Good VR function, sharp shots
I bought the lens mainly to use the vibration reduction function for hand-held indoor shooting without a flash, rather than for long telephoto. It's very effective for this, particularly for architecture - the VR allows comparatively long exposures, so the shots tend to be beautifully lit, without the artificial feel of HDR post-processing. The controls (zoom and focus) are well placed, and the autofocus works fast and accurately. The resulting shots are sharp even in the few long telephoto shots that I've made.
There are four minor disadvantages. Firstly, it's a fairly large lens, and it does make the camera awkward to carry, which matters more than for most lenses because this is a "holiday lens" - i.e. a general purpose lens you're going to leave on all the time and carry everywhere. Secondly, there is no brake on the telephoto, so will slide out too its full length under its own weight if you walk vigourously. Thirdly, the lens will cast a shadow with the built-in flash on my D40X, even at the wide (short) end of its travel. Not a big deal as you can crop the bottom of the photo, but you need to bear it in mind when framing the shot. Fourthly, there is a fair amount of barrel distortion at the wide end. it's not prominent unless you photography something with parallel lines, but if you do, it's conspicuous (I sometimes photograph the signs at places I visit as a note to myself, and this shows up the problem). It is possible to find software to correct the image, and it only matters on the few shots where the effect is visible.
All in all, it's a great lens for what I do and I'm pleased I bought it, but you would need to be sure that you need that much zoom or the VR function to make it worthwhile for you as it's necessarily a fair wad of cash.
42 of 43 people found this review helpful.
Possible the handiest lens in world - for an amateur
This is a incredibly useful lens - 18-200mm is a big range and you need never take this lens off your camera if you're a DSLR happy snapper. First thing to remember is that this range brings with it optical compromise - see the detailed technical reviews at places like Photozone.de. This is not the most awe inspiringly sharp lens around, you simply don't get pro sharpness and speed for a lens of this price and optical range. That said, if you're an amateur shooting friends and family then you won't even notice. If your more serious about your photography you will understand the lens's capabilities and limitations and take them into account, thus getting the very best out of this lens - when it's good, it's very good indeed. 18-200mm does suffer from zoom creep - leave it dangling around your neck and the barrel will slowly zoom out and it won't be on the setting you left it on ten minutes ago. Once again, if you can't make allowance for that in how you work, then by all means splash out the extra thousand pounds for a Nikon pro spec lens - otherwise, remember to check! The VR does work well, but remember, you're only increasing the statistical chance of a shot coming out well when you're hand holding at ridiculously slow shutter speeds. Shutter speed = focal length is the rule of thumb, and even with the good VR on this lens, you canna deny the laws of physics. Overall, this lens is an amateur's dream but if you aim on making money out of your photography, you'll need to be spending more on your kit.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
This is the most complete DX single lens available
There are a variety of dedicated DX lenses now available for the current range of modern (enthusiast) Nikon SLR cameras (the D300S, D90, D5000 and D3000, along with some of the older now obsolecent models - the D40, D60 and D80 to name a few). Whilst all the DX (and non-DX) "Prime" fixed focal lenses offer superb quality and some impressive fast apperatures, it is this super-zoom that is by far the most versatile. As many of the experts state, it is beautifully made, covers an incredible 18-200mm focal range (equivalent to 27-300mm in a standard 35mm film SLR), yet still delivers outstanding pictures in a range of different lighting situations. Its VR lens system really works, giving the photographer the opportunity to shoot at really slow speeds whilst maintaining clarity.
The only difference between the original version (with the red VR logo) and the latest version (with the gold VR logo) is the focus lock. This is to prevent the camera lens creeping ("zooming") whilst being carried pointing downwards when on the camera. To use it you have to set the lens at 18mm before engaging the lock. As such, it hardly warrants the extra expenditure over the previous version. Confusingly, both versions actually have the same VRII technology in them (despite the fact that the original is referred to as the VRI lens!).
If you are in any doubt about buying this lens then go to your local camera shop and compare it to the other two similar Nikon DX zooms available (the similar priced 16-85mm and the much cheaper 18-105mm). The difference between 16mm and 18mm is really minimal whilst the usability at the other extreme of the lens at 200mm (vice 85mm or 105mm) is vast.
If you just want to carry one lens permanently on your Nikon DX SLR camera that can do just about anything (and do it well), then this is the lens for you. If, on the other hand, you intend to spend thousands of pounds on a full-format (FX) Nikon SLR such as the D700 or any of the D3 series, then this lens will be incompatible!! (but if you were a professional photographer and were spending that amount of money you would have known that anyway!!)
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Good but not great.
I bought this lens from an ebay seller earlier this year. I was influenced by various reviews and the manufacturers blurb. Nikon claim that you can shoot up to 4 stops slower when using the vibration reduction. I found that because of the amount of glass between subject and sensor the best I could acheive was 2 stops. Also the amount of glass tended to flatten colours so unless you like to spend loads of time in post production this lens may not be a good choice. The lens is heavy so it is not good for walkers. Also, it has no brake so it will regularly extend to full length.
If you are considering this lens my advice would be to spend a bit more and buy two lenses to give you the focal range that you require.
Another thing to consider if you intend to use this lens with the vibration reduction turned on all the time is battery life. With VR enabled a fully charged battery that might normally take 200 shots will only take maybe 100.
32 of 34 people found this review helpful.
Excellent Walkabout lens
Being a photographer of all different types of photography, I can happily leave this lens on for anything from weddings to band shoots.
It's got great optics, not the best, but enough to appreciate.
It's does have lens creep, but you should only notice if shooting vertically.
I always have one hand on my lens to anyway, so it's never been an issue.
The lens does get dusty, it's about 2/3 years old since manufacture and dust does get inside the lens.
Not so much to put off buying, as dust is always something every SLR user has to deal with.
Fast lens with 5.6 at 200mm
Considering most entry level lenses have that at 55mm
Definitely a lens for someone who likes to take there camera with them looking for a shot.
Perhaps not the best choice for someone who perhaps wants to do one type of photography alone.
Great for weddings, can have wide angle for posed shots and you can keep right out of the way with the zoom.
It's reasonable for studio shoots, not as ideal as a prime lens, but MUCH more flexible.
VR is a bonus, supposedly you can go 2 stops below, but i've never shot without it on as i rarely use a tripod.
The lens is big and bulky, which is great but I find if I work with anything but a D2 or something with a battery/portrait grip. I can over power the camera on weight if you have an external flash head too.
Great lens, been using work's for about a year now.
Only ever took it off my camera to put on a macro or wide angle lens.
Nice and sharp pictures.
Good all purpose lens.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.