Shopping for a Telephoto Zoom
Although it is available new for a little over $200 at amazon.com, the Nikon 55-200mm ƒ/4-5.6G VR is out because of the plastic mount. I don't like the thin manual focus ring, plus the lens is made in China. VR would be nice to have, but I don't think I need it that badly. It would likely be just another thing to go wrong. I want an aperture ring anyway, and G lenses don't have one.
The Nikkor 70-210mm ƒ/4 is a constant aperture zoom lens that is the fastest lens in my price range. It's rather difficult to find, but I located one used for $285. However, it has a skinny manual focus ring as well, and Ken Rockwell tells about some auto focusing errors.
The Nikkor 70-210 ƒ/4-5.6 D is a distinct possibility. It supposedly focuses twice as fast as comparable lenses due to it's gearing, a major plus for me. Its a push-pull zoom. I like that. It seems to be unusually well made for an auto focus zoom lens in its price range. According to Ken Rockwell:
"It is extremely well made. It's from the same family as the 35-70/2.8 zoom. It has a great solid metal filter thread, metal jacket over one half of the lens barrel, and assembled with screws, not mushed together plastic."I found a used one from a reputable dealer for $199.