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Old May 29, 2009, 9:08 PM   #1
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Default 18-200mm Lens - Which one?

I have read numerous reviews regarding the different 18-200mm lenses out there. Some say you should buy the Tamron or Sigma lens instead of the Nikon. Others say stay with the Nikon even at double the price.

What do you all think? Pay up for the Nikon? Save money and go with the Tamron or Aigma 18-200mm lens?

I need some help in deciding....

Last edited by Muschnick; May 29, 2009 at 10:47 PM.
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Old May 29, 2009, 11:00 PM   #2
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Default 18-200 which one

I ordered both the Sigma 18-200 DC OC for my Nikon D-90 and the Nikon 18-200 DX AF VR. In my opinion, the Nikon lens is far better optical quality. I tested both lenses in a variety of settings and found that at both extremes - wide angle and extreme telephoto, there was considerable optical fringing in the Sigma, while the Nikon performed admirably at all settings. I am returning the Sigma lens and keeping the Nikon lens. This isn't a cheap decision, but the Nikon lens was about 1.7 x the price of the Sigma. I've never cared for Tamron lenses - product bigotry no doubt, but as a user of both Canon and Nikon bodies, I've found few instances where third party glass exceeded or equalled the specs of the Camera mfgr's glass.

My 2 cents - or $400 (for the Sigma). Hope this helps
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Old May 30, 2009, 11:17 PM   #3
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Thanks MrFearless! I hate to agree with you when it will cost me $400 or so but I am leaning in the same direction. Then again being the beginner that I am I doubt I would notice the difference right now. Hopefully as I get a better understanding and a better eye for photographs I will notice the difference.

Sucks to be on a tight budget
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Old May 31, 2009, 8:06 AM   #4
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Thanks MrFearless! I hate to agree with you when it will cost me $400 or so but I am leaning in the same direction. Then again being the beginner that I am I doubt I would notice the difference right now. Hopefully as I get a better understanding and a better eye for photographs I will notice the difference.

Sucks to be on a tight budget
You have more choices than that!!!!!

The other lenses that you should consider, in order of best to worst(In my opinion) are:

Tamron 18-250mm
Nikon 18-200mm
Tamron 18-270mm
Tamron 18-200mm
Sigma 18-200mm
Canon 18-200mm (not able to fit to your Nikon of course, luckily as it happens, because this lens is the worst of the lot!!!!)

I've not seen the Sigma 18-250mm, so I can't tell you what that's like.

The first three are definitely worth considering. The Tamron 18-200 is marginal, the Sigma 18-200 is probably not worth it, while the Canon is not much good at all!!!

Last edited by dnas; May 31, 2009 at 8:09 AM.
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Old Jun 3, 2009, 12:38 AM   #5
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Default Nikon 18-200 AF VR Lens Sharpness??

I have the Nikon D300 and the 18-200mm AF DX kit lens, which I bought 10 months ago. I am really disappointed with the sharpness of this camera/lens combination at almost all distances but medium closeups and infinity especially. I have tried the camera on a tripod - high shutter speeds, medium to small f stops, short and long focal lengths - just not impressed. The camera I thought I was upgrading from is my Coolpix 8800 but side by side pictures with same settings always shows the 8800 to take slightly sharper pictures than the D300/18-200mm! The only advantage for my D300 is startup speed, high speed picture taking, faster focus and better shadow definition - but not worth all the money. Is this kit lens a dog like other people have identified? I was heartbroken when I got my D300 after shelling out so much money but not seeing any real benefit. Anyone else think the same?
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Old Jun 3, 2009, 2:53 AM   #6
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I have the Nikon D300 and the 18-200mm AF DX kit lens, which I bought 10 months ago. I am really disappointed with the sharpness of this camera/lens combination at almost all distances but medium closeups and infinity especially. I have tried the camera on a tripod - high shutter speeds, medium to small f stops, short and long focal lengths - just not impressed. The camera I thought I was upgrading from is my Coolpix 8800 but side by side pictures with same settings always shows the 8800 to take slightly sharper pictures than the D300/18-200mm! The only advantage for my D300 is startup speed, high speed picture taking, faster focus and better shadow definition - but not worth all the money. Is this kit lens a dog like other people have identified? I was heartbroken when I got my D300 after shelling out so much money but not seeing any real benefit. Anyone else think the same?
You might say that it's like buying a Ferrari, and then fitting cheap tyres(tires) to it. The Ferrari is still a Ferrari, but the performance is not much good!!!

Buying ANY 18-200mm+ is a big compromise. There are too many design variable to overcome, to expect such a lens to have a performance better than just OK.
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Old Jun 3, 2009, 6:30 AM   #7
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You might say that it's like buying a Ferrari, and then fitting cheap tyres(tires) to it. The Ferrari is still a Ferrari, but the performance is not much good!!!

Buying ANY 18-200mm+ is a big compromise. There are too many design variable to overcome, to expect such a lens to have a performance better than just OK.
Dnas is correct, any of these zoom lenses with such a wide range are a major compromise and almost defeat the object of getting a dSLR which is quality. Yes a dSLR with something like the 18-200 is going to be better than a superzoom however a dSLR with a couple of carefully chosen lenses will jump it up a couple of leagues in quality.

I'm a Canon user but have a couple of friends who started with the Nikon 18-200 and yes it is a strong contender in this space but once they used some less extreme lenses but rather more dedicated ones they were much happier with the results.

Have a look at http://pixel-peeper.com/lenses/?lens...max=none&res=3 which will show you a good selection of shots at different focal lengths and settings so you can see how it performs.

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Old Jun 3, 2009, 8:57 PM   #8
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Thanks for the opinions. I agree the 18-200mm lenses are not perfect but I am looking for a good walking lens where I don't have change them. That is a great range and I am ok with a bit of a sacrifice in the picture for the times I plan to use that lens.

Thanks for the link Mark....It is a great way to compare lenses!!
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Old Jun 3, 2009, 9:50 PM   #9
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Thanks for the opinions. I agree the 18-200mm lenses are not perfect but I am looking for a good walking lens where I don't have change them. That is a great range and I am ok with a bit of a sacrifice in the picture for the times I plan to use that lens.

Thanks for the link Mark....It is a great way to compare lenses!!
Well, I think that you shouldn't spend TOO much money on a lens with these compromises, so if I was choosing, I'd buy the Tamron 18-250mm (the best of the crop in my opinion). And this lens is only around 60% of the price of the Nikon 18-200mm.
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Old Jun 3, 2009, 10:04 PM   #10
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That's a pretty neat site that Mark mentioned. But, keep in mind that some of those photos may have been enhanced before a user posted them. A bit of USM can work wonders. ;-)

It's still a good way to see what a given lens is capable of in the right hands though, as a bit of post processing is often a good idea, no matter how good your lens is. I sometimes refer members to it myself. Another good way to find photos from lenses is the search feature by camera (which also includes lenses) at pbase.com. For example, they've got over 115,000 photos there taken with the Nikkor 18-200mm:

http://www.pbase.com/cameras/nikon/1...f_ed_afs_dx_vr

Again, the same thing applies (you really don't know if the poster enhanced them or not).

Another resource for seeing how it stacks up is the Nikon D300 Review Samples here. You'll see that the Nikkor 18-200mm lens was used to take them (and they're all "straight from the camera" without any enhancements or sharpening). If you really want a lens with that much focal range from wide to long, the Nikkor 18-200mm is probably your best bet for a Nikon body like a D60. But, you could get better quality with other choices that have a less ambitious focal range from wide to long.

Any lens choice is a compromise in one area or another (focal range from wide to long, brightness/available apertures, flare resistance, distortion, sharpness and contrast at various focal lengths and apertures, focus speed, size, weight, cost and more).
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