Nikon 70-300 VR vs 18-200 VR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bsd230, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. I currently own the 18-200 VR but was thinking about going back to a 2 lens
    setup using the Sigma EX 18-50 2.8 and the Nikon 70-300 VR. My question is does
    the 70-300 has better optics than the 18-200? If anyone has had both or has used
    both I would appreciate their comments. That is the main reason I am switching
    back to a 2 lens setup is the image quality. I love the versatility and how well
    the VR works on the 18-200 but the image quality if not that good.
  2. Brian, I have no idea why the image quality of your 18-200VR isin't good enough for you. Maybe you could post an example.

    But a thought.... maybe your lens just needs an adjustment. IMO, better to send it off for warranty repair than make a drastic change that might not improve your image quality.
  3. gnerally speaking asking a lens to stretch as far as the 18-200--11x zoom-- is gonna result in some compromising. therefore splitting the focal range will almost always result in better images. reviews i've read of the 70-300 vr confirm this, although they are very similar lenses, both with 2 ED elements and IF. let's put it this way: the 70-300 isn't gonna be any worse than the 18-200. and handholding at 300 mm with VR enabled is a plus. but unless you absolutely need the extra reach that much, consider pairing the sigma 50-150 --only about $100 more than the 70-300 vr -- with the 18-50, for a fast, versatile, and sharp 2-lens kit. having 2.8 across such a wide focal range, while still maintaining relatively lightweight and compactness, is IMO better than VR. the 18-200 and 70-300's mortal weakness is their slow speed. the image quality on the 50-150 is excellent, and the non-extending inner tube and grippy zoom ring make it much snappier than either the 70-300 or 18-200. for quick af, it has hsm, compared to the nikkors' swm, but is much faster due to the larger aperture. really kind of a no-brainer if you already have the 18-50.
  4. here's another 50-150 pic:
  5. Brian,

    Your lens might need an adjustment. My 18-200 is great. From what I've read (check out for some great reviews of both of these lenses) the 70-300 will be WAY
    better at 200mm, plus it goes out to 300. I think it would be an excellent complement to
    the 18-200, which I think of as a great 18-70 with a reasonably good 70-200 attached
    that you can use when you must. I'm thinking of getting one myself. I doubt, from what
    I've seen and read, that the Sigma will be better than the Nikon, except of course a bit

    But please post an image that shows what you don't like, and describe it a bit.
  6. Eric, I have noticed a significant difference between my old camera with L-lenses and my new camera D200/18-200. I have sent my 18-200 into Nikon and had the AF adjusted but it's still not as sharp as what I have been used to. It's the most noticeable in portraits. I know it's not a fair comparison between an L-lens and the 18-200 but once you've used quality glass you notice the difference. I would rather have a sharp lens than try to sharpen in PP. I will probably purchase the Sigma 18-50 for now and see how it goes.
  7. Hi Brian,

    I have the 18-200 and it is wonderful lens to carry around. but like you I have found that it lacks badly is some specific situations. I am looking for lenses to fill those gaps. I would also vote for the sigma 50-150 f2.8 for event and portraits and if you want wider. you should also consider the tokina 16-50 f2.8 . good luck with your decision.
  8. And for the long end i am also like you considering the 70-300 vr but I am also thinking that the 80-400 nikon or Sigma may be a better choice.
    Also looking at the 200-500 tamron for the longer than 200 options.
  9. Not to sound like a jerk, but I think you should get opinions only from people who
    actually own both lenses and I happen to be one of them. There is no comparison between
    the two lenses. The 70-300 is much sharper than the 18-200 across the board. I suppose
    the sharpness will not make a difference if you will be printing 8 x 10 or smaller. However,
    larger images will be a day and night difference. The 18-200 is nice lens, but it has been
    hyped way too much, especially by guys such as Ken Rockwell. Also, I think many of the
    praises of this lens are from people who are upgrading from p&s cameras. Duh! Obviouslly
    the 18-200 rocks compared to any p&s. I love the 18-200 for its combination of
    convenience and image quality. If convenience is your number one priority, then the
    18-200 is a great choice. If image quality is more important, then the 70-300 will be a
    better choice for the zoom range. Also, I don't think it's fair to compare the 70-300 to the
    80-400 or 70-200 F2.8. Both those are heavy lenses. The 70-300 is at the threshold of
    what I would call a walk around lens in terms of weight. Good luck and if you really want
    to find out go ahead and buy a lense from a place like that doesn't charge
    restocking fees. I won't comment on the Sigma since I don't own one.
  10. The availability of the 70-300 VR is one reason I chose Nikon for digital. Weight, bulk and image quality are at the top of my lens 'must have' list. This number comes in at 745 grams, is slim, not overly long, and [especially] in the centre, delivers excellent results. I simply would not cart the monster, boat anchor f2.8 70/80-200s so many people love, together with a larger tripod, larger bags - it goes on; no good for my style of travel.
    Consumer zooms are coming on in quality very quickly, something Ken R is right about. Good reviews of this one can be read on photozone and elsewhere.
  11. Brian, I have the 70-300VR, I love the image quality! I have the 50/1.8 prime and really love the image quality of this lens. I have the 18-70 and this zoom lens is number 3 for image quality. I have not shot the 18-200 but have read it is at the quality level of the 18-70 lens. JMHO
  12. I just added a d40 and 18-200 purely for convenience. I know it doesn't add up to my D200, F2.8 zooms and F1.4 primes. However, it does provide as much performance in a small package as I could hope for.
  13. hi Brian

    I do not have any of the mentioned lenses but would like to say that Sigma is going to bring out the 18-50 f2.8 with HSM in the next weeks. I no not know if you want to wait or if it is already availabel but it will improf the handling much ofer the screw drive version.
  14. Thanks Thomas, HSM is definitely worth waiting for. Thanks s nathan that exactly what I was wanting to know. I appreciate everyones input. I am by no means bashing the 18-200, it's a great all around lens but there are times when it just isn't the best lens for the job. I wouldn't want to travel without it but when I don't mind lugging around a couple of lenses I would like something sharper.
  15. brian,
    that's exactly what the 18-200 was intended for: a general purpose, jack of all trades, master of none lens. not to say it's bad, just that for specific purposes there are better lenses. good luck with the sigma 18-50. i just got the tamron 17-50 and am very happy with it, but have to say hsm is a great feature on the 50-150. on a shorter lens af lag is not so much of an issue but i'm sure it's faster than the non-hsm 18-50.
  16. I'm as green as can be and wanted to add my own questions to this line:

    I have a D40x and very basic 55-200mm lens for distance. I am in love with nature photos and want more zoom. So Nikon VR 70-300 or 80-400 or Sigma 80-400? I'm not at the point to spend multi thousands for a lens, but would like to get my money's worth.

    1. is the increase to 300mm enough of a difference to make it worth a new lens?
    2. would the slow speed of the 400mm lens make catching animals running/flying difficult?
    3. is Sigma a cheap knockoff?
  17. The 18-200 is only good for those who want convenience. It has heavy distortion and light falloff. It is not a pro lens even though it is priced as one. Ken Rockwell praises the 18-200 as an end-all lens and constantly suggests getting it instead of other zooms. I find this to be ridiculous. The 70-300 outperforms it in every way except for zoom range. Everyone just needs to ignore the hype. If you want the convenience, go agead. If you want better image quality, go for the 18-70 and 70-300. Same overall price but with better results. Besides, you will appreciate the longer reach."soft at 300"? At 300 it is the same sharpness as 200 on the 18-200 and at 200 it is definitely sharper than the 18-200. While using the same VR capabilities, the 70-300 VR is by far the better choice.

    Seriously, Ken Rockwell needs to rethink his analysis. Sure the convenience is nice but the price does not fit the image quality.

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