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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nikon 55-200mm VR... a nice little sleeper lens!

AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED

I didn't expect to see such great results from this little lens. The Nikon 55-200mm AF-S DX VR is a compact, light little lens, and it's very sharp. I knew this from the published resolution figures before I bought one, but I didn't think it would be this sharp!

The Nikkor 55-200mm VR won the American Photo Editor's Choice 2007 Award. I still wasn't expecting to like it this much.

Don't get me wrong, it's no Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR. It also doesn't weigh 1470g (3.25 pounds) like the 70-200 does. The Nikon 55-200mm weighs only 335g... less than 1 pound. You can barely feel it on a D300 body.

Sure, it doesn't have the low light capabilities of a f2.8 fast lens, after all, the fastest it gets is f4. Outdoors during the day, you'll most likely not find this much of a limitation. Of course, it's not going to work to well for you in a dark church during a wedding reception, but that's why Nikon makes the 70-200mm f2.8 VR.

The VR on the 55-200mm is good and adds at least a couple stops of usability. I've owned and used both the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR and the 55-200mm VR, and I'd say that the 70-200 has a little better VR system... maybe 4 stops of added usability.

Of course, you didn't expect them to put the same caliber VR system in a $200 lens and a $2000 lens, did you?

(a little hint... if you're shooting in good light and don't need the VR, shut it off. You'll save battery life, and you'll achieve focus faster as you don't have to wait for the Vibration Reduction to finish it's job).

But this little lens is really a gem for the price. It's even got ED glass in it (
an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass element minimizes chromatic aberration, contributing to superior optical performance), which is likely why it's so sharp!

The front lens element is only 52mm, so it's not going to break your wallet to buy a few filters for it. A 52mm circular polarizer is much cheaper than a 72mm circular polarizer. Trust me, I've bought both.

The Nikon 55-200mm VR is a fantastic little lens. It's light, compact, and super sharp. For the price, you can't beat it. It won't break your back or your wallet!

Here's some photos from our trip to the Brantford Twin Valley Zoo last Sunday, all shot with the Nikon 55-200 VR on one of my D300 bodies. All of these are straigh out of camera jpgs, re-sized to 800 pixels for the web.

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