Which Lens Is Better – 55-250mm or 70-300mm?

If you buy something through a link in our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.

Zoom lenses and telephoto lenses can help you capture amazing shots no matter what type of photography you’re specializing in. May it be sports, nature, events, wildlife, portraits, or landscapes, having a top zoom lens and telephoto lens is an important part of any photographer’s camera bag.

Out of all the zoom lenses and telephoto lenses on the market, the two favorites among professional photographers and hobbyists are the 55-250mm and the 70-300mm. So, which one should you choose? 

Which Lens Is Better – 55-250mm or 70-300mm?

The 55-250mm lens compliments your mid-range DSLR. It lets you get the reach and the angle of view you need for shooting sports, events, portraits and more. However the 70-300mm lens is preferred as it offers versatility as it lets you adjust the distance that the lens covers. 

Key Features of the 55-25mm Lens

The 55-250mm lens is compatible with all digital cameras. It has an optical image stabilization system for clearer and sharper photos during handheld shooting. It compensates for any shake and vibration of the camera to prevent distortion in the images. 

A 55-250mm camera lens with image stabilization

The lens uses Ultra-Low Dispersion or UD glass element and Super Spectra lens coatings for crisp and high-contrast images, removing flares, ghosting, and other effects. 

The Stepping Motor or STM technology lets smooth and quiet autofocus, which is very useful when filming videos. The STM feature prevents the motor from making a sound, leaving your videos free of unwanted noise. 

Canon is the only lens brand with a 55-250mm focal length, as Sony and Nikon only offer 55-200mm lenses

Performance and Quality 

The lens displays minimal distortion across its focal range, and the objects remain excellent at 55mm, although objects appear to curve toward the center at 135mm and 250mm.

The color contrast is great until 135mm. However, when using the 250mm focal length, the color contrast and the sharpness dips a bit. 

Pros:

  • Great for taking photos of subjects that are far away
  • Image stabilization prevents unwanted effects on images and videos
  • Special elements such as Ultra-Low Dispersion glass is built-in for added protection against flares, ghosting, and blurs

Cons:

  • Image quality deteriorates when maximum focal length of 250mm is used
  • Not compatible with Canon EOS 1D camera and the 1Ds series

Key Features of the 70-300mm Lens

Telephoto lenses have a unique internal construction that allows for greater focal length than the diameter of the lens itself. They are often smaller, lighter, and more compact than other types of lenses. 

Hand holding a 70-300mm lens for Nikon cameras

One of the most popular telephoto lenses is the 70-300mm, as it is made for nature, wildlife, and sports photography. It lets you capture sharp images of subjects that are from far away.  

The 70-300mm has a stepper motor that makes for fast and accurate autofocus. The front lens does not move or change shape when focusing on the subject so you won’t get caught off guard with the sudden change in weight. 

The 70-300mm lenses are equipped with built-in an image stabilization feature. Image stabilization ensures that all sudden camera movements are immediately corrected, and it won’t affect the quality of the outcome. 

Since the lens is meant to be used outdoors, they are often weather-sealed. It prevents water, dust, and dirt from affecting the quality of the lens. 

Performance and Quality

The sharpness of 70-300mm lenses are tantalizing, and the newer version of the lens has fixed the astigmatism issue that the older version had. 

The 105mm, 135mm, and 200mm focal lengths produce a clear center and crisp corners. At 300mm focal length, the quality at the center dips a bit, yet the resolution quality is still pretty good. 

As for its quality, the mount is plastic, while the rest of the barrel is made of metal. The plastic material can break or crack easily. 

Pros:

  • Safe to use outdoors no matter what the weather condition is
  • Equipped with image stabilization that steadies the lens when you move around
  • Silent autofocus to discreetly capture images of live subjects

Cons:

  • Image quality dips at 300mm
  • Mount is made of plastic, which can easily crack if dropped.

55-250mm vs. 70.300mm

So, which lens is better – 55-250mm or 70-300mm? Before getting a zoom lens for your camera, there are two things to contemplate about:

1.) Does the lens let you take a picture that you were not previously able to take?

2.) Does it improve the quality of a picture that you could have taken with your current lens?

The 55-250mm and the 75-300mm lenses can frame subjects from far away, and their range allows you to snap pictures of lengths that you could not touch with standard lenses. 

A 55-250mm lens on a brown wooden table

The 55-250mm lenses and the 75-300mm lenses are equipped with special glass elements such as Extra-Low Dispersion, Nano Crystals, and Aspherical glass elements to prevent unwanted effects such as distortion, blurs, flares, and ghosting from appearing on your images. A feature that most regular lenses do not have. 

Both lenses are ideal for long-distance photography, and they practically cover the same thing, from events, nature, portrait, landscape, and other genres that cover the outdoors. So which of the two lenses should you get for your camera?

The answer is, the lens that you choose depends on the genre of photography that you want to do. 

Related Questions

When Do You Use the 55-250mm Lens?

The 55-250mm lens is very popular amongst professional photographers, and it is also one of the zoom lenses recommended for beginners.  It is ideal for taking pictures of sports events, dances, concerts, and other action photography where you can’t get close to the fast-moving subject. 

The maximum focal length of 250mm is enough to capture the moving subject and its surroundings without compromising the quality. 

When Do You Use the 70-300mm Lens?

The 70-300mm telephoto lens is often used for wildlife and nature photography. The maximum focal length of 300mm is ideal for small subjects that you don’t want to disturb, such as animals and insects. 

The lens can also be used for astrophotography, as the reach of its focal length is enough to capture the night sky, celestial events, and other astronomical objects. 

Conclusion

Different kinds of lenses are built for different types of photography. When deciding on whether to get the 55-250mm lens or the 70-300mm lens, it is best to consider what you will use the lens for and which of the two can offer you more versatility and flexibility to get the shot that you want. 

Kaitlin Cooper is an active professional wedding and portrait photographer in San Diego, California at Kaitlin Cooper Photography. She is also a contributor to many large publications, including Bridal GuideBustlePixpaWith Joy, and Hello Giggles.