What to look for...
Extend your telephoto re ach without blowing your budget
DX Vs FX
Apart from the 55-200mm VR II lens, Nikon’s DX-format telephoto zooms aren’t physically smaller than the majority of their full-frame compatible counterparts.
All lenses on test run to 300mm, again, apart from the compact 55-200mm VR II. At the short end of the zoom range, the difference between 55mm and 70mm is of barely any consequence.
One thing you won’t get in a budget telephoto zoom is a ‘fast’ f/2.8 constant aperture. Instead, the widest available aperture typically shrinks from around f/4 to f/5.6 as you zoom in.
The minimum focus distance of most 70-300mm lenses is around 1.5m. The older Tamron and both of the Sigma lenses on test have a 0.5x macro facility, with a shorter 95cm minimum focus distance.
Some lenses on test have a basic electric autofocus motor, others have a ring-type or motor-based ultrasonic system, and there’s also Nikon’s new AF-P system (see jargon buster, opposite).
Stabilisation is a hugely helpful feature for handheld photography, and can also be very useful when using a monopod, especially in dull lighting conditions.