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What's wrong with the 18-200VR?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Pa, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. We see quite a bit of bashing of this lens, and I have not used mine in quite a while. In trying to decide which lenses to take on my upcoming trip to Alaska (leaving Thursday), I decided to look back at some of my landscape shots in a similar environment.

    So I ask you, could the following be improved by using a better lens?

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    I know some will say that these were taken in ideal light, where any lens would do well. Maybe that is true. However, my main interest is landscapes and wildflowers, and I don't think those subjects are nearly as demanding of a lens as portraits or sports.

    In short, I'm leaning toward taking my 18-200VR and 70-300VR for longer (wildlife) shots. And that's all.
  2. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    I loved mine right up until the moment the front element fell out and cracked. I'd love it again if Nikon would ship the damn replacement part so I could get it back.
  3. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY

    Wonderful captures...........I have this lens as well, and when traveling this is the lens I have on my camera body. It serves me well for when I need the extra reach and wide view. Thanks for sharing.
  4. Bill, it was your post about this that alerted me to a loose front element on one of mine. It showed up while we were in Spain in May. Thankfully, it held up until I got home and shipped it off to Nikon. They fixed it under warranty and improved the creep problem, too.

    Thanks for alerting me !

    Thanks, Mark. It's hard to beat for travel.
  5. Gary Mayo

    Gary Mayo Guest

    People that gripe about this lens are not seeing this lens for what it is. it is a great walk about lens. It is a perfect vacation lens.

    Is is a f1:1.4 lens? no.

    Is it a rival of the 200mm f/2 VR lens? No

    What it is is what it is, a perfect lens for what it does.

    I love mine!!!! Use it more than any other lens! It pretty much lives on my D300!
  6. Not saying that anything could be improved with more expensive glass, but it's not something you can really judge by looking at an image that's been resized for web either. Very nice captures BTW.
  7. The 18-200VR suffers from several problems:

    - the build quality is not great; in fact, I think I can fairly describe it as "minimal."

    - it lacks a zoom lock to prevent creep. This is concerning on a lens with minimal build quality, and annoying on any lens.

    - mostly, its biggest problem is that it isn't a 14-24, 24-70 or 70-200. it's not a "snob" lens. optically, it does a fine (not mediocre or passable) job as a travel lens.

    When I first put together my gallery, I was stunned to discover that the 18-200VR had produced between a third and a half of all of the gallery images. This was FAR more than any other lens, and moreover the 18-200 was represented in every subject category (birds, insects, landscapes, sports, etc), something that NO other lens managed (and I have owned about thirty lenses). It's not embarrased in the company of other lenses, even some of the snob ones, although if one looks closely, you can definitely see the difference between say, the 200/f4 Micro and the 18-200VR.
  8. Great Shots Jim.
  9. Your images are nice examples of the lens. F13 and F11 does bring out the best in a lens, however. I disliked the CA and the very poor bulild quality of the 2 samples I owned, which were bought when the lens was first introduced.
  10. mi2ark

    mi2ark Guest

    Wow Mark - that surprises me a bit. It basically lives on mine as well, but your lens selection is a bit more substantial than mine.

    Good to know that, even with all those lenses, you still shoot the much maligned 18-200
  11. I don't think

    you could really improve upon the pictures with more expensive glass, what more expensive glass might offer is different 'features' such as a faster aperture, build, etc. The 18-200 is an impressive optic..nice pictures.
  12. tfenne


    Apr 10, 2008
    Cambridge, MA
    Heck, everyone is being so nice, I'll bite :biggrin:. Those are really nice pictures! But as someone else suggested it's hard to tell from web sized pictures whether or not they could be improved by using another lens.

    I have the 18-200 and use it only when I'm unwilling to carry more/heavier lenses. The two issues I have with it are:
    1) The colours and contrast are just not up to what my other lenses produce. This can generally be fixed to my liking in PP, but I dislike spending much time in PP, so it's a bit of a pain
    2) The sharpness, even stopped down, is not comparable to either my 10-20mm or any of my primes. If you're planning on printing your pictures big, this isn't so good. If you only plan on displaying them on the web at lower resolutions, it doesn't really matter.

    As everyone else has stated the 18-200 is a compromise lens, you trade some (relatively small) amount of IQ for a significant amount of flexibility. And that's a personal decision.
  13. I agree. But on my 24-inch Dell Ultrasharp, the originals look even better.
    I would like to see a zoom lock.

    Thanks. With that scenery, it's hard to miss.

    Actually, I think the "sweet spot" for this lens is around f/8, but I didn't know that when I took those pictures.

    I agree with you on the build quality, but it is something I can live with. And it is better than the 18-55!

    ...and display on the web is where most of my pictures end up. I haven't printed anything larger than 4 x 6 inches in a couple of years.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2008
  14. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem

    Outstanding! I'm glad that some good came from my experience and you got it corrected.
  15. Cope


    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Jim T.

    You hear pros and cons about the picture quality of every lens made, but the thing that sticks in my mind on this lens is the build quality, and the pictures I have seen here of copies that came apart.

    I was going to buy the new Tamron 18-250 last year, but a friend suggested the Sigma 18-200OS. I changed my order, and have not regretted it. All of this type lens are a compromise, but as your photos show, the compromise may not be in picture qulity. I would be proud to have any of your shots on my den wall.
  16. Donzo98


    Nov 10, 2005
    Merrick, NY
    I have a love/hate relationship with the 18-200. :biggrin::biggrin:

    It is a GREAT lens for sure for its range. The best lens to take when you don't want to take multiple lenses.

    On the other hand... it is CLEAR at least to me that the IQ is not as good as many other lenses even at the same apertures. I also hate that it is not a true focal length. I shot two pics.. one with my 105 VR and the other width the 18-200 at 105 and the 18-200 image had a smaller subject size. Distortion on the wide end is pretty bad too... don't like the bowed horizons. Lastly... build quality as discussed earlier.

    But.... I still love it for the range. :biggrin::biggrin: The 105 VR is only better at 105... from 18-104 and 106 to 200 the 18-200 is MUCH better. :wink:
  17. thrdprophet


    May 13, 2007
    Modesto, CA
    Good shots, seeing those pics makes me want to go out and shoot more.

    Just think about this... is there a compeitetor to the 18-200mm range?.... I don't think so, so in a way it is in a class of it's own. Those other 3rd party lenses in that range does not compete with the 18-200... I heard though Nikon is discontinuing it.. wonder if there will be a replacement in the future?
  18. Thanks, but no special talent was required to get those.

    Well said!

    That's news to me. Has anyone else heard this?
  19. johnmh


    Nov 21, 2007
    Greater NYC
    That lens rarely comes off my wife's camera on vacations. It's a great carry lens.

    I'm the pack animal carrying an assortment.... 12-24, 24-85, 70-200 and TC's - sometimes the 200-400 on short treks...... If I want to lug a long lens, the Sigma 150-500 looks to be replacing the Tokina 80-400.

    I've grown to appreciate the 12-24, but do I really NEED all that?....... could probably get away with the 12-24, 24-85 and 70-300........ the 70-300 got some very nice shots over the years.
  20. I beg to differ. The Sigma 18-200 OS HSM is very much a competitor to the 18-200VR, and in fact it actually addresses most of the issues of the 18-200VR. It has a zoom lock, so it doesn't creep. The build is substantially better although it is still not the "built-like-the-pyramids" level of the pro Nikkors or the Zeiss lenses. Certainly it's good enough to avoid most of the problems that the Nikkor 18-200 has. The Sigma is optically about as good as the Nikkor. It's a third of a stop slower but costs a third less.
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