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

Distortion

The AF-S 55-200mm VR produces a very slight degree of barrel distortion (~0.6%) at 55mm changing to slight to moderate pincushion distortion at 135mm (~1.3%) and 200mm (~1%).

Move the mouse cursor over the focal length text marks below to observe the respective distortion
55mm 135mm 200mm

The chart above has a real-world size of about 120x80cm.

Vignetting

As mentioned the AF-S 55-200mm VR is a reduced image circle lens so it produces a comparatively higher degree of vignetting compared to classic full format lenses. However, the Nikkor does actually a quite good job. At 55mm and 200mm there's only a relatively moderate degree of vignetting (~0.77EV at wide-open aperture) whereas it is more pronounced at 135mm (1EV @ f/4). If you close the aperture by one f-stop the vignetting is already reduced to a negligible degree.

MTF (resolution)

It may be a bit surprising but the AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED DX VR showed a very good resolution characteristic. At 55mm the center resolution is exceptionally high straight from f/4 followed by good border quality. Stopping down improves the border quality to generally very good results. At 135mm the resolution is excellent and very even. Typical for most tele zooms there's a drop in quality at the very long end of the range but the resolution remains easily on very good levels. For a little kick in terms of contrast you may prefer to stop down a little here.

The tested sample was very well centered (alignment of the lens elements).

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

Lateral chromatic aberrations (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are relatively well controlled and not overly field relevant.




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