Nikkor Lens 18-200MM VR?

Started May 3, 2008 | Discussions thread
olstrup Senior Member • Posts: 2,889
I beg to differ

A first class prime lens is definitely crisper, but the 18-200 is fully adequate for almost everything, provided you don't need wide max apertures, provided you can live without a super sexy bookee, provided you don't need poster sized prints (and look at them from close up), provided you don't pixel peep at 100% or more and provided you are prepared to PP as far as CA and distortion goes. Some sharpening should also be done - but that's nothing special for this lens.

I started with the 18-200vr also. It was a great lens, for learning
what makes a crappy lens. You have to learn under what few
circumstances it can be coerced into taking sharp pictures and why. I
even went as far as to study phase aligned focus versus contrast
focus algorithms in trying to understand why 90% of the pictures were
mud. I learned all kind of lessons as to what responses to expect
when I questioned the value of the lens.

I have the 18-200, and it almost like we are not talking about the same lens. Are you sure you don't have a "lemon"?

I learned that a lot of
people find it acceptable - I have no problem with that, we all have
different levels of expectations. I learned that there will always be
those who jump in and say 'look at this great picture' with this
lens, even though the other 200 they took were unusable. I also
learned that the horrible rate of 10-20% keeper pictures went up to
90-95% with other lenses, and that the problem was 'not me' as
suggested by many.

Again, I can't recognize this at all. My keeper rate with the 18-200 is far higher than 10-20%. I'll venture to say, that as far as the technical quality goes it's near 100%. The cameras and lenses are that good these days - the 18-200 included. For me, it's composition, peoples expressions etc. that determines whether a pic is a keeper or not.

If you are totally new to cameras you will be ok with it, however if you
already know how to compose and are looking to get higher quality
pictures it will just frustrate you.

I have been photographing for 45 years, have been using pro grade gear for 35 years (Canon F1 cameras with FD lenses, Leica M cameras and lenses, Leitz Focomat enlarger and now Nikon dSLR with quite a few top quality lenses). So I'm hardly new to cameras. But I'm not frustrated with the 18-200, on the contrary. I do also have some fine primes, and I can see the difference when pixel peeping at 100%, but - mind you - not in real world situations. That is at magnifications I usually use to view my pics. That includes viewing the pics full size at my Lacie 20 inch screen. As the IQ is in fact good (if not perfect), the 18-200 is a revelation when travelling light. And believe me, the older you get, the lighter you want to travel.

I can see three possible reasons for your frustration. First, you may actually have a "lemon" - that does happen. Second, even though you say you have now passed the beginners state and believe you have found the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, yet you may not know how to make the best out of your 18-200. Third, your expectations may be higher than real world demands. Maybe the first reason is the most probable, since you say you get much better results with almost every other lens.

There may well be good reasons for your particular sample of 18-200 to perform "crappy", but I think you jump to conclusions when you imply that all of us who think we can get satisfactory results from our 18-200 are ignorants and beginners.

Max Berek, the designer of the famous first Leica lenses (among them the Elmar and the Hektor), always insisted on "Perfection within reason" - and we all know how highly regarded those lenses were.

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