Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)

Started Nov 16, 2008 | Discussions
seguetester
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Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
Nov 16, 2008

I have finally decided on the D90 over the D300. I am an enthusiast but my wife wants a quality (and always ready) point and shoot. So, I figure that the D300 is to big and to intimidating for her. I do not have a problem with multiple lenses but I cannot decide what to get as a general walk around lens. I want image quality and she wants convenience. I know...it is impossible to have both. Advice would be welcomed here. Here are the pros and cons I have seen so far.

16-85
+ Optical quality seems to get great reviews as far as prosumer DX lenses go
+ much less barrel distortion at wide angles
+ not much barrel creep reported, if any
+ 16-17 is actually a big deal to me

  • missing 86-200

  • even with a 70-300, to many lens swaps

  • weight of another lens when I add the 17-300 + another $450 or so

18-200
+ super convenient
+ good image quality from 14-135
+ fewer lens changes
+ bag will be lighter overall
+ 86-200 is useful when your kids are in the ocean and you are on the sand

  • lots of barrel distortion at wide angles (even I can see it just playing in the store)

  • reviews are mediocre at best

  • not as wide

  • zoom creep seems to be an issue for everyone

  • $100 more than the 16-85

Regardless which walk around lens I pick, I will probably add a 35mm f/2 and a 50mm f/1.8.

Any advice?

ThomasMiller
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

I own a D90 and D700, as I recently sold my D300's.

So here's the deal:

The 18-200, providing you get a sharp copy, is VERY close to the 16-85's performance. In fact it's simply to close to give up what the 18-200 offers in the added reach. We ARE talking walkaround glass here, so there's no point in nit-picking how the 16-85 is slightly better. The 18-200 simply is more flexible and just does more as a walkaround.
BOTH are great lenses. Add the 70--300 AF-S VR and you'll be even happier.

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PB PM
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

I think that in your case you might want to get the 18-200mm for the sake of simplicity, for your wife, then add some wide angel lenses as money allows.

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Rob

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msc1
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

seguetester:

I have finally decided on the D90 over the D300. I am an enthusiast
but my wife wants a quality (and always ready) point and shoot. So,
I figure that the D300 is to big and to intimidating for her. I do
not have a problem with multiple lenses but I cannot decide what to
get as a general walk around lens. I want image quality and she
wants convenience. I know...it is impossible to have both. Advice
would be welcomed here. Here are the pros and cons I have seen so
far.

16-85
+ Optical quality seems to get great reviews as far as prosumer DX
lenses go
+ much less barrel distortion at wide angles
+ not much barrel creep reported, if any
+ 16-17 is actually a big deal to me

  • missing 86-200

  • even with a 70-300, to many lens swaps

  • weight of another lens when I add the 17-300 + another $450 or so

18-200
+ super convenient
+ good image quality from 14-135
+ fewer lens changes
+ bag will be lighter overall
+ 86-200 is useful when your kids are in the ocean and you are on the
sand

  • lots of barrel distortion at wide angles (even I can see it just

playing in the store)

  • reviews are mediocre at best

  • not as wide

  • zoom creep seems to be an issue for everyone

  • $100 more than the 16-85

Regardless which walk around lens I pick, I will probably add a 35mm
f/2 and a 50mm f/1.8.

Shooting from the beach to the ocean (although you don't seem to be too worried about the drop in quality at 200 mm), a priority of low weight and no lens changes pretty much decides it ----- 18-200.

You might consider different (longer) primes as the 18-200 probably isn't that bad or slow at 35 mm.

msc

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seguetester
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to msc1, Nov 16, 2008

In general, I am worried about the barrel issues at 16-24. Am I putting too much weight in the dpreview.com of the 18-200??? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hile on that? Is the lens creep a non-issue too? Seems like nobody is recommending the 16-85. Is the optical quality of the 16-85 not significantly better than the 18-200?

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azzurri
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

seguetester wrote:

In general, I am worried about the barrel issues at 16-24. Am I
putting too much weight in the dpreview.com of the 18-200??? Am I
making a mountain out of a mole hile on that? Is the lens creep a
non-issue too? Seems like nobody is recommending the 16-85. Is the
optical quality of the 16-85 not significantly better than the 18-200?

I guess no one is suggesting the 16-85mm because in your first post, you seem to be suggesting towards convenience and a wider range. For that, the 18-200mm wins hands down.

For the range of 18-200mm, the lens is actually not too bad. You got to understand that if someone who puts image quality above anything else would choose neither.

16-85mm is seen by some as a compromise - shorter focal range and supposedly better image quality. Not surprising for the latter. If you can constantly shoot above f8 for the 18-200mm, image quality should not be that bad.

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hockey_magnet
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

I think the 16-85 is my favourite as far as walk around. I tried the 18-200 but found the images from the 16-85 more to my liking. I like the having the extra room on the wide end. The build quality seems better as well. I'm sure you'd like it BUT The 18-200 gives you more range obviously. Here's my take- if you're going to be shooting a lot of longer range shots, if you get the 16-85, you'll definitely want to get something longer to go with it, like the 70-300 VR - this 2 lens combo seems to be favoured by a lot of people. If you can't see yourself buying something longer and still want to take those shots of the kids in the water, the 18-200 will suit you better.

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Yhbv24
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

I have read (though never actually used the lens) that the 16-85 has better image quality.

What are you looking for? Will you need 200mm? Are you planning on getting the 12-24 or another wide angle?

To be honest, I prefer the 18-70 to either of them, because it's f/4.5 at the long end, it's physically smaller than both of the others, and it's over $200 cheaper than them. Of course, there isn't any VR.

They are both good lenses, and I'm sure you'll be happy with either of them, but I would just think about your shooting style (do you prefer telephoto or wide-angle most of them time?) and get the lens that best suits it. The images from both can be incredible, provided the photographer is!
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Broadsword
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

You can decide and in fact, you have decided: the 16-85. However, your wife has equally decided: 18-200. It's image quality plus a little wider, vs. the convenience of the extremely broad 18-200 range with it's inherent compromises to image quality. I'd go with the 16-85 myself and add a 70-300 at a later date. But I've seen many extremely good photos on this forum from the 18-200.

You really have a question more of who can live better with the other's choice. My bet is that you could live with the 18-200 better than your wife could with the 16-85. The only thing I'd really analyze is that she is actually going to use the long end of the lens. If she isn't, then she really hasn't lost anything with the 16-85. If she does use it a lot, then perhaps it is better that you go the 18-200 route.

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Joe Weissman
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to ThomasMiller, Nov 16, 2008

I have used the 18-200 and it's quite excellent with the D300.

A rubber band or O-ring fixes the lens creep issue easily.

Joe Weissman

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SantaFeBill
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

Another vote for the 18-200 ... .

1. I've not had zoom creep with mine.
2. I use the range beyond 85mm a great deal of the time.

3. Copies of the 16-85 don't seem to be consistently better than the 18-200. There have been a number of posts here expressing disappointment with the IQ of a given copy of the 16-85.

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ARClark
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

For your situation, I would agree (I can't believe it :> )) with Lord Nikon and others on the 18-200. I own both the 16-85 and 18-200 and think highly of both for different purposes. For your stated purposes, particularly in light of your wife's needs, I'd get the 18-200 and not look back. The 16-85 is a little better in their shared range, especially edge sharpness, but you have to look hard to see it. Plus, you get a greatly extended range with 18-200. For all-around shooting fun and freedom in a one-lens solution, the 18-200 is the one to get. It's one thing to test lenses in labs and another to actually use them. I think the professional analyses are useful where high quality results are required, but in real world shooting, the 18-200 is very much underrated.

Alan

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andrzejmakal
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

If you are looking for top IQ - none of them. If for real life shooting:
18-200VR

Remember:
Not every copy creeps
16-85 has many issues as well (search the forum).
If you get good copy - IQ is very very nice with 18-200.
IMHO
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jsam
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

I took over 1500 shots with an 18-200VR on a trip through Canada - inside, outside, events, people, buildings, etc. In all those there was exactly one with noticeable distortion. And that took 30 seconds to fix in Capture NX. It would have taken a tick box in Bibble and DxO would probably have done it for nothing. For my shooting the distortion isn't significant - it might be there who only in a "who cards?" sense.

I prefer other lenses, no question (primes and f2.8 zooms). But going out, not knowing what I'll find - it's the lens on the camera with maybe another one or two in the bag.

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jsbaekke
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

I had 18-200 - it is convienient but lacks image quality compared to 16-85.
I skipped it for
16-85 + 70-300VR
The image quality is better.

note the 70-300VR has a much better image quality than the other 70-300 versions from Nikon

probems with 16-85
vigetting partly fixed in NX 2, i do not know if D90 fixes that.
CA but this fixed perfectly by D90 or in NX2
Barrel distortion at 16mm

I am very satisfied with the combination
I use 16-85 on my D300 and 70-300 VR on my D70.
(I like not to change lens too offen.)

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PhotoGo
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I would get the 18-200. It's surprisingly good.
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008
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PhotoGo

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jtra
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 16, 2008

Here are excellent pictures to compare them yourself:
http://8dennis8.fotki.com/public_photo/misc_use_photo/16-85-vs-18-70-vs-18-200/

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seguetester
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More confused than ever (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 17, 2008

So, now I am really confused. I am hearing the phrase "if you get a good one" way too much. Is there really a fear that my new $600-$700 lens will not be as sharp as the next? Is the Nikon QC really that bad? Are most people buying from local shops and just returning the lens until they get a "good" or "sharp" copy? Is it bad to be looking at B&H Photo or Amazon for these types of purchases ince QC is poor?

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seguetester
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to jtra, Nov 17, 2008

is it just me or does 81081-01-018-200 18 f35 look much sharper than 51051-01-018-070 24 f38 ?????? Actually, the 18-200 shots here look better than the 16-85 all the way around.

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zzzzzzzzzzz
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Re: Help...I can't decide (16-85 vs 18-200)
In reply to seguetester, Nov 17, 2008

I have a good copy of the 18-200 and it is surprisingly good for an 11x zoom. I've yet to try the 16-85 but I'd like to.

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