Nikon D40x: Nikkor 70-300 VR or 55-200 VR?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 66217, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. 66217 Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #1
    I have a Nikon D40x, with the 18-55mm kit lens. I like this lens, but I am missing the telephoto. I have been using the old 80-200mm from my dad, but the lack of auto-focus and VR makes it not very likeable for me.

    So I am trying to decide which of these ones would be better. I guess I don't really need the extra focal length from the 70-300, but I have read that it has better optics and is generally more sharp.

    So, what do you suggest?

    Also, what about the Nikkor 12-24mm f/4 and the Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8? I am not planning on buying one of these right now, since they are expensive. But maybe in the near future I'll like having one of these.

    How noticeable would the image quality be from my kit lens to the 17-35mm?

    Thanks,:)
     
  2. cutsman macrumors regular

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    Jun 1, 2006
    #2
    I haven't had any experiences with the 70-300mm VR, but it has received excellent reviews. I own the 55-200mm VR and the IQ is excellent. My only real gripe with it is some vignetting at the long end.

    For you, I think it comes down to whether you could use the extra money saved from getting the 55-200mm VR and also whether portability is a factor for you sinc the 70-300mm VR is a fair bit heavier and larger than the 55-200. If neither of these are big factors for you, I would go with the 70-300 due to the longer range, better build, and the IQ is said to be a little bit better. Don't get me wrong though, the 55-200mm is an incredible bargain and its IQ is excellent. You can have a look at some of my photos at the link in my sig... I'm still pretty new to photography, but you can definitely get an idea of the capabilities of the 55-200 VR.
     
  3. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #3
    If you are happy with the quality that the 18-55 is giving you - then the 55-200VR should serve you well.

    About the 12-24 - look at the Tokina 12-24. Very sharp and has a better built feel over the Nikon 12-24.
     
  4. 66217 thread starter Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #4
    Nice photos you got there. Where the flower ones shot with the 55-200?

    I think I can handle the weight, since I didn't had much trouble with the 80-200mm from my dad, which is quite a big and heavy beast.

    As for the money, I could save it for one of the wide angle lenses I am planning to buy.

    One question I forgot to ask: how is the bokeh with the 55-200mm? I saw some sample images, but I would like to get some "real-life" comments.

    Thanks for the info.:)
     
  5. 66217 thread starter Guest

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    #5
    The only problem is that it does not autofocus with my D40x.:( I know it is not absolutely necessary to have autofocus, especially at such wide focal lengths, but still, it is a plus I would like to have. If I am correct there was a Sigma which auto-focused with my D40x; I'll need to check again.

    Right now I am uncertain if I would prefer the 12-24 over the 17-35. Having the super ultra wide 12-24 would be nice, since I like landscape photography.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    That 80-200 even used is worth more then the price of a brand new D40 body. You cheapest option is to buy a used D50 so that the 80-200 will autofocus.

    If it is a very old 80-200 that is manual focus, still the quality is very good better then anything you can buy today for under $1,000. Take a look at any copy of Sports Illustrated from the 1980's Half of what was shot in there was done with a manual focus Nikon 80-200. The lens can still do publication quality work. If it is an AF lens then itis worth buyig a body that can used it
     
  7. Silverbird0000 macrumors 6502a

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    Fort Myers, FL
    #7
    I think the bokeh is great on the 55-200mm VR. A lot of the pics that I post on the picture of the day forum are from that lens. The only gripe I have is that I love the 18-55 and 55-200mm so much that I switch them often, and I now have my very first piece of sensor dust. I just spotted it 30 min ago, and I'm pretty pissed!! I'll just have to get a blower. But anyway, I love the 55-200mm VR!
     
  8. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #8
    A common mistake at the beginning, is trying to cover every mm in your lenses range. I'd say go for the 70-300. In this case, +100mm at the longer end means much more than -15 mm at the widest end.

    Have you considered getting the 18-200?
     
  9. seany916 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    if you're referring to the 70-300 that's under $350, the lens is useless past 200, all the shots are soft. it's essentiall a cheap 70-200 that requires a TON of light get the non-ED one that is cheaper at like $120

    (This only applies to the cheapie one-I got it as a throw-away, but it works surprisingly wel between 80-200 in bright daylight)
     
  10. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #10
    I forgot to mention this (once you get used to 2,8, everything is easier :cool:). It's so true! Take this into consideration. I forgot how little it opened at the long end... At 300 mm and f/5,6, you'd need at least speeds of at least 1/300 or 1/400 to get ok pictures. Sure, VR helps, but only for static subjects...
     
  11. 66217 thread starter Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #11
    I have, but it is expensive and not very good. I mean, it is an excellent lens for a family travel, but it is not VERY good at anything really. And I have seen the bokeh of this lens is below average.

    So it is an option, but I think I'll prefer staying with two separate lenses.

    I have been thinking about this, but the f/2.8 telephotos are way too expensive, and I really can't justify spending that much right now.

    Or is there any option from someone else besides Nikon that makes a good f/2.8 that would autofocus with my D40x?

    I am not planning to use it at more than 200mm, not much. It is a good thing to have, but normally I won't use it.
     
  12. Butthead macrumors 6502

    Butthead

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    Jan 10, 2006
    #12
    First mistake almost everyone makes in any forum, is not defining your price range. What is "expensive" or too expensive to you?

    Sigma & Tamron make OIS Zooms that are nearly as high quality as far as performance (just a tad lower in build/operational quality) as the $800 Nikon 18-200 VR, except they go more for the telephoto end @300mm. Slap a 2x converter on that, and you'll have true longer reach tele capability.

    You'll still need to spend about the cost of your D40x body, but is it in your price range?

    At the other end, with 1.5x crop factor, you're really going to need to go to a *very* wide-angle lens to get the 35mm equivalent of a decent wide angle lens---and you might just be better off with a smaller lighter weight super-wide prime lens, and that is also expensive and somewhat of an image compromise if you need to shoot at faster apertures. Money you do not have or do not want to expend right now, so focus on the telephoto zoom 1st.
     
  13. 66217 thread starter Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #13
    I would say my budget is around $500 USD.

    I know I want a telephoto, I enjoy it. But would you say the speed of the 70-300 VR at focal length of 200mm is acceptable?
     
  14. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #14
    That's a well-phrased qualifier. :D

    You really need to read the reviews. If center sharpness is pretty much all you care about, then don't bother spending the money on the 70-300. As Chip NoVaMac said: if you're happy with the 18-55's output, then you'll be happy with the 55-200's as well. But while people like to argue this point - everyone likes to think they've outsmarted "the system" - you do get what you pay for. The 70-300 isn't perfect; but comparing a $170 lens with a $470 lens is comparing apples to oranges.

    BTW if you're shooting landscapes with a 12-24, autofocus is basically superfluous. Generally you want to set the focus at the hyperfocal distance (which, btw, is impossible with your 18-55 since it doesn't have any sort of distance scale on the lens).
     
  15. cutsman macrumors regular

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    #15
    I'm not sure to which flower photos you were referring. You can check the EXIF data on the site for each of the photos... the focal length will tell you whether I used the 18-55 or 55-200 VR.

     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    Agreed.

    I wonder how photographers who only use primes have survived? ;)



    I think I could survive with just my Tokina 12-24 mm f/4, Sigma 30 mm f/1.4, and a long telephoto of some sort, like a 55-200 mm f/something, or possibly a 80-200 f/2.8 or 70-200 mm f/2.8 VR (which I can't afford). Yep, 3 lenses. Since I don't make money off my photography, any more than that is just a luxury, really. That's what my Nikon 105 mm VR macro lens is for me. I like taking macros, but again, it's a luxury. Same with 300 mm primes with 1.4x or 1.7x used to extend the focal length, which is what people do for bird photography.

    For most things, 3 lenses are OK, and they don't need to cover the entire range of focal lengths.
     
  17. Merser macrumors member

    Merser

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    NJ
    #17
    I have not had any experience with the 70-300, but I do own the 55-200 and I LOVE IT!

    Serioulsy, its a great bargain.

    If you will be doing sport shots, you may need that extra 100mms but I find that 200 is plenty zoom for me.
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    Personally, I'd get the 55-200 mm VR lens. The 70-300 mm VR gives you more reach, but is famous for being soft at 300 mm. What's the point of paying 2x more for a lens that gives you an extra 100 mm, but doesn't shoot well at 300 mm? Even with the 70-300 mm, I'd be reluctant to shoot at 300 mm knowing that the photo will be a bit soft. With the 55-200 mm, you get great quality throughout the range.
     
  19. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #19
    The problem is, hearsay is subjective; and you have to be really careful that it's not just a case where the most vocal person happens to not like the lens.

    When you look at the objective resolution tests (I'm looking on photozone.de), even wide open - well, as wide as these lenses get anyway - the center sharpness of the 70-300 is right on the borderline between very good and excellent at 300mm. Wide open the border sharpness is rated (just) good; but stop it down and it improves significantly. So I'd argue it's a usable extra 100mm; plus the vignetting performance is better.
     
  20. 66217 thread starter Guest

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    Jan 30, 2006
    #20
    Thanks for all the advice.:)


    One of the things that makes me like the 70-300 more is the bokeh. I've read it is better than the 55-200.

    Now the thing is if I am willing to pay $200 for that.:D
     
  21. seany916 macrumors 6502

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    Southern California
    #21
    if the budget is $500...

    & you like telephoto

    2.8 80-200 (latest version) is about $900.

    would be an awesome for distant pictures, excellent optics, handling

    the VR 70-200 is a bit better, but $700 more.
     
  22. slimon macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2007
    #23
    thanks so much for all your feedback. I think I am leaning toward keeping the 5D. Maybe there will be rumors of a 5D mkII in January
     

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