Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX VR Autofocus Lens

Nix725

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I am looking for a lens that I do not need to change out if I want to do portrait shot then switch to landscape shots in a matter of minutes. I travel a lot and have been researching lenses and I have came across this one. I was just curious if anyone else has used this lens and their experience with it.
 

BTilson

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From what I have heard, this is the best of the "superzoom" lenses. I don't have any direct experience with them, but I do think they lack "something" in image quality, so you may also want to take that into consideration. Again though, this is allegedly the best of the best in this class of lenses. Hope that helps some.
 
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Nix725

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From what I have heard, this is the best of the "superzoom" lenses. I don't have any direct experience with them, but I do think they lack "something" in image quality, so you may also want to take that into consideration. Again though, this is allegedly the best of the best in this class of lenses. Hope that helps some.

Thanks; I was also looking at the 60mm 2.8 Nikkor lens, but then someone told me to check out the 18-200. I do a lot of portraits, but I am also starting to get into landscapes and shots that require zoom.
 

JerryPH

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Try doing a search, you will find several good threads with this lens discussed in tons of detail.
 

bdavis

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This weekend I actually shot some portraits with a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8

Something like this could meet your needs as well. It can go wider than the Nikon, but would get better image quality and a faster aperture than that superzoom. And, when I wanted to take a portrait, I zoomed right in to 50mm...problem solved.

Also you might want to consider something like an 18-70 or maybe a 24-70 too. I guess I'm just not a fan of huge zooms like 18-200, I know they are convenient, but I feel image quality suffers. I would rather change lenses and get good shots then be lazy and use the same one because of its zoom range.
 
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Nix725

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This weekend I actually shot some portraits with a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8

Something like this could meet your needs as well. It can go wider than the Nikon, but would get better image quality and a faster aperture than that superzoom. And, when I wanted to take a portrait, I zoomed right in to 50mm...problem solved.

Also you might want to consider something like an 18-70 or maybe a 24-70 too. I guess I'm just not a fan of huge zooms like 18-200, I know they are convenient, but I feel image quality suffers. I would rather change lenses and get good shots then be lazy and use the same one because of its zoom range.

Well put, I do love sharpness. How is the Tamron in that aspect?
 

JerryPH

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First, a little dose of reality for the OP... no less does everything perfectly. The wider the range, the lower the quality. That said, of all the superzooms on the market, *NONE* are better than the Nikon 18-200... but it is not what I would call a high quality lens... it is just a very good all-round lens.

Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
1 - It can go wider than the Nikon
2 - would get better image quality
3 - faster aperture than that superzoom.
4 - when I wanted to take a portrait, I zoomed right in to 50mm

Also you might want to consider something like an 18-70 or maybe a 24-70 too. I guess I'm just not a fan of huge zooms like 18-200, I know they are convenient, but I feel image quality suffers. I would rather change lenses and get good shots then be lazy and use the same one because of its zoom range.

The Sigma 18-50 DC EX HSM macro F/2.8 is a known better lens... at least that is what the results of 3 indepenant photography magazines said last year. It is also within 5 dollars of the same price of a Sigma if you look. It also has a free macro mode that the Tamron doesn't have. The Sigma not only beat the Tamron, but the $1500 Nikkor 17-55 in several areas of the shoot-out. That says a lot about the Sigma.

1 - 1mm width increase is nothing special, it will be near invisible to see in the real world. :)

2 - True... but above 50mm the Nikon will have the better quality picture. Between 50-150mm it is as sharp as the near $2000 Nikkor 70-200 lens at apertures between F/10-F/13. That says a LOT, over and above the fact that the Sigma ends at 50 and the Nikon has an extra 150mm or focal range left over. That is near 3 times greater focal range! As for better image quality, the Nikon's best compared to the Tamron's best... I would be willing to bet that this is a wash. Each lens is "best" at so totally different things that this is impossible to say with any great credibility.

3 - True. The 18-200 is a slower lens but then again, it has VR, the Tamron doesn't.

4 - We all know that the best portrait lenses on the market are way above 50mm. At 50mm we still have a ton of distortion that I like to call chipmunk cheek. This starts to dissipate around 70mm and is near invisible at 100mm and up. That is why the better portrait lenses are in the 100-200mm range... they compress the scene and enhance rather than distort.

When someone tells me they want pro level landscapes and portraits, I point to 2 lenses, not one... but if the person shows me a strong desire to NOT change lenses and want the ability to do both, then I point to the 18-200... *IF* they understand the limitations of that lens and are willing to accept these limitations. ;) :D
 
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Garbz

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Just a few notes:

1. For portraits you want low apertures, which the 18-200 doesn't offer.
2. For Landscapes you want sharp pictures and low distortion, which the 18-200 definitely doesn't offer. (shooting at 18mm is like looking through a fishbowl).

The 18-200 is a convenient lens. It offers a heck of a lot in a single lens and is great for any vacation, but the question is that aside from the two points above does the convenience outweigh the following:

- The least sharp solution
- Vignetting is bad at the low end of the zoom range
- Distortions are definitely field relevant and correcting in photoshop drops your field of view to 24-28mm on the wide side.
- The construction is nasty and the lens is nasty to use. Zooming especially the lens flows too freely through the 30-130mm range and then needs to be forced to the 200mm point.
- The lens creeps. This may sound like something minor but it is a major nuisance if you are used to lenses which don't. Makes you not want to shoot anything that's not right in front of you.
- The front element extends more than 10cm from the camera and wobbles.
- Because of this extension I would not want to ever drop or bump this lens against anything. It would snap in half. And because of the creep you'll find the lens is always at 200mm when the camera is dangling around your neck.

Is that worth the inconvenience of spending 15 seconds changing lenses to you? If so get it and you'll love it. If not don't bother.
 
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Nix725

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After more read and advice from Jerry, I have decided to go with a Sigma 10-20mm and a Sigma 105mm + Macro. The only downside to the 105mm is the AF does not work on the D60.
 

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I own that 18-200 in nikon mount. I have th D-300 It is a great lens for what you want. I bought it for the same purpose. I travel and wanted one lens that would do what I needed. When I do shoot landscapes the lens is not quite wide enough, it is actually a 28 in digital cameras. I went and bought Tamron 10-24. But you will be happy with your lens. It is sharp and fun!!
 

dcclark

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I feel like I should offer some contrasting views here, because I own the Nikon 18-200 VR, and have apparently had quite different experiences with it than Garbz:

2. For Landscapes you want sharp pictures and low distortion, which the 18-200 definitely doesn't offer. (shooting at 18mm is like looking through a fishbowl).

There is barrel distortion at the wide end, but nowhere near this bad. There are lenses with less, but also plenty of lenses with more. I would generally not worry much about the amount of distortion present here, unless you're shooting lots of geometric subjects.


- Vignetting is bad at the low end of the zoom range

I have only ever seen this problem with filters -- which is a problem on almost any lens. At 18mm "naked", stopped down even slightly, there are no problems.

- The construction is nasty and the lens is nasty to use. Zooming especially the lens flows too freely through the 30-130mm range and then needs to be forced to the 200mm point.
...
- The front element extends more than 10cm from the camera and wobbles.

This one really surprised me. Maybe you got a bad sample, but the construction is just fine. Yes, much of it is plastic, but it's solid and well-built. The front segment does NOT wiggle or jerk. The zoom range is very well cammed -- the middle is certainly faster, but getting to 200 is no problem at all. Perhaps you're noticing that it's a very nonlinear scale, which is actually ideal.

- The lens creeps. This may sound like something minor but it is a major nuisance if you are used to lenses which don't. Makes you not want to shoot anything that's not right in front of you.
...
- Because of this extension I would not want to ever drop or bump this lens against anything. It would snap in half. And because of the creep you'll find the lens is always at 200mm when the camera is dangling around your neck.

True that it creeps at some points (moreso at longer focal distances, but there is no creep at all at 18mm -- a fine place to leave it, too), but every zoom lens creeps, period. I use this lens constantly and have never found it to inhibit my shooting in any way.

I have also "drop tested" and definitely "thwap tested" it out in the woods, against trees and branches. No problems at all (although I don't condone lens abuse... :p)

I chose the Nikon 18-200 for convenience, and the ability to use it and NOT change lenses is extremely valuable to me -- because I typically use it miles away from the nearest road, much less my camera bag (I have better things to put in my pack than a bunch of delicate lenses). However, this may not describe you. In that case, you should of course make your own choice. However, the facts above are still important to consider.
 

lschaaf

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I have both the 18-200mm Nikon and the 60mm f2.8 and love both of them! I find changing lens a pain, though I do it if I have to. But I love just grabbing the camera with my all purpose lens. However, the variable aperture has been an issue in early evening family portrait shots. I upped my ISO, but found I preferred the 60mm f2.8 shots, then cropped closer (I used both because I wasn't sure which I would like better.) The 70-200 f2.8 is my dream lens, but I'll have to wait for that. I only bring my 18-200 when traveling. Oh, and it is tossed over my shoulder w/the lens attached, it does zoom out but hasn't been a problem for me yet! (I'm knocking on wood as I type). I try to pay attention to how it's swinging!
 

Garbz

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I have seen one lens with worse barrel distortion at the wide end than the 18-200 and that's the tamron 18-270. It's bad enough to be completely field relevant. Here's a picture I took overseas which includes even a bit of distortion correction in photoshop:
3052112379_f9073da3a9.jpg


Compare this the wide angle on the 18-200:
18mm_distortion.png


to this the wide angle on my 28-70:
28mm_distortion.png


This is simply compromise of the design. Also vignetting is 1.3EV darker in the corners than in the centre WITHOUT a filter. For most work makes no difference, but for landscapes it's very relevant unless you want to spend your days in photoshop fixing all your photos (which can be done though).

Don't get me wrong it's a great lens, but not for anything using the words quality.
That said kudos to the VR on the lens I managed to shoot this handheld.
 

JerryPH

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Hey Garbz! :)
I'll share a few thoughts:

1. For portraits you want low apertures, which the 18-200 doesn't offer.
Maybe you enjoy having all your shots at apertures other than F/3.5 but I vary anywhere between F/1.4 to F/22 and I would say that for me, 60% of the time I am above F/5.6. This is not a technical issue, this is by conscious choice. Sometimes I want that 2" DOF, other times I do not. I am not saying that the 18-200 is the world's greatest portrait lens, but for 90% of the kind of people who are going to get this lens, this is not going to be an issue. More importantly would be the VR which most newer users *will* use and benefit from. I know that until I got my technique down, VR saved my butt many times and gave me shots that I would not have had with it turned off.

2. For Landscapes you want sharp pictures and low distortion, which the 18-200 definitely doesn't offer. (shooting at 18mm is like looking through a fishbowl).

Sharpness is *not* an issue. For landscapes you want small apertures for a deep DOF. As mentioned, at higher numerical apertures, this lens is as sharp as a 70-200, as proven by a past thread I saw here on TPF about 2 years ago. Distortion? Yeah, plenty, but for a lens with an 18-200, it still distorts less than the competition's superzoom, by a good margin too.

- The least sharp solution
As mentioned, it's poor at wider apertures, better opened up and we always can sharpen in post... non-issue, IMHO.

Vignetting is bad at the low end of the zoom range
The vaunted 70-200 vignetts more up top on my D700 than a 18-200 on a D200. Again, addressable in post process in under 2 seconds... non-issue, IMHO.

Distortions are definitely field relevant and correcting in photoshop drops your field of view to 24-28mm on the wide side.
Keeping in mind that a professional or advanced amateur is not going to use this lens for paid work and that the average person who buys this lens will barely see it and even if the see it, it is again, correctable in post... makes it a non-issue for the vast majority of users who will purchase this lens.


The construction is nasty and the lens is nasty to use.
"Nasty" is more opinion than fact. I will say that this lens is lower on the scale of construction quality or durability than I would want, but it is not a $2000 lens and to expect "top notch" quality in a superzoom which is made for people who want convenience over quality is not realistic. If you want real construction issues, look at the Sigma 18-200, now *that* is garbage!

Zooming especially the lens flows too freely through the 30-130mm range and then needs to be forced to the 200mm point.
Ok, this I would have to say is specific to your lens. I have no such needs to force anything on my lens from 18-200, never had to, either. Yes, there is a light increase in torque needed to twist the zoom past the 30mm range, but for me it is consistent from 30 all the way to the end (200mm). This feeling was exactly the same as the one that I tested on before I bought the lens, and it acted identically to the one that I bought. Does this affect the lens in any negative manner or remove from the results? Not at all. :)

The lens creeps. This may sound like something minor but it is a major nuisance
Yes, it does creep... but has an easy fix... zoom to 18mm... "problem" solved. Set at 18mm, I can have my lens pointing down for hours and it will not creep... I tested this and I know that this works on mine, one other user I know personally and at least 20 people online that I read have successfully tested this.

The front element extends more than 10cm from the camera and wobbles.
Wow, when I read that, I pulled it out again and tested it. Yes, this would have bothered me a lot... but sincerely, I have no wobble, nothing, not even a hair.I thought it may have been because I did not have it on camera, so I slapped it on the D200. Garbz, no kidding, mine doesn't do this at all. I'll have to say that this has to be something particular to your copy and I would suggest that others that have this lens check this out. If it does wobble, send it in for repair or exchange it.

Because of this extension I would not want to ever drop or bump this lens against anything. It would snap in half.
That is just basic care. My 24-70 extends and I would not want to bump it... the 14-24 has a bulbuous front element that cannot support a protective filter... both are ~$2000 lenses. Because I also would not want to even lightly bump it, doesn't make it a bad lens, and it doesn't make the 18-200 lens a worse lens than others. It is a trait and if that means that one needs to take special care to not drop it (I would not want t drop *any* lens, thanks... lol), so be it. I've bumped pretty hard it a few times into walls at full extention, but it still works today. I would not want to swing it like a baseball into the edge of a wall unless I wanted to make my lens into several useless chunks, though.

And because of the creep you'll find the lens is always at 200mm when the camera is dangling around your neck.
Already addressed with an easy fix... and if you want dangle... try hanging the camera around your neck with the 70-200... now that is dangle! :mrgreen:

Is that worth the inconvenience of spending 15 seconds changing lenses to you?

Definitely up to each person to make their own decisions, and I think that the info in this thread gives each potential purchaser a good level of info to make an educated choice.

Is the 18-200 for everyone? Heck no, it is basically a kit lens on steroids and gives more than decent results. It is sharp in the right hands and gives satisfying results to all but the more advanced users who's needs demand more. For those where quality is more important than convenience, this is not the lens for you... but even someone like me with a D700 and a nice arsenal of pro-level lenses is going to prefer to take the D200 and 18-200 as my vacation or walk-around lens.

There is a lot to be said for convenience over ultimate quality at times! :D
 
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Nix725

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Well I defiantly want to getaway from the "Kit Lenses." As said previously I am going to get two lenses the Jerry recommended to me. Sigma 10-20mm and the Sigma 105mm /Macro. Thanks for everyone's input.
 

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