While shooting with 12-24 on my D200 today, the images seemed a little dark. Tonight I did a test comparing the 12-24 with the 18-200 and indeed the 12-24 underexposes by about 1/3rd stop. Anyone else seen this?
I agree, 1/3 isn't bad and I can remember to adjust when using it. The funny thing is it never did that on either my D100 or D2x and all of the other lens that I tried last night on the D200 seem fine.
I haven't used my D200 yet but I agree with Jeff, that 1/3 stop in either direction isn't bad. No matter what body I use I rarely check the exposure as it's so easy to fix in PP so I really do not know if any of my lenses affect exposure much. I can tell you that my D1X underexposes everything in most situations so I've made a permanent adjustment there. However, I understand your concern because color saturation is affected and, in certain critical lighting situations, could be difficult to correct if not done in the camera. Assuming your 12-24 is the Nikkor, perhaps it needs an adjustment. A call to Nikon might get some answers.
Exposure is determined by the camera body --- not by the lens. If you think there's an exposure problem, send in the body, not the lens. Having said this, I really doubt it's the problem. Because the lens is so wide, matrix metering can still yield what looked like an underexposure issue because there's so much in the frame and the meter is calibrated to be conservative. You would need to give the meter a little help to identify what is important to you. Shoot RAW and adjust exposure in software would be what I do.
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The RAW image also looked underexposed and I adjusted it in LR. BTW, the white dots on the water are tour boats. Nikon D2X; Nikkor 12-24DX, @12mm