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24-120VR vs. 18-200VR

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Pa, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. Does anyone have experience with both of these lenses?

    My wife is using my 18-200VR most of the time now, so I'm looking for a midrange zoom to cover the range between my 12-24 and 70-300VR for an upcoming trip to Australia. The 24-120VR looks like a good choice, but it is just about the same size and weight as the 18-200 and covers a smaller range.

    Is it significantly superior optically?
  2. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    My wife and I both shot with a 24-120VR lens before the 18-200VR was introduced. The 18-200 is optically superior to the 24-120, but the differences are fairly small. The 18-200 is much newer. You would be better off buying another 18-200 instead of a 24-120.

    HOWEVER, here is what I did, and highly recommend:

    Buy a 17-55/f2.8 (often sold preowned here). It is VASTLY optically superior and MUCH FASTER than the 18-200, which is slightly superior to the 24-120. The 17-55/2.8 will do a GREAT job indoors, at night, and other low light conditions. It has the "gold band" around the barrel, indicating pro glass. I recently bought a second 17-55/2.8, as my wife kept borrowing mine.

    Good luck!
  3. Hi Pa, I've used and still own (sort of) both lenses. I'm letting my daugher use a D50 and 24x120 because of a new grandbaby :) ....

    In my humble opinion, both the lenses I have are great and very close optically. Maybe I had a good copy of the 24x120, but I think that lens took very sharp pics and I only went to the 18x200 because I needed to replace the walk around lens that I gave up to my daughter.

    That said, I'd also like to add an opinion and support as it relates to John's statements on the 17x55 2.8. If you already have an 18x200 walk around lens in the house, wouldn't this be the perfect time to pick up a 17x55 or 28x70 2.8 lens? While I love both the 24x120 and the 18x200 for their VR and because they are good for most every need, they really do the same thing. Adding a pro level low-light to your collection might add value for it's potential use later and it would support the other lenses that you plan to bring on this trip. Just my thoughts.....
  4. Well, you both are suggesting the 17-55, which is the one I have thought I should buy next anyway. However, I'm not sure that it would be versatile enough for travel, as I would probably not want to take the 70-300VR for the few times I would use it. Thus I would have to depend on my wife for all shots requiring more than 70mm reach.

    It's interesting to hear an opinion that the 24-120 is no better optically than the 18-200VR.
  5. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Well, the 24-120vr is a 5x and the 18-200 a 11x. That suggests there should be a tradeoff, but perhaps it's in the price rather than any quality issue. I have not seen any issue with the quality of my 24-120. It does require special handling though. Maybe the VRII in the 18-200 reacts faster, so the half second or so delay of the VR mechanism that the 24-120 exhibits does not show up in the newer lens. That would account for the impression that it is optically superior.

    Here, this is just gratuitous:

    ps, I use this lens (almost) exclusively on film cameras now, something not possible with the 18-200.
  6. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I love the 24-120 VR.. I don't seem to remember the weight the same as the 18-200.
    I think it is fairly light.
    I get good pictures with it.
  7. Any reason for not considering the 18-70 ?

  8. Thanks, Chris; I expected to hear from you. I know that you hvae gotten some excellent results with the 24-120.

    Gale, according to the Nikon brochure, the 18-200VR weighs 560 gm. and the 24-120VR weighs 575.
    It's a fine lens, Ronnie, and I have considered it as it covers my "gap" excatly. I actually own one, but it is on semi-permanent loan to my daughter.

    This post provides an interesting perspective on my considerations.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  9. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I guess because of what I usually carry they seemed light to me
  10. Dave


    Feb 7, 2007
    Suwanee, GA
    Or you could pick up a used 18-70...great lens for the money.
  11. Tosh


    May 6, 2005

    While a zoom would be the most convenient means to fill the gap between your 12-24 and 70-300vr, your 35 2 and 50 1.8 would provide better image quality and weigh less.

    The 35-70 2.8 would be a high quality gap filler if you want a zoom. I assume your wife has the 18-200vr on the D40, so a non-AFS lens can be considered?
  12. adaml


    Feb 21, 2006
    I have both lenses and I use both lenses, although I use the 18-200 much more frequently.

    Putting aside the optical quality which is very similar IMO, the reach of the 18-200, and the upgraded VR (VRII; the 24-120 has the originally VR which gives you one less stop), are the deciding factors for me.
  13. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Jim :

    I used the 24-120mm on a trip to Korea and Japan, and it was a stellar performer. It's just that bit smaller and less obtrusive than the 18-200mm, but still very flexible. I'm going to copy some comments (and edit them a bit) from another post that I made on this lens.

    The lens does do better stopped down a bit, much like many zooms. Some folks shoot with the lens wide-open, and that's not the "sweet spot" for this zoom. In an ideal world, we'd get this lens with f/1.4 or 1.8, AFS, and VR-IV, for $500, but we don't live in an ideal world, so stopping it down makes for a good compromise.

    I found it not as crisp zoomed back to 24mm, although still quite good, but it seemed to shine more for me in the 40-120mm range. You can get sharper zoom lenses in parts of that range (the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR/AFS comes to mind), but it's darned hard to get one in this weight and price class, especially AFS and VR equipped.

    These were shot at a historic reinactment in Seoul under rather harsh lighting.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Note also that while some folks don't like the bokeh of the 24-120mm, it's actually fairly decent. These shots were only slightly stopped down, to allow for a little more isolation of the subjects from the background. Look at the sharpness of the details of the woven fabric worn by the young woman in the leftmost photo - that's not too bad for a shot in the 70mm FL range, eh ? This was shot with the D100, so we're not talking about 10 or 12MP here.

    If you're really obsessed with minimal kit, this lens along with the 12-24mm is an excellent "city kit", and with some care, even performs fairly well in low light (it won't be equivalent to any of the f/1.4 lenses to be sure).

    I brought the 24-120mm, 12-24mm, and my 28mm f/1.4 as my lens kit for Japan and Korea over a period of weeks, and I didn't hit a circumstance where I couldn't shoot to my satisfaction. Note, though, that I did have a low light alternative in the 28mm. If low light's critical for you to shoot handheld, you may need to re-think the alternatives.

    Now, Australia's going to have requirements for longer glass - I've shot there a number of times - but in the mid-range, there's precious little as flexible as the 24-120mm AFS/VR, and certainly not in the price range.

    Much more to the point, if you're picking a lens for much of the shooting at, say, Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, the 24-120mm would capture a heckuva lot of the focal lengths that you'd need, although it won't be of as much use if you see a Tasmanian Tiger at 300 yards, to be sure... :wink:

    John P.
  14. FWIW, maybe I had an off copy of the 24-120 VR, but I wasn't that impressed with it. I've since replaced it with the 18-200 VR as my "1 lens in the bag" glass and I have been very happy.
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