Which travel lens: 16-85 or 18-200 – please, advise!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by alffastar, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. Hello Everybody,

    I have had Nikon D300 for 1 month now and this is my first DSLR. Along with it I want a travel lens. I will go to
    Australia on a honeymoon trip that will be 3 weeks long. I do not want 2 travel lenses covering different ranges as I do
    not want to constantly change lenses as this will be a honeymoon trip. It has to be one lens. Now, I am considering
    2 options:
    18-200 VR
    16-85 VR

    I have read reviews that 16-85 is better optically, plus it is lighter. I know 18-200 is not sharp wide open on any focal
    length so I will have to constantly look after the aperture in order to get sharper images. Nikon D300 alone is enough
    of a challenge for me, so having to deal with aperture setting strictly for sharpness reasons worries me because it will
    make the whole shooting experience more complex and less enjoyable for me.

    So, my question is:
    is convenience of using the 16-85 due to its better sharpness and image quality PLUS the extra 2mm at wide end
    comparable with the additional 85-200 range of the 18-200 lens?
    I am asking this because I have never been on such a trip and I really cannot judge which lens is better and whether I
    am going to miss that much the 85-200 range!

    Please, also consider that right now I have Nikon 35mm f/2.0 which I will use for general photography, available light,
    family etc. So, once I buy on of the two lenses 16-85 or 18-200 these will be my lenses for a long time.
  2. Hi Vesselin,

    You will likely get a 50/50 split from everyone answering this post!

    I had the 18-200mm for a short while and sold it as the image quality just wasn't quite good enough. It wasn't by any means bad, it was alright on the whole, it just wasn't great. I did play with my brother's 16-85mm on my D300 and thought it was outstanding - as good as my 17-55mm and with a more useful zoom range too. In my experience the zoom range that the 16-85mm offers covers 90% of what I do and for a general purpose lens that is great. The 18-200mm, at least my one, was at its weakest at the long end and I would have avoided using it zoomed out there anyway.

    On my honeymoon (Polynesia, Chile and Easter Island - still paying that one off!) I had a Canon 5D with the 24-105mm for normal use and found that perfect. I did also have case full of Hasselblad gear with me that was used specifically for Easter Island but for all the other photography I did - landscapes mostly - the 24-105 was all I needed.

    Are you taking a tripod? It would be worth it if your wife allows it. Take a set of graduated neutral density filters too.

    Have fun,

  3. My suggestion would not be a technical one: instead, look at lots of travel pictures (e.g. some of the National
    Geographic books) & ask "which ones would I like to have as either a good reminder of my honeymoon or as stunning
    images that will satisfy me as a photographer". If a lot of them are close-in, dynamic, shots with lots going on
    in the foreground, or wide-open-spaces with huge skies then go for the 16-85; if on the other hand they are
    rather more distant, long-range images then the 18-200 may suit you better.

    If they are in the middle you will probably be OK with either!

    I have both, and the technical answer is of course "it all depends". Overall, the 16-85 seems to me to have
    better image quality than the 18-200, especially at or near full aperture. It also feels better built than my
    version of the 18-200, although I understand that these have improved recently - mine was an early model. The VR
    works very well on both.

    The reason I prefer the 16-85 and end up using it much more is simply that it offers a little bit of extra
    wide-angle that makes a difference for me: I find it better for interiors and fairly close-in street or urban
    landscape photography. If you are more interested in picking out details, or the occasional wildlife shot, then
    the 18-200 might be better.

    The only other point I'd make on the technical side is that with a D300 and the image quality of the 16-85 you do
    have some room for cropping to the equivalent of a longer lens and still being able to print to up to A3, which
    would give you some additional reach (although maybe not the full 200mm). The 18-200 can be quite soft at the
    longer end, making the difference less noticeable.

    The tripod advice is good, but if you can't a beanbag is very useful and easy to carry around. You can usually
    find a convenient wall/table/passing small child or large dog to perch it on for self-timer shots of you & your
    wife, too.

  4. As others have mentioned, you will find a host of opinions here. I have traveled with the 18-200 on my D300 and have been very pleased with it's range, convenience and quality. I don't think you'll really find yourself obsessing about apertures or whether you have zoomed out close to 200. After all, you will be enjoying your honeymoon:)! Seriously, you can produce very nice sharp images with the 18-200 VR. I would recommend that you take a look at Matt Laur's travel shots from Italy with the 18-200 and read his comments on this lens in his forum posts.
  5. I think if you want a one-lens travel solution, the 18-200 is the easy choice. I'd rather not miss the 85-200 range than the
    16-18 range for almost the same price. I shot a LOT above 85mm on my trip to Alaska two years ago, which is what I
    bought it for.

    At the long end the 18-200 suffers a bit wide-open, but wider than say 80mm I don't find that it really does, although I do
    try and shoot in the sweet spot of f8 - f13 as much as I can.

    Check out Thom Hogan's excellent review.

  6. If you are keeping score I am in the 18-200 group but for you, I think the answer is simple........ If you are happy with the 16-85mm range, that's the lens for you. If you need something longer, the 18-200 will serve you well. It really just depends on whether you need the greater reach. In either case, VR is simply wonderful.
  7. Hey Peter,
    I have read the Thom Hogan's review, but here http://www.bythom.com/rationallenses.htm he says:

    'Well, the 18-200mm isn't really 200mm at most focus distances you'd use it at, so it doesn't give you near as much reach as you think, and that extra 2mm at the wide end of the 16-85mm is very useful in travel circles. The 16-85mm is a better lens optically, too. Indeed, I'd take it almost any day over the 18-200mm.'

    So this just confuses me additonally.
  8. Vesselin, thats really weird, it seems to me that it would be almost 300mm with the D300.

    You are going to want to shoot landscapes, and with the D300's DX 1.5x image sensor, you need W I D E.
    Without a tripod also, the 300mm DX length of the 18-200 is almost too long.
    You will have this lens when you get back too, the 16-85 is better quality.

    Take those split ND filters, they will save your life with the bright skys of Australia.
  9. It depends on the compromise you want. I do not own any of these lenses but for a travel lens, the 18-200 would be the natural choice for many.The downside however, would be theorically, image quality as the biggest the difference between the "edges" focal lengths, the harder is to built a good lens. But again, for travelling purposes, who cares ? Well I care. On www.slrgear.com, and www.photozone.de, the reviews are much more in favour of the 16-85 than on the 18-200. Read all about it. Cheers
  10. Personally, if I were buying a lens for long term use I would buy it based on my general photographic interests and not the vacation I was taking because I think either one of these lenses will be great for your trip. What sort of photography do you like, aside from your vacation?

    I chose the 18-200 over the 16-85 for a couple of reasons. I love wide angle photography but I own a dedicated 12-24 which is FAR better for wide angle shots than either of these so the difference between 16mm and 18mm was minimal to me. I also love macro work and need more control over depth of field. The slow aperture of these lenses makes that tough, but the longer focal lengths of the 18-200 helps.

    My other thought is that if you plan on going to see shows or events, 200mm might get you pictures you couldn't get otherwise. Rarely do I feel that there are pictures I can't take at 18mm that I could take at 16mm, but that's personal preference.

    I would NOT be worried about the relative quality of these lenses. They are both excellent lenses and capable of excellent results.

    Again, I would pick my lens based on what I wanted to shoot long term and not based on the relative optical quality of these lenses.
  11. Hey Artur,

    I have read ALL the reviews there are on these two lenses several times (and on many others also:) ). Still, I am
    asking here a specific practical question in relation to a specific occasion, something reviews not always tell you

    I also care A LOT about the image quality. That is why I got D300. Although this will be a travelling occasion, for me
    this will be once in a lifetime experience, so I really do care about getting a lens that is both as versatile as possible
    and as good optically as possible!
  12. Vesselin,

    Get the 18-200.

    There is no difference in speed between these two lenses and the the 2 mm wouldn't be a big deal for travel photography.

    If you need some room, step back one step, or if you don't have room, move the camera above your head and a bit backward. It is more difficult to step forward when you're at the edge of a fence of the balcony or the cliff to have extra reach IMO.

    For me the sharpness of the 18-200 is respectable good. It equals my 70-200 f2,8 VR.

    BTW, congratulations for your honeymoon. If you come my way in Australia, we may go out for a shoot together, and I'll lend you some lenses to test drive?
  13. IMHO it depends on which range is more useful to you. I would choose the 16-85mm. I don't care for slow teles and think even the 85mm at f5.6 is much to slow. With a D300 I would look at the better zooms like the 17-55 f2.8 or 24-70 f2.8 because the extra speed would be more useful in the long run if you shoot other than landscape.
  14. "I know 18-200 is not sharp wide open on any focal length"

    Mine is.

    "...16-85 due to its better sharpness and image quality"

    Unless you are pixel peeping, you won't see any difference in your prints.
  15. I'd vote for the 18-200.
    I have the lens, and while it's not as sharp as my 17-55, it's by no means "soft" either. Besides, I'd rather have a slightly-soft, yet properly-cropped photo of a distant subject, than a slightly-sharper, yet overly-wide photo of the same thing, because I lacked sufficient zoom length.
    The 18-200 is a fantastically versatile lens, and the VR buys you a lot of latitude with respect to shutter speeds. If I'm going somewhere where I know I'll be taking a wide variety of shots (some portraits, some architecture, some landscapes, some zoo photos or whatever), and I only want to bring a bare-minimum kit, I put the 18-200 on my D300, and throw it in a Lowepro Rezo 170 AW with my SB-800. That setup gives me incredible flexibility, while still allowing my shots to stand above "snapshots" taken by peers.
    One quick example: On vacation in Mexico, we attended a spectacular musical show at XCaret eco-park. Here's a photo of one of the buglers in the show. We were sitting waaaay up in the stands. This shot would've been impossible if I'd been limited to 85mm. But the combination of 200mm reach and VR made this shot possible. I find the sharpness more than acceptable.
  16. The 16-85 is more compact, does not suffer from "zoom creep", has lower geometric distortion, has better resolving
    powers. and lower chromatic aberations. It's 24mm to 128mm equivalent so it covers a range that covers 90+% of
    shoooting needs. I suggest getting the 16-85, and then adding a longer lens, like the 70-300VR is youu find the need for
    longer focla lenghts.
  17. "Well, the 18-200mm isn't really 200mm at most focus distances you'd use it at," Yes, as with virtually all IF zoom
    lenses, as you focus closer the focal length decreases. This is not an issue in real photography. You just take a step
    forward or back.

    Let's get this straight, No one who's tried them or even just read about them will dispute that the 16-85 is a better lens
    optically. Case closed. BUT... for a vacation "one lens solution" like our OP has asked for, in my experience that 85 -
    200 range is WAY more valuable than the 16-18 range. A lot of my favorite vacation photos were taken just after
    zooming all the way from 18 - 200 or vice versa. If I had had to switch lenses... it wouldn't have happened.

    If you are printing huge photos or cropping in a LOT you MIGHT notice the difference between these two lenses in "real"
    vacation photography. If you're printing 8 x 10 or 11 x 14... I doubt it.
  18. "zoom creep" is no longer an issue - the current 18-200mm lenses being sold by Nikon do not creep.

    Distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting are all easily correctable in post processing. Neither lens is
    totally immune to these minor issues.

    Kevin's comments are right on the money as are some of Dan's. Which lens to choose depends on your shooting
    style. You may find the extra reach of the 18-200mm more useful more often than the slightly wider reach of the
    16-85mm. Or, if you shoot mainly wide, you may find the extra 2mm on the wide end more useful.

    As both lenses offer VR, the choice really boils down to your shooting preferences. Both lenses will give you
    excellent results.
  19. Galen,

    Thom Hogan is correct. The 18-200mm is only a true 200mm lens when you are focussed at infinity. The reason is that
    this lens design reduces focal length in order to focus on nearby objects. This is normal, and a typical trade-off that is
    made to get a lens with this kind of zoom range.


    The reason you will get a range of opinion on the "sharpness of the 18-200" is two-fold. First, there is quite a variation in
    sharpness between different copies of the 18-200. I have had two. One was acceptably sharp but had a mechanical
    problem. I returned it and got another 18-200, which unfortunately was so much less sharp that I returned that one as
    well and opted for the 16-85 VR and 70-300 VR combination. This is more expensive, but very very sharp; it is what
    Hogan recommends. (You could save some with the 50-200 VR, but then you get into different issues again.) If you care
    about IQ, go with this, but then you spend more money and use two lenses, not your stated single lens goal.

    The other reason why there is such a wide range of opinion on this lens is that the sharpness really does not matter that
    much if you are mostly posting the photos on the web and making 4x6 prints. For pictures like that, you could often get
    nearly as good a result with a decent point and shoot camera, for less money and hassle. Since you got a D300 and
    state that you "care a lot about the image quality", I assume that you would not be satisfied with just any lens.

    So, I would suggest that you try out the 18-200 VR, since this lens is quite literally designed for your purpose, a travel
    lens. Make sure you buy from a place that has a no hassle return policy and make sure that you take some photos that
    really allow you to evaluate the lens. It really is a great lens, don't get me wrong, and I still wish that first copy I got was
    mechanically 100%. I may try again. But for my purpose right now the 16-85 VR suited me better.
  20. For me, the additional 115mm on the zoom end outweighs the additional 2mm on the wide end. I mean, how much more are you really going to capture with just 2mm??
  21. Elliot,

    I totally agree that which lens is "best" depends on a lot more than the sharpness!

    "Distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting are all easily correctable in post processing. Neither lens is totally
    immune to these minor issues."

    I agree that this is *mostly* true. There is a technical detail about CA. The lateral CA is relatively easy to correct for, and
    the D300 will do this for you on the fly. The longitudinal CA is nearly impossible to correct for, but mostly leads to
    softness of the image. The second 18-200 I send back suffered from softness and significant longitudinal CA (probably
    something not quite aligned correctly inside), the first copy did not have these issues. BTW, neither lens had any zoom
  22. 18-200 VR !!!
    When you travel , sometime you may need 18mm , sometime 200mm, unless you want swap lenses all the time-( why miss a shot?..)-- softness ???, --- if I worry about softness, when I travel i would buy baby wipes! :) Enjoy your trip, have fun, and 18-200, is not that bad !!!
    Ps. If you shot for photo contest, I would worry about" softness", in you case i d rather worry about the weather and fun !!! Ciao, raf
  23. For me, I love having the extra wide angle offered by the 16-85mm. Also, the 18-200mm at 18mm is a funhouse lens, it's really quite terrible, whereas the 16-85mm at 18mm is very well corrected, even better than the 18-70mm at 18mm.
    Most of my photography happens between 16-70mm, with some at 85mm. I have a very small and lightweight Nikon 70-300mm ED zoom when I need that extra reach. Both lenses will come with me when I go to London and Paris in the fall.
    Boeing B-17 Cockpit, Aluminum Overcast visiting the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, May 24, 2008. D300 with 16-85mm at 16mm
  24. Funhouse lens? Terrible? Dave, that's a bit extreme (But of course you hated your bad sample of the 18-200 you had
    years ago). Surely neither lens is great for out-of-camera brick wall images, but I've had to "fix" exactly one image in two
    years of shooting. One. I wouldn't call that terrible.

    I'll bet that an image such as the one above shot with both lenses would be roughly indistinguishable between the two
    lenses, as there aren't severely straight lines at the edges of the frame (assuming you could step back enough to take
    the same shot at 18mm as 16mm).

    Not to belabor the point, but you're going on a honeymoon (the main point of the trip) and you're looking for a vacation

    Either of these lenses will do fine for this. You have to decide, again, if you want the 2mm at the wide end or the 115mm
    at the long end. For most of us in the film days, for vacation shooting, 28mm (the approximate field-of-view of the wide
    end of the 18-200) was wide enough. I shoot an inordinate amount of "landscape" stuff at 24 (35mm equiv) anyway.
  25. When I was in Italy with my D 200, I had a 18-70mm DX and a 70-210mm. 95-99% of my pictures were taken with the 18-70mm on the D 200. The 18-200mm was just being introduced. After reading the above posts if you still cannot decide, just flip a coin. Either lens will get the job done for you! Get a Cokin P ring, a polarizer to fit it, like one made by Singh Ray, and a set of graduated neutral density filters. As others have stated, you will need them in Australia. The Cokin P ring will hold the polarizer and the GNDs. Joe Smith
  26. Hi Vesselin,

    In my 30+ years of traveling around the world with camera gear, it is my opinion that the most convenient Nikon lens for
    travel made to date for the DX camera format is the AF-S DX VR Zoom- NIKKOR
    18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED. The incredible 11x focal range will adequately cover just about every photo opportunity you
    encounter. Furthermore, you will not have to worry about changing lenses in dusty or damp situations, potentially
    exposing your CCD to the elements. Travel light, travel smart, travel with the AF-S DX VR Zoom- NIKKOR
    18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED.
  27. One additional thought. Correcting issues in PS during post may be simple enough. But, in my opinion, it is a gient pain to
    work through picture after picture taken during a vacation. My motto, "the less post processing, the better" ;~)
  28. Dave, interesting comment about the 18-200 being a funhouse lens. I think it depends completely on what your subject is....example...
  29. First up - Congratulations on your wedding.

    Secondly - - I've not ever been to Australia, but I've traveled extensively all over Europe, the US and a few countries in northern Africa. My style of photography would render the 16-85 useless. I would in no time be screaming in frustration over all the shots I could not get with the 16-85. It would not even make it at Disneyland for me. I tried the 24-120mm at Disneyland & knew it was not going to make it for my way of photographing. I bought the 18-200VR & I had fun on the next trip to Disneyland.

    Now, if you could be talked into two lenses...... then I'd say - - get the 16-85 & the 70-300VR. But you've already said no to that suggestion - - one lens only.

    So, I will here yet again offer up a few galleries I took with the 18-200VR over a week in April/May while a friend was visiting. This week was spent getting to know this lens - which I bought last year in September, but had really not ever worked with more than to test out for sharpness.

    This whole folder of galleries are pretty much all of them the 18-200VR -
    http://lilknytt.zenfolio.com/f200314254/ - only the bird shots of the Sanderlings shot in the Venice Beach gallery are shot with the 200-500mm Tamron.

    I set my D300 to an f/8 at ISO 400 & forgot about the rest, past checking my histograms continuously. I can tell you this much - - If I could only travel with one lens - - that's the one I'd bring. The Graduated ND filters are a good suggestion, as would a polarizer be - - if you're traveling Australian Summer. After all - - they have winter going now.

    This is just my honest opinion based upon years of traveling & my shooting style. A light weight small tripod would be a great addition. I presume you'll have your own suitcase. Do yourself a favor - - pack it. I'm a wife & I would not ever consider interfering with my husband's packing past seeing to it that he has enough underwear etc. He then packs by himself - - I just make sure all is wash so he can choose.


    Lil :)
  30. "Hi Vesselin,

    You will likely get a 50/50 split from everyone answering this post! "

    It's true!

  31. I went on a once in a lifetime vacation with a D200 and two lenses that covered 17-200mm (sorry, I don't remember which ones). I managed to learn the answer to the question, Which lens do I need for this shot? Answer, the one in the bag!

    I missed a huge number of shots just because I had the wrong lens on the camera.

    I got rid of both lenses and went to the 18-200. Although I have several other lenses, this is the one that is usually on the camera.
  32. Hey Lil,
    What a kind post, thank you :))) My wedding will be in October, so it is still ahead. I will sea about a tripod - it is entirely my decision :))
  33. Lil,

    Thanks for the link with your pictures - it is very helpful at this point! I will look at them in greater detail, but what I see I really like :)
  34. I shoot a lot of buildings and content that needs lines to look straight. I guess if you're out shooting wildlife you can accept the 18-200mm. I couldn't and I sold it quickly. I grew up shooting primes and zooms were always compromises. They still are, but some are a lot better than others. From my experience, the 18-200mm was unacceptable for my work, and I'll leave it at that.
  35. Vesselin,

    Are you confused enough yet? :)

    I would suggest think honeymoon first, photography second. With that in mind, the more convenience the better. To me, if one lens is the way, the 18-200 is the natural choice.

  36. Vesselin, in practical terms, no doubt that the 18-200 is much more versatile than the 16-85, but if you are like myself, where image quality it's a must and a decision factor...well, go for the 16-85. There are no miracles on zooms which covers focal lengths from 18 to 200 mm.
  37. OK, THANK YOU EVERYONE! Thank you James Symington, Omega NC, Artur, Lil and Robert Hooper!! But everyone else also - really!

    Now, I am getting 18-200 - it really is the best for one lens solution for this trip!! I will try to learn it and get the best I can :))) I will post some pics then. I will get also Canon 500d close up lens! I will take with me the 35 mm 2.0 for some fast low light and when I want just something light during evenings!

    Happy shooting to everyone!
  38. Yes, its right, 18-200 was my dream lense when I started walking with my first SLR, but on that time the budget was problem, so I firstly I bought 70-300 (G) with the Nikon film SLR body and after couple of weeks I bought 28-80. THese fullfil my needs and still the best for me because I have these.

    So whatever you can get, the best, because you can use, you don't only talk about that....

    D300 is I DX (Small censor) camera, so you will need more widest to get wide usage, both will work nearly similar results at the wide end but 18-200 is better if you want walk with small bundle and don't want to interchange the lenses. Noone knows when he/she will see something interesting and how far or near that is, so with just one lense you could do, this is the reason, why the 18-200 is best suited for press/news journalism....

  39. See for yourself- the 18-200 on a D300 last weekend. I do not think you will have any issues. The 16-18 wide is really not an issue. Now the 85 or 200 probably you will notice the lack of reach. It is Nikon's best selling lens for a reason.
  40. Vesselin,

    glad I could help. There are two camps for this lens - - people either like it or not.

    Good luck

    Lil :)
  41. I personally would go for 18-200 for travel lens. you have the 18 for wide angle and the 200 for telephoto work.
  42. Just my .02, on a trip to Hawaii last year I found the 18-200mm vr to be the best all around lens.
    Worked well while hanging out of the side of a open Helicopter over Kauai's canyons and water falls.
    Good lens for street work and landscapes as well. It would be my choice.
  43. jbm


    Bring a bottle of good white wine and an iPod with some Barry White, also portable speakers. Wait...this was a lens question?

    I own the 16-85 and love it. It's incredibly sharp and was quite useful at a recent bike race to give great low, semi-wide angle shots of racers in a corner. I've used it for some commercial shooting and it really produces super sharp and nicely saturated images. Honestly at the same stops, it's as sharp as the 17-55 as well as I can tell. And I do find the wide end useful.

    Now last year I went to South Africa, also on a honeymoon, and used my then Canon with an 18-200 tamron. This lens was a real piece of junk, not that sharp, lousy colors...and I appreciated every millimeter of the range. A HUGE number of my shots (wildlife) were at the tele end of the lens. Take a look at my wildlife folder, every single one shot with the lousy tamron and you will appreciate the variety of wide and tele shots I took...this would not have been possible with a more limited zoom range. The Nikon is a much better lens than the Tamron equivalent and the images will be great.

    Sooooo...if the question is what to bring for the trip, go for the 18-200. If based on your style you anticipate shooting a lot with the 16-85 range, it's a better long term investment.

    Enjoy the honeymoon. As my grandfather says, "Marriage is a wonderful institution. And I should know, I have been institutionalized for over 50 years!"


  44. Guys,

    What a beginner I am if this just came to my mind! If I wll be using 16-85 and shoot something that is not zoomed enough due to the shorter focal length compared to 18-200, isn't quite a valid scenario to crop the photo at say 50% and still have quite an accaeptable quality? I mean, I have D300 so I guess it allows for 50% crops and I will still have an equivalent of around 6 mp, right? Do you think I can rely on 50% crops for these cases and still have quite good quality with my D300?
  45. No, not always.. This is not a right way to get closeups of far subjects, If you have a digital camera, you have to utilize all pixels of the picture and you should, I don't know waht would be your purpose of photos taken, but I wouldn't do it, in any situation except some exceptions.

    Let's assume :

    If you have a picture of 10.8 megappixels (4000 X 2700 pxls) and you crop it 50% than you will get results in about 2.6 megapixels (2000 X 1350 pxls)

    this is megapixels myth, so many people still don't understand that a picture of 4 megapixels is not the half of 8 Megapixels, it is 75% in the size of 8 MP.

    Best would be to have lense acording to your use...
  46. Pankaj,

    I see - you are right. Thanks! I should have made this calculations myself, being a programmer :)
  47. A three week honeymoon? In Australia? If you can afford that, buy a second camera then you never have to change lens. If you don't see affording another D300 then a D80 will serve you well as 2nd camera. But it's better to have the same camera so you don't have to think about which camera does what. Surely you have a nice Lowepro back pack on wheels. Save a small hole in the pack for underwear in case your luggage gets lost.

    Being a beginner be sure to carry a small cleaning brush and lens cloth. Clean everynight. This of course is after you retrieve the sillouette of your spouse in the sunsets and don't pack up like everyone else and leave before the twilight hours. October will be the perfect time for those shots. Take your shutter release cable and tripod. That bean bag will be a great idea for weight on the tripod during the windy times.

    Tamrac has camera bags fairly inexpensive that will protect your cameras while touring unless you're renting a vehicle and free wheeling on your own. The bags might be cumbersome to pack but you can roll shirts and stuff them inside for space saving. The point is, think about protecting your cameras everyday during your travel. A lot of photographers damage something because they thought " well, it won't be far, I'll just set the camera down" The car stops suddenly and down goes the camera to the floor.

    By the way, if you haven't bought battery backups, look into a battery pack but be sure to carry backup and charge them everynight.

    The best way to enjoy your honeymoon is to go prepared. The last thing you need on a trip like this is regret. Unless of course you are fortunate enough to return to Australia, regularly.

    Most of all, Enjoy your trip. Pam
  48. I have many Nikon lens. 70-200mm, 12-24mm, 18-200mm, 200mm Micro, 24mm, 50mm, 105mm, 180mm ED. I alway love the 18-200mm as travel lens. I always carry it too on my street and travel pics, so no doubt. 18-200mm. Who says its not sharp?
  49. Vesselin Iossifov, I found one interesting new thing arrived in market and that is Nikon coolpix P-80, it is a complete camera for weekend and holidays shooters which provides you a 18x optical zoom (27mm-430mm aprox.), 10.1 megapixels, electronic viewfinder and SLR looking body.

    You can discover this cheap flower on Nikon website....
  50. Hey Pam,

    Whether I can afford the trip or not was not an issue, we just decided we wanted it so badly that we found a way. But cirtanly I cannopt afford second camera - with my new D300 and the future travel lens I exceeded my budget for a camera by far already :)))

    As a camera bag I have Think Tank holster 20.

    Thanks for the advice!
  51. In a new lense price, you can get Nikon P80 and forget about any lense change, its range is (35mm format equivalent) 27mm to 480mm....... This is the new start of future photography..... as earlier DSLRs replaced the 35mm films ( I am still successfully and happily using films)..........
  52. Regarding the "2mm doesn't make a difference at the wide end" theory.

    Weeeelll, not always. Sometimes you can stand back. However, using a WA is not just about coverage - it's also about the relationship between foreground and background, and standing back often destroys that. The closer in you work, the more the difference.I use both, and there are definitely cases where that 2mm makes a difference. Whether it matters more to you than the extra at the long end is entirely personal. Others may not care at all. But for the wide-angle enthusiast, the difference is undeniably real and significant.

    Regarding the softness of the 18-200mm: I can see the difference between this and the 16-85mm at equivalent focal lengths on 11"x14" prints, not just with pixel peeping. Not enough to make me feel "I don't want to use this lens if it's the sensible choice", but definitely there. A combination of slightly-higher-than-normal unsharp mask and high-pass sharpening sorts some of it out, though, but if you take JPEGs straight out of the camera on normal sharpening I find a visible difference, especially at infinity or near infinity focus. Caveat: I may have a bad copy of the 18-200, and the difference is so much that I'm having the lens overhauled at the moment.
  53. Just sold my 18-200. As I posted in another forum, the lens is best described as a jack-of-all trades, master-of-none lens. Do you want pro images or just images? This is not a pro lens.
  54. Tim,

    I guess 16-85 is also not for pro images, but may be closer to that than 18-200 - what do you think?
  55. I've never used the 16-85, but when I need a good lens review I look online. It's not hard to find quality reviews. When several good reviewers are consistantly positive in what they say about the lens, generally the lens is a solid performer.
    Also, don't write off the extra 2mm between the two lenses; at the wide end, 2mm is a MUCH greater angle of view than, say 200mm vs 202mm.
    Look at your favorite travel and landscape images. My guess is they'll be shot from a wide angle out to 105 at the most. Read up on street photography, and you might discover telephoto lenses aren't used as much as the 35/50mm range.
    And one final thing...focal length is only 1/4 of the equation-- max F-stop is the rest. Perhaps you should broaden your search to a lens that goes down to f2.8 at least. As I grow in photography, I'm replacing slow lenses with fast ones. Tonight I was a chaperon at a youth group function on the beach. As the sun set I was still taking hand-held shots (no VR) of fast-moving youth...all because I could get down to f2.8. (and I was using my new 24-85 which cost me 400 bucks used from Adorama).
  56. And if its for just a trip, consider rental.
  57. Tim,

    I have Nikon 35 f/2.0 for the situations when I need action in low light. Thanks for the advice in regards the travel lens and all!
  58. Seems like you've already made up your mind, I think the 18-200 is probably the most reasonable 1 lens set-up, albeit being a compromise in most aspects. I guess one other alternative would be to get a Tamron 17-50/2.8 + the 70-300 VR.

    When I went on a similar trip of a life-time I bought a Canon 5D + 24-105/4 L*. Sure, I brought a few other lenses but that range was just fine for me so I guess I would go for a 16-85. Then again, I don't shoot houses/birds/scenes at a distance, my passion is people photography and I tend to use primes for that. And I gotta tell ya', even of all the pro glass that I've used on my D300, I still love that little 18-70 DX for a travel lens - $200 used, amazing little lens.

    *) Bought it during discounts, used it on trips to 3 different countries during 4 months and sold it $150 less than I paid for it (discounts were over by then). Talk about cheap rent!
  59. Although this is an old thread I would like to update it. Bought 18-200 VR and did not like the feel of it and some issues with IQ - distortion at wide end, some softness wide open. Sold it without losing money (I bought it from US and sold it in EU). Then I bought 16-85 VR. For now this is the only walk-around lens I have and I am very, very happy with it. After trying Tamron 17-50 and Nikon 18-200, I am finally happy with my new lens - IQ, feel (build) and range are perfect. May be in the future I will consider either 70-300 or 55-200, but for now, as a one lens solution - this is it :))

  60. Same experience. I was asked to take the photographs at a friend's wedding last week, and although the 16-85 is not the 17-55 f2.8 it did a very creditable job (perhaps unlike the poor old photographer - never, ever again).

    I now take the 16-85 on business trips on a D60 body when I don't feel like lugging the D200 and it's really a very manageable 1-lens outfit.

    Hope you enjoy your trips & take losts of great photos.
  61. Just to chime in here, since I also have experience with
    these two lenses:

    Even if I had to choose a SINGLE lens for a trip, it'd still
    be the 16-85. I shoot at the wide end a LOT and the strong
    barrel distortion was quite annoying to me. And as others
    have mentioned, it was soft at the long end. Zoom creep was
    also a nagging problem. It was usually fine if the lens was
    racked back to 18mm, but if it was even at 19mm, it would
    creep. Viewing the images in Lightroom, it was pretty
    obvious that it lacked contrast compared to my other lenses,
    too. I even created a preset specifically for that lens.

    After a year of using it, I bought a 16-85VR. I don't miss
    the long end at all. 200mm is a nice to have but it was
    only occassionally useful and limited by its softness (had
    to stop it down a fair bit). In short, I found myself using
    the 18-200VR like an 18-135 simply because I disliked its
    performance at the long end.

    BTW, unlike a previous poster's experience, my 18-200VR
    doesn't come close to comparing to the image quality of my
    70-200VR. Sharpness and contrast are clearly worse than the

    It's true, though, that the sharpness won't be an issue in
    your typical print size. IMO that's up to 8x10 or 11x14.
    Go larger and I think it would be an issue. OR...if you
    want to crop your shot, I think you'll be limited, too.

    Also, it's true that you can fix the distortion and contrast
    in post processing. But the sum of these small problems was
    enough to make me dissatisfied with the lens.


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