First lens purchase


TPF Noob!
Oct 29, 2015
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Hi all and thanks for taking the time to read my post.

A very quick couple of questions about purhasing a lens for my D3300.

I have just started learning about photography and purchased by first low-budget DSLR a few months ago, The D3300 came with the usual 18mm - 55mm VR II kit lens.....and I have been practicing and learning my way.

However, as this lens focal length only goes up to 55mm (which I consider 'normal' view), I also wanted to get a telephoto lens for practicing with. Not even sure I know what I want to shoot but just that I want to get closer to subjects that betters what I can see with my own eyes.

Question 1: Is it better/recommended to purchase Nikon only lenses for my Nikon camera or are third-party lenses just as good/reliable/cheaper?

Question 2: Currently looking at two Nikon Lenses - The AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED Lens and the AF-S 55-300mm f4.5-5.6 G ED VR Lens. The first is priced at £429.00 approx and the second is priced at £269. Can someone recommend which would be better and why the huge difference in price given that the 55-300mm lens is a greater focal range but is considerably cheaper?

Many thanks in advance
I don't know much about lenses for Nikons or that focal length in general, but I do know that many people find that third-party lenses, especially Sigma and Tamron, can give you equal or better IQ for less money.
The price difference reflects the quality of the lens in this instance. Read the reviews on these lens and you will find the the 70-300 produces far better quality photos.
If you decide to go with a 70-300, consider the Tamron with VC. I picked it up on sale and with a $100 rebate for final price $349. If you search thatnikonguy 70-300 on YouTube there's an excellent review video that compares the Tamron to the Nikon.
+1 for the tamron
There are indeed some very good third-party lenses out there; a few of which even rival their brand-name cousins, but very few. In general, third-party glass is a close-second at best. That said, 'second' is often good enough, and you may not need or care about the difference in results enough to justify the extra expense of the Nikon lens. The one common issue to all third-party lenses is that of quality control. A quick session with Mr. Google will turn up many, many pages & posts dealing with "bad copies" of third-party lenses; that is a lens which has a QC issue, and doesn't function as it's supposed. This rarely happens with Nikon glass.
Thanks for comments so far.

I think having researched a little, I found some Nikon lenses within my small lens budget.

In general, I have been very attracted by 300mm lenses due to a keen urge to get as much zoom for my buck - to bring any potential distant subject as close as possible.

Having chosen Nikon (unless someone can put a good case otherwise), I have decided that even the AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED is a bit outside by budget at over £400.

Consequently, I have still looking at the AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens from before which I can now see I can get for £224 on However, I have noticed there is an obscure mention of this lens with the VR II system on Amazon - I say obscure because it doesn't appear on the Nikon website and it isn't easily returned on the Amazon search results unless you search more specifically for it.

Does anyone know if the VR II of this lens exists for real?

Also I see that if I step down to a 55-200mm lens with the VR II system (by Nikon), it sells on Amazon for £119. Its also priced locally on sale here in the shop for £219. I believe this is more reasonable given that this is the VR II system for the 200mm lens, compared with the 300mm VR lens (priced in shops as £224).

I am also aware that warranties may not cover purchases on Amazon, particularly depending on who the supplier is and where they are based so I am sure this is skewing the prices.

Therefore, what I really want to know is:

- is there a 55-300mm lens as described above only with the VR II system?

- is it worth considering the 55-200mm VR or VR II lens instead? Is there a noticeable difference in zoom? And is it better to compromise on 200mm lens with the VR II system (at £219) or for the same money (£224) pay for a 300mm lens with the VR system only?

With regard to prices check with some of the major reputable suppliers, I would suggest Wex Photographic or Ffordes to start with in the UK. If someone is selling way below their prices then beware, you may be getting a grey import which does not have warranty cover in the UK or they may be selling items that they do not have in stock. If you ca goto the premises of someone selling at nearly 50%less an the main dealers then fine you can have the goods in your hand before parting with the money but I would be very wary of dealing with them remotely. Also watch out for dealers that are supplying from abroad - you may end up having to pay customs duty.
Also, if you have a local shop, see if they'll let you test the lenses on your camera. I often found 70-200 a bit too long on the 200 side when shooting with crop camera. Of course, I mainly shoot people and have no idea what you like to photograph, so YMMV.

Also, focal length and zoom do not reflect quality. Canon makes an 85 f/1.2 that's over $2000. The quality of the glass and the largest maximum aperture are usually where the price "goes" I bought the latest Nikon 70-200 VR for $2000. Not as much distance between the max and min focal lengths but it has a constant f/2.8 aperture and the quality is heads and tails above the 70-300's and 55-300s. Also, usually the longer the focal length range the lesser the quality you'll see. Super zooms just don't have the quality of a regular zoom and a regular zoom doesn't have the quality of a prime.

But again, your budget dictates what you can buy. Maybe look for a longer focal length prime for a wider aperture and better quality? IMHO, Canon tops Nikon in the Primes category though as far as selection of lenses.

Most reactions