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Old Oct 23, 2008, 12:54 PM   #1
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I'm looking to get my first digital SLR. My primary interest is in shooting high school softball in the spring. I have been using an Olympus SP550 UZ in the past and find that even though it has the super zoom, it just doesn't have the responsiveness to handle sports photography. Since that camera is in the repair shop now, and may not be economical to fix, I thought I'd investigate digital SLRs.


I've decided on Nikon over Canon. The D90 seems to be a decent compromise. It has some features of the higher level Nikons (cmos sensor etc.) at a decent price. I'm not concerned at all about the video recording, but I do want the faster shooting speed over the D80 (4.5 fps vs 3 fps).


The most common configuration I've seen is the D90 with the 18-105mm zoom lens. Most places I've checked out price this kit at $1250-$1299. The other configuration I've seen is at Costco (in store only, not online) with what appears to be a Costco specific bundle, as it has two kit lenses with it. I don't remember the exact focal length of the two lenses, but I think one was around18-55mm and the other was something like 70-200mm. This kit was $1399. As I'm taking a trip this spring and only want to take one lens, I've decided that I want to go a step up from the normal kit lens, so I'm thinking about buying the D90 body only and then theNikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor lens. The weird thing is, when I checked on Amazon.com, they had two seemingly identical lenses, priced $150 apart.


This one is model 2159 and sells for $649.95:


http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-18-200mm-3-5-5-6-ED-IF-Zoom-Nikkor/dp/B000BY52NU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1224771357& amp;sr=1-2

This one is model JAA794DA and sells for $799.00:


http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-18-200mm-3-5-5-6-ED-IF-Zoom-Nikkor/dp/B000C29J7G/ref=sr_1_58?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1224771077 &sr=1-58


Can anyone tell me what the differences are in these lenses? I've looked at the specs for both, but I didn't see any differences. The cheaper lens is sold by Amazon, whereas the more expensive one is sold by Wall Street Photo. Also, the cheaper lens has been available on Amazon since April '05 and the more expensive one has been on Amazon only since February '08.

I've checked the Nikon USA website and can see only one of these in their lineup, but I could not find which model number the lens was.

Could it be that the newer lens has VR II instead of VR?

I can see having a different price for a vendor who sells through Amazon, but it seems like the model number would be the same.

I've googled both model numbers and results turn up for both model numbers being sold at different places.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.















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Old Oct 23, 2008, 2:47 PM   #2
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It appears to be a difference in vendors.



The second one ($799.00)is from Wall Street Photo. The first one is from Amazon.com.



Don't see any other difference.
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Old Nov 1, 2008, 10:46 PM   #3
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Hi,

All Nikon 18-200mm lens are VRII. You can buy a used one in excellent condition off Nikonians, Ebay or Craigslist for $550+ shipping.

It is a good lens to do what you want for <$600.
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Old Nov 3, 2008, 11:22 AM   #4
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You'r going to find the 18-200 is a poor choice for sports photography. Shooting HS softball, you'll be at 200mm most of the time. The lens is quite soft by then. Also, it's not going to be very fast to focus. And, at 5.6 you're going to have shutter speed issues for the evening / overcast games. If you're going to spend that much money on a lens I'd suggest looking into the Sigma 100-300 f4. You'll get MUCH, MUCH better results. Won't help your other shooting but you said the primary purpose of the camera was for HS softball and the 18-200 is a poor sporting lens.
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Old Nov 4, 2008, 5:51 PM   #5
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JohnG wrote:
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You'r going to find the 18-200 is a poor choice for sports photography. Shooting HS softball, you'll be at 200mm most of the time. The lens is quite soft by then. Also, it's not going to be very fast to focus. And, at 5.6 you're going to have shutter speed issues for the evening / overcast games. If you're going to spend that much money on a lens I'd suggest looking into the Sigma 100-300 f4. You'll get MUCH, MUCH better results. Won't help your other shooting but you said the primary purpose of the camera was for HS softball and the 18-200 is a poor sporting lens.
I'll second that suggestion as well:

1. VR will not do any good in sport...

2. The 100-300 f/4 is probably the sharpest lens Sigma makes - Here's why

For a zoom it can hold its own against Nikon's best 300mm f/4 prime:
http://photozone.de/nikon--nikkor-ap...-nikon?start=1
http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...report?start=1
-> Not only that but the Sigma zoom exceeds the Nikon's prime in both vignetting and CA performances as the above test results indicated!

How good is it? Well if you have to use the Sigma 100-300 f/4 with a 1.4x teleconverter (i.e. 420mm f/5.6) it'll even outperform the 80-400 VR @ 400mm f/5.6 (just check the MTF's)!
http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...report?start=1
Again check vignetting and CA here too where the Sigma outflanks the Nikon's zoom

... and if you happen to use a 70-200 f/2.8 VR with a 1.4xTC most of the time - I'll think twice! :blah:
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Old Nov 23, 2008, 11:51 AM   #6
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I think what you're seeing is a difference between vendors; http://www.pricegrabber.com is usually a good tool to see what the spread is, although you have to be wary of the "grey" market.

I recently bought a Nikon 18-200 in a special seasonal sale at one of the local vendors here in the NE USA; I paid just under $300. The 18-200 is a typical "jack of all trades" lens, but for that money, the convenience of having such a range in one lens was pretty attractive.

- Wil
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Old Jan 25, 2009, 4:11 PM   #7
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I haven't checked back on this post for a while as my plan to buy a D90 was put on hold until I knew for sure I was going to be doing softball pics again this year.

Since I now know that I am going to be doing softball, it's time to revisit my plan.

Thanks for your advice concerning the 18-200 zoom. I checked the pricing on the Sigma 100-300 F4 lens and found it to be around $1200 at most online merchants I visited. At this point that is simply not in the budget, especially when I've found a D90 with the 18-200 zoom in a kit at B&H with free shipping for only $1509.00. The only other thing I'd need is a memory card.

I've decided that I'm unwilling to compromise on the D90 body. I will have this camera for several years and I want the most I can reasonably afford, even if it means saving up for a while to get better glass. The movie mode on this camera means nothing to me, but having the slightly better cmos sensor does.

While I'm buying this camera at this point to deal directly with softball starting in March, I will also use it to take all manner of pics throughout the year, including family functions, tourist type pics etc. Having this as a "walk around" lens will probably suit my needs for now, at least until I can save up for a more appropriate lens for shooting sports.

Again, thanks for all your input. BTW, I have since read most of Ken Rockwell's site. It's very informative, especially when looking at Nikon and Canon cameras.


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Old Jan 25, 2009, 7:23 PM   #8
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FalvinP wrote:
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I've decided that I'm unwilling to compromise on the D90 body. I will have this camera for several years and I want the most I can reasonably afford, even if it means saving up for a while to get better glass. The movie mode on this camera means nothing to me, but having the slightly better cmos sensor does.

That's an interesting approach. I think if you speak to a number of experienced photographers they will suggest that plan is a bit backward. A quality lens can last you easily a decade and will impact the quality of your photos immediately. The compromises of the 18-200 will also impact every shot - albeit in a negative fashion. In the end, of course it is completely your choice how you proceed. But I would suggest you think about other lens options. The 18-200 will not only be poor for softball but for a number of other uses as well.

To clarify - I'm suggesting for very little extra money you could still get the D90 and TWO lenses that will outperform the 18-200.

For instance D90 with 18-105 for $1169 and Tamron 70-200 2.8 for $620.

Or if you can swing it then the Sigma 70-200 2.8 for $800 which will have faster focusing than the Tamron. But either lens will also allow you to tack on a TC which the 18-200 won't.

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Old Jan 27, 2009, 2:58 AM   #9
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Again, thanks for all your input. BTW, I have since read most of Ken Rockwell's site. It's very informative, especially when looking at Nikon and Canon cameras.
Ken Rockwell is very entertaining, but if you use his site as a source of anything more than a good laugh then you may end up with a very odd view of things.
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Old Jan 27, 2009, 6:33 AM   #10
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peripatetic wrote:
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Quote:
Again, thanks for all your input. BTW, I have since read most of Ken Rockwell's site. It's very informative, especially when looking at Nikon and Canon cameras.
Ken Rockwell is very entertaining, but if you use his site as a source of anything more than a good laugh then you may end up with a very odd view of things.
Especially since Rockwell is currently on a Film is king kick, and how great Leica is. I'm sorry to say I read his site, but I also look at accidents on the highway, just out of morbid curiosity.
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