Support Cameralabs by shopping at our partner stores or donating via Paypal
 






Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
 
  Latest camera reviews

Canon SX520 HS
Canon G1 X Mark II
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
Panasonic TZ60 / ZS40
Sony RX100 III review
Sony A3000 review
Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Nikon COOLPIX A
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
 
 
   
 
  Best Buys: our top models
   
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories
   
 



Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
   
 
  DSLR Tips



 
Support me by shopping at Amazon!
Nikkor AF-S DX VR 55-200mm f/4-5.6 G ED Gordon Laing, August 2007
 
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR coverage, zoomed-out

The Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR is designed as an entry-level telephoto zoom to complement the range of the standard DX 18-55mm II kit lens. It literally starts where the other stops, giving you a total range of 18-200mm – or an equivalent of 27-300mm – in an affordable twin lens package.

Most people thinking of buying the DX 55-200mm VR will be weighing it up against the pricier 70-300mm VR model, so to compare their coverage in practice, we mounted a Nikon D80 on a tripod and took photos with each lens from the same spot, when fully zoomed-out and fully zoomed-in.

Below are examples of both lenses zoomed-out to 55 and 70mm respectively and you can see how the DX 55-200mm VR captures a slightly bigger field of view. If you already have the DX 18-55mm and are thinking of going for the 70-300mm VR though, you certainly won’t miss much between 55 and 70mm, so having an uninterrupted range shouldn’t sway your opinion too much.

Free Shipping on ALL Products
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR with D80
Nikkor DX 70-300mm VR with D80
Nikkor DX 55-200mm at 55mm f8
Nikkor DX 70-300mm at 70mm f8
55-200mm at 55mm, f8 (83mm equivalent)   70-300mm at 70mm f8 (105mm equivalent)

Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR coverage, zoomed-in

Below are examples of each lens zoomed-into their longest focal lengths and the difference is clearly much greater. The 70-300mm VR with a maximum equivalent of 450mm clearly allows much tighter crops than the DX 55-200mm can at an equivalent of 300mm. This extra reach makes a big difference if you’re into photographing small or distant subjects, such as wildlife or sports, and can really isolate people (or anything else) against their backgrounds in portraits.

Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR with D80
Nikkor DX 70-300mm VR with D80
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR at 200mm f8
Nikkor DX 70-300mm VR at 300mm f8
55-200mm at 200mm, f8 (300mm equivalent)   70-300mm at 300mm f8 (450mm equivalent)

So ultimately you have to ask yourself how powerful would you’d like your telephoto zoom to be. The DX 55-200mm VR will certainly give you decent telephoto coverage, but if you’re after something longer, then you’ll need to spend more on a model which zooms to 300mm or even beyond. We have several real-life examples at 200mm in our DX 55-200mm VR Sample Images page, so check it out and see if it’d be sufficient for your needs. But continue on this page to see how the lens performs in terms of anti-shake capabilities.



Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR anti-shake

The Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR is equipped with Vibration Reduction to counteract camera-shake. It’s an optical system, which means you see the benefit through the viewfinder, and like Canon’s IS system, it can be very reassuring to see your composition suddenly become steady as you half-press the shutter release. It also makes framing the shot at longer focal lengths much easier.

DX 55-200mm VR controls

VR is enabled on the DX 55-200mm VR with a simple switch on the side of the lens, after which the system will activate as you half-press the shutter release button. There’s only one mode on this lens, so if you’re panning, you’ll have to switch it off. In contrast, higher-end lenses like the 70-300mm VR offer two VR modes, the second only stabilising in the vertical axis for use when panning horizontally.

Nikon claims up to three stops of compensation for the DX 55-200mm VR, so to put it to the test we took a series of photos of a distant house zoomed-into 200mm with and without VR enabled. We started each series at a shutter speed of 1/250 and progressively reduced it by one stop until 1/8.

Without VR, we required a shutter speed between 1/125 and 1/250 for a perfectly steady result, whereas with VR we achieved the same result at a shutter speed of 1/15. This corresponds to between three and four stops of compensation, and closer to four if you compare it against the traditional photographic advice of requiring a shutter speed of one over the effective focal length.

Below are examples of shots taken with and without VR at 1/15, reproduced here at 50%. They immediately reveal the kind of benefit you’ll enjoy, although like all anti-shake systems it will only stabilise a subject that’s static; if you want to freeze a subject in motion, you’ll simply need a faster shutter speed.

Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR without VR
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR with VR
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR without VR
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR with VR
Nikkor DX 55-200mm at 200mm (300mm equivalent using D80), VR disabled.
50% crop, 100 ISO, 1/15th second
  Nikkor DX 55-200mm at 200mm (300mm equivalent using D80), VR enabled.
50% crop, 100 ISO, 1/15th second

If you found this review useful, please support us by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs