A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Shopping for a Telephoto Zoom

I am currently shopping for an auto focus telephoto zoom lens in the 50-250mm range. A 70-210mm would do, as would an 80-200mm. I am not interested in a 50-300mm because of the long range distortion and fall off. I want the lens to have a speed of at least 4.5. I want a durable lens with a metal mount.

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.



Blogger The Saj said...

Look at some of the Tamron's and Tokina's.

Couple great sites are BH Photo Video for pricing and details and DPreview.com

Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8

Tokina - not quite the zoom you want


Also be sure to check out BHPhoto's used section.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I would really recommend any of the autofocus 80-200mm F2.8 Nikkors. They aren't cheap, but quality rarely is. I really think you'll find yourself annoyed with slow lenses in the future.

Just like buying guns - let the pennies pile up until you can afford fast, high quality glass.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

i have both the 55-200 (non VR) and the 70-300vr... i love both... the 300 is a tad slower to auto focus than the shorter lens but it still works fine...

3:11 AM  
Blogger Chris Byrne said...

You can get the 70-210 for about half that on Ebay... if you want to trust an ebay lens.

I've grabbed some great lenses off ebay and never had a bad one personally; though I know people who have been ripped off, or just got mediocre lenses.

3:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The 70-210 lens you refer to is excellent. $200 is about $50 too much for that lens, however.

Also, don't overlook the 80 to 200 f/4.5 to 5.6D lens...it is light, quick to focus and very sharp @ F/8 and f/11 at all focal lengths.

6:15 AM  
Anonymous 2yellowdogs said...

X, for top quality used gear, the best place on the net is KEH.com. They're wildly conservative on their ratings (bargain grade items look like they've never been used) and they have a 14 day return policy. I've bought a number of cameras and lenses from them and they're as reliable as they come.

Check them out.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Ben Hyson said...


I have a Nikkor 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 that I use with my D300. I bought it after reading some very favorable reviews(including Ken Rockwell). It is an excellent lens!

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also try the 75-300 f4-5.6 D. I purchased it from KEH a few years ago, and have been very happy with it.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$200 way too high for a 70-210 used.
jackscamera.com $125.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Apparently, jackscamera.com is 404 anon. Do you have a URL or a link?

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

page was down when I looked too. Up again now. www.jackscamera.com

12:46 PM  

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