Nikon 55-300 f/4.5-5.6 vs. 70-300 f/4.5-5.6

Discussion in 'Nikon Lenses' started by Infidel, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. Infidel

    Infidel TPF Noob!

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    This lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens 2197 - B&H

    vs. this lens: Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED 2161 - B&H

    Assuming the 55-300 performs like the 55-200 but with more reach, does the 70-300 offer anything to justify the higher price tag? Is internal focus the primary advantage? The 15mm difference at the short end does not mean much to me, although 55mm is where my kit lens leaves off.

    Also, I understand internal focusing to mean that the overall lens length does not change when focusing; does this also apply to zooming? I have used my father's 55-200, and the lens growth while zooming and focusing is a bit comical, and gives the lens a cheap, unprofessional look (reminds me of when film P&S cameras first had motorized zoom lenses).

    Aside from awkward looks, does this matter in any significant way for image quality?

    I know I am asking several questions, some of which have surely been asked before. Thanks in advance for taking the time to consider them.
     
  2. Neil S.

    Neil S. TPF Noob!

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    I don't know much about Nikon lenses.

    From looking at the 2 on B&H, I dont really see a lot of difference. They both have VR II, and ED glass.

    I would read reviews on both, to get a better idea. Look for when they were released. I am guessing the 55-300 may be newer based on its features. It is also a DX lens, the other isnt.
     
  3. zamanakhan

    zamanakhan TPF Noob!

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    the 70-300 works on fx as well as dx while the 55-300 would only work full on a dx camera. i have the 55-200 and its a pretty good lens altho the quality seems a bit off. Its very light and plasticy feeling for a lens, iam thinkin the 70-300 would be more sturdy as its a fx lens.

    quick recommendation, if you dont already have the 35mm 1.8 opt for that insead, its completely replaced all of my lenses i barely crack open the kit lens or the 55-200 the 35 is my main lens, perfect for indoors and outdoors. If your camera supports motor focusing like the d90 than opt for the 50m 1.8 pretty darn good lens doesnt leave my film camera :) If you really want the reach than go for the 55-200 perhaps? i got mine refurbished for $120 and it was a steal.

    the 55-300 i think is better for a dx lens it also focuses a bit closer at 4.6 vs 4.9 and you can also notice the fx lens is built better its heavier and will feel more sturdier than the dx lens the fx lens also has higher maximum aperture. All things point to the 70-300 being of better build quality and more of an fx lens . IF YOU FEEL U WILL GO FX IN THE FUTURE, ONLY "IF" then get the 70-300 if not the dx will be better for you, you wont be going to max apertures due to diffraction and nikon build quality even on lower end lenses is never horrid and it will hold up to most abuse either way.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Nikon's AF-S 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 is one of their best lens values.
     
  5. Infidel

    Infidel TPF Noob!

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    Neil S., you're right. The 55-300 is newer, in fact it was just released and isn't available in stores until later this month. As far as reviews are concerned, I've formed the impression that it *should* perform much like the 55-200, but with considerably longer reach.

    zamanakhan, thanks for you comments. I have no immediate plans to upgrade to FX, but that could change if/when FX format becomes more affordable. I suppose I would want my lens to work on a newer body should I someday upgrade. Is the $100 difference worth it for a fairly distant possibility? I don't know...gotta think about that one. Incidentally, even though it's technically off topic, I appreciate your comment about the 35mm f/1.8. I currently don't have that lens, and have been strongly considering it for some time.

    KmH, I've gotten that impression from reading various threads around here. Would you mind elaborating on why that is the case, given that it is priced about $100 more than the new 55-300? Is it largely a function of FX compatability, or are there other factors I should consider (build quality addressed above)?


    EDIT: It's buried in my profile somewhere, but I should mention here that I have a D40 (no internal focus motor).
     
  6. orb9220

    orb9220 TPF Noob!

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    Well some images are starting to appear in the flickr forums.

    [​IMG]
    D3100 + 55-300mm NYC Traffic Cop by PVA_1964, on Flickr


    As mentioned the 70-300VR has been around awhile and is more spendy than the newer 55-300VR which is a DX lens and the 70-300VR is for Dx and Fx bodies.

    Also I would not believe the newer build would be up to the 70-300vr. As it is a solid build. And Solid build from nikon comes at a price.

    But for many the newer cheaper just may be all they need.
    .
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Yes, largely because it is an FX lens, but it also performs well within it's aperture range.

    I had one and shot soccer with it. I was always at maximum aperture and most often at 300 mm too and the images were nice and sharp considering the cost of the lens.
     
  8. Infidel

    Infidel TPF Noob!

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    Thanks all. You've given me some useful information. From what I gather, I wouldn't necessarily be making a mistake by choosing one lens over the other, but for another $100 the 70-300 gets you higher build quality, known good performance while wide open, and FX capability.
     
  9. Alan92RTTT

    Alan92RTTT TPF Noob!

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    I have been wanting the 70-300. When I heard about the 55-300 I start doing comparisons.

    The price difference on amazon $120.
    The 70-300 offers several things that have made me descide that I still want it over the 55-300.

    67mm opening vs 52mm IMO a bigger opening = more light = better.
    It has a better manual/ autofocus system. The 55-300 is just like the 55-200. The 70-300 can be manually overridden by using the focus ring while in auto mode.
    The lens has a scale on it for focus distance.
    The focus ring is close to the body which will make it easier to use off tripod.
     
  10. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    99.999% sure the front opening has nothing to do with its light gathering ability? You look at the aperture for that.
     
  11. Alan92RTTT

    Alan92RTTT TPF Noob!

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    The Aperture does control the light that gets to the sensor.

    I could be wrong but I'd think that the larger front opening will allow more light to get to the Aperture.
     
  12. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you have a small opening lens with F/4 and 1/500 shutter speed, should have the same exposure as a lens with a huge physical opening with F/4 and 1/500 shutter speed.
     

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