Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6

Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
325
Location
East TN
I am having trouble deciding on whether or not this is the lens I want to get. I have the D3100 with the 18-55mm kit lens, and I want something for long range use. Ideally for shooting wildlife, landscapes, and scenery. I've also heard you can use this lens for portraits too.

Eventually I see myself getting either a prime 35mm f/1.4 or something like an 18-70mm lens for everyday use to replace my kit lens.

This is my first DSLR, but I am trying to learn all I can, and I am loving it. I don't see myself switching to a FX series anytime in the next 5 years or so, so the DX series lenses are great for me.

So... should I just go ahead and order the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6? Or are there other lenses that you would recommend? I don't want to spend the extra cash for the 70-300mm VR either. I'm looking to stay under $350 for this lense.

Thanks for the help!
 
Joined
May 16, 2007
Messages
701
Location
Netherlands
I dont own one, but I am interested in this one as well.

The down side of this lens: it has slow focus and no instant manual overide.
The upside: Cheap, light, reasonable sharp, reasonable good bokeh.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
371
Location
Atlanta, GA
I want something for long range use. Ideally for shooting wildlife, landscapes, and scenery. I've also heard you can use this lens for portraits too.
I don't want to discourage you, but I think you need to temper your expectations. You can use a lens for whatever you want. What you're asking for is a cheap lens that does it all and does it all well. Such a lens does not exist.

To do wildlife well you need long glass: 300-400mm. To handhold shots at that distance you need fast glass. To have fast glass at that distance that produces quality (sharp) results - well that costs money.

Landscape shooting is normally done with a wide lens, not a tele zoom. Portrait shooting is normally done from the 75mm-150mm range, but you can take great portraits with a zoom lens if you set things up correctly.

So, if you want a tele zoom, and you understand the extreme limitations of a lens <$350, then yes, the 55-300 can be a good choice. But don't think that you're getting a stellar lens at a bargain price: there's not really any such thing (in the tele range, at least).
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
3,969
Location
Chicago
If a 55/300 for a cheap price would do what you expect, they could not sell the 70/200 for 2400 dollars.
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
771
Location
Greater NYC
The 70-300 VR (NOT the nonVR version)is by general consensus a very good buy for the money - AND it is often available in packages with Nikon rebates. You often see new ones for sale bought with a new body during these deals. It is a bit larger and heavier (and pricier) but may in the long run be what you want.

I have the 70-300 VR and have been quite happy with it. My wife uses it as her 'long' lens during our mainly outdoors vacations. You can pair it with a number of shorter lenses.

The 55-300 seems to be a 'step down' as far as price quality and 'positioning'. I can't say if it's worth the increase in cost over the 55-200.

If you're in this for the long term you might want to consider the 70-300VR (and it's still quite a bit cheaper - and lighter - than the 70-200VR). The 28-300VR is another option for a more 'all-purpose' long zoom but it is not cheap and has its own limitations.

I'd recommend trying out the 55-300 and 70-300 if you can. A number of larger shops will let you do so.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
325
Location
East TN
I would love to try out both the 55-300 & 70-300, but being in S. Korea makes it hard to find a shop.

I am definitely going to be in this for the long run, at least as a photo enthusiast. I guess I will look more into the 70-300VR. perhaps a refurbished one. I've heard many say that one refurbished by Nikon is just as good as new.

Thanks for all the replies everyone.. Please keep the info coming
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
2,303
Location
Cambria, CA
I bought the 55-300VR for my wife to use on my D90, when I am using the 70-300VR. It is more than adequate, tho not up to the level of the 70-300VR. The last time I looked, Amazon had it for $325, discounted off the list price. It might be what you are looking for.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
325
Location
East TN
is the auto focus actually any faster on the 70-300VR than the 55-300VR? What are the key things that would make one choose the 70-300VR? I know its a great lens, and people speak highly of it, but what exactly makes it worth the extra cash over the 55-300VR?

edit: Just found it has Internal focusing, Non-Rotating Front Element, so thats a big plus.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
325
Location
East TN
Well I took the advice of some and ordered the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 ED-IF AF-S VR. I found a refurbished one on Adorama for a great deal and couldn't pass it up. I can't wait for it to get here!

Thanks everyone for the help!
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
3,969
Location
Chicago
The 70/300 VR is a better lens than the 55/200. Metal mount, better construction. All in all decent.

My 55/200 is pretty good, needs to be stopped down some to perform best. Smaller than the 70/300. Only covers DX. I am going to assume the 55/300 is in the same class. Plastic mount.

The usual clue to consumer quality is the plastic mount rather than metal. The lenses so constructed can not take a side hit without the mount fracturing. The issue is not wear on the lugs.
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom