I had an Olympus UltraZoom SP550 which has a 18x zoom (equivalent to 28-504mm from what i read), which was great until it died on my last trip... So, to replace it, I bought a Nikon D5200 kit that comes with a 18-55mm lens. I need to buy at least one additional lens before my next vacation, with a budget of ~300$.

I want to be able to take this type of photos again (the picture below was taken with my Olympus probably at maximum zoom without a tripod) : Gargoyle

To give you an idea of how far the gargoyle was, here is the cathedral (I would simply get below at take a shot upwards, I was able to shoot all of the gargoyles in this picture). So in red are the gargoyles and in blue is a person to give you a reference : Cathedral

I was looking at a few lenses, but I don't know what to expect :

  • Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens (170$)
  • Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX Nikkor (320$)
  • Opteka 420-800mm f/8.3 HD Telephoto Zoom Lens (145$ clearance)

Will any of these work? If not, any other affordable suggestions?



2 Answers 2


The 18-55mm lens covers an equivalent of 27 to 82mm which has you covered on the wide-end.

That means you are missing 83-504mm which requires a 55 to 336mm. You will therefore be really close with a 55-300mm. It's a dim and somewhat soft lens but it will be at least as good as the one on your fixed-lens camera. It seems like it falls close to your proposed budget.

Given that you shoot without a tripod, I would be inclined to get a lens with Vibration Reduction, which puts the other two ones out of the selection. Tamron also offers a more expensive VC version of their 70-300mm lens but the Nikon is at least better in terms of image-quality while giving you a faster ultra-sonic focus motor and more complete focal-range coverage.


You need a lens that has the same equivalent focal length on your D5200.

As the crop factor is 1.5, the lens would be 18-336mm.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So if i buy a 70-300mm lens, it should be close enough? \$\endgroup\$
    – Philippe
    Mar 25, 2016 at 19:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @philippe: yes, close enough. Anyways, you will be able to crop the photo more compared to photos of SP550 because of much better resolution. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 25, 2016 at 19:31
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ He also need image stabilization if he's going to be shooting that type of shot hand held. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 25, 2016 at 22:11

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