Lens suggestion for a beginner; Nikon 55-200mm VR or Sigma/Tamron?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mike_stoddart, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. I bought a D90 a few months ago with the standard 18-55mm lens. I'm completely new to DSLR and also to the fundamentals of photography beyond point and shoot cameras, but I'm very slowly trying to learn.
    I would like to get a telephoto lens but I can't decide if I should get a lens that would also replace my 18-55mm or if I should get the Nikon 55-200mm VR to complement my 18-55mm. My budget is very low; I don't see any point in buying an expensive lens given my lack of knowledge.
    I've read a lot about various lenses and I'm wondering if a Sigma or Tamron, e.g. 18-250mm, would suffice. Or is my best bet Nikon's 55-200mm VR?
  2. Avoid the super zooms (especially those that are stopped down past f/5.6 at the long end - you'll have autofocus trouble to go along with having less light to use). Since you already have the 18-55, I think the 55-200 is a sensible and modestly priced next step. But depending on what you're planning to shoot, a 70-300 might make more sense, and they too can be had for pretty reasonable prices. The gap between 55mm and 70mm isn't going to hurt you too badly, but the 70-300 is going to look a lot better at 200mm than the 55-200 is.
  3. I'm with Matt. The 70-300 is a better option. If a budget is a concern, try searching for a used one. Learning from my own experience though, I would stick with Nikon for less QA issues and better resale value.
  4. Mike: Maybe stay with the Nikon lenses , if you possibly can:)! ... also very much look at Nikon 55-300, I think is has only been out for a year or so, is about $400, and is pleasing in many ways.
  5. How are you using your photos? If you're not printing huge, any of these will do nicely if you're careful. I went with the 70-300, but it is kinda big (not real heavy though). The 55-200 is so nice and small and compact, if you're looking to stay small, it's a nice option. The 55-300 is better, but at that price, I'd skip to the 70-300 which I am guessing will be a superior lens, certainly in handling.
  6. Thanks. So you don't think using one lens is worth it over two? A lot of my pictures are on the spur of the moment and switching lens will be a pain. I can afford a 70-300mm through ebay but I'm not sure I want to spend that much. Resale value isn't important to me - I want to get a lens to keep for a long time.
    How do I use my cameras? Typical family stuff around the house and out. Anything interesting I see when I'm out and about; nature, buildings, sky, rivers etc. The last time I needed a telephoto was taking a picture of my daughter sledging. My 18-55mm was too short and I couldn't get in close enough.
  7. When you think about the 70-300 considder the Tamron version with USD and VC too. It is just a little bit better at the long end.
  8. Mike, I will repost a quote from Matt again
    "Avoid the super zooms (especially those that are stopped down past f/5.6 at the long end - you'll have autofocus trouble to go along with having less light to use)."
    Most superzoom's long end are f/6.3 and @ 6.3, the lighting has to be really good or focus will be slow or useless.
  9. Thanks all. Richard, I know I'm supposed to understand your re-quote, but I'll have to hit the books. :)
  10. Put your D90 on A-mode then dial up the f-stop to 6.3 then start shooting in low light conditions and you will see what I mean.
  11. From someone that has all three lens. 18-55mm VR 55-200mm VR and old ver 70-300mm. I think you'll find the combo of either work great. The IQ on the older 70-300mm is outstanding. The AF is alittle slow. But for out door daylight shooting is not an issue. And you can get it on the cheap @ebay under $100. As stated its a bit big, but not heavy at all. Only thing with the 70-300mm over the 55-200. Is filter size. If you have filters or plan on getting some the 55-200 is the same size as the 18-55. Which can save you some cash in the short run until you get into more mid - pro lens which all tent to have much better filter sizes.
    And dont be affraid of 3rd party lenses. Just make sure you read lot of reviews VS. nikon to see what your getting into. And check the lens for defect because there tend to be more bad versions then nikon.
  12. Devil's advocate:
    If you came from point & shoot, you already have the kit lens you can use, and you really want to make your camera sing, get yourself a fast prime lens Nikkor (f/1.8). Having a fast lens opens up so many more possibilities, and being close results in better photography than being far away anyway. You will have a standard lens that is a full stop faster than the most expensive zooms you can buy, and light years faster than a variable aperture zoom such as the one you're thinking about. Resist the temptation to buy another zooms lens just to have "everything covered". What you end up covering is stuff that's not worth taking with a slow telephoto anyway.
  13. Thanks again. I'm leaning towards a general purpose lens, I think it'll suit my needs more. When I go out I would rather take one lens, especially if I'm travelling. This muddies the water as I know I'll have to compromise on quality to some extent, but I'm more interested in capturing pictures than ensuring quality down to the pixel level. I will print pictures but only to fit the atypical picture frame around the house.
    Any suggestions? I'll probably try to stay away from anything 18-200m - 18-270mm, unless there's something fantastic I should look at. The Sigma 15-125mm seems to get positive reviews, again knowing its limitations. Nikon's 18-200mm is too expensive and I'm not sure if the Sigma or Tamron 18 above 200m are worth looking at. I could try to pick up a used Nikon 18-105mm or 18-135mm though they both have plastic mounts. So many options! :)
  14. I have the opportunity to buy a used Nikon 18-105VR or a Nikon 18-135 (non-VR). Are these preferred over Sigma/Tamron?
  15. I have an 18-105. It's certainly an upgrade over the 18-55. Optically better than 18-200+ lenses. If it's used, make sure you can thoroughly test it first, or get it from a reliable source with a good return policy. It's a plastic lens, if it's been dropped it could be out of whack. The 18-135 is a bit worse than the 18-105 and doesn't have VR.
    Comparing it to Sigma and Tamron- well, I don't like the superzooms - the 18-200+ ones - but if you were to go with one, look at the Tamron 18-270 PZD (the newest version). Other Sigma and Tamron lenses I'd compare to - both companies make a reasonably priced 17-50mm f/2.8 with VR, both are great, and Sigma has a 17-70mm VR lens that's excellent, but none of those have as much zoom.
  16. The 18-55mm VR has quite a good resale value (~£75 here in the UK at least). Maybe somewhere's happy to do a trade-up to the 18-105mm VR. (~£175 2nd hand selling price on the bay)
    It should be an inexpensive way to double your reach and see how you like it. If you've really got the bug after that, there are a lot of lenses in the 100mm>something range that will get you further and faster.
  17. Thanks. Mike, that's what I'm thinking. The 18-105mm VR is discounted right now and it's in my budget. Should I worry about it having a plastic mount? Is there an equivalent with a metal mount? I've read about the Sigma 18-125mm, but does it compare well?
  18. Just do what I do and don't drop it. That's a good idea anyway.
  19. I picked up a Nikon 18-105mm VR on Friday, loving it so far. Haven't dropped it yet! :)

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