I will never use a tripod.I can only afford 1 lens.I am very interested with Macro and Night/Low Light Photography.I am a total newbie.Which lens is for me?.
What is the importance of VR (in macro and in night/low light)?.
VR is image stabalization, for when your hand shakes and you are using a slower shutterspeed. If you have a stead hand (or tripod), or use fast shutter speeds, VR is useless. Otherwise, it will make images of stationary objects sharper (at slow shutter speeds)..
What shoots better macro?.
Neither is particularly good at macro. An inexpensive extension tube will get you ok results, moreso with the 55-200 than the 18-55..
What can Nikon 55-200mm VR shoot better than 18-55mm?.
Distant objects, wildlife, sports..
What can 18-55mm Nikkor kit lens shoot better than Nikon 55-200mm?.
The 55mm of both will be good for portraits, but the 55-200 will allow you to back away from your subject, which can usually put them at ease..
What can Nikon 55-200mm VR NOT shoot well(because of the mmlimitation)?.
It can shoot anything, but won't be as good at Landscapes, architecture, etc..
What can 18-55mm Nikkor kit lens NOT shoot well (because of the mmlimitation)?.
It can't shoot a bird 20 feet away *as good as the 55-200 can*. You won't get those frame-filling shots of distant objects..
Personally, I would consider the 18-135 kit lens. It is very sharp and light. It has some issues with vignetting and CA, but nothing major in my humble opinion. I think it's a great single-lens solution, and affordable..
Everything I write is a personal opinion. Even when I quote facts, they are the facts I personally choose to accept.http://www.pbase.com/mariog..
I'd really like to get the 18-135, the problem is I want VR because of my shaky hand. And I heard that it is very helpful for night and macro shots...
Your interest in low-light/night photography may be hampered by these lenses. In low light, neither has a big enough aperture for reliable focus nor stopping action. Using either lens in low light, one would set up the shot (i.e., compose, focus, make sure things don't move) and use a slow shutter speed, but the only sure way to get a good shot is to use a tripod. VR helps, but it's not a sure thing..
The favorable and non-favorable circumstances for either lens is too long to try to list..
The most important thing for you to do is identify the specific kind of photograph you have the greatest desire to make, then make sure the lens you buy allows you to fulfill that desire, because not being able to your greatest photographic desire will be very, very frustrating..
I think I'll go with the 55-200mm VR then. Based on the info here, the advantage of the kit lens is just landscape and Architecture, which am not really interested..
And with extension tube, 55-200 is better than the kit lens right? plus the VR, which is really very impt for me.Since VR means better night shots right?.
The 55-200VR is a good lens for the money so I don't think you'll regret it. And *eventually* you may be able to afford another! 55mm should be OK for head and shoulder portraits for example..
Night shots is a little problematic: VR will help but as others have noted it's widest aperture is not so great, so even cranking up the ISO to 1600 you may end up with shutter speeds coming down to 1/4 sec or slower - and much slower than that I'm not sure how much use VR is. You may be able to rest the camera on a wall sometimes of course..
Ultimately a lens like the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 should be your objective for night shooting..
The quickest way to this thing down is visit a camera store and test drive the kit..
Find a target with a sharp edge in the darkest corner of the store. Crank the zoom all the way to 200mm. Photograph your target at 1/500, 1/125, ..., 1/15th, 1/10th, etc., all the way down to two seconds. In the camera, review your shots at the highest magnification. Locate the sharp edge on your target and carefully study the differences between shots. Do the whole thing over again with the zoom at 100mm, and again at 55mm..
While this conversation has taken place over two or three days, fifteen minutes of real test driving will show you how things are probably going to be..
I just photographed runthroughs of a play soon to open in Hollywood (see http://www.droodinla.com if you're in the Los Angeles region). I used a 70-200/f2.8 VR lens on a tripod and a 18-55/f3.5-4.5 (non-VR) lens hand-held (D200 body). Shutter speeds ranged from 1/125 down to 1/6. Most of the best images came from the 18-55 lens. The 18-55 at 18mm helped hide subject motion, so I could shoot pretty much any time. The 70-200 at 70mm revealed even the slightest subject motion, so I had to wait until the subject wasn't moving (which wasn't very often in this play)..
If it were me photographing random things at night without a tripod, I'd choose the 18-55..
You might also want to think about what it will be like to have that 55-200 in your hand or hanging off your neck for a couple of hours. It's pretty big.....