ 52mm filter size. This makes it a great companion to the kit lens (you can swap filters), and it's a common size that's easy to provide for.
+ Autofocus doesn't mess around. The lens isn't any more prone to hunting than you'd expect, and usually locks on quickly and silently.

CONS
- Focusing ring is a bit slim. If you do really want to take advantage of manual focus, you'd be better served by a lens that's ergonomically designed for it. In a similar fashion,
- Dedicated manual/autofocus modes. Nikon's more expensive lenses (or their newer primes) generally have a M/A mode which allows you to override the autofocus by simply grabbing the focus ring and turning. This lens requires that you switch the lens into manual before you make such adjustments (at the risk of damaging the lens otherwise).
- 200mm maximum reach means that more distant subjects may leave you wishing for "just a little more." That said, take this with a grain of salt-- I upgraded to a 300mm lens recently, and while I appreciate the additional range it's hardly a revolutionary change.
- Slower speeds. It's an f/4-5.6 lens, so it's not going to be pretty if you're shooting indoors or at night. Your camera will need to have a solid higher ISO performance if you want these kinds of shots; even with vibration reduction, you'll either hit the VR system's limits or run into subject blur unless you can shoot at at least ISO 800/1600.

This lens was my second, and while I've moved on since I will miss it dearly. Amazing lens and a wonderful, wonderful place to start with photography.
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on May 25, 2013
This is a fantastic and affordable addition to many Nikon DSLR cameras. I got it for my D5100 to complement the wider-angle 18-55mm lens that came with it and I couldn't be happier. I'm just an amateur photographer and on a budget so I can't afford to spend $500+ on multiple types of lenses, but I'd prefer having the ability to zoom in more than I can on the lens that my camera came with.

The only downside would be that it only goes to 200mm and you can get a 55-300mm for about $130 more, but it just depends on what you want to spend and if you really need 300mm - for me, 200 has worked fine for zooming in on those far away shots. The pictures I've gotten out of it have been sharp and high quality.
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on February 6, 2009
The 55-200 VR is a remarkably light, inexpensive, and GOOD lens. It really has everything needed to get excellent images within its range, and I have seen some truly extraordinary photos taken with these. Even so, there are good reasons to consider getting something else, probably depending on your budget. The good news is that if your budget encourages you to stay with the 55-200, you give up little in terms of the image quality you can produce.

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.

Conclusions:

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.
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on October 9, 2014
I wasn't too sure about buying lens from a third party seller on Amazon but I've received the item without a problem and the lens it self worked well during a test. I use this zoom lens on my Nikon 3300 along side Nikon 35mm prime lens. Even though I'm a professional photographer I often carry and use my DX camera with these two DX lens for landscape and street photography. I only bring along my FX (full frame) camera on an assignment. If you have a good compact DX camera like the latest Nikon D3300, you will enjoy using it with an inexpensive but good VR lens like this paired with the 35mm prime lens. I used to have a 18-55mm VR II and a 18mm-200mm VR II lens but this one seems to be sharp and perform just as well as them.
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An upgrade of Nikon's original digital-only tele kit zoom, this new 55-200mm f/4-5.6 ($250, street) adds Vibration Reduction and a number of optical improvements for only $70 more. A 3.6X 82-300mm equivalent zoom, it's not expected to be bundled in Nikon DSLR kits any time soon.

Hands on:

The barrel, when contracted, is nearly an inch longer than the earlier 55-200mm non-VR DX lens, but is still extremely light as a result of all-plastic construction, including the lensmount. The large zoom ring's slightly uneven and underdamped turning action is what you'd expect from a lens at this price. The narrow manual-focusing ring is even-turning but also underdamped, with a very short turning radius for fast, if coarse, manual focusing. AF action on our test camera, the D40x, was adequately fast and quiet, thanks to Nikon's Silent Wave Motor in the lens.

In the lab:

SQF tests found Excellent sharpness and contrast at all focal lengths -- an improvement over the earlier, non-VR version of this lens. DxO Analyzer 2.0 tests found Imperceptible barrel distortion at 55mm (0.08%), and Slight pincushion distortion at 105mm and 200mm (0.24% and 0.19%, respectively). All three are also improvements over the earlier lens. Light falloff was gone from the corners by f/5 at 55mm, f/7.1 at 105mm, and f/8 at 200mm.

At the uniform close-focusing distance of approximately 43.5 inches, tests of close-up ability found maximum magnification ratios ranging from 1:14.25 at 55mm to 1:3.8 at 200mm, about an average magnifying power, and not up to the 1:3.4 turned in by the non-VR 55-200mm. DxO Analyzer Blur tests of the lens' first-generation VR system (at 200mm) showed an improvement for three users of about 3 stops of extra handheld sharpness at slower shutter speeds; 4 stops are possible with Nikon's VR II system.

Conclusions:

Even though it's the earlier version of VR, to get any VR at this price is a steal.
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I have some very fast professional zoom lenses that may edge this out a bit, but even the smallest outweighs this versatile piece of equipment. When I want to travel light and don't need to stop a lot of action, but keep a steady camera, hand-held or on a monopod, this is a great alternative. Because it is relatively slow, it doesn't stop motion any better than a similar non-VR lens. The advantage is in terms of camera shake.

For that, I love this lens! When I purchased my D80, I also purchased the 18-135 zoom, which is the least reliable Nikon lens I've ever used, and I have used many. It has a raft of issues, which the 55-200 totally eclipses. The lens is sharp, nicely contrasty at all apertures. I haven't discerned any noticeable vignetting and some of my results, taking hand-held shots at the zoo have been spectacular!

I, being a photographer who wants everything possible at once, wish it were a bit faster. In low light, there are some focusing issues and I've had to manually focus many times. With a polarizer, it is far less frustrating to manually focus at all times.

I've played with it at the zoo and in an historic cemetery. I will be putting it to professional use the Summer, as I backpack in the mountains. This lens will lighten my load and hopefully eliminate the need to carry really heavy equipment in order to obtain high quality results.

I purchased a Coolpix 8800 a few years ago, and while it is flawed in some ways, the VR feature impressed me. I can guarantee that although other VR lenses are more expensive, I will be purchasing only that technology in the future.

My next DLR will be a D300, which offers a few more features, including a self-cleaning CCD over the D80. However, if you want a wonderful pro-sumer combination, buy a D80, vertical base, the 55-200 lens and a better short-range zoom than the 18-135 and you will have tools to take on almost any situation! Nikon outdid itself with quality and value with this lens!
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