Falling back in love... my 18-200VR as a holiday lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bmm, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. bmm


    This is sure not to be my only post relating to my recently completed month of vacations in various parts of China
    and Thailand, including the Olympics.

    In the months coming up to this trip I had been using mainly my 3 primes - the 35/2, 50/1.4 and 85/1.4 - and had
    been considering whether or not to keep the 18-200 zoom.

    However an instinct made me throw the zoom into my suitcase for this trip (as well as the primes) and, sure enough,
    I can now not imagine why I considered not having it with me. Whether on long hikes along the great wall, wading
    through streams on the back of an elephant, on a sea-kayak or going to some a remote Phang Na island in a long-
    boat throwing spray - or even in the Olympic stadium (yes, after all the fuss, consumer SLRs and zooms were
    absolutely no problems) - this one size fits all lens got an absolute flogging and came out with flying colours.

    Don't get me wrong, I still adore my primes for those shots that I carefully set up, or for twilight, evening and indoors.
    But I simply did not understand the impact of having a lens that, through a combination of zoom range and lack of
    need to switch, gave me a good option every time I needed it, and fast. I read many times here but never quite
    realised the truth that such a lens allowed shots for which the moment would have simply passed if I was fiddling
    around with more specialised gear.

    In conclusion, my day to day bag will probably revert to the 35 and 85 combo that I like and that I'm learning so
    much with. But after this trip, the 18-200 ain't going nowhere... except on plenty more adventures with me!

    PS: for those that remember my need to take images in the velodrome, I went on the first day to check out both the
    potential for restrictions in SLR use and lighting. The second day - the critical one for my relative - I was back with
    my D80 and the good old 18-200 in hand. At ISO800 the TV lighting was of such quality that I got plenty of sharp
    keepers around shutter speeds of 1/750. So I needn't have fretted so much.
  2. You not only one! :) ---this is my holiday lens too! , raf
  3. There is room in the world for both zooms and primes. I use both.

    Specially with digi, changing lenses risks dust entering.
  4. thanks for the update on your romance. how 'bout posting a shot or two, bernard?
  5. Unfortunately I learned about the flexibility and utility of the 18-200 through not having it on my once in a lifetime vacation (it had just come out and was unavailable when we left). Now I take it for everything unless I know I'm going to shoot something that needs one of my other lenses.

    Now I no longer own the lenses I took on my vacation. And the 18-200 ain't going nowhere.
  6. My 18-200 is the walk-around and travel lens of choice for my D300 for the reasons you just described. It can produce some very nice images and is truly the most versatile lens that I have ever owned. Glad to hear that you've re-discovered it!
  7. Welcome back from the dark side, Bernard. :)

    For a reason I have never understood, this lens gets knocked more on this forum than any of the other forums out there. Yes, it has some limitations -- and some annoyances (zoom creep, anyone?) -- but tell me a lens that doesn't.

    I typically pack 4-5 lenses when I travel but the 18-200 always gets the lion's share of the work. It is certainly not my fastest or sharpest or best lens but sometimes it is just impossible to change lenses frequently and that's where this lens really shines. For travel and overall versatility, it is simply the greatest lens ever made.

    BTW, just an aside........ Scott Kelby recently did his Worldwide Photowalk. The lens he used..... the 18-200VR. I was with Kelby that day and was quite surprised to see nearly 20 others who also used only that lens.

    And yes, it would be nice if you posted some pix......
  8. The way some people on here bash the 18-200mm you'd think it akin to a pinhole camera. I don't shoot new car ads with it for billboards. I shoot for my avid-hobbyist self. My 18-200 has produced some drop-dead amazingly sharp, color-rich, evenly-exposed shots that blow up to at least 12x18" with incredible detail (it is as large as I've gone so I don't know how even larger sizes would be). I have a rotating gallery in my office and visitors says they've never seen photos like the ones I display--most of which are taken with the 18-200 during my travels (I think they mean that in a good way--and no, it isn't exactly a crowd of museum curators, but still...). What holds the lens back from producing even more incredible shots has nothing to do with Nikon--it has 100% to do with me and my abilities!
  9. It is the ultimate vacation lens! Bernard, you discovered what I learned having it in Alaska. It goes with me everywhere.
  10. I sort of split the difference with my lenses. I use fast f2.8 lenses. I like them so much I ended up dumping all of my single focal lenses.

    Kent in SD
  11. For the first time I really thought an 18-200 could had been useful to me. I've been in England for the past week and the
    weather its been horrible. Not really in a mood to prepare settings and to be changing lenses all the time. I've been just
    snap-shooting. But when I think about it, how good could the 5.6 aperture would be in the evenings? Rene'
  12. Rene,

    "how good could the 5.6 aperture would be in the evenings?" Not very good to be sure. That's why I have a 50 f1.8 in my
    bag (and of course the 11-16 f2.8).
  13. My preferred combination is currently the 18-200VR + Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 on the D300. My 18-200 isn't great at
    the longer end though, but I'm enjoying the results from the Tamron. I'm mainly using the 17-50 at the moment in
    preparation for a wedding in a couple of weeks. Once the wedding is done, I'll probably default back to the
    18-200 as the norm. I've also been using my 70-210 f4-5.6, but that requires me to use a monopod or tripod (& I
    hate using tripods).

    Surprisingly, I miss the 50 to 70 range with the 17-50 & 70-210 two lens combination in the sense that 24 to
    around 100mm is where I do lot of shooting and the two lens approach leaves me with lots of lens changing and
    dithering when the shot is in the middle of the range. So now I'm trying my 18-70mm to see how that pans out
    before reverting to the 18-200 as standard walkabout lens.
  14. Rene', this is an evening shot with the 18-200, handheld at f8, 1/15 sec, iso 800 at 18mm on a D300...
  15. Rene, I have found that f/5.6 in fine at the wide end but a bit mushy at the long end. Really, I don't much care for this lens for night type photography and prefer to go to a faster lens whenever possible.

    However, I also found moving up from the D80 to the D300 added a couple stops that really helps. At least my copy is an outstanding performer when I stay in the f/8-11 range. The D300 higher ISO capability plus the lens VR makes it at least possible to use the lens in low light in a pinch.
  16. I've been going back and forth whether or not to keep my 18-200 (for us on my D300 as well) - feeling that I could fill my
    bag with probably some better glass, 17-55 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8, etc., but then it hit me... you're allowed to have some
    redundancy among lenses without feeling like it's a waste! Thus, my 18-200 has become my all-purpose, walk-around lens
    - guilt free!

    It's a great lens.
  17. A "non-prime lens quality" shot is always better than no shot at all - I am definitely keeping my 18-200.
  18. When taking pictures from a Hugh 500 helicopter with doors off over Kauai Island in Hawaii in August this year, I only trusted my 28-70/2.8L on EOS 3. I took over 100 beautiful shots in this once in lifetime(want to do it again) event. One could did the same with the 18-200mm but I wouldn't take any chance but with the best zoom only. Just my personal pick.
  19. I took the same helicopter ride a year ago with the 18-200mm and a polarizer on my D80. I'm not shooting for National Geographic--just me. Shots were awesome. VR on 'active' worked great. Better glass exists--it is also heavier, most lack VR, and cost is prohibitive. For most of us, the 18-200 is still a great choice. Maybe I just have a good "copy," but I suspect some people use the lens to shoot grid patterns and then look at the lines in the pix to decide if they like the lens.

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