Sat 16-Feb-13 01:04 AM | edited Sat 16-Feb-13 02:50 PM by greynolds
If you want a single lens solution, the 18-200 and 18-300 are both, IMHO, excellent choices and it's really hard to go wrong with either. Yes, there are faster lenses and using multiple fast lenses like the 17-55 and 70-200 will give better results than an all purpose lens, but they also weigh a lot more and cost a LOT more.
I used to own an 18-200 VR II. I purchased a 18-300 last year when they first came out and recently sold the 18-200. My feeling is that the image quality from both is very close. The tradeoffs are:
1. 18-200 is smaller and weighs less 2. 18-300 uses 77mm filters, which is what most of my other lenses use, while the 18-200 uses 72mm filters, which none of my other lenses use
The size and weight really isn't a huge difference as some suggest, but it is something to consider.
The 77mm filters is a huge advantage for me. I also own the Nikon 12-24, 17-55, 70-200 VR II, and 70-300 VR. Other than the 70-300, all of my lenses now use 77mm filters - the 70-300 VR uses 67mm filters. So instead of carrying around 3 different filter sizes, I now only have to carry around 2 sizes, which is a nice simplification and gives me more backup options if a filter breaks or gets a smear I can't clean while I'm out and about. I could have used step up rings with the 18-200, but that would have caused issues with using the hood.