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Nikon 18-200mm ED VR ?

dnk_ephoto 7 25
5 Oct 2012 10:12PM

I recently purchased a 55-300mm ED lens but found out it was a bit dodgy so it got returned.

I've decided it might make more sense to get a 18-200mm ED VR instead seeing as it means I won't need to be changing lenses often. A 2nd hand one is a likely candidate.

I have a few questions about this lens

Are they pretty robust? In other words, do they make a good 2nd hand purchase (if bought from a trusted source, e.g. MBP photographic)

Is there a big difference between the VR and VR II ?

I notice that a lot of 2nd hand lenses are described as "having dust inside that doesn't affect picture quality" - is this something that afflicts this lens? Is it a big problem? Do these lens need "cleaning" on a regular basis and how much does that sort of thing cost?

Thanks in advance,

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BHSnapper 9 14 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2012 7:06AM
I have a Nikon 18-200 ED VR lens (first version)
I've never had a problem with dust. However it has had to be serviced once already when the autofocus system packed up, and it has started to malfunction again because it does not focus as quickly and accurately as it did when new. And sometimes it fails to focus at all - you can hear the focus system fluttering in and out, and the worse the light the worse it gets. This applies to all three of my Nikon dSLRs (D100, D80 and D300S) It never used to be a problem.

The other issue with it, not uncommon in such big zoom lenses is creep, when the lens slides out while being carried on the camera using a camera strap. Irritating but less in the VRII apparently

I found picture quality however to be very good at any setting, and it still is.

I'd avoid the earlier version and look to get a VRII.

LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
6 Oct 2012 8:21AM
Some get confused by Nikon - because when they use "II" in a lens designation they refer to the lens version, not the VR version.
The original version and the II both have VR II Smile
Some original versions had failed AF motors - but with over 1,100,000 units sold nobody outside of Nikon knows what the failure rate might be.
I have seen no reports of failed motors for the II version - with over 300,000 sold
Nikon's MTF show negligible optical difference between the 2 versions.
I own the original lens and regard it as reasonably robust for the type of lens, but definitely not as robust as a pro grade pro priced lens like the 70-200 VR.
It is difficult to comment on whether BHSnapper has a version with currently good AF - because AF with an f5.6 is not as good and also more prone to hunting than a faster aperture lens.
seahawk 11 1.2k United Kingdom
6 Oct 2012 10:41AM
Some folks (including Ken Rockwell) think that the first series of this lens was actually better built than the second series so as there is little optical difference between them one should look for a S/H copy of the first series (which would be cheaper). The second series merely had the zoom lock added. See KR's review of this lens at


It's worth a read.

I have a Sigma 18-200 and I find it quite satisfactory (cheaper than Nikon as well).
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
6 Oct 2012 3:00PM
When I was using a D300 I used a Sigma 18-200mm OS lens on it. Bought secondhand from a private seller on eBay for about 200. It was a brilliant lens in every respect (apart from the aforementioned zoom creep that also afflicts the Nikkor equivalents). Very sharp at all apertures and all zoom settings.

When I moved to an FX body I sold the Sigma and bought a Nikkor 28-300mm (almost the exact equivalent to 18-200mm in FX terms). I find it equally as good on a D800 as the Sigma was on a D300, so don't doubt that the Nikkor 18-200mm will also be equally good. But whether it is worth all the extra -notes is a moot point.

On the dust question, every zoom lens (and most non-zoom lenses) will take in dust. Whenever you operate the lens you increase and decrease the volume of air inside it. That air has to get in and out, carrying airborne dust with it. Unless it gets really bad, it is not much to worry about.
StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
6 Oct 2012 9:49PM
I also recommend reading Ken Rockwell's review of the Nikon, it pretty well says it all. I was at the Conservatory yesterday and met a lady who was using a Nikon D7000 and Nikon VR 18-200mm. Apart from my Panasonic 100-300mm, it appeared to be the perfect lens for shooting butterflies and plants, especially with that minimum close focusing capability.
dnk_ephoto 7 25
6 Oct 2012 10:39PM
Thanks for the replies.

I've tried a Sigma lens out (not the 18-200mm) and I was far from impressed. Not sure if there is something wrong with it but a lot of the shots looked blurred or out of focus.

I'll try to find a decent Nikon 18-200mm VR second hand if I can. MBP had a mint one for 329 but it's gone now so I'll wait for another.

Does that sound like a reasonable price?
StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
6 Oct 2012 11:09PM
Sounds like a good price to me, depending on the condition, of course. That lens is a do-everything tool; if I had a Nikon I'd have one for sure.

StrayCat 14 19.1k 3 Canada
6 Oct 2012 11:13PM
Take a look here. It should give you some idea of what they're going for. These prices are US dollars, but they aren't far off what it would be converted to pounds. Our dollar here in Canada is almost on a par with US, and 29 pounds was $41.00 approx last week. I know it doesn't work out as well for you when converting to our money.Smile
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
7 Oct 2012 9:08PM

Quote:). The second series merely had the zoom lock added.

Nikon's MTF show very slightly better MTF for the II http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/zoom/normalzoom/af-s_dx_18-200mmf_35-56g_ed_vr2/index.htm
If you did not download the original version MTF it is no longer on Nikon web sites.
When launched there was mention of an improved rear element coating - but I have not kept any literature that says this.
The link above says of the II version "Nikon Super Integregated Coating (SIC) adopted" - but the spec for the original version and Nikon lens brochures around 2005 say the original version had SIC.
The small scale lens element grouping illustrations for each version look the same.
I have not used the II version.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
7 Oct 2012 10:16PM

Quote:These prices are US dollars, but they aren't far off what it would be converted to pounds.

Taxes are added to US$ prices at the shop at the point of sale.
In the UK taxes of over 26% on a lens are included in the advertised UK shop prices.
This explains most of the differences.
mcjimpog 6 4 Philippines
17 Oct 2012 8:41AM
I have a nikkor 18-200mm vr II version, I like it much the quality of the photo is good, sharp enough..but not too sharp compare to other prime lens,I dont have any problem with it even the zoom creep it's not a problem with the one I purchased,the only difference between the old version "VR" and the new version VR II is the lock at 18mm, but for the quality and the glass and other spec is almost the same.If zoom creep is not an issue to you and you will handle it right I suggest the old version is also good especially for the budget.but if budget is not issue to you VR II version is also good with lock on 18mm.
BHSnapper 9 14 United Kingdom
17 Oct 2012 11:11AM
I'm still personally in a bit of a quandary!
I've got an original 18-200 lens which I've always like using. But the autofocus is unpredictable. Sometimes it latches on quickly even in dull conditions; sometimes it hunts and doesn't settle, yet the lighting can be extremely good. It has to be a lens fault as the same behaviour pattern occurs on D100, D80 or D300S! And my Sigma 18-70 focuses perfectly and instantly in all conditions...
I guess it's a dodgy electronic focusing unit in the lens. It's already been repaired once for 175! Should I get it repaired again or give up and get a new one, a Sigma version, or forget it and go for a 55-300?? Sad

I must contact Nikon UK and ask...but what would you do? Buy the latest Canon superzoom and keep the dSLRs for known working lens use only?

LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
17 Oct 2012 1:32PM
Carefully cleaning the electric contacts on the lens bayonet often solves AF issues.
If this does not work carefully check each of the contacts is still spring loaded. If some contacts are not as they should be a new bayonet is not an expensive repair.
BHSnapper 9 14 United Kingdom
17 Oct 2012 6:10PM
Interesting suggestion - thank you. Will try that. Would you suggest iso-propanol or just straight ethanol? Or some other cleaner? (Think I'll avoid abrasive cleaners!)

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