Can A Lens "Go Soft" ? I'l

Started Aug 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Paul Schatzkin Forum Member • Posts: 91
Can A Lens "Go Soft" ? I'l

'll probably get my headed handed to me for this question, but what the heck...

I have been using a Nikon 18-200 f3.5/5.6 for a little over 5 years now. I have just gone back through my entire catalog and found the first test shots from April 2007. For the first 2-1/2 years I shot with a D80; since Sept 2007 with a D300s.

This has been my workhorse lens, it's served most purposes and I was perfectly happy with the results... until...

Until last year I finally mustered up the means to score a 70-200 f2.8 VR2. And then about two months ago I had the misfortune to compare a the results in a controlled setting btw the 18-200 and the 70-200. Yikes. A different a thousand bucks or so makes!

Now every time I look at the results from the 18-200 I'm disapointed. They photos are always soft, there is a real lack of definition in the results. I see from reading some commentary around the web that that is do in part to the resolution at wider apertures, but even at f8 and above the results are starting to discourage me.

Now I'm planning a bit trip in October, 2 weeks in Scotland, and I figure to shoot the living daylights out of the place. But I'm really perplexed as to what gear I'm going to take. I'm already tempted to (at least) rent a 24-70 f2.8 and take it along with my monstrous 70-200 f2.8; but I also want to travel light, which would dictate something more along the lines of the 18-200 and a couple of primes to round out the load.

Y'all feel free to comment on any of the preceding, but here's my real question: my 18-200 is now 5 years old... is it possible that it's just gone soft? Would it do any good to send the lens to Nikon for service?

I mean, I'm looking at images from when I first got the lens, and then from when I first started shooting with the D300s about 3 years ago (my kingdom for a d800!), and those images don't look nearly as soft/fuzzy as the ones I shot over this past weekend (or more recently).

I've got some time to figure out what I'm going to do, so I appreciate any suggestions or comments on any of these observations. Thanks,

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P.S I added a couple of images, though I'm not sure they illustrate the issue. The photo of the flag is one of the first shot with the D300 in September, 2009; the "Yazoo" portrait was shot this past Saturday.

Nikon D300S Nikon D80 Nikon D800
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