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Thread: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

  1. #1
    Flyfisher's Avatar
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    Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Hello all,
    After a few weeks of using the 35mm I took my 55-200 kit lens for some pictures outside. When I came home and took the pictures for PP I saw the sharpness level is low (compared to the pictures I took with the 35mm lens) for almost entire focal length interval. Of course, it's a kit lens so I decided to replace it with better lens.
    The first options are the Nikon 55-300 VR2 and Tamron 70-300 VR USD. For these lenses I've checked some pictures but still not very happy with the sharpness...maybe adding some more sharpness from D90's settings will help?

    Can I get some recommendations for the 55-200 VR replacement, please?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Nikkor 70-300mm VR?

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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Hi Iosif,
    Never compare a Zoom with a Prime lens. The Zoom will always come second. No matter what you do you will never get the same sharpness from a Zoom lens as from a Prime lens. Try shooting your 55-200mm lens at F7-F11 and see if the sharpness is better. Spending money on another zoom just because the prime spoiled your eye, is going to be a waste.
    However, if you really want, the Nikon lens will be better than the Tamron.

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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Thank you for the advices!
    @Phil: a bit expensive compared to Tamron, but the reviews sound good
    @Andre: I wouldn't dare to compare prime and zoom lenses, it was just the feeling when saw the "sloppy" level of sharpness. Because of the poor light where I used the 55-200 yesterday, I had to keep the aperture on f5.6 to get a decent shutter speed. Still, this 55-200 being a kit lens, I'm willing to buy some better zoom lens as I'm sure I won't use it only in good light conditions

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    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Hi Iosif,
    Never compare a Zoom with a Prime lens. The Zoom will always come second. No matter what you do you will never get the same sharpness from a Zoom lens as from a Prime lens. Try shooting your 55-200mm lens at F7-F11 and see if the sharpness is better. Spending money on another zoom just because the prime spoiled your eye, is going to be a waste.
    However, if you really want, the Nikon lens will be better than the Tamron.
    Oh-oh!

    I feel another zoom vs prime 'discussion' coming along if certain people open this thread!

    Quick - DUCK!

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    Flyfisher's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    No, no, please, no point for a zoom vs prime discussion here! I just feel the need of changing the 55-200 kit lens

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Then it will have to be the nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR ll a snip at 1500.....

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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    Then it will have to be the nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR ll a snip at 1500.....
    Only 1500? Then I should buy 2 of them :P
    1500 is way too much for me...I'm just an amateur, I think the proper level of the lens is around Tamron 70-300 or Nikon 70-300

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Why not go into a shop and test the lens's your considering? you might find that neither give you the shapeness that you want and you may be better off keeping you money in your pocket!!

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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Oh-oh!

    I feel another zoom vs prime 'discussion' coming along if certain people open this thread!

    Quick - DUCK!
    Oh yea last was five pages or so long

  11. #11
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark von Kanel View Post
    Why not go into a shop and test the lens's your considering?
    I will do that

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Neither of the lenses you are looking at are considered to be particularly sharp, especially at the longer end. Are you sure that it is the lens, rather than how you shoot; have you tried it on a tripod? I have both the 55-200mm and the f/2.8 70-200mm lens, and while the f/2 lens is very sharp, it is expensive, large and heavy and I still throw the D90 and the 18-55mm and the 55-200mm in the backpack when I am out for a day of shooting and can't complain about its performance. I generally only use the bigger lens on the D800.

    If you want sharp, you had better be prepared to spend some fairly serious money, as the two lenses you are looking at are aimed at more or less the same market segment as your lens. The f/2.8 70-200mm is one way to go, but it is going to cost you. The recently introduced f/4 70-200 sounds like it is very good as well, but pricey as well, but I don't know about availability (in Canada is it showing to ship at the end of November). I would not go for the f/2.8 80-200mm Nikkor as is not a stabilized lens, and you do want stabilization. I would not recommend the 80-400mm either, I have that as well and it is okay but is does not focus particularly quickly.

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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    I do have the Tamron 70-300. I use it mostly for wildlife photography in often less than helpful conditions when a bean bag or handheld are the only options. I'm happy enough with the images, but they don't stack up against someone's L series howitzer (perhaps should have said I have a Canon body). I suppose only you know what level of sharpness you can accept. Of course, it also depends on how you plan to show or share your final images.

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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    New words but reiterating points that others have made.

    I have a D90, I have the Nikkor 55-200, I would call my self a "seasoned beginner" and I was having the same thoughts regarding sharpness and a better lense. I bought the Tamron 70-300 but completely underestimated how big and cumbersome it is. I rarely lug it around unless my outting is specifically to use it and lug it around. Its fine ish on a tripod, but most times, shooting anything over 200 handheld is a real disappointment once you get home and look on a real monitor.

    In regards to the 55-200, for a while I was questioning this lense as well. But after a quick little experiment with a tripod and completely stationary potted plant in good light, I isolated the problem to be between the camera and the ground when the tripod is missing



    Debbie

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    Flyfisher's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Thank you Debbie, but a tripod won't help much as I love taking pictures of my kid and his friends - especially when they don't know somebody's "watching" them
    But maybe a 85mm or 105mm f1.8 (1.4 too expensive) prime lens would do much better

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    The tripod is meant to see how well the lens performs when it rock steady. This would help you figure out if it is a lens issue or if how you are shooting is the reason for the lack of sharpness. If you are doing handheld family shots of fast moving kids, you might want to consider shooting aperture priority with a shutter speed of at least 1/500th, possibly even faster. ISO may have to be adjusted to give you a reasonable aperture.

    I've never had a problem with sharpness out of that lens. Both of these shots are taken with the Nikon 55-200mm lens.

    Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Have the 55-200,cannot compare to 70-300-I get excellent pics.Highly recommend this lens.recently bought a Tamron f2.8 70-200 unstabilized for tripod use,still experimenting but so far I feel it is great value for money.

  18. #18
    djg05478's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by Flyfisher View Post
    Thank you Debbie, but a tripod won't help much as I love taking pictures of my kid and his friends - especially when they don't know somebody's "watching" them
    I can understand that, you are right, you can't always use a tripod. However it can be worked into the process with little effort and the payoff can be worth it with clear images.

    My favorite subjects/models are my dogs. Like children, they move, they are unpredictable and they stop doing the cute/interesting stuff as soon as I pick up the camera.

    To increase my chances of getting the candid shots, I keep my camera on the tripod and I frequently bring it out into the yard, then I go and do other things. The dogs forget I am there, they get conditioned to seeing the tripod and they go about their business. Sometimes the mood passes and I don't feel like taking pictures, sometimes they don't do anything picture worthy.....but sometimes they do...and I am ready. To me this thought process is as important as the camera and the lense. For what its worth

    Here is my simple hobby website: www.myshorthairs.com, the last post is one of my dogs rolling in something stinky. Only reason I got the shots was because of what I described above.

    Nope, they aren't going to pay the bills or win any awards, but I'm happy to have them

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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Oh-oh!

    I feel another zoom vs prime 'discussion' coming along if certain people open this thread!

    Quick - DUCK!
    Sorry! Should have mentioned "within the same price range".

  20. #20
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    Re: Nikon 55-200 VR replacement

    I'm going to go with the argument that says 'know your equipment and get your technique right first'. All lenses, even the most expensive, have their weak points, albeit probably fewer than the consumer lenses. The secret is surely to make sure that you know a lens's strengths and weaknesses. If you have a lens which the various test houses have declared sharpest between f5.6 and f11, then work within those confines or accept the consequences. Do you know the slowest speed at which you can safely hand hold your camera? Some people struggle at quite high speeds.
    I think the advice to try a tripod is valid. If you are concerned about a lens's performance try some shots that give it an opportunity to give its very best. If under those circumstances it still falls short of your expectations, then consider a change.

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