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Nikon AF-S DX VR 18-200mm 3.5-5.6G IF-ED

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AF-S DX VR 18-200mm 3.5-5.6G IF-ED

Rating: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Manufacturer's Description:

"This is an all round 11.1x zoom lens, ideal for dedicated amateurs, and (semi-) professionals to use for countless situations and occasions, such as landscape, architecture, portrait, wedding, wildlife, holidays, expeditions and general travel photography. It is therefore also ideal for news- and press photographers. With a zoom range of 27-300mm (35mm equiv.) the user does not need to carry multiple lenses and therefore can it be seen as the perfect total package. On top of this the lens is equipped with “VR II” the second generation of Nikon's VR technology that enables the lens to shoot 4 stops slower (instead of 3 stops with the former VR system), ideal for shooting in low light conditions and/or without a tripod. At the time of launch it is the industry's first VR II lens with 4 stops slower shutter speed."

ePHOTOzine Review

Nikon 18-200 AF-S DX VR f/3.5-5.6 G Interchangeable Lens Review

Nikon 18-200 AF-S DX VR f/3.5-5.6 G

Added: 10th April 2006 | Brand: Nikon

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User Reviews


This very old design might still be the best of its type for Nikon users but it's still overall a bag of rather poor compromises. I review the original Mk 1, not the updated and improved Mk2.

However, it's still a very useful lens to have and with some care, using the lens at its better settings and quite often, with much post editing, you can extract some very fine images, indistinguishable for most purposes from superior, shorter zooms.

Barrel distortion at 18mm is plain awful, pincushion at 200mm very noticeable, with varying amounts of both inbetween. The maximum F5.6 aperture at 200mm IS a little faster than independent's offerings but that doesn't mean you should use it at this setting! I don't like using 200mm at all, at any aperture, though if f8 or smaller used and some added sharpening in editing, images can still be made to look pretty good.

Very decent images are available at wider settings, from f5.6 onwards, with good sharpness and punchy contrast. In fact, the one overriding superior quality about this lens is in fact resistance to flare and the resulting image contrast, surprising considering the complexity of the number of lens elements and construction.

So, why did I ever buy it? Well, like everyone else, I wanted it for a one lens solution, though for my personal use, I always have to supplement the wider focal lengths by always carrying a 10-24mm (Nikkor). I prefer and usually do carry instead my better all round but less long 16-85mm Nikkor and make it a three lens kit by adding a quality 70-300mm (Tamron SP VC).

I know that the new version has improved the handling but this original version has an unpleasant lumpiness in the zooming and manual focus (my preferred method) is well nigh impossible to do accurately. My copy does not suffer zoom creep, which apparently does blight most.

I take my 18-200mm on trips with reluctance yet always manage to come away with some very nice images, albeit with a little (or a lot) of fiddling with after. I have been wondering if - but not convinced, as yet - if optically this basic 2006 design has yet been bettered by new versions such as the Sigma 'Contemporary' or whether an upgrade to the Mark 2 of the Nikon would be a wiser buy. As I have more pressing needs on my very short cash supply, then neither, for now!

It is quite remarkable though that such a wide ranging zoom can actually have good optical performance for most of its focal range and apertures and I guess that we should be grateful that such exists and these days, an average condition secondhand Mk 1 can be had for quite a saving (still more than say, a brand new Tamron 18-200mm!). A New Mk 2 does seem quite pricey though these days, considering the competition.

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