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55-200VR vs. 70-300VR vs. 18-135 vs. 18-200VR

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by FotoPhocus, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. FotoPhocus


    Jun 15, 2008
    There's about a $300 difference between the two, so I'm wondering if the 70-300VR is worth the extra cost. I would be using it mostly for nature and animals -- birds in flight, animals at the zoo, squirrels/birds up in a tree, etc.

    I'm inclined to go for the 55-200VR, but I wanted to get some opinions first.

    Edit 2: I'm also looking at the 18-135 lens. Additionally, Amazon has the 18-200VR for 12 months no interest... so even though it is more pricey, it is an option.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2008
  2. I bought a 55-200 non VR last year for my D40

    I just traded it in for a used 70-300 VR last week

    For soccer and hockey, I was maxing out ALL the time - I was always at 200mm - same thing at the zoo as well

    Last night I sat in the opposing team zone for 2 reasons
    1. sun at my side/back
    2. I was hoping to catch my team scoring

    Well - they didn't get into the zone much at all, and almost all my first half pics were at 250-300mm
    I would have HAD to move my position if I still had the 55-200mm

    I would look around for a used 70-300mmVR - I think it is worth the extra money

    Mine was $450.00 CDN used
  3. KG72

    KG72 Guest

    Go for the 70-300mm VR. You'll be glad you have the extra reach.
  4. rgordin


    Jun 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    I just got back from Africa. I had a 55-200 VR but decided to get the 70-300 VR for the trip. I knew that even that lens would be short at times but weight and money restricted anything else. There is no question that there were many shots of birds and animals that would have been non-existent or poor without the 300mm. For me, the sacrifice between 55 and 70 on the low end was worth the jump from 200 to 300, a 150mm jump for DX purposes.

    I have since sold my 55-200. I didn't think I would use it that often since I decided to keep my 70-300.

    BTW, I thought the 70-300 was plenty sharp.
  5. FotoPhocus


    Jun 15, 2008
    Edited my original post to add a couple more options. Primary use would be a walkaround lens, but also wildlife, nature/landscapes as well. I currently own only the 18-55 kit lens.
  6. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    The 18-135 and 70-300VR is definitely a great combination. And I'd say the 70-300VR is definitely worth the money over the 55-200VR. Had the 55-200 non-VR and while optically it was a great lens, I was always at the 200mm end and wanting to go longer. I've been quite satisfied with the 70-300VR. It's by far the best 70-300mm lens Nikon has ever made. It's sharp even wide-open at 300mm, and the VR system is incredible.

    I personally am not a huge fan of the 18-200VR, but if you're looking for a single lens solution that will cover all of your bases, that could be it. Switching lenses is not a problem for me though, so I prefer splitting the range up into two or even three lenses.
  7. FotoPhocus


    Jun 15, 2008
    Just when I think I have my mind made up.. :smile:

    How does the 70-300VR compare optically to the 18-200VR?

    The reason is I think for street photography I would want some of the range at the high end of my 18-55, and be able to switch to range at the low end of the 70-300.

    But.. the 18-135 would solve that problem. Only issue is - no VR. How would you rate that lens optically compared to the 2 I asked about a few lines up?
  8. Glideslope


    Feb 8, 2006
    16-85VR & 70-300VR. Perfect light bag.
  9. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    I've owned almost all of these lenses except for the 18-200VR so I can't speak personally about the 70-300VR vs the 18-200VR. But... even 18-200VR fanboy #1 Ken Rockwell says that the 55-200 is optically superior to the 18-200VR in its range. Generally two lenses with lower zoom ratios will perform better combined than one super zoom lens, as long as you don't mind switching lenses.

    You'll get too annoyed swapping between the 18-55 and 70-300, which is where the 18-135 comes in. I've walked all over the place with that lens including around cities at night and the lack of VR has never stopped me from getting a shot I wanted. Best of all you can get them for $200 used which is one-third the price of an 18-200VR, and optically it's a pretty darned good lens.

    Check this out: https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=177403

    It's probably one of the most forgotten about lens in Nikon's lineup, but everybody that has them seems to love them, myself included. If I really need VR for some night shots, I picked up an 18-55VR for a whopping $140. You could get an 18-55VR used, an 18-135 used, and a 70-300VR new or used and have a lot of great lenses for the same price as a new 18-200VR.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  10. FotoPhocus


    Jun 15, 2008
    Thanks Steve. Sounds like my best bet is to get the 18-135 right now, and then think about a 70-300VR in the future. Would you agree?

    I've got a pending purchase set up for the 18-135 now: https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=178425. I'll be making my decision tomorrow, as the seller was kind enough to let me think it over and let me have first chance to buy it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  11. SP77


    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    Do it! Great lens for next to nothing. If you don't like it, just sell it for the same price you got it for. :smile:
  12. FotoPhocus


    Jun 15, 2008
    Thanks. I think I'll go with the 18-135 after all. That should do a lot of what I'm looking for.
  13. 151proof


    Jun 6, 2008
    ^^^ That's exactly what I was just about to say. I have both lenses and bring them along everytime im out and about shooting. Wide enough in the low end and more than enough zoom when needed!

    55-200VR vs. 70-300VR vs. 18-135 vs. 18-200VR
    ^^^ I have owned all those lenses except the 18-135. I had the 55-200 vr and often always thought that I needed more so I have upgraded it to the 70-300mm VR. I also owned the 18-200 and served me well for an "all around" lens but I couldn't get over distortion @ 18mm and the lens creep, got rid of it and bought the 16-85 VR. All in all I hope you're happy with the 18-135(very cost effective) but if you have a chance check out the 16-85 VR do it ...
  14. LDB415


    Apr 26, 2008
    You might want to read the reviews on bythom.com to get some extra insight before making any final decision.
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