I currently own a Nikon D5100 with the 18-55mm kit and am looking for a good, cheap entry-level telephoto lens. I'm a beginner, and plan to do wildlife, nature and landscape photography with an occassional portrait.
I'm considering among the following choices:
- Nikon NIKKOR AF-S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR
- Nikon NIKKOR AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
- Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 AF Di LD Macro (A17NII, with built-in motor)
The pros and cons for each lens (as per my understanding) are as follows:
1. Nikon NIKKOR AF-S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR
Price: Rs. 25000 (~500$)
- Possibly the best overall image quality of the lot (as per most professional reviews)
- Expensive (3 times the cost of the Tamron !)
2. Nikon NIKKOR AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Price: Rs. 17500 (~350$)
- Coupled with the kit lens, covers the entire 18-300mm range
- Expensive (Twice the cost of the Tamron !)
3. Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 AF Di LD Macro (A17NII, with built-in motor)
Price: Rs. 8000 (~160$)
- Macro functionality
- No VR
I'm confused as to which one offers the best price-performance-features ratio. The Nikon 70-300 probably has the best image quality, but its priced more than 3 times that of Tamron. Does the image quality justify the price premium? Or I'm better off going with the Tamron and use the money saved to buy another lens. Also, how important would be VR/VC when shooting handheld at these focal lengths?
Sorry, for such a long winded post!