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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:55 am 
I'm considering the Nikkor 18-200mm lens... however....

For the same price, I could get the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom Nikkor and the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor...

I'm an amateur photographer and would like to do everything from macro to landscapes to sports photography (high ambitions, I know). I want to spend the right amount that will last me at least 2-3 years when I can get a new body (hopefully a full sensor DSLR will be reasonably priced) and better lenses (think f/2.8 17-55 and f/4 70-200, etc.).

Till then, will I be better served with the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor or the other two?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:47 pm 
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Hi Jaspreets, welcome to the Cameralabs forums.

That's a great question, and there are pros and cons to each approach.

In the favour of the two lens system, you'll have a broader focal range which reaches 50% further than the 18-200mm option, and possibly better quality too, as the zoom ranges of each lens are not so extreme. You may also be interested in our review of the D80, as most of the shots were taken with the 18-70mm.

The major advantage of the single lens solution is of course convenience. You're only carrying one lens around, and also reducing the risk of dust entering the body if you rarely take the lens off. You'll also enjoy SWM focusing and VR throughout the range, and remember VR can still be invaluable even for wide focal lengths when it starts getting dim. It can save you increasing the ISO and compromising noise levels.

One point to be aware of though is that DX lenses like the 18-200 and 18-70 are designed to ONLY work on the cropped sensor size of current Nikon DSLRs. If Nikon were to produce a full-frame sensor body, they would not be corrected for it. In one respect, this gives your two lens option an advantage, as the 70-300mm would work on a full-frame body.

That said, if I were the betting man, I'd say it's highly unlikely Nikon would produce a full-frame DSLR. It's never been something they've been interested in, nor aspired to - at least in conversations with the press.

So DX versus non-DX is a bit of a red herring here unless you have a 35mm Nikon body of course.

Ultimately since the quality of the 18-200mm is as good as it is (see our review), I'd say go for it, unless you really, really want focal lengths above 200mm. And remember if you get into wildlife or sports photography, you could always invest in an optically faster 300mm lens to complement it in the future.

It'd be great to hear from anyone who's gone through the same process of weighing up a single long zoom against two smaller zooms. Why did you choose the option you went for, and do you have any regrets?

Gordon


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:54 am 
Jaspreets,

I think 18-200mm is a good choice. Most of time, I carry D200 with this lens only. Occasionally, I use my old 75-300mm. I agree with Gordon that the dust is a quite noticeable problem if I change lens often. Some time ago I was wondering and had conversation with Gordon too. After more than 2000 shots, I have to say I really like the lens. Good luck!

-Hang


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:46 pm 
Hi Jaspreets

I'm not a camera expert but I enjoy fiddling about so thought I'd share my opinion. I bought the AF-S DX VR 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED lens last week from someone on ebay because no-one else in the UK has stock at the moment. I'm very pleased with the lens. Downsides first:

1. The zoom ring is at the end of the lens and the focus ring in the middle - this is the opposite of all other lenses I own, so may take a bit of getting used to. It's no big deal really though.

2. In my opinion the zoom ring doesn't have a very smooth movement. It has a reasonable feel of "quality" to it, but I have other Nikkor lenses which do feel much smoother.

3. The ease of movement of the zoom ring is very much affected by gravity, which I don't like. If you point the lens directly upwards and try to zoom in, it's hard. If you point it at the floor and zoom in, it's really easy! The ring can also move on its own slightly if the camera body is vertical, as in these two situations. In practice it's a rare problem but still it irks me a little. I've heard different production examples suffer from this problem to differing extents so maybe I've got a bad one. I'm not going to lose sleep over it, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

4. Because it's quite a long lens (especially when zoomed) you sometimes get a shadow from the built-in flash (at least on my D200 you do). It's just something to bear in mind, and is a problem that you might not suffer from when using a physically shorter lens.

Upsides:

1. The lens has a fantastic zoom range. 18mm is really wide and 200mm is really zoomed! The convenience factor is enormous in not having to carry/change lenses and have the hassle, extra weight and possible dust intrusion into the camera.

2. The VRII system is excellent. It doesn't help in low light with fast-moving subjects, but it seriously helps reduce camera shake where you don't have a tripod and you're trying to photograph something reasonably still.

3. Considering its focal range, it's very lightweight and compact. It's quite a feat of engineering really.


One thing to watch out for if you buy a second-hand lens, is that although the vendor says that the lens is brand new with warranty, etc., if you read the warranty small-print, it says that the warranty is not transferrable to a new owner. Which seems a bit unfair to me. I hope I don't ever have cause to test whether Nikon really enforce that or not.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this lens for the convenience factor it gives you. I mostly use my camera for taking along to events and situations that I'd like to record, rather than actually setting off on photography "expeditions". For me, this means I want the camera to be unobtrusive and portable. No SLR is going to give you the convenience of a snapshot camera, but if you want great quality, nothing can touch the SLR and having a one-size-fits-all lens minimises the extra bulk you have to take with you.

As Gordon says though, 300mm is very appealing over and above 200mm, especially for wildlife photography. If you do a lot of telephoto then you might also like to consider the 80-400 although as a non-DX lens it's larger, heavier and more expensive, and it is VR not VR II. I recently tried this lens in my local Jessps and the zoom it gives is just mind-blowing! (equiv to 600mm on a 35mm body).

I guess my conclusion is that if having an extra 100mm on the telephoto end is more important to you than the convenience of a single lens, then go for the two lenses. Otherwise, go for the 18-200 and I'm sure you won't regret it. And 200mm is a heck of a zoom anyway!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:19 pm 
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My 2 cents on this:

I personally hate carrying a bag for any additional equipment. So when going out exploring I would focus less on ultimate lens quality or aperture but more on a universal one size fits all. Thus the 18-200 is highly desirable for me.

Oh, and by the way. The first situation, where you don't have time to switch lenses will be a very strong motivation for this super zoom...

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:19 pm 
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Whoa!!!
I got one (18-200 Nikkor). Seemed to be the last one in Nuremberg. Although they didn't let me get away with less than the list price (currently 750€ in Germany) I decided to go ahead because everyone else was telling bad stories about the availability of this lens.
All the test shots look very fine indeed although the weather is terribly dull and rainy so the auto-ISO and anti-shake get their fair share of work to do.
Now, I'm one lucky man!!!
(If it could only focus closer)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:25 pm 
Actually, as a post-script to my message where I said:

The ring can also move on its own slightly if the camera body is vertical, as in these two situations. In practice it's a rare problem but still it irks me a little.

Recently I have been finding that this behaviour really annoys me!! If I am stood above my baby daughter trying to take a picture of her lying on her mat, and I have framed and focused the shot and then try to distract her with my left hand before pressing the shutter, the camera zooms right in to the full 200mm on its own! Yuk.

But apart from that, yes the lens is great! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:35 pm 
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Yeah, Jack,

you're not alone! My newly bought lens moves easily from 18 to 200mm but if you point it up or down it creeps in the resp. direction.
Does it annoy me? Definitely!
Do cheaper lenses have the same prob? Certainly not!
Would this lead me to buying a different super-zoom? I don't think so.

So: just bring your wife to distract the little brat - and you can concentrate on holding your gear :D

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:18 am 
I have the 18-200 and realy love it though I have just ordered the Tamron 28-75 f 2.8 as a backup lens which will sit on my D50 .
I am a "dust-a-phobic" which is one reason I went for super-zoom , though I learned that zooming a lot in dusty conditions also sucks dust into the camera so be careful of that . Otherwise , the 18-200 is now a permanent fixture on my D80 . My philosophy is that for something like weddings , an 18-200 will get you all the shots you need without the chance of having the wrong lens on , even if 3 other lenses are slightly better quality why risk losing a special photo for the sake of 5% quality difference that the customer probably wouldn't nitice anyway !


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:12 am 
Currently waiting for the sigma version of 18-200mm with optical stabilizer. You can actually lock the zoom which Nikkor does not have. The Sigma will definately be not as good as Nikkor but I think it should be fine by me.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:38 am 
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have you already ordered?
Tell us when you receive it, and what your first impressions are!

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