Nikon 18-200 lens: You’ll like it, You’ll REALLY like it!

[photopress:sodacux.jpg,full,centered] At the long end.
[photopress:sodawidexx.jpg,full,centered]
Wide as it’ll go.

On the recent trip overseas, I wanted to cut down on the gear as much as possible. yet still be shooting with a full featured DSLR/lens combo. And then I read about this lens,
[photopress:18_200.jpg,full,alignright] Nikon 18-200 3.5-5.6. Compact, Vibration Reduction, made for digital, everything I could ask for. So I decided to take the D200 and just the one lens. Gulp.
Well, no guts, no glory.
Here’s how it netted out:

The Good:
* The close up focus on this is crazy. As close as 20″! Love that for all of the details. especially the lunches.
VRII (vibration reduction) lets you shoot up to 4 stops faster. A little tip though: before you get into action, do some test shots in the lighting. Go to Shutter priority, find a high enough speed for you to hold the unit steady when fully extended.Crank the ISO if you have to, to get to that shutter speed. You’ll be happy you did.
* The size: WOW. small enough when at the wide that you can carry easily; when extended the the barrel comes out about 2.5 inches. Totally manageable. And your polarizers don’t rotate as you zoom.
* Easy to turn auto focus on and off. Very good when you are shooting an event. Who needs a little white light calling attention to you and your auto-focus? Can somebody design something for that?
* Nikon high quality glass: 16 elements in 12 groups (two ED glass elements, three aspherical lens elements)

The Bad:

* Compromise speed for size and cost (about $750 USD street) A far cry from one of my favorite lenses, the Nikon 80-200 2.8, (about $1700 USD Street) Wins in weight for sure, but you lose a bit of speed.
* Sharpness is good to very good, but not the sharpest lens in the bag.With the digital tools available, it’s all good, but you do pay a price.
* The manual focus ring is a bit too free floating for my taste and a surprise from usual Nikon lenses. Does the job but doesn’t have the usual confidence in the hand.

Overall:
This will stay in my travel bag for sure. The versatility of the range is just what you need on any trip you may take. From a safari to a city tour, this lens will fill most of your needs. And when you add in the VRII, crank up the ISO, you shouldn’t be missing a shot. As a matter of fact you may find yourself shooting more because the lens you need is right in your hand. When shooting in town, I’ll still bring out the primes and the 80-200 2.8, but for everyday and non-assignment trip? Oh yeah/

Definite recco…if you can find one. They have been a little scarce but I know Nikon is scrambling to fill the gap.

Some more samples as the lens became a constant companion.
(PS- Do NOT Judge the sharpness of the images here. The subtleties and the true sharpness are not represented on the web page. These images are only meant to show the lens range in mm.)
[photopress:dumplingcux.jpg,full,centered] long
[photopress:dumplingwidexx.jpg,full,centered] wide
[photopress:legendcu2.jpg,full,centered]long
[photopress:legendwidexx.jpg,full,centered] wide
[photopress:promcux.jpg,full,centered] long
[photopress:promwidexx.jpg,full,centered] wide

If you would like to have sample, real world images emailed to you, please feel feel to contact us.

Cheers!
Damon Webster

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