Lens Review: Nikon 55-200mm F/4-5.6G AF-S VR DX IF-ED

Lens reviews: the Nikon 55-200mm offers some neat tricks, but does it lack reach?

The 55-200mm AF-S VR – Nikon’s closest competitor to Canon’s EF-S 55-250mm IS lens – is a ‘DX’ model for APS-C cameras, though it can also be used in ‘crop’ mode on most full-frame Nikon D-SLRs. There are some notable similarities and diferences to the Canon offering. Firstly, the build quality is pretty much the same, with a reasonably sturdy but plastic construction, including a plastic lens mount.

Also, like the Canon, this Nikon lens lacks a focus distance scale. On this lens the manual focus ring looks almost like an afterthought tacked on to the front end of the lens. As well as its small size, the focus ring has very high gearing, making it diicult to use for accurate manual focusing.

Switch to autofocus and the Nikon fares massively better, with a super-quiet, highly accurate AF-S (AF Silent Wave) system that’s a major improvement over Canon’s more humble micro motor. The three-stop stabiliser isn’t the latest and greatest, but it’s pretty efective nonetheless.

The only really limiting factor in this Nikon is its outright telephoto reach, which works out to 300mm when you take the 1.5x crop factor into account. By comparison, the Canon’s 1.6x crop factor puts the EF-S 55-250mm to a much more generous 400mm.

Even so, there are still a couple of extra pluses for the Nikon, as it comes with a hood and soft pouch, which you have to pay extra for when buying most Canon lenses.