9 out of 10 points and recommended- Effective VR - Optical performance that greatly exceeds its price. - Very light for a telephoto with this range- Very light weight (plastic) may make it a bit more fragile. - Mechanical feel (zoom) not the smoothest
I have a D90 with two FX lenses that have served me fairly well over the last 7+yrs, the AF-S 50mm 1.4 G and the AF-S 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 G ED VR. I have thoroughly enjoyed the 70-300 for many outdoor/nature/sports photos; the sharpness (from 70 to about 220mm) and speed have been great. The 50 has been a little less enjoyable; its just not as easy to get sharp photos at the wider apertures allowed by this lens.reviewed March 11th, 2017 (purchased for $98)
I saw this 55-200 for an impossible deal last night while out shopping for something else ($250 off...making it $98...NEW). I checked a couple of different lens review sites before taking the last lens the store had. I spent all morning today doing direct comparison shots between the 55-200, 50 1.4, and 70-300. I shot the same subjects at the same settings (at least those covered by the 55-200). I wanted to conclude that the shots taken from this $98 lens would be noticeably inferior to those taken from my $500 lenses, but I have to admit that it was extremely difficult to see any difference in quality. If zoomed and cropped to the smallest pixels you can analyze then yes, the 70-300 is just barely sharper at 200mm than the 55-200 (at all other settings less than 200 the difference is negligible). But the VR II feature of the 55-200 is actually a little better than the VR of the 70-300.
At the shorter end of the spectrum (55mm), the only discernible difference is that the 50 shoots a bit brighter than the 55-200. The sharpness of the 55-200 is at least as sharp (if not sharper) than the 50 at the 55mm end of the range.
In summary, if you have a DX camera then this newer 55-200 lens (with VR II) will serve you extremely well for little cost if you already have a wider lens to compliment it (like the 18-55 or 35). I planned on having to take this 55-200 back but it's now a keeper for my DX camera.