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Nikkor AF-S DX VR 18-200mm 3.5-5.6G IF-ED review Gordon Laing, June 2006
 
Design and build quality

Pictured below from left to right are the Nikkor, Sigma and Tamron 18-200mm lenses in their shortest positions. Each lens measures 77x97mm, 70x78mm and 73x84mm (diameter x length) respectively. Clearly the Nikkor's the largest of the group.


from left: Nikkor, Sigma and Tamron 18-200mm lenses zoomed out to 18mm


When zoomed-in to their longest focal lengths, the Nikkor, Sigma and Tamron lenses extend by a further 65, 53 and 66mm respectively, each employing two barrel sections. As pictured below, the Nikkor comfortably remains the largest of the three. It's additionally got the largest filter thread at 72mm, compared to the 62mm threads of the Sigma and Tamron models. Unsurprisingly the Nikkor's also the heaviest at 560g, with the Sigma and Tamron lenses feeling considerably lighter at 405 and 423g respectively.


from left: Nikkor, Sigma and Tamron 18-200mm lenses zoomed in to 200mm
 
Part of the Nikkor's additional weight is undoubtedly down to its slightly faster optical performance at the telephoto end. It sports a focal ratio of f3.5~5.6, compared to the f3.5~6.3 of the Sigma and Tamron models.

In terms of build quality, the Nikkor also feels (and looks) to a much higher standard than its cheaper rivals. It's more solid with smoother mechanics delivering a greater impression of confidence in use. That said, the Sigma and Tamron models aren't bad, but place the three side by side and the Nikkor is definitely the classiest.

We're pleased to report all three employ internal focusing with non-rotating end sections - important for anyone who uses polarisers, although obviously the Nikkor's wider thread will incur higher-priced filters. Thankfully, all three lenses were supplied with hoods.

The Nikkor's SWM motor resulted in almost silent operation, compared to the quite audible focusing motors of the Sigma and Tamron lenses; the Tamron in particular was the noisiest of the three and you could especially hear the gearing when manually focusing. While the Nikkor was by far the quietist though, it was only slightly faster at focusing than its rivals.


All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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