55-200 vs 70-300... or 80-200 f/2.8?

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Its been awhile since I've picked up my d90, and today out of nowhere I took it out of the camera bag to play around because I got a new car, and I am already looking to buy a new lens :Love:

My conundrum is that I spent all of my money on a 17-55mm f/2.8 and am stuck with no long zoom, so it really turns me off to going out and shooting with such short range.

I can get a 55-200 VR for about $120 used off craigslist, or I can get a 70-300 VRII for about $300 used online.

My question is which one generally takes the better, sharper photos (since I hear the 70-300 is almost useless past 200mm)? I'm looking for nice, EASY bokeh for some object isolation... those pictures are typically the ones that make me drool.

If you have suggestions on any other lenses in my price range, let me know.
 
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I have to disagree with the statement that the 70-300 is useless past 200mm. that might have been true about older versions but not so much the newer one. Have you had a look at the 70-300 image thread on here? Most of them are taken at 300mm and are beatuiful. Here is a simple one of mine at 300mm

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My 55/200 is pretty decent past 70 mm. 55/70, stop down one stop for sharp corners.

I did not have the cash for a 70/300 at the time. Well the 55/200 is much smaller, half the money, covers only DX, 200 is about all you can hand hold anyway. It has a plastic lens mount, yuck. I put Leica Elpro close up lenses on it and it really well that way.

I tried out a 70/300 and decided I was not missing much. Soft past 200 mm unless I stopped down 2 stops. Lots of distortion even on DX. I decided to keep my 55/200 and 70/210 4~5.6 which cost me $150. The 70/210 goes on FX on the rare occasion when i need a FX zoom.

You should have bought a 35 1.8 and 60 2.8N for DX. < than $1000 and you would have two yummy lenses for DX and the 60 migrates to FX someday. Plus you save a lot of money.
 
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You should have bought a 35 1.8 and 60 2.8N for DX. < than $1000 and you would have two yummy lenses for DX and the 60 migrates to FX someday. Plus you save a lot of money.

I was hoping to build up on zoom lenses before I step into expensive primes. I hated the 18-105 that came with the d90 so I sold it, and am now looking to rebuild on the zoom.

Is the 70-300 really worth it over the 55-200 if I don't need it past 200mm? like, up until 200mm does the 70-300 perform that much better?
 
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I own both. The 55-200 was the first add-on lens that I bought after getting my first DSLR - a D-80. It was inexpensive and I was happy to add a zoom to my new camera.

Since that time, after becoming quite a bit more discerning re: IQ, etc., I purchased a 70-300VR and my feeling is that there is no comparison between the two. The 70-300VR may be the bast bang-for-your-buck lens available IMO.

My 55-200 never sees the light of day anymore.
 
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My vote goes for the 55-200. I bought one a long time ago with VR for ~$150 and never felt I was missing anything from the 70-300VR. I get very sharp photos, the bokeh is decent, and I'm never worried about it since it was so cheap. If I ever get something else, it will be a 2.8 lens or a 300 prime or greater.

There is a 55-200 thread here somewhere. Its a lot smaller than the 70-300VR thread, but for the price, it is very hard to beat in my opinion.

200mm @ f5.6
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i'd be getting teh 70-300.

1: longer throw, equivalent of a 450mm on DX (which is HUGE).
2: it's an FX lens, so if you upgrade to FX cameras you can keep using the glass.

from the examples i'v seen from the 70-300, i'm actually going to get one for myself once funds allow (eg: once i pay off this 200/2 i just bought).
 
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I was in the same boat as you, well sorta, I was comparing the 55-300VR vs the 70-300VR. I ended up getting a refurbished 70-300VR and have been fairly happy with it. It does seem soft past 240mm for me, but I think that is more my lack of experience than the lens.
 
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I can't speak to the 55-200mm, but I agree wholeheartedly with the comment made by one poster that the 70-300mm VR may be the best value lens made by Nikon.
 
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Maybe I'll save my money and get a used 80-200 f/2.8 push/pull

How do people feel about the 80-200 push/pull since it doesnt have VR?
 
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How do people feel about the 80-200 push/pull since it doesnt have VR?

i think it's a fine lens. VR is all whacky-doo wonderful, but we got on just fine for many moons without it.

i was most distressed when my one-touch 80-200D was stolen and the replacement (thank you insurance) was a two touch.
 
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i think it's a fine lens. VR is all whacky-doo wonderful, but we got on just fine for many moons without it.

i was most distressed when my one-touch 80-200D was stolen and the replacement (thank you insurance) was a two touch.

How did you deal without a tripod? I've never held a lens this big, but my 17-55 (although smaller) is all metal and I can handhold it pretty well. How bad can it be?
 
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well your choices would depend on your budget and intentions to upgrade to FX in the furure.
I would recommend the 55-300 cos my brother got it and is very pleased. it's not that big or heavy and yields great quality photos.
The 70-300 needs not my testimony, it's a great lens.
The 80-200 AF-D is an awesome pro lens but it is heavy and a bit more expensive.
Your call, you cannot go wrong with any of the 3 :smile:
 
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How did you deal without a tripod? I've never held a lens this big, but my 17-55 (although smaller) is all metal and I can handhold it pretty well. How bad can it be?

keep the shutter speed up and you can handhold it just fine.

i routinely shoot my 80-200D two touch at 1/125s and have no dramas. if i brace against something, or sit crosslegged with my elbows dug inside my knees, i've managed to get sharp pix at 1/30s in the past.
 
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well your choices would depend on your budget and intentions to upgrade to FX in the furure.
I would recommend the 55-300 cos my brother got it and is very pleased. it's not that big or heavy and yields great quality photos.
The 70-300 needs not my testimony, it's a great lens.
The 80-200 AF-D is an awesome pro lens but it is heavy and a bit more expensive.
Your call, you cannot go wrong with any of the 3 :smile:

I am by no means a professional photographer (I'm actually a pre-med student) so I don't plan on going to FX any time in this lifetime.
That being said, I didnt think a nice piece of glass like my 17-55mm would make a huge difference, but having the f/2.8 possible has sparked my interest in shooting things even more then before. I love having narrow DOF and stick sharp IQ. I found myself trying to stop down my 18-105 and become disappointed it couldnt go any wider to get me a narrow DOF that I ended up selling it.
Can the 70-300 or 55-300 compete against the 80-200 in terms of DOF and subject isolation on the long end? I've never shot with long zooms so I don't know how aperture effects DOF on the long end. I do see people going up to f/8 on the 80-200 with great bokeh, so can the 70-300 spit out similar isolation (considering the pictures of the 80-200 with nice bokeh and narrow DOF wasn't even in a wide aperture)?
 
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Yes. D200/70-300 VR shots SOOC :wink:

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So far i've had my 70-300 a week almost. It is very sharp at 300 and or at 70. Comparing shots to my old canon 70-200 f4 is and 70-300 IS USM lens the Nikon is just as sharp and color contrast as my 70-200 was and the 70-300 canon can't hold a candle to my Nikon equivalent. I do sorta miss the f4 all the way through on the 70-200. With Nikon bridging the gap in the consumer/pro line bodies with the d7000 they really need a decently priced zoom above the 70-300 but below the 70-200 2.8.
 
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I think Will above answered your question best!
In long FL, bokeh is usually no problem, especially if the background is somehow far from your subject.
 
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Thx, Eph :wink: If one ever goes FX...the 70-300 really comes alive! :eek:

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