55-200 VR vs the 18-200mm VR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by coastallight, May 29, 2007.

  1. I own the 55-200 VR and love it. I also own the 18-70mm and like it (satisfied
    but not in awe). I'm thinking of eventually selling them both and buying the
    18-200 VR.

    So my question is, will I love the 18-200 VR? Is the lower end better than the
    And, is the higher end the same as or better than the 55-200 VR?
  2. The only reason to switch would be if you don't like changing lenses.

    If you hate changing lenses, you will love the 18-200. If money is not an issue, you will love the 18-200.

    Your best bet would be to try the 18-200 lens out for yourself and compare picture quality with what you now have. You likely won't see a difference unless you take out a magnifying glass, and even then, the diffences if any will be very, very small.
  3. Optically it's not as good as the 18-70 but it's very good for a super zoom. It's great for travel and anyone who hates to carry 2 lenses and have to keep switching them. I own one and love it. I will probably add a 70-200 f2.8 for a faster sharper long end lens but other than that this lens will spend most of time on my camera. It's not the sharpest but good enough for most situations.
  4. I agree with Elliot but I would add another benefit is VR throughout the entire focal range. I use the 18-200 a lot, especially when I travel. It is a pretty neat lens but it definitely has some limitations. The most noticable is softness at the wide end, though it is no worse -- and maybe a little better -- than the 18-70.

    I would suggest you try it out and compare the long end with your 55-200. If the results are comparable, think about switching but if you feel you are compromising quality, then you have to decide whether quality is more important than convenience.
  5. carolyn,

    i can't say about the 55-200, but check out this review.


    He writes that the lens is "Good enough that it has replaced both my 18-70mm and
    24-120mm as the walk around lens of choice for when I want to go light and with one

    I love mine BIG time. Haven't used the 18-70 except to briefly try it out. It rocks, too as far
    as I can tell.
  6. 18/200 has a lot of distortion. Check the comparison


    You need to move to the professional lenses to be really impressed.

    I find my 18/70 to be really nice for a do it all lens. You might like the 18/135. But the more you stretch things, the more the design suffers.
  7. The performance of my Nikon 18-200mm VR is noticeably exceed by my Nikon 18-70mm
    (better color saturation, contrast, sharpness), within the same focal range. From about
    150mm to 200mm, performance of the 18-200mm VR is pretty mediocre in my opinion.
    However , when you consider you are comparing a an 11x zoom to an approximately 4x
    zoom, the 18-200mm VR does amazingly well. I consider the 18-200mm VR to be a great
    travel, grab-shot lens, but I always have other lenses for more serious work either with me
    or back at the hotel while traveling. Of course, the selling point of the 18-200mm VR is
    great convenience and VR in low light. Unfortunately, what skews any comparison of
    Nikon lenses today is rampant sample variation. I returned my 18-200mm VR to Nikon for
    adjustment and a scratched internal element. It returned a much better performer, but
    who knows if it is the best that it can be? Opinions of this lens seem to run the gamut
    from poor to stellar.

    Will you love the 18-200mm VR? If your 18-70mm is a good
    sample, maybe not.
  8. Carolyn,

    The 18-200 was also on my short list together with the 55-200VR and 70-300VR that I was asking about in the other thread. I'll tell you why I decided against it and you can take it for what it's worth.

    I also have an 18-70. One of my buddies let me borrow his 18-200 for a quick comparison. Nothing formal, but the results on my D80 showed the 18-70 to have better sharpness and contrast. That's the primary reason I'm now looking at a 50-200 instead of a 18-200 and I also don't think that the 18-200 is worth the asking price.

    Of course, the 18-200 is a Swiss army knife and does things that the 18-70 can't do. Extra reach and VR obviously come to mind as does the need to change lenses less often. Whether those things override the better image quality of the 18-70 only you can decide.

    The fact that you already have (and love) a 50-200 negates 2 of the 3 advantage of the 18-200.

    It a simple fact of optical life that the wider the zoom range the more design compromises need to be made. The 18-200 is a good example of this. Not a bad all-purpose lens, but not as good as lenses optimized to cover shorter ranges.

    If you can live with the occasional lens change, there seems to be no reason to switch from your 18-70/50-200 combination.

  9. I used the 18-70mm a lot, then when I read all the rave reviews of the 18-200mm VR, I had to have one. I bought one ($900 on ebay last October) and tested it. It has more distortion than the 18-70mm, and less overall sharpness. It's also bigger and uses a big (72mm) front filter. I was going to travel to Japan with it, but decided to take the 18-70mm instead. I'm glad I did too.

    Unless you *need* to shoot at night or in dimly lit rooms with a slow shutter speed, there are better options than the 18-200mm. And as already stated, if you don't like changing lenses.

    I would stick with your 18-70mm and your 55-200mm VR. The 18-200mm VR is overrated in my opinion by a lot of people. It's also overpriced. If it sold for $599, maybe, but $749-800 is too high for what you're getting. Better to use a monopod or tripod if you need to shoot with slow shutter speeds.

  10. OK - so far, lots of info on the wide side (and good info, I might add), how about the 55-200 end comparison?
  11. here's my two cents: the 18-200 is a $650 msrp lens that should have retailed at about $500, in which case it would have been reasonable as a one-lens solution. instead, high demand and low supply pushed it up as much as $1000, hype which any non-pro lens would have trouble justifying, especially one with a slowwwww aperture at the long end of 5.6.

    if you already have the 55-200 vr, it doesn't make sense to trade it and your 18-70 for the 18-200 vr, since with any superzoom, images will not be as sharp across the entire focal range as with a shorter zoom or prime. plus you don't really gain anything, except not having to change lenses. and if that's your only lens, if it breaks, you have no backup.

    if you love the 55-200 vr, by all means, hold on to it.

    but if you think maybe you need more reach, the perfect compliment to the 18-70 is the 70-300 vr. 200mm is easily hand-holdable, especially with a lightweight dx lens, but 300 mm is not, so in that situation it makes sense to have vr. you probably wouldn't have to use vr at a shorter focal length, i.e. 18-70, very often anyway.

    still, none of those lenses are speed demons, and vr will only go so far. it might help you shoot at a lower shutter speed occasionally, or in some low-light situations with static subjects, but there's nothing you can do about that narrow aperture. and if you're trying to track a moving subject, vr is fairly useless.

    if i were you, if i was going to trade in the 18-70 for anything, it would be a 2.8 like the tamron 17-50 and the sigma 18-50. or you could upgrade to the $1500 17-55 nikkor 2.8, although pop photography actually rated the sigma as sharper. you might also want to consider getting a faster telephoto. it's probably worth it to save your pennies for pro glass like the nikkor 70-200 vr, the tokina 50-135 or the sigma 50-150 all of which have constant apertures and are much faster than the 18-200 or the 55-200.
  12. I've read reviews that were underimpressed with the resolution of the 18-200 VR, so I'm
    glad to see that confirmed here, so now I will never spend the money on it. I've got the
    18-135mm lens that came with the D40x. It can be really really sharp, though the barrel
    distortion at the 18mm (and I like my 28mm equivalent) is frequently annoying. This lens
    performs it best around F11 according to the tests at photozone.de. I wish my lens was
    since it would really help with the dusk and indoor shots, but alas. My lens only cost $300,
    though, and I dont have to switch out. It is a Nikkor, and seems of better build quality than
    the 18-70 kit lens, and cmon, who wants to stop at 70mm, especially when this one is
    only $200 more? I highly recommend using the single point focus in certain situations,
    otherwise you will get a randomly focussed shot. I'm ready for a DX prime wide anytime,
    preferably under $500.
  13. I had the rare opportunity of owning both Nikon 55-200mm and 18-200mm... even for very short time. Here's my story. I first bought the 55-200mm for my D40x because I'll be going on a trip to paradise. Once I got home and fitted the 55-200mm I started taking test pictures. I noticed that I have to be at least 4 ft away from my subject before I could get a focus. I suddenly thought about the small boat ride I'll be taking with my family inside the longest underground river in the world. With nowhere else to go to get a focus on my family while riding the small boat, I immediately went back to the camera store and asked for a replacement for an 18-200mm. I'm glad I did.
  14. I have the same dilema - I like many things about the 55-200 VR but NEED more wide angle to shoot groups from around 5 meters. A fast (f2.8)very sharp zoom from about 18 to 100 with an apature ring would be ideal but the compatibility issues between lenses and cameras is very confusing. Im scared that some of the features of some lenses of wont work with my Nikon D80.
  15. I am getting the D80 next week and opted to go for an 18-70mm and a 55-200mm VR. This saves money and gives, in my opinion, better results. The 18-200mm is softer at wide than the 18-70 (I used the 18-70mm on a D50 for a year). At the tele end, from about 70-200mm, both VR lenses perform the same. I haven't sen any noticeable difference in quality.

    The hefty price tag on the 18-200mm, in my opinion, is not worth the distortion and softness at wide. The 18-200mm is priced like a pro lens and yet does not perform like one. It is priced as it is due to it's convenience but as for price/performance ratio, you could do better.

    If you want the best results you need to pay big bucks and go for a zoom with a constant f/2.8 (vs f/5.6 on the tele end of the 18-200 and 55-200), which allows for sharper results with moving subjects because you can increase the shutter speed without limiting light as much as you would with f/5.6 or f/4.5.

    The newer lenses with VR will work just fine on the D80, and so will the 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S.

    If you want to save money then go with the 18-70mm and 55-200mm VR. If you want to spend more and have the best quality, go with the 17-35 f/2.8 and 70-200mm VR f/2.8. This will give you far better results than the 18-200mm will ever give you.

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