View Full Version : Nikon 18-200mm lens
11-08-2006, 08:08 PM
I'm trying to gather opinions at the moment on the above lens as I am thinking of purchasing one. Any considered pros and cons would be gratefully received from those of you that own one. Many thanks in advance.
11-08-2006, 08:20 PM
I don't own one, but I'll give you my two cents anyway. The lens has a good reputation and I'm sure it will reward you with wonderful images, but like any lens with such a wide zoom span, there will be inevitable compromises in it's optical design. Expect a lot more distortion than you would get with a standard zoom, and less sharpness.
If quality is critical to you, get a standard zoom, or even better, a couple of prime lenses. You can't go wrong with the 50mm f1.8 lenses, especially as they cost less than £100 new.
If convenience and light weight are your priorities, go for the 18-200. I imagine it's a great all-in-one solution, but like I said before, be prepared for a loss in optical quality. The VR will be very useful though, especilly considering the slow speed of the lens.
11-08-2006, 09:15 PM
Thanks for this Ben. Very helpful. I would agree with you on the prime lens front - I bought the 50mm recently and am bowled over by the quality of images. I am indeed looking for the practicality that the 18-200 would bring but take on board your comments about quality. That would be my main concern if I went for one.
11-08-2006, 09:50 PM
For my use the 18-200 is perfect. I'm small and don't like lugging huge bags around nor changing lenses. It's very practical and I don't have problems such as dust on the sensor as I don't change lenses. I'm too lazy to use a tripod and the VR works very well. It's been especially noticable in night shots, on moving boats and in very windy conditions. It's true that there's some distortion but for scenery it's fine. I correct some of the distortion of buildings with photoshop. Of course when you're at 200mm, you're limited to F5.6. To see if you're satisfied with the quality, all my shots taken since April are with it.
What's your waiting time ? I had to wait almost 4 months.
11-08-2006, 10:00 PM
Thanks Nikki, again very helpful. Some of the UK websites reckon 2-4 weeks, but I bet it takes longer. Will have to see.
11-08-2006, 10:11 PM
Hello Mark -
after ordering the 18-200 lens at my local photo store in January and finally receiving it in May (just in time for the Rotterdam TE meeting - I notice my waiting time was rather consistent with the one Nikki mentioned), I have it on my D200 and did not take it off since. It is a very pleasant and responsive lens to work with, AF is quick and accurate and the VR is of course an absolutely useful add, too. I do not find distortion to be any worse than with say the 18-70 kit lens that you may be familiar with from your D50 times (not sure), and correcting it in photo editing software is a matter of seconds.
One thing I have observed is that in case you zoom in to the mid- or high range of this lens (let's say 100 mm or above) and you point the lens vertically upward or downward (for example if you were zooming in on a duck on the river below you while standing on a bridge), some zoom creep might occur, meaning the lens might change the focal length if you don't hold on to the zoom ring. However I've only seen this happen a few times and it is not exactly a standard shooting scenario - looking at the type of photography that you like to do, this is likely to be a non-issue for you.
As a <I>Nikonian</I>, you are probably familiar with Ken Rockwell's website, where he published a <A HREF="http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/18200.htm">very extensive review of the 18-200 lens</A>. All his glowing enthusiasm aside (which makes an engaging read by all means), I have so far not found a major misrepresentation in the load of information that he has published there. As far as I'm concerned, after shooting more than 2.000 frames with it I love this lens and am happy with its quality and build.
I think that Nikon still has a considerable backlog of orders on this lens, so in case you should decide on getting one - good luck ;)
11-08-2006, 10:42 PM
Thanks for this detailed and considered view Norbert. It was indeed the Ken Rockwell site that prompted me to look into purchasing one. He does rave about it. Having spoken to Martine and reading the responses so far left in this thread, I'm definitely getting closer to ordering one! Better do so sooner rather than later by the sound of it. I might just get it in time for Spring!! ;-)
11-08-2006, 10:45 PM
I decided a month ago to switch from KM to Nikon on the reputation of this lens alone. But I imagine I will have to wait another four months or so before it arrives when I will marry it to the D200 my wife has very kindly agreed to buy me for Christmas (I love her dearly! :-) ).
Although I have been very happy with the image quality from my KM 5D (and could no doubt live with its sister Sony A-100), I was often frustrated by having the wrong lens on at the wrong time - no doubt spoilt by my Panasonic Lumix and its 12x zoom. The Nikkor offers me convenience, flexibility and image quality. OK, it may not be quite as sharp as a 50/1.8 (not much is) but it is a very good lens and, in the real world, sharp with minimal distortion. And, on top of that, it offers up to four stops VR.
I'd certainly buy the lens. If for some reason you find you don't like it, then you will probably be able to sell it on e-Bay at a small profit, such is the demand. You really can't lose.
11-08-2006, 10:58 PM
I am very happy with this lens. The range is good that you do not have to carry very many lens when you travel. At the widest, the barrel distortion is very visible just like any other 18mm lenses. The lens if shooting an object below you and you are looking down, the lens creeps down too! You have to hold on to the control ring. The movement is so quiet, making the camera click a noise.
11-08-2006, 11:00 PM
And thanks for taking the time to give your view which is helping sway my decision. I'm certainly hearing a lot of positive noises about the lens at the moment!!
11-08-2006, 11:01 PM
Thanks André. I don't know what I'm waiting for ... I should go and order it now!!!!!
11-09-2006, 10:59 PM
If convenience is important to you, then purchase the lens. It is pricey but you get the convenience and comfort of not having to change lenses. As you probably realise, I don't use zooms as the quality is not as good as prime lenses. Prime lenses are also lighter and less cumbersome to handle - the Nikon 50mm F1.8 is a point in case and is an excellent lens for image quality. However, you do have to change lenses when using primes. I don't mind this at all, as quality is by far the most important aspect to me. Good luck with you final decision.
11-09-2006, 11:19 PM
Thanks Aubrey. After seeing your colours of London portraits, I went out a bought the 50mm prime lens. I'm absolutely blown away by the quality and have taken some nice people shots with it. On my recent treks, I sometimes wished I had that bit extra zoom. The quality issue does bother me slightly as I strive to achieve crisp images.
11-21-2006, 08:32 PM
I don't understand why Nikon doesn't meet market demand. A marketing strategy? After waiting for 6mos I gave up and get a Sigma with same quality, 1/3 price but no VR. There are alot in Ebay, but they are marked up price. I send email to Nikon asking this problem, but no reply, so I assume its marketing strategy.
11-22-2006, 12:10 AM
That's a very good point Peter.
11-22-2006, 02:42 PM
Good news for me at least. The 18-200 I ordered on 18th October will be delivered to my mother's home address in UK tomorrow (many thanks to Park Cameras). I'll collect it at Christmas when Santa Claus delivers my D200 :-)
I now feel a bit of a twit for buying an ex-demo 18-55 to fill in thinking it wouldn't arrive until Spring (any offers anyone?!).
I've seen your exchange with Aubrey about sharpness but, from photos I've seen taken with it, the 18-200 is more than sharp enough unless you want to make poster-sized prints when, of course, a prime would be sharper. But think of the photo opportunities you might miss if limited to a prime (I remember from my old Canon days when I had a selection of FD primes).
Of more concern to me is the relatively little control over DoF offered by the 18-200; here a fast prime has a clear advantage. But, even so, there's always the rough fix of lens blur in CS2. . .
11-22-2006, 10:38 PM
That's really good news Stephen. Bet you can't wait! Mine should arrive in the next 2 weeks or so. Fingers crossed.
All the best
11-25-2006, 09:08 PM
You are lucky Stephen. I was on the waiting list no 7 since 4 months ago and still 7. That's why I gave up. I tried my Sigma yesterday for model shoot in studio. The result was more than I expected.
11-25-2006, 09:32 PM
Yes, I must be lucky! :-)
But I don't underestimate Sigma lenses. At their best, they are a match for the big name lenses (I have been very happy with the Sigma 24-70 f2.8 for my KM). And their 70-210 f2.8 is a star at any price. But it seems there are some big variations in quality control: one Sigma lens can be a gem; the next one off the production line can be rubbish.
I'm pleased that you've found yours to be a good one and I wish you many happy hours with it.
11-26-2006, 12:30 PM
Its true Stepehn, their QC is a bit messy. I'm lucky to get Sigma 10-20mm and 18-200mm that functional to its best.
12-02-2006, 01:12 AM
UPDATE: The new lens has arrived after 28 days. Yipeeee!!
12-02-2006, 01:13 AM
21 days even. Never was much good at maths.
12-02-2006, 01:49 AM
I am glad for you Mark! i know you will enjoy it.
12-02-2006, 04:32 PM
Thanks André. First impressions are positive!
12-08-2006, 08:21 PM
the reviews are very impressive but it is pricey I agree.
I was actually wondering about the Sigma 18-200. It's a lot cheaper and you often get what you pay for but I was wondering what people's thoughts were on it.
There are a lot of example pictures taken with it < a href="http://www.rtfract.com/d70sigma.htm" target="_blank"> here </a>
12-27-2006, 06:54 PM
Talking abought distortion, I dont find mucht distortion. Have a look on my picture ''La guerre'' that I made with a D200 and the 18-200 lens, you will read all the letter, so the distortion for my opinion is very little.