Cheapest, most versatile telephoto setup?

Started Aug 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
Aspenz
Contributing MemberPosts: 690Gear list
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Re: Cheapest, most versatile telephoto setup?
In reply to IVN, Aug 20, 2013

Have to share my personal experience here..

Initially I got the 55-300 for the V1 for the supertelephoto range. While I've made some shots I like, three things bothered me immensely:

1) Autofocus on 55-300 was downright slow! This is especially since all the kit lenses perform so insanely fast that even a slight lag in autofocus is perceptible. But this lens is reallllly slow, I'm talking EOS M sort of slow! And don't even bother with immediately swapping from close to far focus, it hunts forever, and the bird you would wanna photograph would have long moved.

2) In the times that its damn autofocus even manage to lock onto the bird on time, it's not always accurate. Sometimes it backfocuses and sometimes frontfocuses, with only half the success rate of correct focus.

3) You'd think 'oh never mind, I'd switch to manual for that litttle bit of correction on the focus...' Wrong! You have to flick a switch before you can use manual. There's no immediate overwrite.

With that I've decided I had just about enough with it and went onto Kenrockwell's informative (albeit biased) site for research. Took about two days to finally chart out mentally a balance of autofocus and price and portability. Cross-referenced a lot and came to the conclusion that (this saves you research as well):

Slowest----------------------------------------------------Autofocus-----------------------------------------------Fastest

55-300VR                 55-200VR              70-300VR                     18-200VR           70-200VRf4

Lightest---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Heaviest
55-200VR          55-300VR<=Nearly the same=>18-200VR        70-300VR       70-200VRf4

Most affordable-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Least affordable

55-200VR                55-300VR                   70-300VR             18-200VR               70-200VRf4

So I considered a while and went with the 18-200. It's apparently only slightly slower to focus than the 70-200VRf4, while being much lighter and much smaller. Its weight is about a few grams more than the 55-300 but it's even smaller than it (which I already found small)! As for the price, I got it used so it became much more affordable.

True to my expectations, when the 18-200 came, I tested it a bit and found it pretty fast to autofocus (soooo much faster than 55-300) and had a very close minimum focusing range. It's about as sharp as the 55-300 when it's at its 300 mark vs the 200 mark but it's more accurate in nailing focus correctly. So there you have it!

 Aspenz's gear list:Aspenz's gear list
Nikon 1 V3 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 Nikon 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 +3 more
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