Hi George, I told you that my lens is sharp but can't vouch for all the lenses.There are some variation in quality even if this is Nikon. Regarding your samples: I don't know how much sharpening you applied if any. Did you fine tuned your lens? Some people experience BF/FF focusing with some lenses ( not in my case), especially with the faster ones. Did you use LV or viewfinder? If VW did you use mirror lockup? I know that you wanted to include some background, so your shutter speed was slow and any slight movement of your subject (many people) even with flash with show as the blur therefore lack of sharpness. You use only one flash (I bet) so the pictures are on the dark side. There is not much different in noise, but your ISO with 24-70 doubles 18-200. All the pictures taken with 24-70 are not sharp and all taken with 18-200 are sharp?