I got the Nikon D5100 recently. I'm happy with the 18-55mm lens, but now am moving out to a different country on short trips and occasionally love to experiment with shots at landscapes and nature.

What lens could I consider without blowing on the budget of $300-350 for the above purpose.

I'm concerned about the quality of the image no matter what lens I choose.

i Have read reviews about a 55-200mm and 55-300 Nikon lenses.

Do photos really break after 200-300mmm range? Can't the D5100 handle them?

Looking forward to some advice from people who have experience with the above lenses, along with the camera in particular.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, and welcome. I think the following question probably covers what you're asking. Can you please read it and then see if you need to ask anything more specific? photo.stackexchange.com/questions/21100/… \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Mar 7, 2013 at 7:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ The link above seems to be an exact duplicate but I think you have a new question buried in there:"Do photos really break after 200-300mmm range? Can't the D5100 handle them?" That is not covered by the original question. What do you mean by that? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2013 at 10:22

2 Answers 2


When it comes to lenses, get the best one you can afford. That may or may not be the most expensive lens. In the long run you'll probably save money by not having to upgrade to the lens you should have bought to begin with.

At the longer focal lengths of the lenses you are considering VR is almost a necessity to shoot handheld. Do either of the lenses you are considering offer VR? The older, non-VR 55-200mm is not worth considering from an optical standpoint. The 55-200mm VR is a fairly well reviewed lens for its price range. The 55-300 has the extra reach, but tends to get a little soft by 300mm. It also has a better build with a metal mount instead of the plastic mount that connects the 55-200 to your D5100.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The 55-300 also has VR II, while the 55-200 has original VR, I think. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2013 at 8:47

Get the best lens you can afford that fits what you want to achieve. You will probably never look back in the future and wish the lens wasn't so sharp or free of distortion.

The lenses you point to are all telephoto zooms, so I assume that is what you want. That's the way I started, but now I find I keep going for wider lenses as they give more interesting perspectives; but I would not be without a long-ish tele zoom too.

Have a read of Thom Hogan's page on choosing lenses and his recommendations, as they seem to be well researched and thought through: http://www.bythom.com/rationallenses.htm

I have not had problems with long lenses other than having to carry their weight and camera shake issues - I often use a monopod with my old manual 400mm, and that is often enough. The VR lenses do really help in this regard.


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