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Nikkor AF-S DX VR 55-200mm f/4-5.6 G ED Gordon Laing, August 2007

More results : Outdoor /
Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting


Outdoor scene: Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR vs 70-300mm VR with Nikon D80

To compare real-life performance we shot the same scene with the Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR and 70-300mm VR using a Nikon D80 within a few moments of each other using the camera's best quality JPEG and lowest ISO settings. Both lenses were set to a focal length of 70mm and the tests performed at f8, followed by the maximum apertures of each model. VR was disabled for each lens.

The image left was taken with the Nikkor 55-200mm VR and D80 at 70mm f8; the original JPEG measured 4.38MB. The crops below are taken from the bottom left, middle and top left sections of the originals and reproduced here at 100%.

The sets of crops below immediately reveal the DX 55-200mm VR as delivering lower contrast to the pricier 70-300mm VR when both lenses are set to 70mm f8. While the 70-300mm crops are undoubtedly punchier though, there's little if any extra detail resolved. Both lenses appear to deliver roughly the same degree of detail in this particular test, which is impressive for the DX 55-200mm VR considering its budget price.

As you'll see in our studio resolution tests on the next page, the resolving power of each lens appears to be limited by the D80's 10 Megapixel sensor, although it will be interesting to retest each lens with higher resolution Nikon bodies to see if differences emerge. Before moving onto the next page though, scroll down further to see results with each lens with their apertures wide open.




Nikkor DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
Using Nikon D80 at 70mm f8
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR
Using Nikon D80 at 70mm f8
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR at 70mm f8 - crop 1
Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 70mm f8 - crop 1
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR at 70mm f8 - crop 2
Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 70mm f8 - crop 2
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR at 70mm f8 - crop 3
Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 70mm f8 - crop 3
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO



Below are crops from samples taken with each lens opened to its widest aperture; the composition is identical to the one above allowing direct comparisons. If anything the DX 55-200mm VR appears to deliver slightly higher contrast here at 70mm when opened to its widest aperture, and there's certainly no undesirable artefacts as a result. Indeed if you look very closely to the right side of the first row of crops, you'll see a tiny amount of blue fringing on the white chimney on the 70-300mm VR sample which isn't apparent on the cheaper lens.

So overall, a good result here for the DX 55-200mm at 70mm, although with tests performed at the longer end of the optical range we noticed some softening and coloured fringing in the extreme corners compared to the 70-300mm. To be fair though, the 70-300mm VR is more expensive, bigger, heavier and corrected for full-frame bodies. So the results here are testament to the quality of the DX 55-200mm VR - it's a class act for the money. Now let’s have a look at the studio resolution results.


Nikkor DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR
Using Nikon D80 at 70mm f4.2
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR
Using Nikon D80 at 70mm f4.5
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR at 70mm f4.2 - crop 1
Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 70mm f4.5 - crop 1
f4.2, 100 ISO
f4.5, 100 ISO
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR at 70mm f4.2 - crop 2
Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 70mm f4.5 - crop 2
f4.2, 100 ISO
f4.5, 100 ISO
Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR at 70mm f4.2 - crop 3
Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 70mm f4.5 - crop 3
f4.2, 100 ISO
f4.5, 100 ISO


Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR lens results continued...

Outdoor / Resolution / Corner sharpness / Fringe and macro / Geometry / Vignetting
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