I'm switching camps. Dropped the Rebel, turned (back) to Nikon. I'm now trying to choose the lens to go with the D40x.
I am a conscious enthusiast, but no more. I do not earn my living with the camera and I'm generally too lazy for post-processing. I fly a lot on business purposes, so I do not afford carrying extra lenses or a tripod.
I look for one lens to suit all my needs, which are: - wide end. No less than 28mm equivalent. - as much tele end as possible. - focus speed and accuracy. - possibility to shoot hand-held (no tripod) in low light. - acceptable results for A4 or even A3 printing straight out of the camera, especially in terms of sharpness.
I do not care much for "advanced" characteristics, like bokeh quality for instance. Price should match my amateur status, meaning well below 1000$.
So, the natural choice seems the 18-200 VR. As I am quite determined to buy this lens, I would like to ask you gentlemen a question: Is there anything I might deeply regret for spending 750$ on this glass? (i.e. not working with the D40x )
For the price and performance of this lens you won't be dissapointed. For $750, you get more than what you are paying for compared to $2000+ lenses. Here is a reply I gave someone else on this lens recently.
"My wife and I did a round the world trip last year and we took everything. I shot mainly with the D2X with the 12-24, 17-55 and 70-200. My wife shot with the D200 and the 18-200. I lugged a lot of weight and did a lot of lens changing. The end result is that we have framed over 20 of the shots that are now on the wall printed at A4 and A3+. But when it came to choosing the shots to use, there was virtually no difference in the quality of the shots between the 2 setups. I now find that I use the D2X on a tripod for all my critical work and am happy to use the D200 with the 18-200 for everything else. I am still amazed at the quality of the D200 with the 18-200 when used properly. I still prefer the D2X and my pro glass, but most of the time I am the only person who can notice the difference, and that's because I view them at a 100% on my 24inch monitor. When it comes to big prints hanging on the wall it is very hard to tell the difference."
Welcome to Nikonians. This sounds more like a Jeopardy game where you provide the answer and we have to guess the question "what is the Nikon 18-200VR?" No other lens meets your criteria. I own one of these and it is very sharp and obviously very versatile.
Albert J Valentino Nikonian Moderator Emeritus Vantage Point Images Mastery of Composition is the Key to Great Photography
Dan, I've had mine since January 2005, and have never regreted the purchase. I have a lot of pro lenses, but it compares very well with them in good light. It's only in fair to bad light that my more exotic lenes are needed.
I don't expect my 18-300VR to act like a pro lens because it isn't. However it is a delightful piece of glass that usually exceeds my expectations. It is very sharp and has a lot of range in resepect to FOV (focal length). It's just a bit slow in respect to aperature, but that's to be expected in order to keep it relatively light. If this was a f/2.8 lens you wouldn't be able to hand hold it due to exceessive weight. At around $700.00 it is well below you top end budget of $1000.00.
I think you will be very happy with the 18-200VR.
Bill North Wisdom cannot be given, it must be gathered...
I know someone who owns an expensive new Lexus and complains about it constantly because it doesn't fly and doesn't float. The people who malign the 18-200 VR remind me of this guy. I have an 18-200 VR and think it's a great lens. It's admirably suited to your needs. If you buy it, I think you'll be very pleased with the decision.
It meets all your criteria. It has VR, AFS and a huge focal length range
No other single lens from any manufacturer meets all these criteria AND matches or betters the image quality. The D40x has 10 million pixels and you don't even need 6 million for a sharp A4/A3 print so cropping is another possibility to extend the reach when necessary.
It was rainy, dark and cold in Brooklyn today. I had to pick-up our friend's grandson from the school. So I kept poor boy out of the car for 10 more seconds - to click. Auto exp/WB were just correct. Dimitri. (18-200, ,0)
>Many thanks to everybody for the warm welcome and >knowledgeable answers. > >I am delighted that I was able to validate my choice with >more experienced nikon owners. >By getting 100% positive feed-back, my decision on the D40x >/ 18-200 VR setup is final. > >Again, many thanks. >Daniel
Indeed. Looks perfect for business trips. In such circumstances, I travel with D200, 18-200 VR, 50/1.8 and SB-800 in a Lowepro Compu DayPack. Flash often proves useful, especially when I cannot have full control of my schedule.
Pretty much the only thing you are going to hear about the 18-200VR thatis bad is that it's slow at the long end. If you can deal with 5.6 aperture at 200mm then it's a perfect lens. For me it's almost perfect, and I certainly think it's the best overall walkaround lens. Sometimes I wish I had better low light performance, but that might mean picking up the 80-200 2.8 some day. Anyway, just get the 18-200VR, it's great
To me the lens creep issue seems to be a tempest in a teapot. Other than when I have my 18-200 pointed straight up, or straight down, the lens doesn't creep at all. For me anyway, real world, it's a non-issue.
I've never found the lens creep to be an issue, either ... mine needs to be at 60 degrees or steeper, and it's rather rare I shoot at that angle. If it was an issue, I'd just use the solution others have - a small strip of electrical tape on the lens barrel.
I've owned the 18-200VR for over a year and use it on my D200. I occasionally use it during a wedding. In my opinion it is perfect for your planned usage. At times I am still stunned by the quality it delivers under specific circumstances. Get it...you won't be sorry.
Just slide the lens open and stick a piece of tape on the inner barrel for friction. I perfer a few layers of Scotch Tape because electrical tape can get sticky when warm. Some people use an elastic band.
Lens Creep: It's been around a lot longer then the 18-200. Most of the push/pull zooms I have owned creeped.
My 400mm f/2.8 seems to creep too. I left it on the desk in the morning and during the day it had creeped some two meters to the other end of the desk. Along had creeped some other lenses and a D2x body too. Somehow oddly all the dust from desk was gone too!
I can´t understand, why should the 18-200 be more prone to creep this way than any other lens?
while I'm one of those who dislike the lens because it doesn't suit my needs well enough, I have not rid myself of it because it does the very things you list you need incredibly well. I think you will absolutely love the lens aside from the lens creap and the potential for breakage under conditions that most lenses would easily survive.
I have owned the 18-200 for about a year. Does it have distortion at both ends of the zoom range? - Yep. Does it have to compromize some optical performance to allow such a wide zoom range? - Yep. Is it slightly soft toward the long end? - Yep. Does it's convenience override these faults at times? - You bet! I bought the 18-200 as a one-lens travel/convenience setup and I don't expect it to perform like my more expensive glass -- it has never disappointed. For your stated needs, it is probably the best lens you can buy.
I would agree with the many posters here as to the 18-200. I was a brand new DSLR user last year and picked up the 18-200VR for a 3 week family vacation in Greece and Turkey. The only other lens I took was a 50mm 1.8, and there were very few situations where I needed anything else (particularly given my skill level at the time!!) Very versatile and good image quality given its focal range. Virtually all of the images in my Greece and Turkish Travels Picasa Web Galleries were taken with the 18-200 and my D70s.
I think most of the faults in these images were my lack of experience and skill level, and not the lens. The wide variety of images the 18-200 can handle are great - from landscapes to portraits. I even had some interior low light shots I was able to hand-hold down to 1/3 second. Granted not razor sharp at those shutter speeds, but definitley acceptable for my purposes.
My 18-200 has some kind of "tight lock" on range of 18-24 and 135-200, so no creep at all, thru the day. Looks like this problem is solved. Some softening on long end, 160-200, really presents, absolutely acceptable for the prosumer lens of 11x zoom. I disagree with guys who's telling about softening on wide end. At 18mm ,0 my lens is sharper than 18/3,5 AIS prime Nikkor. Take a look at this image and crop of 900%(nine hundred) - I did cut it out from the image about 6 meters big! Dimitri.
To judge critical sharpness, viewing at 50% is generally thought of as the highest magnification that is worth using. I usually use 25-50%. 900% is unnecessary and counter-productive - it's equivalent to viewing a print around 40 feet across from a few inches away!