Nikon 18-200 VR vs. Tamron 18-200, is it worth the extra $ ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by al_peterson|1, May 8, 2008.

  1. I purchased a used Tamron AF 18-200 F/3.5-6.3 lens for my D80 camera. Going in, I knew it was
    slower than the Nikon 18-200, and no vibration reduction. I've been using it a lot and I've captured
    some nice shots with it... especially at close to mid range. At 200mm and waning daylight it gets
    challenging for me to get good exposure and many photos are dark or blurry. I contribute this to
    slow shutter speed shooting in Program mode, and no tripod.

    I'm still an amature photographer but enjoy the hobby. I take my camera with me almost always
    when traveling. We hope to vacation in the Yellowstone this Summer. My lenses include the Tamron
    18-200, Nikon 18-55 kit lens, Nikon 70-300 VR , Nikon 50mm 2.8 .

    I have almost enough money saved for a new Nikon 18-200 VR , since used ones bring almost new
    price on Ebay. Before I spend $700 for this lens, I'd like to hear opinions whether I'll notice the
    Nikon lens being faster at 200mm.

    Perhaps I need to practice technique, such as shoot in A or S priority instead of P mode ?

    Perhaps I should get used to shooting at higher ISO levels, such as 400-800 ?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    First of all, the Nikon 18-200mm AF-S VR should be below $700 new, but since you already have the 70-300mm AF-S VR, I don't see why you also need a better 18-200. Would you consider selling both the 18-55 and 18-250(?) Tamron and get the new 16-85 AF-S VR? That will get you a bit wider and overlaps nicely with the 70-300.

    Nikon's AF system is designed for lenses that are f5.6 or faster. That is why I am strongly against those Tamron 18-250mm lenses that are f6.3 on the long end.
  3. >I'm still an amature photographer but enjoy the hobby< An amateur is someone who loves what they do, Al. Do sell yourself short because you don't earn your living from photography. You enjoy photography because you want to, not because you have to. As for the lens, you'll receive all sorts of opinions. Just know that it won't work miracles for you when the light is low and you're using the long end of the lens. You'll still need a way to support the camera. Personally, I love my 18-200mm VR lens. Frankly, you've got it covered with the lenses you already have. I'd put your money you've saved into backup camera, if you don't already have one. If you have your heart set on the lens, I'd sell the redundant 18-55 and the Tamron, and hang onto the 70-300mm for those distant bison and elk and bears (oh, my!) in Yellowstone. In fact, you'll be close enough to many animals with 200mm in the park.
  4. I love that Nikkor. It will be a real classic, I think. Have you tried a carbon fibre monopod? Much cheaper (and lighter!) than the Nikkor and would probably improve things noticeably. I use one a lot, even with the big 200- 400 Nikkor (see attached elk shot from Winter 08 in Canada)
  5. Sorry - that doesn't work very well at that size! This should be smaller.
  6. You might gonna have problems withy AF at the Tamron's telephoto end with f/6.3. Also, if you're trying to shoot a telephoto lens without the blur due to hand shake, yet still wants to use reasonably slow shutter speeds, the VR is a must.
  7. Al,

    I found myself having a dilemma as I wanted a walkabout travel lens for when peopl come for a visit & when I travel. I had the 24-120mm & even at Disneyland I found it too short. I got the Tamron 28-300mm, but I don't feel it's really a super lens. It's perfect for when I go riding the horses & want to bring a camera. The camera will survive things & I won't be out the cost of an expensive lens.

    I bought the 18-200VR to test against the other two. The 24-120 is sold, the 28-300 goes on trail rides with the horses shooting from horseback. I've kept the 18-200VR. Now, I've not had reason to use it until last week, got it in September last year. I had a friend come for a visit for a week & that's the only lens she had & her D80. I spent the week working the 18-200VR in order to help her with her D80 as I wanted to be able to see what she saw. I am presently going through near 1000 shots taken with it. It's shots of people, landscapes, birds, flowers - - - you name it. I'm rather impressed with it. Granted it's not my 70-200VR, nor my 300mm AF-S f/4..... But it's a pretty great little lens to have for convenience. I find mine sharp enough that I barely sharpen my shots of my daughter & friend as neither she nor I are getting any younger & wrinkles are not what I want to see..... I have shots where I can see the pores of my 21 year old daughter from that lens.

    I'd spring for the VR personally.....


    Lil :)
  8. Al... have you thought about getting a really good tripod? that would do the trick. Also another good lens would be 180 f/2.8 you can find it used. It is not a zoom but for long shots it is great and you can also add a converter. Just a thought! Rene'
  9. What if you did this with your money instead.

    Don't get the 18-200 (which I have and love btw and think is worth every penny), but
    instead, get a used D40 with an 18-70! Now you have two cameras around your
    neck. One with the 18-70 and one with the 70-300 VR. You will, imho, want the extra
    300 reach for animals in a national park. No lens changing, cause you just switch
    cameras. That's the way I used to do it with film.

    I love VR on my 18-200, but it's much more useful past telephoto, and you already
    have that covered better with the 70-300.

    You might sell the Tamron 18-200 at that point.
  10. al, to answer your question, no it is not worth it since you already have an 18-200, and 18-55, and most importantly, a 70-300 VR. the 18-200 VR doesn't give you anything you don't already have, except for VR between 18-70, and it still has a slow variable aperture. the difference between 5.6 and 6.3 is not enough to work well in dim light without a flash. in fact the 18-200 you have now is already redundant.

    for $700, my advice would be to get a decent lightweight tripod and a good wide-angle, like the tokina 12-24 or sigma 10-20, which would be great for wide vistas, etc. also, if you're still shooting in P, practicing technique and upping ISO would obviously be a good idea; you might want to pick up "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson, it's one of the best learning tools out there for improving basic photography skills.

    happy shooting!
  11. I think you should go by what Shun has to say. Thats good advise. Plus a second body would be ideal as Rene points out. The 16-85 on one and the 70-300 VR on the other. You could never go wrong with that set up. Alternately buy a light tripod for use with the Tamron (your keepers will improve) and a second used camera body if you want to save on the bucks. However all these lenses u have are meant for good day light except the 50mm. Personally I have the sigma 10-20, sigma 30/1.4, nikon 18-135 and the nikon 70-300 VR and a light tripod. Have never looked back, done lots of african safaris and am very happy. Cheers and happy hunting.
  12. What you don't have in your current set up is the 10.5 2.8 fish-eye. I love mine. You
    can of course go with a zoom in this range but I have no experience with those. Again,
    consider the 10.5, it's an absolute blast.
  13. There's one problem with a tripod. You have to carry it to wherever you want to shoot. You have to set it up first, so forget "grab shots". And many times you may not be allowed to use one for various reasons. So VR is invaluable for amateurs and casual shooters. I am one of those myself!

    As you say you are an amateur, I don't think a tripod or a second camera is what you need.Sigma has a stabilised 18-200 but that also is f/6.3 at the long end. I have read somewhere it reports 5.6 to the camera so that AF continues to work, tho probably not optimally.

    Since you already have 18-55 and 70-300VR, the only reasons I can think of why you'd want an 18-200 is that you need to change lenses too often or you need VR in the 18-70 range. You can shoot 200mm with VR using your 70-300 lens, so you really need to think if you want to spend 700$ for the 18-200 Nikkor.

    Ask yourself what's important to you. If it is convenience more than anything, yes the 18-200 is what you need. If you need VR in the shorter range, get the 16-85VR. If you want to expand your photographic horizons, get an ultra wide, like the Sigma 10-20, or the 10.5 fisheye.

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