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opinions needed for the 18-200VR as a walkaround...

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by static808, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. greetings everyone! i'm excited as this is my first post in the lens section! anywho, i'm currently a canon shooter that is ready to switch kits, from the 20D to the D300. here is my situation: i dont shoot for a living, nor ever intend to, but definitely wouldnt MIND having pro-level IQ (not necessary though since i dont intend to print beyond 13x19). my subject matter is mainly my family, and archiving the daily lives of my 2 daughters. i find myself shooting 75% mostly indoors, be it at home or at their respective school/activity centers. for those indoor shots, i intend to use the nikkor 35 2.0 or 85 1.8. now my dilemma comes for their outdoor activities. i've narrowed my choices down to either a combination of the 16-85VR/70-700VR, or the 18-200VR.

    given that these lenses would take only up to 25% of my shots, is it worth the extra money AND time to switch out lenses to get the 16-85/70-300 combo? please keep in mind that i never intend to shoot these lenses wide open (as opposed to my primes), and will use them as outdoor sunny day f7.1-f11 lenses, which should keep all 3 of these lenses in their sweet spot. any experience regarding the IQ, AF speed and accuracy, and general handling of these lenses would be GREATLY appreciated. thanks again!!


    ps: currently my canon lens kit consists of a 50 1.8, 85 1.8 and 24-70L. my primes are more than usable wide open, but even my "L" lens' sweet spot is around f4.5-f6.3, so im accustomed to using zooms stopped down for both IQ and more DOF...
  2. Well, of course their is a trade-off between IQ and convenience. The 16-85/70-300VR combo will certainly be sharper, but if you are shooting with the 16-85, how often will you switch to the 70-300 to get in closer? With the 18-200, all you have to do is twist the zoom ring.

    In good light where you can keep the 18-200 near f/8, it produces very nice images. And the 16-85/ 70-300 combo are not going to perform well in low light either.

    However, it's difficult to quantify the trade-off because it is a personal choice. It would be nice if you could arrange a tryout.
  3. that is what im worried about, how often i'll need to switch. a typical scenario for using these lenses would be at the park/playground. i'd like to be as discreet as possible, so i'd prefer not to be in my daughter's faces while they're playing. this is also a necessity since children can be clumsy, especially if they're playing, and i dont want them or anyones else's kids running into me/my gear while im focused on taking a shot. however, kids are pretty erratic and can run right up to you at any given moment, which would make the 70-300 a useless lens for a nearby candid shot unless i wanted a nice picture of their forehead. i definitely use the wide end of my 24-70 while at the park, but conversely i wish i had way more than the 70 at the long end. ARGGGHHH, decisions, decisions...
  4. This lens suffers from serious case of creep that impacts its usefulness as a walk around lens. A much better (sharper with no creep) and less expensive alternative with almost as much reach is the 18-135 (about $200). Happy hunting...and enjoy the Family!
  5. ...but no VR. Both of my 18-200s creep, but I don't find it to be a problem with the D200.

    I would suggest you pick up a used 18-200VR and try it for a while.They are available for fairly reasonable prices here on the For Sale board. If you decide you don't like it you can resell it.

    If the absence of VR doesn't bother you, the 18-135 might be a good solution.
  6. the IQ from the 18-135 definitely looks promising, but im worried about its build quality and AF performance. is the zoom creep on the 18-200 really THAT bad?? hahaha, i've used the canon 100-300 f3.5-5.6 and that thing is in my eyes the creep KING. i take a couple of steps with the camera at my side and the lens is already fully extended!
  7. I owned two 18-200s. My use was as a walk around during my daily 1 hour mini-hikes. After several hundred yards the lens would be fully extended (bothersome and uncomfortable). I spoke with Nikon technical support and they indicated that there was no cure...just get used to it. I sold the first and later bought a second at an attractive price hoping for a better copy...but guess what. Ended up selling it and then going happily with the 18-135. In my case no need for VR as I am not into sports or action shooting. As Jim points out, there is a ready buy-sell market for the 18-200 so there is minimal downside $ risk for giving it a try. If you buy it right figure on loosing shipping costs and PayPal fees as your net cost for the "trial".

    Take care...and best of luck!
  8. I had exactly the same issue with the 18-200. Under normal indoor or casual walking, the zoom creep wasn't an issue. But while hiking, moving more rapidly than a casual walk, over less than smooth terrain, that lens would just flop itself all over the place.

    I think the heaviness of the front element, relative to the somewhat lightweight barrel and high length, is the main culprit of the zoom creep. My Sigma 24-60 has an even larger front element (77mm) but even with the zoom lock disengaged, it does not creep nearly as badly as the 18-200 did, as it has a much shorter extension tube. The 18-135 doesn't creep too much either, as it has both a smaller front element and shorter throw than the 18-200.

    But in the end, the importance of the zoom creep issue would come down to the duration and physicality of your movement. Walking from the car to an outdoor activity, strolling around a bit, and going home is a whole different matter than hiking up rocky terrain for thousands of feet.

    If you are just going to use the lens in question as an outdoor, sunny day lens, then VR becomes somewhat superfluous. Between the lesser zoom creep and lighter weight, I've found it to be a more convenient carry-around lens (and isn't convenience the point, in this case?), and you can get them NIB or LNIB for $200. Not to mention that it has lesser optical flaws to boot (IMO). Then you could add a separate longer telephoto if you felt it was merited, that would perform better than any superzoom does in the longer focal lengths.
  9. bigshot


    Aug 17, 2008
    Hollywood, USA
    I don't like to change lenses while I'm shooting. I plan for what I will need and carry two lenses, but I usually just end up using one. The one I usually end up using is the 18-200 VR. Convenience and versatility are very important. The lens creep isn't an issue for me, because I keep my equipment in a side bag if I'm not shooting. I don't wear it around my neck.

    See ya
  10. I would personally go with the 16-85VR/70-300VR combo. Both of those lenses are excellent walk around performers. The 16-85VR is the lens that I use the most when walking around and it has more than suited my needs. The lens is very sharp, the build quality is excellent, and its VRII is very handy in low light conditions. My belief is that if you want long reach, get a dedicated telephoto that can produce nice and sharp images, which is why I have the 80-200.
  11. My first copy of the 18-200 four years ago suffered terribly zoom creep. IQ and zoom creep forced me sell it on Ebay.

    Fast forward to the present, my 2nd copy is much sharper and extremely tight. After four months there has been no creep at all.

    I tried the 16-85VR, 80-200, Sigma 50-150, 17-55 & 70-200VR, which are all great lenses as fas as I'm concerned. But IMO if you are looking for a one lens solution to capture your kids playing with good daylight, then the 18-200VR is the most versatile tool for the job. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2008
  12. An alternative is the Sigma 18-200 OS HSM, which is pretty much equivalent to the Nikkor, but is built significantly better (and also better than the 18-135), and which also has a zoom lock - so it NEVER creeps. It's also a couple of hundred dollars less expensive.
  13. JohnK


    Aug 6, 2006
    Pacific NW
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  14. soulman

    soulman Guest

    I found it too big on a D80 as a daily walk around lens, mine also dumped lots of dust on the sensor......
  15. I never had a problem with creep with my 18-200 on my D2X, and it became my standard lens, expecially when travelling.

    I found IQ pretty good and the covenience was second to none.

    The only problem was that it was so very convenient that I found myself using it rather than my pro glass (17-55 and 70-200) except in rare and demanding situations.
  16. JasonL


    Sep 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    18 to 200

    I have a 8 month old 18 to 200 and have made 14,000 shots with it and I have no zoom creep, I got lucky !!! I also had the Sigma 18 to 200 OS and let me tell you, picture quality is just as good, no zoom creep and does have the zoom lock. I have been debating selling the nikon and going back to the sigma, and spending the 200 extra on another lens. Cameta camera is a good place to get either lens, check ebay for auctions, you can score a new one cheep. I would say as a father of a 3 year old, the 18 to 200 is mostly on my camera, just a great range.
  17. funny, im considering this lens to track my 3 year old daughter outside as well! i really do feel that sometimes 135 may not be enough, especially if im at the beach where my daughter will go in the water but i dont necesarily want to follow her in the water with all my gear! i think i've made my mind up and will splurge on the nikkor 18-200. luckily, its price has gone down quite a bit since ite introduction, maybe due to some recent bad press or the strong emergence of FX, i dunno, but i think its definitely worth it at the price it currently is right now. i understand that this lens is a compromise, but if im after ultimate IQ, then i'll either stick on the 35 2.0 if im indoors, or the 85 1.8 if im outdoors. thanks everyone for your advice and sharing your experiences. this forum kicks @$$...
  18. I have had my 18-200vr for 3 years now. When its in the 18mm position (all of the way in) it won't creep....no matter how far I walk or hike. The creep has never been an issue. It takes great pictues from 18 thru 200mm. I think it is the ultimate walk around lens. I finally broke down and got a 17-55 which now spends a lot of time on my D200, but the 18-200 is never far behind.
  19. reyv


    Apr 7, 2006
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I love my 18-200VR!

    Before that I had the 18-55 and 70-300G. On hikes, switching lens is a pain, especially when it's windy and dusty.
  20. wgilles


    Apr 25, 2008
    I currently own a 18-200 mainly because I am still trying to figure out what kind of photographer I am and the 18-200 gives me the ability to keep a whole range of lenses down to one until I find out what I want to primarily shoot. Once I do figure out what I will be shooting (which is probably landscapes) I will be selling it and getting a prime or 2 and a wide zoom.
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