I am looking for a good cheap zoom lens for my nikon D3100.
I saw two at amazon and I would like to know which one you recommend or if you recommend a different one.
The lenses are these ones.
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens:
or Nikon 55-200MM F/4-5.6 AF-S VR DX Black Lens
What I intend with this lens is starting in sports photography and wildlife mostly. I also want to be able to photograph things that I am not able to get close to, like birds, fox or distante objects.
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Looks like you have a lot of great advice here. I'd just like to add that you should check out what Tamron and some of the other brands have to offer. I have a Tamron 70-200. It's amazing and incredibly sharp, plus it was a fraction of the cost of the Canon equivalent. The only downside to it is that's not very quiet to autofocus.22 August 2013
Hello Ruben,10 August 2013
I will ad my two cents to the subject. Like most people when I purchased my first DSLR it came with a kit lens. I then purchased my first telephoto, an inexpensive one. Although I liked the lens I was not happy with the quality of the photos. I then stretched my wallet and purchased a very nice telephoto lens (and "L" series lens). After spending the money and buying my first "very nice" telephoto I quickly learned the old saying "you get what you paid for". The inexpensive lens are nice for learning and practicing but if you want to take photos of much higher quality then you need to spend the money and buy better quality equipment. I shoot Canon and will only buy their "L" series lens now because the quality can not be beat. In sports photography you need a very fast lens to capture the action. As @luc mentioned, cheaper lens are slower lenses. You will not receive the results you want unless the lighting is excellent and the subject is standing still. --- The unfortunate side to this is that it is impossible to know this if you have never shot with a high quality lens and are able to see the difference for yourself.
These two lenses are cheap... what they also are is slow. Meaning, you need a lot of light in order to get fast shutter speed. I once had a zoom lens, and i found i was mostly completely zoomed in, or completely zoomed out. For you purpose (sports photography), you 'll be able to shoot outside under good conditions... but that's it probably.Helpful 1 16 July 2013
Regarding wildlife photography (the purpose I bought my zoom lens for), the zoom is never enough and hardly ever satisfying... 200 is too little for birds, so it 300, so is 500mm. I was frustrated with the zoom needed for proper nature photography and flipped it around, having a normal good fixed lens, and make the birds come to the camera (and set a laser trap on it to get the actual picture).
my 2 cents
FYI Amazon has a sale going currently for 20% or more off most canon and nikon lenses. Check it out and you can get lenses cheaper. I don't mean this as an advertisement, just sharing the sales as pricing is really expensive in photography.9 July 2013
Personally, after purchasing the 55-200mm Nikkor Lens, I've found that I've wanted that extra 100mm of focal length to really get close up and focus on my subject(s). For the extra $100, I'd go with the 55-300mm Nikkor Lens, especially because you're going into Sports Photography- it's a good lens to have to keep up with the action on the field. Plus, if you ever want to do some portrait photography, having that extra focal length can give your photos great compression (blurred background area, helps to isolate subjects). You may also want to read up on different AF modes and Matrix focus points, to understand which ones you'll want to use during auto-focus (where the lens focuses for you).8 July 2013
And no offense to @otinkyad, but I wouldn't trust Ken Rockwell if I were you- one of his sites is listed below, and it just isn't very accurate. I'd reccomend googling to see if "Jared Polin" has reviewed one of the lenses, or possibly "Jim Harmer." They host great sites for improving in photography- also maybe sign up for NYC's photography institute and Jared Polin's monthly newsletter. Just to keep that photography mindset going.