Nikon D3X with Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED (2)






I have received some comments expressing surprise as to why I choose to pair such an "expensive" camera with such a "cheap" lens. The implication, I presume, being that D3X owners should be using "top of the range" lenses on "top of the range" cameras.

Firstly there are several reasons why the Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED is "cheap"
1) It is not a fast zoom 2) It uses light plastic materials 3) Its a DX lens 4) Its a "kit" lens & Nikon would expect to sell a lot of them.
All of these factors mean that Nikon can make and sell this lens at much cheaper prices than their faster, heavier, weather-resistant, metal, FX, specialist lenses. They will sell vast numbers of these lenses compared to the moderate to low number of sales of their 70-200mm F2.8 VR lens for example.

Secondly - I don't need a fast, heavy duty zoom lens. Far from it. I had a 70-200 F/2.8 VR zoom for a while & used it very rarely because of the weight. I had one experience of carrying it with a D3 on a very steep coast path which resulted in my near collapse!!

The 55-200 DX is a very sharp lens. I had one before for a D300 & while I thought it was OK the stronger AA filter (compared to the D3X) on that camera blunted its performance somewhat. I had tried it on a D700 & was surprised as to how well it worked.
For my recent week of shooting in Dorset I was looking around for lenses that wouldn't add to much to the already considerable weight of the D3X. I decided on a 35mm F/2 lens & the 55-200 zoom. I didn't have much time to test either but liked what I saw.

I've now been spending the last 2 days editing images from that trip and the images from both lenses are very good indeed. Once I remove the vignetting from the 55-200 the results are superb. In fact they are much better than I was expecting.

So "cheap" doesn't mean "inferior"

On a similar theme. I've owned both Canon 50mm F/1.2 (around £1000) & Canon 50mm F/1.8 (around £80) lenses. From F/5.6 to F/11, the apertures I use the most, there is no significant difference. The price you pay for that F/1.2 aperture is considerable. When I was using a Canon 5D the F/1.2 allowed me to shoot in some pretty dark places at low ISO speeds. Now I have a 5D Mk II with its incredible low light performance the F/1.2 became redundant & the much lighter and smaller F/1.8 is fine.