I actually went with the 70-300mm f4.5-5.6G AF-S VR IF in the end. Cost me £235 with post and packaging, though it costs £399 in the stores. It is a lot heavier than the 55-200 mm alternative, but so far it has been great, though haven't really put it through it's paces, i'm away in Tanzania next month, so i guess i will find out how good it really is (or how bad a photographer i really am).
That Tamron 18-250 seems like a perfect with for novice photographers like myself who don't feel like lugging around lenses and changing them constantly. But I notice that is not equipped with VR. Like Sander said, is that something that is necessary for telephoto lenses?
But I notice that is not equipped with VR. Like Sander said, is that something that is necessary for telephoto lenses?
Opinions differ. It's perhaps not absolutely essential, but I at least don't think I'd ever again buy a zoomlens without VR. It's the difference between being able to get sharp pictures at the long end of the zoom only at 1/200 of a second, or being able to get equally sharp images at 1/30 of a second. Doesn't matter much on a sunny day (I have gloriously sharp images like this one taken handheld at 300mm with a non-VR lens - at 1/500 of a second and ISO 200), but it's too often that the light isn't that bright, and you need every stop you can get (this photo was taken on such an overcast day: 135mm at 1/30 of a second and ISO 320 - there's simply no way I could've gotten that shot without VR).
So, yes, that 18-250 lens is a marvel of engineering, and it'll certainly have its place; but for its price ($500+, almost certainly, given that the old version without internal focus motor already costs that much), I just don't think it's worth it. $200 more and 50mm less (which you'll never miss) will give you VR and thus 3-4 stops of extra flexibility.
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 5, 2007, at 10:29 AM by Sander ]