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Old Jul 10, 2010, 3:40 PM   #11
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The Nikon 55-200 VR is neither better nor worse than the 55-200. If image stabilization is important to you, the VR lens would be a good choice, but optically, the Tamron is still better.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 4:55 PM   #12
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I have heard the term slow mentioned alot. What do you mean by slow?
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 5:00 PM   #13
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A fast lens has a large maximum aperture so you can use a faster shutter speed. A slow lens has a smaller maximum aperture, so you must use a slower shutter speed to compensate for the lens letting in less light.

None of the lenses mentioned here are particularly fast.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 5:01 PM   #14
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If you are shooting action, and the object is change focus plane quickly the lens will not keep the object in focus all the time because of the slower AF motor in the lens. But that is the case with all the lenses mention so far. They are not great for action shoot. But if you are not shooting action. It is not a real problem.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 7:01 PM   #15
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The basic circumstance is this: Imagine the field of view of a 50mm lens. Now, zoom to 200mm. You are using the same number of pixels in your sensor, but the field of view is now a quarter as large as it was at 50mm. So each pixel is imaging a region a quarter as large as it was when the lens was at 50mm. So what? Well, consider the fact that everybody shakes a little bit all the time. At 200mm, the shake will be four times as visible as it would have been at 50mm.

Now, consider an athlete running across the field of view of the same camera. He will move through four times as many pixels in the same time when you are zoomed at 200mm as he does when you are zoomed at 50mm.

Both of these motions will show up as a blurry picture if given a chance. The way you give the motion a chance to show up on the picture is to let the shutter stay open long enough for the motion to cover multiple pixels in a single exposure. How long is that?

The rule of thumb for your shakiness affecting the sharpness of a photo is that the shutter speed must be at least as fast as the reciprocal of the full-frame equivalent focal length of the lens. Now, at 200mm, the full-frame equivalent focal length of a D5000 is 300mm. So, if you have normal technique, you would need to set the shutter speed to at least 1/300s to avoid blur from your shakiness. At 50mm, the full-frame equivalent is 75mm, so you could use 1/75s, and so on.

TCav can give you rules of thumb for athletic competitions to avoid blurry shots in sports. I don't shoot sports, and just don't know. Let us imagine that you'd need to use at least a 1/500s shutter to stop the action of the athelete at 200mm. The good news is you don't have to also accommodate your shakiness by increasing the shutter speed for your shakiness, too. Whichever rule is faster is the only one you need apply.

Now, if the concern is your shakiness (as would be true in scenic shots, nature shots, etc.), VR is a very big advantage. For everyone except action photographers, VR allows you to use a shutter speed that is 1.5 to 2 EV slower than you could use otherwise. The most recent VR (called VR II on Nikons) allows you to go up to 3 EV slower. So, for the 1.5 to 2 EV version, you could take a photo of a doe and fawn in a field using a shutter speed of 1/100s or less at the 200mm range instead of 1/300s. This is a huge advantage whereever it is applicable.

Because the required shutter speeds are so high for telephoto lenses, very few people except action photographers would opt for a telephoto lens without image stabilization. The only other exception I can think of is photographers who always use a tripod, and so do not need to consider shake in their long-lens equation.

About the only time I would pass on VR is if I had a budget for a telephoto lens where I could either get a slow lens (say, f/5.6 at the long end) with VR or a fast lens without VR (say f/2.8 at the long end.) In that case, the bright lens will be more useful -- the added 2 EV is universally applicable. The better choice would be the faster lens.

I hope this clarifies these important ideas a bit.

Last edited by tclune; Jul 10, 2010 at 7:44 PM.
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Old Jul 13, 2010, 12:20 PM   #16
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Whats up Kenzie! I'm pretty new to the dslr game. I bought my D5000 back in September for the birth of my son. My kit was like yours, it came with only the 18-55mm. For Fathers Day my wife bought me the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 micro from Amazon. It would have been great but it doesnt have the focus motor in it so I sent it back. I swapped it for the Nikon 35mm AF-S 1.8G, and the Tamron 18-250mm. I had to pay a little difference but I think I got the best of both worlds. A little zoom and a great fixed lens. I would recommend both of these lens.
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Old Jul 30, 2010, 10:26 PM   #17
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Nikon 35mm 1.8 and the Tamron 18 - 270mm VC. My all around walk around.
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