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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX NIKKOR
Showing posts 1 - 19 of 19, (reverse)
04/29/2008 08:28:03 PM · #1
What is it with this lens? There seems to be a love/hate relationship with it, some people gets great results from it and love it, some get distortion and lens creep and hate it...

In the UK this lens is about £400, I would like something similar but have been put off slightly by the negative reviews. I know it's a jack of all trades and a master of none, but is it's bad reputation amongst prosumers warranted?

I think the 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX NIKKOR would be a good alternative due to a lower zoom ratio, but looking at who owns what on here (don't know if that's a good thing to do or not) there are about 700 owners of the 18-200mm, with some great shots:


and only 4, yes 4, owners of the latter:


Should I really worry about lens creep and barrel distortion/pincushion, or just buy it and get on with it? I don't know of any non-Nikon alternatives with image stabilisation.

04/29/2008 08:45:01 PM · #2
Hey Rob,

You're right, there are people who hate it and people who love it. I owned one and used it almost 100% of the time and I loved it. The lens creep rarely bothered me. It just has a tendancy to wander from 18mm out to 200mm if you hold the camera in the vertical position. No biggie in my book. Anyway, I had terrific results from it and highly recommend it if you're looking to have the perfect walk around/shoot anything lens. It is a good lens for a vacation for instance.

I have since upgraded to the 17-55mm/2.8 and granted I lost a ton of range, I found that I was shooting in this range most of the time anyway, so I haven't really missed the 55-200 part. The 17-55 is an amazingly sharp lens and blows the 18-200 out of the water with sharpness, however, I still took a lot of good photos with the 18-200. I hope I didn't confuse matters any more for you, but that's my take on it. Would I buy one again, yes. Did I find it exceptionally useful, yes. Did it take good photos, yes. Is it the sharpest lens I've ever used, no.

04/29/2008 08:48:48 PM · #3
Ha ha, cheers for that!

The reason I ask about the 16-85mm VR is that I find myself constantly switching between the 18-55mm and the 55-200mm VR lenses that I have. I thought the 16-85mm VR would be a good compromise as it overlaps the 55-200mm VR that I already own, but it seem like no one is buying it even though it is probably sharper and has less distortion than the 18-200mm?
04/29/2008 09:02:00 PM · #4
Best lens I've ever owned. I switched from Canon for it. I like it much better than my old 70-200/F4L and my Sigma 18-125 combined (and believe it or not, that Sigma was a really good lens.)

I do see more distortion than I used to, but it's not a big deal. It's sharp and fast focusing, and quiet.

And flexible.

Other downsides: It's not parafocal--if you change the focal length, you must refocus!

If I could have only one lens, this would be it. Fortunately, I now have two Nikon lenses--this and the 10-20. (My favorite Canon lens was the 10-22).

Honestly, I am thinking about a 105mm VR too, but really, I keep asking myself why. This lens gets great results at 100mm.

Really a worthwhile purchase, IMHO.

Message edited by author 2008-04-29 21:02:28.
04/29/2008 11:32:06 PM · #5
My friend owns this lens. I love stealing it from him :)
04/29/2008 11:41:31 PM · #6
This is the only lens I own and while I will buy other specialty lenses the 18-200mm is great. Image quality is not the only factor in photography, sometimes it is impossible to set up a shot or to get close enough or far enough away from your subject in time. The 18-200mm is a great range, you can instantly go from capturing the entire scene of an event, to honing in on a single subject all without having to fumble with lenses and if you are running to keep up with a changing scene you can forget about switching lenses, you are going to miss something.
04/30/2008 12:39:25 AM · #7
I never use my 18-200mm lens in the 70-200mm range because the vignetting is so bad. I really don't like the lens, big waste of money.
04/30/2008 12:41:48 AM · #8
Originally posted by BobsterLobster:

I never use my 18-200mm lens in the 70-200mm range because the vignetting is so bad. I really don't like the lens, big waste of money.

Yes, but he's specifically asking about the Nikon lens. I am guessing you have a different brand lens for your Fuji.

I don't see any vignetting on the Nikon 18-200.
04/30/2008 12:42:20 AM · #9
Nope, Nikon lenses (clearly says Nikon in list of equipment on my profile).

Message edited by author 2008-04-30 00:45:08.
04/30/2008 12:45:28 AM · #10
Don't let the number of owners for each lens sway you. The 18-200 has been out much longer than the 16-85, which is fairly new.

Message edited by author 2008-04-30 00:45:46.
04/30/2008 12:50:30 AM · #11
It depends why you shoot.
When you use this lens, you can tell it's decent. The VR is great and the glass is large - which is good but also bad because it adds to the lens creep.
I dropped this lens in the river - gone. I replaced it with some other lenses.
I do miss it when I need to zoom - which isn't often beyond 90mm.

This is more a utilitarian lens than an art lens. The lens creep bothered me a great deal after a while.

Expect good image quality,
but Don't expect to get good bokeh or perfectly non-distorted images at many focal lengths.
04/30/2008 12:57:36 AM · #12
I'm confused, isn't vignetting the darkening of the corners? If so I would say it is very mild across the entire focal range. That said, this lens does not have great edges, they are slightly blurred in wide apertures and suffer from chromatic aberration, however the center appears to be sharp. Like I said earlier, I will buy more specialty lenses, a 300mm, a f/1.4 wide, and a macro or adapter. However no other lens will allow you to go from true 27mm to 300mm in under a second without having to take your eye off the subject.

As to answer the OPs original question; the love hate feelings are the difference between versatility and optical quality. Nothing is perfect and everything has a trade off, prime lenses usually have the best image quality, and completely lack any flexibility in shooting, your feet are the flexibility.

Zooms lack the sharpness and quality of primes but allow you to capture a scene only lasting a few second, unprepared. The 18-200 is a wild range for a lens so doing so much, the quality suffers the most.

So photographers that prefer razor sharp detail corner to corner will hate this lens, however chances are they know exactly what their subject is and where it will be and have time to set up the shot for minutes or even hours.

Rule of thumb, if the subject will be there in ten minutes, go with short range zooms or primes, if it is spur of the moment, go zoom. VR is a great touch to this on the 18-200 because it means you don't need a tripod for many shots.

Since this is the third time someone has asked about this lens I really should put up some photos showing its strengths and weaknesses, maybe when I get time I will look into that.

Message edited by author 2008-04-30 01:06:11.
04/30/2008 01:13:39 AM · #13
I tend to add contrast to most of my photos in PP, the vignetting really shows up badly at the higher focal lengths, making it completely unusable for me. I always thought it was quite a sharp lens though, but the distortion at the wider angles is too bad for my taste.
As I've been backpacking and travelling, I haven't had a lens to cover the 24-70mm range, so I'm stuck with the 18-200mm to cover this range for now! I tend to just stick with my 10-20mm lens and my 80-200mm lens instead.
04/30/2008 01:20:06 AM · #14
not sure if you guys saw this comparison.
04/30/2008 08:08:29 AM · #15
Yeah quite a good article. Does anyone on here correct for the distortion in post processing?
04/30/2008 08:14:36 AM · #16
Also has Nikon fiexed the lens creep issue? Surely just another rubber seal ought to do it?
04/30/2008 08:32:44 AM · #17
I actually had mine repaired after i dropped my camera and the creep is gone. They replaced a seal and it works better than ever.

I do not endorse this approach to repair the lens creep, but it did seem to fix the issue....

Originally posted by rob_smith:

Also has Nikon fiexed the lens creep issue? Surely just another rubber seal ought to do it?
05/05/2008 06:23:38 PM · #18
Well I bought one, and am very happy with it! I also traded in the 55-200mm VR that I already had so that softened the financial blow somewhat.

It's very capable, much heavier than my old lens, and the VR is just fantastic.
05/05/2008 06:31:56 PM · #19
Awesome, now when you see a pretty lady you can give it a twist and... hahaha
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