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Old May 31, 2007, 7:55 AM   #1
RGA
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I have decided that this lense type is most attractive to me because it is a good all rounder that lets me do everything. I am no pro but I prefer the DSLR option to possibly get into photography. A fellow suggested the zoom cameras like the Fuji 9600 because it feels like an SLR, Looks like one and has the 18mm - 200mm lense uilt on - but no image stabalizer and the reviewers seem to dance around the picture quality a bit.

Has anyone done direct comparisons of a Nikon VR 18-200mm versus the alternate brand lenses in terms of quality?

My front runner is a Nikon D80 with everything I've read -- Canon does not offer such a lense for a reasonable price.

So my choice would be Canon Xti with Sigma or Tamron ----- or D80 (D40x worst case) with Nikon's 18-200mm.

Thanks yet again
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Old May 31, 2007, 9:02 AM   #2
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RGA-

When considering a so called "all in one lens", a lens that covers a zoom span of (in 35mm terms) 28mm to 300 to 375mm,such as the Tamron 18-250mm (the broadest zoom range currently on the market- about $(US) 500) or the Tamron 18-200mm (about $(US) 360 to 370) or the Sigma 18-200mm lens (about $(US) 310 to 320), all of which are made in either the Canon or Nikon mount, you have to consider that these lenses are handy, not especially fast (apature-wise), and have to make some optical compromises. So, please do not expect Canon L lens quality. However, they are very capable, handy to use, and do the job quite nicely. Sigma also produces a Sigma 18-200mmOS lens selling for around $(US) 500 to 550. OS is Sigma's name for IS.

Nikon also has the Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens (about $(US) 780 to 800) that is praised by the Nikon folks. However, it comes with the usual Nikon price tag as well, as you can see. Like it's Tamron and Sigma cousins, the Nikkor 18-200mm lens is very handy, useful and capable.The Nikon VR feature (the same as IS) makes it a very desireable lens for Nikon users and it is often in short supply.

So there are all of the lenses in this category that are available for the Canon mount and the Nikon mount. The next question is probably, "how well to the perform optically?" A good source for that particular data that is held in high regard is http://www.photozone.de.

I admit that this category of lens has some inherent optical compromises to achieve this rather wide zoom range. However, becauseMy husband and Itravel a great deal (about 8 to 9 months of the year) and I really prefer to take one SLR body and at most two lenses, a tripod and an external flash, these lenses appeal to me a lot.

I will gradually add photos from all of these lenses that I do own. However, for now I will begin with a sample photo from the Tamron 18-200mm lens. This photo was taken handheld at the full 200mm setting with my Nikon D-50, the day before yesterday (the last day that we had sun here along the Oregon Coast). I hope this is helpful. I will continue to add more photo samples.

MT/Sarah
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Old Jun 3, 2007, 8:24 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info

The main problem is I am sort of on an extended vacation - teaching English in Korea for a year. Korea is a weird country for this gear. None of the Sigma or Tamron lenses with OS or image stabalization is available here.

The prices are just bizarre.

The D80 with the Nikon 18-135mm lense runs a combines $1140.00Won. This Nikon lense has no VR.

These prices though are without negotiations and so I could likely squeeze em down 10%

For the exact same price I can get the Canon Kiss X (which is a 400D) and Canon's 18-135mm lense with IS) for the exact same price. I much prefered the feel and build of the Nikon - the Canon seems cheep - but then so did the Nikon 40. The sales guy like the Nikon D80 best then the Kiss X then the 40 because he didn't like the way the Nikon 40 has a limited amount of lenses.

If I understand it all correctly the 135mm lens has an effective zoom of 7.5 times if compared to zoom cameras which is plenty. The Nikon D80 is effectively cheaper here in Korea than it is in Canada while the Canon is less of a deal.

The stores here sell tons of D50, D70 cameras which are all discontinued.

Still I would rather buy more camera than I probably will use because I'd hate to buy something and then regret not getting the next model up.

The 18-200mm Nikkor is just so expensive here that I am re-thinking that purchase. I think 18-135mm is good enough - the reviews suggest it is a capable lens.

The tricky thing here is the body only price on the D80 is $700.00. Maybe I could go with a Tamron or 2 tamrons and be far better off.

Do you think a D80 with 2 Tamron lenses is the way to go here? I don't mind changing out the lens but I am greedy - I like those zoom cameras where when you are out and want a picture of something far away you can just turn on and zoom in. If you have to switch lenses then maybe the subject is long gone.

Korea will eventually get the Tamrons and Sigmas -- they seem several months behind on some things and early on others.

Maybe 18-135 would be better quality because it is less ambitious?
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Old Jun 3, 2007, 11:34 AM   #4
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RGA-

Based on the review done by http://www.photozone.de: The Nikkor 18-135mm lens was designed and built to be a kit lens. It is positioned between the 18-70mm Lens (the kit lens for the D-70) and the 18-200mm Lens (the kit kens for the D-200) It sells for around $(US) 280 here in the USA.

It does show CA at times and some vignetting when shot wide open at either 18mm or 135mm. The resolution is quite high especially in the center, but reduces somwhat near the very edges. Overall, it is judged to perform quite well for being a kit lens and its price. It is currently one of the better buys in the Nikkor line of lenses.

I did purchase an excellent copy of the Sigma 18-125mm lens on E-Bay in April for $(US) 140.00 and have attached a sample photo. It was taken handheld. That lens retails for around $(US) 260.00 right now. However, the consideration of either Sigma or Tamron seem to be moot, as they are not available in South Korea.

I had to overcome the initial feeling about the finish quality of the Canon XTi/400D as well, but I have found the camera to be very competent, and I have grown to like it a lot. It is certainly a great improvement over the XT. I especially like the new AF system which seems to bevery accurate.

Sarah
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Old Jun 4, 2007, 9:21 AM   #5
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When I got my Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D, I also got the KM 18-200 (a rebranded Tamron) because I thought I needed the range.

After several months of being fairly happy with it, I wanted to take some moon shots. What I got were fuzzy discs with purple fringes.

I have since purchased other lenses used, and now the 18-200 is the dimmest lens, the softest lens, and has more distortion than any other lensI own, so I don't use it anymore.

As I understand it, the Nikon 18-200 is a better lens, but that the Tamron and Sigma are about equal.

Super-Zoom lenses are jacks of all trades, masters of none. I want more. What about you?
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Old Jun 4, 2007, 10:43 AM   #6
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TCav-

Yes, I do like lenses with more inherent quality. My walkaround lens for my Canon XTi is a Canon 28-135mmIS lens and I use the Canon 10-22mm for my wideangle work. However, as you might know my husband and I do travel a lot. We are usually away from home 8 to 10 months each year. So when we are on the road, you simply cannot bring every lens with you that you might own.

In the past there were also times when the budget did not allow nice lenses, so lesser lenses were the order of the day. Sigma and Tamron have seemed to specialize in that kind of lens. As you can see my posted photo sample, the Sigma 18-125mm lens, though not as bright, as the Canon branded lenses is able to do a pretty good job when used in good light or with a good external flash.

The Nikkor 18-200mm lens has been a real winner for Nikon. They have managed to get a somewhat premium price for it, and the demand has continued to be greater than the supply for at least ten months now. The lens is a good lens and has superior resolving power and resolution. It is filling the need of that now expanding market for lens with a wide range to it. I own a Nikkor 18-200mm lens and it does a very good job.

As I mentioned previously in this thread these wide zoom range lenses are ideal for travel, snapshots and the like. For me, they are a way to lighten the load that I have to take with me when traveling that produce pretty good results. This type of lens also allows me some peace of mind as well, should I become the victim of theft. If robbed of my Nikkor 12-24mm lens, I would feel a whole lot worse than if I was robbed of my old Canon XT and the Sigma 18-125mm lens. So IMO you have to also consider your "exposure factor" when traveling in third world countries and the like.

So in my opinion, there is a place within the camera market for these lenses.

Sarah
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Old Jun 4, 2007, 12:44 PM   #7
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Actually, I was posing the question to RGA, but thanks, mtclimber, for responding.

I agree that the super zooms have a place, for snapshots and for lightening the load, but after seeing how much better my more moderate zooms are than my 18-200, I'm reluctant to entrust it with anything. And expensive lenses are out for me too. That's why I've been building up my collection with used lenses. My favorite right now is a 28-105 f/3.5-4.5.I think I'll have to break down and get a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 soon, but that's because I consider the 18-200 not up to the task.

If I were to do it over again, I would have saved $400 by not getting the 18-200. When I see people thinking that one super zoom is all they'll ever need, I can't help but warn them about how dim, soft and distortion prone they are.

But maybe the Nikon is different.
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Old Jun 4, 2007, 2:49 PM   #8
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TCav-

The surge of interest in the 18-200mm lenses I believe sort of matches the changes that we are seeing in the folks coming into the DSLR market. The prototypical purchaser of the consumer level DSLR cameras today is a good deal different than that purchaser was 3 to 4 years ago.

Nikon, in their Market Research studies, done prior to the introduction of the Nikon D-40 revealed some interesting changes in the average buyer.

(A) There was a need to make the consumer level DSLR cameras with better in camera processing that sort ofreplicatedthe kind of in camera processing that was typically found in the upper or high end ultrazooms and point and shoot cameras.

(B) There was a need to have consumer level DSLR camera to contain familiar features that were found in ultrazooms and point and shoot cameras. That inclusionwould lessen the learning curve found in moving from ultrazooms and point and shoot cameras. Because of that need we saw fully automatic modes, scene modes, and features such as D-lighting added to consumer level DSLR cameras.

(C) The average new buyers were not sophisticated lens buyers. They would be looking for more all in one lens solutions, such as the 18-200mm lens craze we are seeing right now. Nikon would see fewer follow-on lens buyers looking for premium lenses.

(D) Finally as the DSLR market broadened, buyers would be purchasing consumer level DSLR cameras to use in the fully automatic mode only and who would probably have no more than two lenses. The Nikkor 55-200mmVR lens was created to supply an inexpensive second lens to those buyers who considered the Nikkor 18-200mm lens too expensive. Manufacturing the lens in China reduced the cost and kept the second lens sale in the Nikon family line.

(E) There also was an increasing number of consumer level DSLR camera users that were ready to upgrade from their 6mp entry level DSLR's to a DSLR with greater resolution and features. And it was that finding that spawned the D-40X just 4 months after the introduction of the D-40. By making minor changes to the D-40 (mainly the 10mp imager) Nikon was able to offer folks a way to maintain brand loyalty and to compete in the same market as the Canon XTi, while getting $200 more per unit.

Those findings literally "drove" Nikon's marketing plan for the D-40 model and fostered the concept of providing a logical pathway to "buy-up" within the Nikon Brand and to foster greater brand loyalty. And as consumers ourselves, we have seen those changes happening right before our eyes.

Sarah


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Old Jun 4, 2007, 3:24 PM   #9
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I'm not sure about their availability or price in Korea, but the newest Olympus cameras look to be competitve with the 400D and D80, and might be worth a look. The E-410 might be of interest if having a lightweight kit for travel is important, as it's easily the smallest, lightest solution available. And the E-510 (only just arriving in stores) might be of interest if IS is a concern, as it offers in body IS. If a two lens solution is sufficient, the Olympus kit lenses offer decent performance and are surprisingly small and convenient. And if the long zoom is desired the Olympus 18-180 would cover a 36mm-360mm equivalent range, and is good for what it is at the price, with some similar sacrifices to some of the other long zooms.

As for the Nikon long zooms, my understanding is that they are sharper than might be expected in a zoom of that type, but otherwise have many of the expected compromises with regard to distorition, CA, vignetting, etc.

As far as the Nikon cameras, while the D40 isn't a bad value for those on a really tight budget, particularly many who will compare to high end point and shoots, I don't see the D40x, at about $200 more, as really being that competitive with the other models at the same price (such as the XTi). I see the same compromises as the D40, but it's hard to point to any specific advantages over the competition, unless you want the Nikon lenses (and they do have a pretty good kit).

The D80, if you don't mind the size or price, is a very good choice. While the additional controls (such as top status LCD and two command dials) might at first be a bit more confusing as a beginner, you will find them greatly preferable once you take the time to learn the camera.

If you consider going with two lenses, consider pairing the Nikon 50-200 VR with either the 18-55 kit or the 18-135. For either Canon or Nikon, you might also consider third party options, like pairing either a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 or Sigma 18-50 f2.8 with one of their 70-200 or 70-300 zooms. Sometimes the brighter lenses aren't a bad tradeoff for not having IS.

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Old Jun 4, 2007, 7:56 PM   #10
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Sarah-

I understand and agree.

- TCav
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