Warming over an old thread with a new question:
We just got back from Antarctica. My wife shoots a D90, and the only thing she wanted to shoot was the 55-300mm kit lens. Ok, fine. She uses autofocus and always will. She was annoyed that as soon as the light wasn't perfect, or as soon as the background grew complex, the 55-300mm started to hunt.
I was about as shocked as the dude in "Casablanca" was to find out the gambling was going on at Rick's. I offered her any/all of my primes, but she only wants to use a zoom lens. The 200-400mm I brought along was too heavy for her to handhold for any length of time. So she needs a new piece of glass and I need a suggestion as to what to get her (yes I'll be selling the 55-300 to help finance it).
--Something that zooms she can handhold for a 1-2 hour stretch
--Something that won't hunt in full-AF mode around f/5.6 to f/8 in light that isn't horrible but isn't perfect.
DON'T CARE ABOUT:
--Great IQ. She's going to be posting 2MB JPEG files on the Internet.
Yes I'd like nice IQ, yes I'd like VR, but I don't want to pay for it. There are a wide array of choices (with the new 70-200 f/4 at the very edge of the price range) but all I really want is "zoom, doesn't hunt". Maybe if IQ is nbd, a third-party solution is the way to go?