What is the difference?? I have read this same question quite a few times on the internet. Aside from the obvious price difference, what are the real difference between the 55-200 and the 50-230?
Going back to the price, is the 55-200mm really worth $350 CAD more than the 50-230mm?? (price difference based on current prices on henrys.com. Taxes not included.)
I own the 50-230, not the 55-200. However, i have read enough about the 55-200 to be able to make this comparison. So, let’s get started.
Made in China vs Made in Japan:
The 50-230 is made in China, the 55-200 in Japan. This factor would be the first reason why the 55-200 is more expensive.
If you don’t want to pay much for labor, but get a quality product at the same time, get it made in China. In Japan, you will pay more for labor, hence a more expensive product.
But is “Made in Japan” really that much better? Well, you can ask the owners of some of the new X-T1s that had light leaks. Or, you could ask D800 owners who had the left focus problem. Or, you could ask the people who have had to return Fuji XF lenses that have not functioned right out of the box. Or, you could ask the people who bought the $3500 Canon 5D MKIII that had a light leak. Or, you could ask…. well, you get the picture.
“Made in Japan” does not mean perfect.
Plastic vs Metal:
The 50-230mm is mostly plastic. Plastic inner barrel, plastic outer barrel, plastic mount, etc. The 55-200 is mostly metal (aluminium).
Making a lens mostly out of plastic is certainly going to save you money, hence the more economical price of the 50-230.
But in all seriousness, unless you are going to use your lens as a hammer or a weapon, the plastic lenses do just fine.
Well, the 50-230 does not have one, while the 55-200 does. By not incorporating one into the 50-230, i am sure Fuji saved a few bucks.
OIS Switch & Aperture Switch:
Again, no switches on the 50-230. Another cost saving for Fuji. The 55-200 has the OIS switch on the lens, while the 50-230 OIS is controlled through the camera menu. Aperture is also controlled through the camera.
The step size in the aperture of both lenses is the same. Though, the 55-200 has 17 stops, whereas the 50-230 has 15.
Again, the two lenses are almost identical in regards to the lens configuration. 14 elements in 10 groups for the 55-200 and 13 elements in 10 groups for the 50-230.
The difference? You get one more extra low dispersion lens in the 55-200mm.
The 50-230 is a “slower” lens:
Yes, the 50-230 does have a bigger maximum aperture at the short and long end of the focal range.
The above differences are really the only ones i can think of. Sure, we can get into MTF charts and bla bla bla, but i think you will find that both lenses are great perfomers and there really is not a significant difference between them when it comes to IQ.
So, is all of the above worth $350 to you?
Thanks for looking.