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55-200mm Versus 55-300mm DX VR Lens

edited February 2013 Posted in » Nikon Lens Talk
I have a Nikon D5100 with the standard 18-55mm kit lens. I want to buy a new telephoto lens but I'm a little confused between the 55-200mm VR and 55-300mm VR.

The price difference is not the major issue for decision.

The points of concern are:
(1) which lens gives better picture quality?
(2) which is faster in focusing?
(3) is the extra 100mm of the latter useful with handheld shooting?


  • Howdy @amit1261 - Both lenses are identical in terms of image quality and focus speed, the only real differences is the added zoom range of the 55-300mm.

    When it comes to focusing on distant subjects, the added 100mm will get you much closer. As a general rule for hand-held shooting, the longer your focal length the harder it will be to get sharper subjects in low-light.

    Worst case scenario, you can always use a tripod if you're photographing motionless subjects in the distance when shooting in low light. Happy shooting!
  • edited March 2013
    Thanks @Moose.
  • edited March 2013
    I'm a bit late to the conversation. I have the 55-300mm and a friend of mine has the 55-200mm. He regrets not spending the extra coin to get the longer reach (which is effectively 400mm when you take the 1.5X crop factor into consideration). Bear in mind that at the two extremes of the telephoto, you're going to lose a bit because you're asking a lot of a lens to have that kind of optical range and its sweet spot is more towards the middle. I've had some AF soft-focusing issues at close range at 300mm (birds at 12') and I'm trying to work that out (I need to try the different AF settings), but overall it has proven to be a good lens and a lot of reviewers were impressed by it. If the price difference isn't an issue for you, go for the longer lens.
  • edited March 2013
    Thanks @Moose for your opinion.

    Hi @GerardH, thanks for your post. Could you please tell which camera you are using the lens with?
  • edited March 2013
    @amit1261 - Both my friend and I have the D5100.
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