16-85 Nikon vs 18-200 - - WOW!!!

Started Mar 12, 2008 | Discussions
Julian Price Junior Member • Posts: 32
16-85 Nikon vs 18-200 - - WOW!!!

I bought an 18-200 Nikon VR lens along with my D300 and returned it because of unacceptably fuzzy images - poor detail at periphery of pictures - just couldn't trade the wonderful convenience and zooming range for poor results. Maybe I got a bad copy, I don't know, but it just didn't work for me. . . .

I got the new 16-85 VR lens yesterday and immediately re-took some of the images that I had captured with the 18-200 - The difference is astonishing.

The 16-85 doesn't offer some of the "you only need one lens" convenience of the longer zoom: but it does have the extra wide angle coverage of 16mm (24mm) vs. 18mm (27mm) which is significant to my own needs.

What the 16-85 does offer though, is almost unbelievable image quality. I have been using the very sharp 17-55 Nikon lens and the 16-85 appears to be every bit as sharp as this highly rated lens. Just a couple of dozen pictures - all outdoors - clusters of tree limbs, brick walls, things that show the strengths and deficiencies of lenses - The 16-85 truly excelled and beat the 18-200 by a very wide margin.

I am very happy with the new lens and feel that it will be the lens of choice to stay on my camera "full time". A little slow, granted, but it is smaller and weighs so much less than the 17-55 and makes a much more pleasant package to carry around.

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Grug Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: 16-85 Nikon vs 18-200 - - WOW!!!

Wow, sounds great! Can we see some samples? I'd love to see some comparison shots with the 17-55mm.

laxer3n7 Forum Member • Posts: 76
Any samples to show? (nt)
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OP Julian Price Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: Any samples to show?

I told you that I only took a few pictures to evaluate the lens . . . . . Don't expect any great compositions. . . . .

Ignore the first sunset (taken with an Olympus E-3). The others were taken with the 16-85 yesterday afternoon and with the 17-55 a couple of days ago in my back yard.

http://www.pbase.com/julianprice/inbox

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Al Contributing Member • Posts: 731
Re: 16-85 Nikon vs 18-200 - - WOW!!!

Julian Price wrote:

I bought an 18-200 Nikon VR lens along with my D300 and returned it
because of unacceptably fuzzy images - poor detail at periphery of
pictures - just couldn't trade the wonderful convenience and zooming
range for poor results. Maybe I got a bad copy, I don't know, but it
just didn't work for me. . . .

I got the new 16-85 VR lens yesterday and immediately re-took some of
the images that I had captured with the 18-200 - The difference is
astonishing.

The 16-85 doesn't offer some of the "you only need one lens"
convenience of the longer zoom: but it does have the extra wide angle
coverage of 16mm (24mm) vs. 18mm (27mm) which is significant to my
own needs.

What the 16-85 does offer though, is almost unbelievable image
quality. I have been using the very sharp 17-55 Nikon lens and the
16-85 appears to be every bit as sharp as this highly rated lens.
Just a couple of dozen pictures - all outdoors - clusters of tree
limbs, brick walls, things that show the strengths and deficiencies
of lenses - The 16-85 truly excelled and beat the 18-200 by a very
wide margin.

I am very happy with the new lens and feel that it will be the lens
of choice to stay on my camera "full time". A little slow, granted,
but it is smaller and weighs so much less than the 17-55 and makes a
much more pleasant package to carry around.

That's exactly what I concluded after a couple hours of playing with my 16-85. The 17-55 might be a tad sharper on the wide end at max aperature, but the margin is so small it would be impossible to tell in prints. That said, the 17-55 still has a place for low-light sports and other indoor moving stuff, the two lenses are very different tools. I can't compare it to the 18-200 because I don't own one. The 16-85 has obviously benefited from some advances in lens design over the last few years, it really is an amazing piece of glass.

PeeKaa Regular Member • Posts: 339
Re: 16-85 Nikon vs 18-200 - - WOW!!!

What do you mean with this??:

The 16-85 doesn't offer some of the "you only need one lens" convenience of the longer zoom: but it does have the extra wide angle coverage of 16mm (24mm) vs. 18mm (27mm) which is significant to my own needs.

OP Julian Price Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: 16-85 Nikon vs 18-200 - - WOW!!!

PeeKaa wrote:

What do you mean with this??:

The 16-85 doesn't offer some of the "you only need one lens"
convenience of the longer zoom: but it does have the extra wide angle
coverage of 16mm (24mm) vs. 18mm (27mm) which is significant to my
own needs.

It means that the 18-200 lens might a perfect answer to all your photographic needs and you may never need anything else . . . or maybe, an ideal lens to take on a long trip with just a camera body and no other lenses, while with the 16-85, I find that I still need a longer zoom to round out my "kit".

The other figures are the 35mm equivalents for the two focal lengths - 16mm is equivalent to 24mm on a Nikon 1.5X body and 18mm is equivalent to 27mm.

Many of us who have used film cameras think in terms of the 35mm field of view for various lenses.

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gerard boulanger Senior Member • Posts: 2,262
Since you got the D300...

.... If I may suggest you to use the DR settings on the D300 body, especially on the shot you took from the lake, it will give you more details too much hidden in front. You may also correct it with some PP.

I don't agree with you about a similar IQ of the 17-55 and the 16-80. Not only IQ is better on the 17-55 (even wide open), but the 3.5-5.6 aperture on the 16-80 made it too slow in low light condition. Having a 80 mm with max aperture of 5.6 is also kind of a disappointment to me. I like having 2.8 all the way.

It just me probably, but I don't see an advantage of having VR on a 16-80 lens, but again, just my humble opinion. I stay with the prime lenses, especially on a D300 body. Moreover the construction quality of prime lenses are day and night compare to plastic one.

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Dean Lapinel Regular Member • Posts: 495
Varies...

My 18-200mm was sharper than my bad copy of 17-55mm. I'm curious to see samples of your new lens though.

BTW, I know I just lucked out with a good 18-200 and that the 17-55 that is well made will beat the pants off my zoom but the 18-200 does a fine job at a weight and reliability that's not worth replacing.

Dean Lapinel Regular Member • Posts: 495
Re: Any samples to show?

Julian,

Just a friendly tip from an old photographer. Even when taking snaps to test a lens, always take the opportunity to hone your composition skills. Also as Gerard very nicely stated ...DR.

Dean

OP Julian Price Junior Member • Posts: 32
Thanks for the Critique of my pictures. . . .

Dean Lapinel wrote:

Julian,

Just a friendly tip from an old photographer. Even when taking snaps
to test a lens, always take the opportunity to hone your composition
skills. Also as Gerard very nicely stated ...DR.

Dean

Dean,

Points well taken - from both you and Gerard. Thank you.

While I think the "subject matter" of the pictures in question is pretty and worthy of better composition, I was actually more interested in the tree limbs at the edges of the frames than I was in the pretty stuff. . . . In similar efforts, with the 18-200 VR lens that I previously tried, the limbs would be ill defined and, again, "fuzzy". I think that in the examples from both the 17-55 and 16-85 lenses, the limbs are very sharp - even when magnified to 2:1 in Lightroom, and that is what I wanted to see in these particular shots.

http://www.pbase.com/julianprice/inbox

As to DR - I am new to the D300, having graduated from Canon 5D & Olympus E-3 cameras, and I am just "discovering" the wonders of the D300. I will certainly, and immediately, look into DR. (and other features lurking in this wonderful camera) I do think, though, that in many sunset pictures, the foreground is better left in silhouette rather than in trying to bring out lots of detail. Living on a lake and facing west, I get a "beautiful sunset" almost every day so I can do a lot of practicing.

Personal choice, I guess.

Again, thanks for your critique - I'll try to do better, however being an "OLD DOG" myself, I'm not sure sometimes that I'm up to too many new tricks.

Julian

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Photo-Wiz Senior Member • Posts: 1,655
Re: Any samples to show?

VERY nice backyard. Whereabouts is this lake?

Julian Price wrote:

I told you that I only took a few pictures to evaluate the lens . . .
. . Don't expect any great compositions. . . . .

Ignore the first sunset (taken with an Olympus E-3). The others were
taken with the 16-85 yesterday afternoon and with the 17-55 a couple
of days ago in my back yard.

http://www.pbase.com/julianprice/inbox

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OP Julian Price Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: Any samples to show?

Photo-Wiz wrote:

VERY nice backyard. Whereabouts is this lake?

This lake is on the Tennessee River - Lake Joe Wheeler - near Decatur/Huntsville, Alabama - obviously in the U.S.

Thanks for asking

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Ward Blackburn New Member • Posts: 14
Re: 16-85 Nikon vs 18-200 - - WOW!!!

I too, traded in my 18-200 in favor of the new 16-85. I found that the 18-200 was just a bit too bulky to use as my everywhere lens, so the 16-85 fits the need perfectly. I've been very pleased with the image quality. Although a touch slow, the VR should compensate. I think this is the best all-around Nikon lens yet.

thomas2279 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,876
Re: Any samples to show?

Thanks for sharing I should be getting this lens soon to slot on with my D40x as a travel combo.
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Dave Santora Senior Member • Posts: 2,552
OK, what are DR settings?

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TrekSF6 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,092
Re: OK, what are DR settings?

Dave Santora wrote:

I'm lost here...
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Ditto.

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thirdfox Regular Member • Posts: 482
DR = dynamic range

The D300, D3 and D60 all have A-DL - Active Dynamic Lighting. During the taking of the photo it helps preserve highlight detail while raising shadow detail (according to dpreview's test).

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SantaFeBill Veteran Member • Posts: 3,185
Re: Varies... Yes

The images posted here seem to support the idea that samples of the various lenses do vary, although I'm surprised at the idea of a bad copy of the 17-55. (But, hey, even Homer nodded. )

Given the variance, it seems that comparisons based on images from a particular lens, whichever it is, don't really have much value.

Also seems to reinforce the advice to buy from a reputable dealer with a clear return policy, test your lens, and see how it performs.

nikhgan Senior Member • Posts: 1,552
Re: 16-85 Nikon vs 18-200 - - WOW!!!

Looks pretty sharp.

I am not satisfy with the image 18-200 delivers, maybe I will get the 16-85mm too. I can't understand why can't nikon make it a constant f4 lens. f/3.5-f/5.6 is really too slow.

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