I bought this as I wanted to add a zoom lens to my kit, and also wanted to play with macro photography a bit more. I shoot with a Nikon D3100, which means if I want auto-focus, I need to buy lenses with a focus motor built in (which this lens does).
I couldn't justify paying out a fortune for a really good Nikon zoom lens, so this seemed a good compromise. For the price paid, I'm delighted with it. It feels solid and well made. The shots I've taken so far have been good (I've uploaded a couple of them to the image gallery, to show the results I was getting even at 300mm - I hope to add a new macro examples soon too)).
Auto-focus is effective enough, fairly quick and, whilst not silent, not too loud; however, at longer focal lengths, it can "hunt" a bit, and it is sometimes just easier to knock it into manual mode; the extra control is nice too. AF is of course nice for quick, easy shots at lower zoom levels, though.
There's no vibration reduction here; you're going to struggle to get very good hand-held shots at long focal lengths, particularly in less than bright conditions, but if you plan to shoot landscapes/nature, you're likely to use a tripod anyway.
When fully extended (especially going into macro mode) the lens is long (even more so with the supplied lens hood fitted).
It has a 62mm filter thread - if you're ordering one, it's probably worth ordering a set of cheap 62mm filters, e.g. Zeikos ZE-FLK62 62mm Professional Multi-Coated Glass Filter Kit, and leaving a UV filter more or less permanently attached, just to protect the front element of the lens (I'd rather a cheap filter be damaged than a lens!).
If you have a bit more budget, you might want to consider something like the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens or something of that calibre, but if you just want to add some flexibility to your kit with a longer zoom range and macro potential, I'd certainly recommend this lens. For the price it's fantastic, and more than sufficient to get some great shots.
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