55-200vr

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Farmergirl, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. I have seen the NIKON 55-200mm f4-5.6 AFS VR DX lens and was wondering what your thoughts are. This lens seems to be more in my price range than the 70 or 80-200mm. The price is $285 for the 55-200. Why is it so cheap?? Should I save up for the bigger lens? Give me your knowledge!!

    Sarah
     
  2. danmab

    danmab

    415
    Apr 26, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Even better, you can order one thru Amazon at $230, I think -- i had this lens and traded up for the 70-300 VR only for the added focal length.
    The 55-200 VR worked great, yielding very sharp photos
     

  3. Thanks for your input Dan. Does this lens do well in low light situations like a hockey arena.

    Sarah
     
  4. LindaZ

    LindaZ

    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    I bought it at Amazon for $232 and free shipping. Still waiting for it.
     
  5. danmab

    danmab

    415
    Apr 26, 2007
    Wisconsin
    I'm sure you could find some good settings with the D70 to get usable results. My assumptions are that you will probably live around the 200mm focal length to get nice and tight shots from the stands so maybe try:
    1) Shutter priority at least 1/200 (VR should take care of handshake but high SS required to stop action)
    2) Auto ISO ON with default set to 400 ISO
    3) center metered -- not sure if you care about blown background highlights
     
  6. Check out the test reports at SLRGear.com. Click on the 3-D blur plot and work the zoom and f-stop sliders. You will see that this lens is quite good up to 105mm, and especially at f/8 - f/11. But for low-light shooting you'll really have to up the iso.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2007

  7. Thanks Jim very helpful site!!

    Sarah
     
  8. The 55-200VR and the 70-300VR are both good lenses, capable of producing very good results (at least the 70-300VR is, I haven't tried the 55-200VR). They are lighter, not as well built as the 70/80-200/2.8. They are primarily intended to complement the 18-55 and 18-70 kit lenses that come with Nikon's entry level bodies. The 70/80-200/2.8 in their various iterations are far sturdier and generally recognized as being intended more for professional use. The larger maximum aperture of these lenses makes them better suited to sports shooting, especially indoor sports. VR will help with camera shake at slow shutter speeds but you will need to keep your shutter speed relatively high (1/250 sec. or higher for sports). VR will not help you do that. A good budget friendly option might be a used 80-200/2.8 one touch or a 180/2.8, either of which you should be able to find for under $500.
     

  9. Thanks alot for the input!! I am needing a telephoto lens and have to try and find one in my budget. With three boys and a farm I am thinking it will be the 55-200 VR for now. Maybe later I can trade up.

    Sarah
     
  10. You have gotten some very good comments here, let me add just a bit regarding Hockey Arenas and Indoor Sports in general. Even the best indoor venues are not nearly as well-lit as you might expect. They are fine to "see", but other than that, well, they simply suck rocks most of the time :biggrin: It is not unusual for me to be shooting wide open at f2.8, ISO 1000-1250 just to maintain shutter speeds around 1/250-1/320, and remember that with this lens you are losing a couple of stops right off the bat at the 200 end. The place this will hurt you is in rapid movement, as Larry noted VR does not help in this case. So, here is what I would suggest you do. First, and the indoor hockey will be a great place to practice this, is to work on your panning technique. The smoother you can pan with a player, the better chance you have of keeping them in good focus. The background will blur and you may get a touch of motion blur on the player, which really looks nice, but you want face and number in focus as best you can. The second thing is to try to take shots when movement is less, such as the moment a player sets up to shoot, or stopping, but when they still look like they are "in motion". Me, I'd work mostly on panning, this is good practice anyway.

    Now, I also think Auto-ISO is your friend. As you have a D70, you don't have the option of setting the Shutter Speed to trigger the ISO move, so be sure that when you set you base ISO it is high enough to keep the shutter speed up. What you are most likely going to find is that different parts of the rink will be significantly darker than others.

    Last thing, shoot RAW so you can fix the WB after you are done. Depending upon the arena, the lights may be quite strange. I was shooting Indoor Pro Football, and got the best base results from setting High Rendering Fluorescent of all the strange things, it was just trial and error.

    Lastly, if you haven't "gotten it" yet :wink:, indoor sports can be a royal pain, so don't get discouraged. Just keep whacking on it, it will get better.
     
  11. SP77

    SP77

    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    I've been extremely pleased with my 55-200 non-VR. The image quality is great even wide open, and the bokeh seems fairly nice too. Handling is not a strong suit of the lens though, it's difficult to stabilize since it's so light, and the lack of VR only makes things worse. So it's definitely a daylight only lens.

    The VR version is optically a different formula so I'm not sure how it'll compare with the non VR, but all I know is I love mine. Can't beat if for $169 new!

    Lots of pics in my Spring Blossoms 2007 album.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. SP77

    SP77

    Jun 4, 2007
    Rockville, MD
    55-200 non-VR

    [​IMG]


    55-200 VR
    [​IMG]

    To make way for the VR and keep the price point low, looks like they had to nix the big ED element (yellow) right at the front of the lens where it counts and makes a huge difference, which is what makes the non-VR 55-200 a sleeper IMO. Dunno what sort of shooting you'll be doing, but if it's moving things like kids where VR won't help you, try to find a non-VR 55-200. Should be dirt cheap, like half the price of a new VR one, and may give better image quality too.
     
  13. BlindMelon

    BlindMelon Guest

    My experience with the 55-200mm VR has been positive. Some say that the different optical design is better than the older version. I don't have the older version to compare it to, but I like the results that I get with my VR version. The focus isn't terribly fast, but its pretty sharp even at wider apertures. It's lightweight, small, and affordable. Just don't plan on shooting a lot of sports with it.
     
  14. WOW Thanks for the info. Right now I have a bit of time to learn action since the boys are only 7 & 5 that play hockey. So maybe by the time they get older I will have the hockey thing nailed.

    Sarah
     
  15. I just bought the 55-200VR version from nykonian. But I'd never consider it for the uses you described. Retief pretty much explained it all...you'll need at least f/2.8 to shoot indoors - and for many cases outdoor sports. The best recommendation is a used 80-200. If you can't use flash, there's not much substitute for fast glass. You can check out my site - almost all shots were taken with a 2.8 lens...and CS2 to correct the darkness found in the shots.
     
  16. nykonian

    nykonian

    570
    May 4, 2007
    New York
    Mark is right. This lens can't replace 80-200/2.8 or 70-200/2.8VR to shoot indoors (unless you use flash). But it's a perfect and light companion for outdoor or travel.

    Mark, by the way, the lens will go out tomorrow morning. :)
     

  17. Ok so you are telling me this lens won't work indoors? I am able to use a flash but in an arena that does not go too far due to high ceilings and very bad lighting. One reason I am really leaning towards the 55-200 is the cost and the small size. The other two seem so large and I would have a really hard time carrying a diaper bag, camera bag, hockey bag, and one baby all at once!! :biggrin:

    Sarah
     
  18. It is not that it "won't work", you just have to compensate for the lack of light as noted above. Now, as to the flash, I routinely get horrible Red-Eye shooting the length of a football field at night at 200-300mm, you would be surprised at what a flash does when you are at max zoom. Remember as well that the ice is a great reflector. If they allow you to use flash, give this a try, but get the flash off your camera, onto a bracket and off the plane of the lens to stop Red-Eye. The other issue with flash is recycle time. If you are trying to shoot a player as they are moving, the flash probably won't be able to recycle to keep up with your shooting. In addition, you want to be very careful shooting bursts with the flash due to overheating the flash tube.

    Not that I do much of this during the Fall Sports season or anything :wink:
     
  19. LindaZ

    LindaZ

    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Glad to hear I am not the only one carrying babies, toddlers, and camera gear around. (You should see my arms ) *flex*
     
  20. HA, HA too funny:tongue: Can't wait to see pics of your little ones!!

    Sarah
     
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