Nikon 18-200mm lens opinion, suggestions

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by montana, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. I'm a college photography student, and I'm looking to buy a new Nikon brand lens
    for my D70 before I travel to Italy this fall for a photography trip for the
    semester's credits.

    Currently I'm looking at buying the 18-200mm VR lens because I will get a wider
    angle on the camera body than the lens that I am using now, a 28-200mm (40-300)
    equivalent on my D70.

    Can the 18-200mm VR lens really allow you to shoot three or four shutter speeds
    slower than the shutter speed rule without any motion blur from being handheld?

    Is the lens worth the $750 pricetag (on B&H and Calumet)? Or would there be
    another lens or pair of lenses that would be a better value for the money? I
    shoot landscapes, still life images, macro, and I definitely want a lens that is
    at least 30mm at the shortest focal length.

    My price limit is definitely under $1,000 and more likely close to $800 to be
    realistic.

    Any suggestions and well-educated / experienced opinions would be greatly
    appreciated.

    - Thank you.
     
  2. There is a new 55-200 VR announced by Nikon, there is also the 70-300VR.

    For the price of 800-1000.

    The best combo for optical quality and zoom range in your price range would be the 70-300VR (500)and then a 18-70 (250).
    You can go the cheap way and go 18-55 (150) and 55-200 VR (250).

    You will still get motion blur if your subjects are moving using VR but if you are shooting stationary objects it is not as big of a problem.

    Another option is to get the 12-24 lens for $900 and keep your 28-200.
     
  3. bms

    bms

    Bayard,

    having recently taken the 18-200 VR on a trip, it s truly all-round, but in my eye (and in my hand, probably the larger factor!) not superb. The VR can get you good results, especially when you shoot at or near 200mm, where the 18-200 is pretty slow - I used a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 for low(er) light/no flash situations. You are serious about photography, so you may want to consider following Sam's suggestion and investing in the 12-24mm Nikkor. I hear it is a good lens, and you'd have a wider range covered...
     
  4. Bayard, One important shot the 18-200 will not cover in Italy is the pictures you will want to take inside of all the old building you will see. Most of these buildings have restriction stating NO FLASH allowed inside. You will want to include the Nikon 50/1.8 lens on your list so you can take those indoor pictures (~$125 includes shipping cost). Have fun, great place to take pictures. Be sure you take enought CF cards to hold all of the pictures you will be taking.
     
  5. ray

    ray

    In response to Tim Knight's correct observation that there is a no flash regulation within both
    museums and buildings in Italy, I just returned from a trip to Rome last year. I did all my
    photography with the 18-200 and I had absolutely no problems handholding shots with the
    VR enabled. Part of this was due to the well lit buildings with a lot of natural lights and off
    course credit must go to Nikon for making the VR work.

    In any case, the 18-200mm lens will definitely work as your only lens on your trip to Italy
    provided that you can find this lens anywhere in stock.
     
  6. I have the 18-200 VR and am impressed with the results. I don't use the VR a lot because I shoot mainly moving subjects. You won't be disappointed.

    When using the VR and slow shutter speeds, I suggest you take at least 5 or 5 shots of the same subject. This gives you a better chance of getting the clearest images.

    The VR works great but if you want the best possible shots (and want to save some money too), I would suggest the 18-55 or the 18-70 at a minimum but you would be best off with Nikon's 12-24. And a tripod. You will be able to use lower ISO's with longer exposures and get perfectly exposed, ultra sharp, noise free images. The trade-off is that you have to carry around a tripod.

    Keep in mind that for indoor shots, 18mm is not really wide enough.

    If you do get the 18-200, I would still suggest a tripod for your indoor museum shots. Make sure you turn the VR off when using the tripod.
     
  7. I understand there can be sample variations. Some report dramatic improvements after sending their's into Nikon for adjustments. If you can get one in time, it might be wise to allow for this. I also currently have the 28-200G. For me it was a decision whether to keep the 28-200 and add a 10-20 / 12-24 or go for the 18-200. Given that I find tripods a pain (but use a monopod - & still use a tripod for landscapes when using polarisers, ND grads etc) and that I get fed up missing shots whilst changing lenses I decided to order an 18-200 this week to replace my 18-70 and 28-200 lenses. I might still also get the Sigma 10-20 as well for the ultra-wide stuff (usual caveats re. getting a good sample etc.). I also have a Nikkor 28-105. This is great where distortion is likely be an issue & its close-focussing capabilities are better than one would expect. The things I shoot tend to require more depth of field, so fast zooms & primes are not really an issue for me.
     
  8. 18-200... BEST one-lens travel solution. Yes, you will get nearly or really 4-stops
    improvement hand-holding.

    Points for not having to necessarily use a tripod.

    Points for having the range that you need for virtually all your photography in such
    instances (a 50 f1.8 is nice to have and a really wide lens would come in handy, too)

    Points for not having to change lenses very often.

    Points for having real useful real close focus.

    Check this review.

    http://www.bythom.com/18200lens.htm

    I HIGHLY recommend this lens for travel. I think that's what it is made for. I think it's worth
    the price. When you see it at B&H in stock, BUY IT. But call. don't do it on the web. Because
    if it's in stock, it'll only be for a few minutes.
     
  9. I do a lot of low-light hand-held stuff, and the 18-200 VR is very nice. I've gotten sharp
    photos at 1/2 second (granted, it's usually one sharp one out of a burst of 5), but still much
    better than I can do without VR.
     
  10. i will get the 18-70mm and a 50mm in my pocket for indoor shots.
    .... the money you will spend for the 18-200mm can go as pocket money.
     
  11. As you said, Bayard, you are a student. I recommend using your 28-200mm and working on your handholding technique at slow shutter speeds. Learn the various ways of bracing yourself and/or your camera in low light situations. Good photographers have been getting sharp images for decades without image stabilization technology.



    Spend your money on a 12-24mm which will really round out your travel kit.
     
  12. I love my 18-200mm for travel. I tried traveling with the gorilla weight 28-70mm f/2.8 and I'll never do it again. My neck can't take it. Whatever you decide, watch the weight when you are going to be carrying your camera around for hours on end! It's a good time to take advantage of digital APS lenses to reduce weight. As for 12-24mm, the Tokina is fabulous for $500 (vs. twice that for the Nikon 12-24mm) with incredible build, but it feels like it's made of lead.
     
  13. I was in Rome last summer without the 18-200. My 50mm f1.8 was great for interior shots, but the two overlapping zooms from 18 thru 200 weren't. They simply proved the adage that the lens you need is always in the bag or in the hotel.

    I got the 18-200 after I got back, and it works fine, with a few primes for special situations.

    Get the 18-200.
     
  14. Check out what other people did with this lens:
    http://www.pbase.com/cameras/nikon/18-200_35-56g_if_ed_afs_dx_vr
    This gives you a good impression of what the lens is capable of. I know some pictures are awful, but you can see the contrast etc. I'm looking at the 70-300 vr and was amazed how sharp some pictures are here:
    http://www.pbase.com/cameras/nikon/af_s_vr_zoom_70_300_45_56g_if_ed
    You can view all exif!
    regards,
    Martijn
     
  15. I have the Nikon 18-200 VR, and can tell you pretty much everything said about it is true. It's my 'desert island' lens - I love it!

    Given what you've already got, though, I'd strongly consider a 12-24 zoom for tight places and interiors (which you'll see lots of). I have the Nikon 12-24, but have heard good things about the Sigma.

    Also try Midwest Photo Exchange, but call - they're slow about updating their website.
     
  16. In your case, the 18-200 VR would be nearly ideal. You can, in fact, go well below the "focal length rule" in shutter speed with a VR lens. I regularly use my 70-200 down to 1/15 second - not perfect but an high percentage of keepers. As you must know, 28mm is not nearly wide enough for general photography. A 70-300 or 55-200 would have very little use in your case. The 12-24 is a fine lens, a super-wide even on a DSLR, but slow (f/4). Unless you can buy two $900 lenses, I'd settle for the 18-200, if you can find one.
     
  17. bms

    bms

    Bayard,

    I guess most people suggest the 18-200 VR. It is hard to come by, at least for $750 (I think it goes for about $900-1000 on ebay, but I would be very careful with that).

    If that is what you want, here is how I got mine: I went to my local store and ordered it, for the same price as B&H. When it came (after 2-3 weeks), I actually missed the call (and there were plenty of takers!), but I checked in with them a few days later and they 'broke up' a D200 kit. That may work better than going to a large online store where hundreds or thousands of people check daily if the lens is in stock....

    Have fun in Bella Italia!
     
  18. I have the 18-200 VR and I love it. Sure you can save some cash by getting a 12-24 to go with your 28-200, but do you really want to walk around carrying and extra lens and taking the time to switch back and forth just for the extreme wide angle? Not me, that's why I got the 18-200.
     
  19. The 18-200 VR is great for most general purpose travel photography. Mine works well at the longer end and is sharper and faster focusing than my old Nikon 70-300 . If you want to take architectural photography then the distortion becomes an annoyance as it is difficult to correct.

    VR is of limited use anyway and is for the most part an expensive almost pointless gimmick. I bought my 18-200 VR more for its zoom range than VR and to be quite honest, I hardly ever have the use for VR!

    If you want to go wide then the Sigma 10-20 is brilliant. I?ve recently tried one out and it has minimal distortion and you can hand hold at 1/10th sec. This is the best that you will get with the Nikon 18-200 using VR without the distortion.

    I personally would by a non VR 18-200 Tamron or Sigma and use with the Sigma 10 ? 20. which would probably cost less and only weigh a little more.
     
  20. Dave Perkes writes "VR is of limited use anyway and is for the most part an expensive almost
    pointless gimmick."

    Uh... I think I'm not the only one who disagrees with that. I use VR a LOT! It is VERY useful
    imho. And the Tamron and Sigma 18-200s have been reviewed often as not being even
    CLOSE to the quality of the Nikon.
     
  21. I have the 18-200 VR and absolutely love it. Posts like theses makes me realize once again how lucky I was to have gotten in last June!! I waited for 2 months on a list at J&R.com and finally got the email that it had shipped - talk about a happy day.
    Happy days continue as I get more and more use out of it. I have sold my other lenses (28-70 3.5, 50mm 1.8 and 70-300 G) and now only have the 18-200 and 18-70 kit lens for my D200 and D70. These lenses have just been hanging around since the purchase of the 18-200. My only lens need as of now is a lower-light lens - ie. the 17-55 2.8 for interior church shots with available light.
    Anyway - go for the 18-200 - it's great for 99% of what I do.
     

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