General Question

allergictoeverything's avatar

Nikon 55-200mm vs Nikon 70-300mm. Would you pick the former, or the latter?

Asked by allergictoeverything (105points) March 5th, 2010

After a longgg period of self debate, I’ve finally decided that I’m going to get the Nikon D3000 D-SLR. I’ve considered the D5000, but frankly, the quality of the Video Mode is probably questionable (not to mention it’s addition to the weight), and I really don’t find it necessary to pay a couple hundred more just for Live View and a rotatable screen.

With that being said, I’m now facing another dilemma. Lenses.

At my local camera shop, there’s two bundles that I’m currently interested in. They both contain the D3000 body and the prestigious (“noobie”) Nikon AF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 G VR DX. However, what sets them apart is that…

- one bundle offers the Nikon AF-S 55–200mm f/4.0–5.6 G VR DX IF-ED Telephoto Lens (retailing for $765.00CAN)

- and the other offers the Nikon AF-S 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 G IF ED VR Telephoto Zoom Lens (retailing for $995.00CAN)

Which should I get??

Personally, I’ve actually had quite a good experience with the 55–200mm. Last year for my ex’s birthday, I bought her a DSLR set similar to the first bundle, but paired it with a D60, and the pictures were fantastic. I took it the zoo, and I managed to get a lot of great close-up shots.

HOWEVER, as great as the 55–200mm is, an increased range of up to 300mm does sound rather tempting. But for $230 more…is it really worth it?

Currently, this is how it’s all jumbled up in my head…

1. If i get the first bundle, I’ll have the full range of 18–200mm covered. (Not to mention that the 55–200mm would probably even work better in low-light too, considering that the 70–300mm’s max ap. is 4.5). If i get the 70–300mm, however, I’ll be missing 55–70mm. Should I be concerned about this? (What’s commonly shot at 55–70mm anyways? Portraits? =S)

2. Aside from the 70–300mm, I don’t think that Nikon makes anything past 200mm for under $1000. I’m afraid that if I do happen to buy the 55–200mm, one day I’m going to regret not having that extra bit of range, and I’m going to go out and pay another $490 for the 70–300mm…something I don’t want to do. Especially considering that I’ve got my eyes set out on the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/3.5 IF ED VR II DX Micro-Nikkor Lens, retailing for $579.95…

The bottom line is, what’s everyone’s take on this? Should I get the second bundle, or will the first bundle suffice?

PS – Does anyone shop at I know that they have a sale going on this week, but for some reason…it says that the Nikon warranty is only 1 Year. Shouldn’t it be 5 years?? Is this site legit?? Also. I Live in Canada…how would the whole “Nikon USA warranty” play out for me?

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11 Answers

The_Idler's avatar

i’d go for the 55–200 but i was never a big fan of telephoto. still, i think the versatility and price clinch it.

FishGutsDale's avatar

You will get a great lens for the money whichever you choose. If you get the 70–300 VRII i hear that is a wonderful beginner telephoto lens.

DarkScribe's avatar

The former. The longer the range, the lower the quality.

benseven's avatar

I have the 55–200mm lense you’re talking about. It’s great value for money.

Be warned though, i quickly found myself wishing I had gone for an 18–200mm or similar – I find myself switching between my Telephoto and my kit lense (18–55mm) almost constantly. If you want the greatest flexibility it’s really worth spending a bit more on one like that.

55–200 gives you a really decent range – don’t see why you’d need 300mm in most situations, unless you’re big on wildlife photography.

joeysefika's avatar

First of I bought the Sigma 70–300 4 – 5.6 and I think its great, regardless of the loss of quality at the 200–300mm range. However in hindsight I would have gone with the 55 – 200.
Secondly I have done quite a bit of shopping at, it’s where I bought my D300, plus shutter cable and a flash unit. There prices are great and they offer a 5 year World Wide warranty. Look into them because unlike other asian camera shops they are respectable and have a very good reputation.
Also look into Sigma, they are fantastic lenses for what you pay, and the build/photo quality is practically the same as the Nikon lenses. For example my 70–300mm lens was only $350 AUD, as opposed to the $600ish AUD of the Nikon

Cruiser's avatar

I would just get the camera and look into after market deals on telephoto lenses

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I use a 70–300.I quite like it :)

allergictoeverything's avatar

lol my decision just became even more hazy

and @FishGutsDale 18–200mm is probably out of the question for me as of now haha. considering the VRII is retailing for $839.95, id rather rely on having 2 lens, than just one, especially considering their specs are relatively the same.

and @lucillelucillelucille you have the 70–300mm?? how is it? when youre using it at 200–300mm, hows the quality? is the VR reliable at that distance?

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

What type of pictures do you take? I’m partial to landscape/nature photography, so my gut is saying go with the 70–300mm.

Rarebear's avatar

This is a good website for reviews

allergictoeverything's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities I’m actually into taking everything and anything haha That’s the fun of photography, isn’t it? To be able to have a wide variety of lenses to generate a wide variety of results at different places in the world, at different times of day? =)

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