Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED DX VR - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Michael Kaufmann!

Introduction

Nikon lens names aren't getting any shorter recently so hold your breath and try to say Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED DX VR without gasping. :-) Its most obvious differentiator to the el-cheapo Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED DX is the 2nd generation VR (Vibration Reduction) mechanism. As a designated DX lens it projects a reduced (APS-C) image circle and is therefore not compatible to full format SLRs anymore. The field-of-view is equivalent to about 82.5-300mm.

The build quality is actually pretty good and a clear step up from the older AF-S 55-200mm non-VR. That said it is still a consumer grade lens with a plastic body (down to the lens mount). The very broad rubberized zoom ring feels reasonably smooth. Same goes for the tiny focus ring although it isn't exactly fun to focus manually due to the extreme short focus path. As you can see in the image below the lens extends towards the long end of the zoom range. Unlike its non-VR cousin it only uses a single inner lens tube to do so which is certainly a better approach regarding long term reliability. As specified in the lens name the lens uses an internal focusing design so the size of the lens remains constant during focusing and the front element does not rotate. Typical for all G-type lenses the Nikkor does not provide a dedicated aperture ring anymore.

According to Nikon the "Vibration Reduction (VR) offers the equivalent of shutter speeds 3 stops faster for more flexible hand-held shooting". Maybe it is more related to my coffee consumption but I was never able to achieve reliable results close to the specified maximum efficiency. In the field the VR in this lens gave me about 2 stops, maybe even less.

Just like all recent Nikkor lenses it features an AF-S motor (silent-wave (ultrasonic)) so AF operations are near-silent although the speed is a bit on the slow side. The AF accuracy of the tested sample was very high.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length82.5-300 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/6-f/8.4 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction15 elements in 11 groups inc. 1 ED elements
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance1.1 m (max. magnification ratio 1:4.3)
Dimensions73 x 100 mm
Weight335 g
Filter size52 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HB-37, petal-shaped
Other featuresVR (Vibration Reduction)




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