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Lens Reviews

Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IF VR DX Review

Victor Newman (vfnewman) on November 13, 2012


Keywords: normal, lenses, nikon, product, articles

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18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR DX Zoom Nikkor

Editors Note

If you have been pondering owning an all-around convenient zoom lens for your Nikon DSLR, you need to read this. The lens has already been described as perfect for lightweight travel needs but are there compromises? Are you wondering how convenient it really is or how fast will it autofocus? These and other pertinent questions are answered in this review.

Victor F. Newman is a demanding pro sports photographer and moderator of the Nikonians Sports Forum. As owner of a fantastic array of Nikkor glass, from the 8mm fisheye to the 600 f/4D ED IF AF-S, he is a die hard sharpness fan. Here he shares his conclusions about this 11.11X zoom lens. Read on to learn why he decided to buy one and always has it in his bag.

This Nikon lens review first appeared in The Nikonian eZine #30
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Click for enlargement
The 18-200mm lens

 

 

Nikon 18-200mm AF-S VR DX Lens Review - Introduction

Advances in lens design continue to astound me. This lens, which is designed for DX-format digital SLRs, is a perfect example. Nikon has packed the latest-generation Vibration Reduction, Silent-Wave autofocus, ED glass, and aspheric elements into an 11.1:1 zoom lens of very high optical performance. For Nikon to package all these features into a lens of this caliber, and sell it for $700-750 USD is quite a feat.

As a “DX” lens, it is fully compatible only with digital SLRs: The Nikon D1 and D2 series, Nikon D50, D70, D100 and D200. AF-S (Silent-wave autofocus) is fully functional with these cameras. VR (Vibration Reduction) is functional with all except the Nikon D50 while its built-in speedlight is recharging.

As a “G” lens, it has no aperture ring, but will work correctly on all digital SLRs.
Using the lens on 35mm film bodies will result in significant vignetting of the image, and AF-S, VR, and aperture control will not be possible on several not recent models.
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First Impression

Upon taking the lens out of the box, the first thing I was struck by is how small this lens is.
The lens is almost identical in size and appearance to the Nikon 24-120mm.
To illustrate, click on the picture at right.

 
Click to enlarge comparison image

The Tale of the Tape

The construction of this Nikkor lens appears to be similar to that of equivalent lenses offered by third-party manufacturers. All three current lenses (Nikon, Sigma, and Tamron) use some form of low-dispersion/high refractive index glass, and aspherical elements, which help account for the dramatic increase in image quality since the inception of ultra-wide range zooms. The dimensions and close-focus distance of all the lenses are close enough to make the differences insignificant. The Sigma and Tamron are noticeably less expensive, but lack silent-wave autofocus and (most importantly) Vibration Reduction.

 
Nikkor
18-200mm
f/3.5-5.6 VR
Nikkor
24-120mm
f/3.5-5.6 VR
Sigma
18-200mm
f/3.5-6.3
Tamron
18-200mm
f/3.5-6.3
Groups/Elements
12/16
13/15
13/15
13/15
Length
3.8 in
3.7 in
3.1 in
3.3 in
Maximum diameter
3 in
3 in
2.8 in
2.9 in
Weight
19.8 oz
20.3 oz
14.3 oz
14.0 oz
f-stop range
f/3.5 ~ f/22
f/3.5 ~ f/22
f/3.5 ~ f/22
f/3.5 ~ f/22
Zomm/focus control
Two-ring
Two-ring
Two-ring
Two-ring
Minimum focusing
17.3 in
19.7 in
17.7 in
17.7 in
Filter size
72mm
72mm
62mm
62mm
Street price when new*
$ 750
$ 510
$370
$390
* USD as of February 2006        
The 1.5 ft (44 cm) minimum focus distance equates to a reproduction ratio of 1:4.5. While that's not exactly a macro lens, it's suitable for many closeups as you can see by clicking to image at right. Adding a supplementary closeup lens can make this lens suitable for many purposes.  
Click for enlargement

 

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Victor Newman Victor Newman (vfnewman)

Forest, USA
Gold, 4323 posts

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