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Nikon AF-S DX VR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED review

Meet the fun-size Nikon

Our Verdict

For

  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Internal focusing so front element neither rotates nor extends
  • Impressive optical quality at the long end of the zoom range

Against

  • Doesn't have the telephoto reach of larger 70-300mm lenses
  • Could be sharper at short and medium focal lengths
  • Plastic lens mount

Wouldn't it be great to get some serious telephoto zoom reach without filling up most of your gadget bag with a big clunky lens? The Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX VR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED fits the bill with a remarkably compact design, and it's less than half the weight of its big brother, the Nikon 70-300mm VR. A major factor in its downsizing is that, unlike the 70-300mm, this is a 'DX' lens, designed specifically for Nikon DSLRs based on APS-C (rather than full-frame) sensors.

It's quite a basic zoom lens, a kind of telephoto version of the 18-55mm VR kit lens supplied with Nikon's budget DSLRs, such as the D3100 and D5100. With Nikon's 1.5x crop factor, the equivalent zoom range works out to 82.5-300mm.

By way of comparison, Canon's closest equivalent is the EF-S 55-250mm IS, which is a little larger and heavier. The Canon's extra telephoto reach and 1.6x crop factor give you a maximum effective range of 400mm, putting the Nikon in the shade a bit, but the little Nikon still has some smart features to offer.

Design is based on 15 elements in 11 groups, including one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element to improve resolution and contrast while reducing chromatic aberrations. The maximum aperture drops from f/4 to f/5.6 as you extend the focal length through the zoom range, and can be reduced to f/22-32 via the 7-blade diaphragm.

Autofocus is based on a Nikon AF-S (Silent Wave) ultrasonic motor, which is quiet and reasonably rapid, although not as fast or as near-silent as the more advanced ring-type AF-S fitted to lenses like the Nikon 70-300mm VR. The closest focus distance is 110cm, at which point the lens gives a maximum magnification factor of 0.23x at its longest zoom setting.

Vibration Reduction is of Nikon's now outdated first-generation design and offers a 3-stop benefit in avoiding camera shake, whereas the VR II system featured in newer lenses gives a 4-stop advantage.

In keeping with the small build, the filter thread is a mere 52mm. Featuring internal focusing, the front element neither extends nor rotates during focusing, which is a bonus when using rotation-specific filters such as a circular polariser. Extras include a lens hood and soft pouch.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLens
Maximum Focal Length200 mm
Minimum Focal Length18 mm
Maximum Aperture Wide3.5
Maximum Aperture Tele5.6
Brand NameNikon
Filter Attachment Diameter72 mm
Lens TypeZoom
Minimum Focus Distance500 mm
Diameter77 mm
Depth96.5 mm
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product Model18-200AF-S DX3.5-5.6G VR
Product Name18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens
Product LineNikkor
Manufacturer Part Number18-200AF-S DX3.5-5.6G VR
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.nikon.co.uk
Marketing Information

This is an all round 11.1x zoom lens, ideal for dedicated amateurs, and (semi-) professionals to use for countless situations and occasions, such as landscape, architecture, portrait, wedding, wildlife, holidays, expeditions and general travel photography.

Package Contents
  • 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens
  • Lens Cap LF-1
  • Lens Cap LC-72
  • Lens Hood HB-35
Weight (Approximate)560 g