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Nikon lens guidance

edited October 2014 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I am planning to buy a lens for my D3200 Nikon camera. It came with the standard 18-55mm lens. Here are links for two lenses I have planned to buy:

1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens.

2. Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED Lens

I am not a pro, so I wanted to get a heads-up before purchasing. Basically I wanted to know the differences these lenses have, features, and more of a better zoom lens. Any help is appreciated!


  • edited October 2014
  • edited October 2014
    As it happens, I have the 55-300mm lens, and find it pretty satisfactory. I should say that I do not do fast-moving sports and the like, so its relative slowness is not a big factor for me. It is light and sharp, and the range is good. I got mine with a big discount when I bought my D3200, and my wife got the same lens slightly used as well for her D7100. We have found it works very well, providing decent and sharp images. We both took our new digital cameras to the Galapagos this spring, and were quite satisfied with the results.

    The focus speed of the lens is not terribly fast, but it works well enough for most purposes. Some of the issue is with the camera rather than the lens. The D7100 will catch birds in flight and the like better than the D3200 with the same lens.

    Of course one's mileage will vary, but I think the 55-300mm is a good complement to the 18-55mm with no gap in coverage, and with similar performance. Optically it is quite decent, and it's compact enough to carry around comfortably; a good traveling lens. Though it does not focus very close, one can get pretty good sized images of small things at 300mm.

    Both lenses have similar aperture sizes, so you don't gain any optical speed with the more expensive lens. If you're planning to stick with DX, the 55-300mm will serve you well. If you eventually graduate to FX, there's a good chance one of your needs will be faster glass, and in this case, the 70-300mm will not satisfy anyway, as ohyeahar suggests. Pros, and those shooting sports routinely, almost always want faster lenses than either of these.

    One thing the 70-300mm lens does have that the 55-300mm does not is a non rotating front element. This is not a big deal most of the time, but the 55-300mm and the 18-55mm cannot readily be used with a polarizing filter and AF on, because a polar filter requires a specific rotated position; even a slight AF adjustment will change it.

    Other than that problem, I think the 55-300mm is a good bargain, and it will make good, sharp pictures throughout its range.
  • edited October 2014
    I just bought a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC lens for my Nikon D3200. I would like to know some settings for night shots of the Milky Way.
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