Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

Started Feb 16, 2009 | Discussions
Michael Warren Regular Member • Posts: 195
Re: IMO, a very amateurish review...

David,

I agree with your sentiments. I have purchased and used Thom Hogan's ebook for the D300 and have been very pleased with how complete and thorough it is. His perspective is as a practicing photographer; which I find very useful. One can find pure data specs on a lens from many sources, but his reviews provide me with more insight than just the specs.

Mike

Looleylaylow
Looleylaylow Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

thequacksoflife wrote:

Thom, it would be interesting if you included a 3rd party lens like
the Tamron 17-50. Price is comparable so it will be a lens people
will consider.

Thom reviewed the 17-50: http://www.bythom.com/1750lens.htm

 Looleylaylow's gear list:Looleylaylow's gear list
Nikon D7100 Olympus E-M1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 +4 more
NowHearThis
NowHearThis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,772
Re: Thanks Thom!

Thom,

I just wanted to say thanks for your all the time you put in to giving us great reviews. I appreciate your hard work and look forward to more reviews in the future.

On a side note: I agree with your ratings conclusions for the 16-85 and 18-105, I've found both seem to take really nice photos.

Thanks again.

-- hide signature --

NHT
while ( ! ( succeed = try() ) );

 NowHearThis's gear list:NowHearThis's gear list
Olympus PEN-F Panasonic Leica 12-60mm F2.8-4.0 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4-5.6 R Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7 Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH
jack scholl
jack scholl Veteran Member • Posts: 4,218
Re: Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

Thom Hogan wrote:
For example, on a one-rating scale, the 16-85mm would probably get
four stars from me, the 18-200mm would now get three stars. To get a
five-star rating, a lens would really just have to have no optical
issues. The 200mm f/2G is an example of a lens I'd rate five, the
14-24mm may turn out to be another (still working through my
assessment, and that missing filter ring is something I'm still
grappling with ; ).

This in no way is meant to question your ratings and tests. I too feel you are a great resource for the nikon community.

However, we just tested 4 copies of the 18-200 and then compared them to our very good 16-85. Two of the 18-200's were noticeably inferior. Of the remaining pair, one really stood out in terms of sharpness and IQ. It was not as sharp as the 70-300 VR or the 80-400 VR (which was much sharper than the other two) at the tele end. But from 18 thru 85mm it either matched or slightly beat the 16-85. I was surprised after taking some 30 to 40 comparative shots. We are still evaluating this issue but are tempted to keep the 18-200 and pair it with the 80-400 and a super wide zoom for our "kit".

Not sure how to explain this other than copy variation . . . maybe we just got lucky on the 18-200. The difference between 24mm and 28mm is significant. But having a super wide option would make things more interesting.

Any comments are welcome.

Jack

-- hide signature --
 jack scholl's gear list:jack scholl's gear list
Sony RX1R II Sony RX10 IV
sveto Regular Member • Posts: 475
Re: VR affects bokeh?

Thom,

Could you please elaborate with a few words about this phenomena? I cannot imagine how VR could influence bokeh quality, besides when the VR element is moved to the side and the optical path is altered. If i remember correctly, Nikon centers the VR element shortly before the exposure.

I'm very curious about this.
sv

J1000 wrote:

Quote from his 16-85 review:

'VR being active can create a "busy" and slightly false look to the
bokeh'

Can anyone elaborate on this? I have never heard the connection
between VR and bokeh.

Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

jack scholl wrote:

This in no way is meant to question your ratings and tests. I too
feel you are a great resource for the nikon community.

No problem. As to the rest of your post, I try to use multiple samples as much as possible. Sometimes I can borrow something from my assistant or friend's copy and try it to see if it matches what I found, often I'll do some pixel peeping with student's copies of a product to casually verify what I found.

The variability on the 18-200mm is troublesome. I have a copy that doesn't lens creep, believe it or not. I haven't seen another that doesn't, if not at first, then with use. I also think my 18-200mm is optically quite good, better than two other samples I've tried, slightly worse than one. Yes, in terms of sharpness my copy might hold it's own from 18-85mm against the 16-85mm. But frankly, I don't think that's quite enough to make it a choice over the 16-85mm. That sharp 16-18mm is a very big factor for someone looking for flexibility. More so than the 85-200mm range (which doesn't really go to 200 for most uses) at the long end. Worse still, the 18-105mm does as well as the 18-200mm in the same range, and it's just a less expensive lens. No, the 18-200mm is down a notch overall in my mind. If I were buying from scratch right now, what I wrote is what I'd do: 18-55 and 55-200mm, 16-85mm, or 18-105mm, depending upon what I valued most.

Note that I wasn't panning the 18-200mm. Just that in my new scheme of things, I don't think it's OVERALL rating would quite equal the two lenses I just reviewed.

-- hide signature --

Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (19 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: VR affects bokeh?

sveto wrote:

Could you please elaborate with a few words about this phenomena?

Think frequency. The discrete movement of the VR mechanism tops out at about 1/500 (that's the frequency of response, not a shutter speed). Most people seem to think that VR is this super fast thing that would have no optical impact, but as pretty much any sports photographer will tell you, we turn off VR beyond 1/500 shutter speeds because of the frequency issue. But even below 1/500 the mechanism can cause some small jitterish movement in a longer shutter speed (jitter is a real term used to measure small fluttering response off the expected line). And I happen to think that this jitter shows up in certain bokeh situations (not all mind you, but often enough to be slightly less attractive).

-- hide signature --

Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (19 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

sveto Regular Member • Posts: 475
Re: VR affects bokeh?

Thanks for the fast response, Thom. Jitter could explain it. Although, one would think that it should affect the in-focus-parts first, before it starts to become visible in the bokeh. But then again i'm no expert in optics
sv

BTW: My copy of the 16-85VR is better at the wide end and degrades slightly in the long end. I like it that way.

zzzzzzzzzzz Senior Member • Posts: 2,636
Re: Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

Thom Hogan wrote:

More so than the 85-200mm range (which doesn't really go
to 200 for most uses) at the long end. Worse still, the 18-105mm does
as well as the 18-200mm in the same range, and it's just a less
expensive lens. No, the 18-200mm is down a notch overall in my mind.

The 18-200 will go to 200mm when focused to infinity. I certainly would not say that it doesn't really go to 200 for most uses.

The 18-200 compares quite well to the 16-85. Here are some examples:
http://8dennis8.fotki.com/public_photo/misc_use_photo/16-85-vs-18-70-vs-18-200/

 zzzzzzzzzzz's gear list:zzzzzzzzzzz's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Nikon D800 Nikon D5500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR +24 more
kungfusion Senior Member • Posts: 1,170
Re: Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

Though I have not had my 16-85 for long, I find that my handheld pictures are usually sharper with the 16-85 than they are with the 18-200. This may be because of the optics, but I suspect that a slight improvement in the VR function is mostly responsible.
--
http://flickr.com/photos/rcaron/

Mike Neary Veteran Member • Posts: 3,355
Re: Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

zzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Thom Hogan wrote:

More so than the 85-200mm range (which doesn't really go
to 200 for most uses) at the long end. Worse still, the 18-105mm does
as well as the 18-200mm in the same range, and it's just a less
expensive lens. No, the 18-200mm is down a notch overall in my mind.

The 18-200 will go to 200mm when focused to infinity. I certainly
would not say that it doesn't really go to 200 for most uses.

Depends how you define "most uses". At closest focus distance, the 18-200 VR has about 100mm focal length at its longest setting (compared against a Sigma 105mm macro which gave a larger magnification of a dollar bill at about 1ft distance). At typical portrait distances the 18-200 has about 135mm focal length.

Sure, if your typical use is to focus on a detail in the top of a church tower at quite a distance, you'll get your 200mm length and your money's worth. Thom is simply indicating that for other people's typical uses, the 200mm may remain an illusion...

Cheers

Mike

BasilG Veteran Member • Posts: 7,580
Re: IMO, a very amateurish review...

SteveM7i wrote:

...compared to the reviews available at http://www.SLRGear.com and
http://www.photozone.de:

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showcat.php/cat/13
http://photozone.de/Reviews/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests

Amateurish? Quite the opposite. In contrast to the other two resources who need to list every single performance test chart but are sometimes a bit lacking in terms of interpretations, Thom's authority is big enough for people to believe him without seeing all that charts. Quite the opposite, really.

BG

BasilG Veteran Member • Posts: 7,580
Re: VR affects bokeh?

J1000 wrote:

Quote from his 16-85 review:

'VR being active can create a "busy" and slightly false look to the
bokeh'

Can anyone elaborate on this? I have never heard the connection
between VR and bokeh.

I noticed this with the 70-300 VR at 300 mm. The bokeh of some shots I took was absolutely horrid. Outlining, double images. I think I deleted them all because they were so ugly...

BG

zzzzzzzzzzz Senior Member • Posts: 2,636
Re: Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

Mike Neary wrote:
Depends how you define "most uses".

I agree, but Thom wrote - "which doesn't really go to 200 for most uses". He is assuming too much.

He also said (in the "review") that the 16-85 has a more useful range than the 18-200. I have nothing to say about that comment except "Wow"!

 zzzzzzzzzzz's gear list:zzzzzzzzzzz's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Nikon D800 Nikon D5500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR +24 more
jfk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,048
Re: VR affects bokeh?

Thom

Thanks again for the informative reviews. The info on the VR frequency is just one practicle example you bring that we don't get from "professional" reviews.
I say that tounge in cheek.

In light of this, does this also affect image quality like it does bokeh? If so, do you recommend we turn VR off after a certain shutter speed, say 1/250, or maybe 1/FL?
Thanks again.
jk

Mike Neary Veteran Member • Posts: 3,355
Re: Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

zzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Mike Neary wrote:
Depends how you define "most uses".

I agree, but Thom wrote - "which doesn't really go to 200 for most
uses". He is assuming too much.

Well, if a lens only reaches 200mm at infinity and has significant loss of focal length at any shorter subject distance, I think the statement "which doesn't really go to 200 for most uses" is justified.

He also said (in the "review") that the 16-85 has a more useful range
than the 18-200. I have nothing to say about that comment except
"Wow"!

And I happen to agree with that comment - the zoom range of the 16-85 is really not that far behind the 18-200 "for most uses", and I persoanlly value the 16-18mm range more than the range above 85mm which I will gladly switch to a longer lens for.

Cheers

Mike

BasilG Veteran Member • Posts: 7,580
Thom - reviews are missing from the "Nikon" page.

Well, at least over here, the two new reviews don't show up on the Nikon page, only on the front page. Just a friendly reminder.

BG

Rumpis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,089
Re: VR affects bokeh?

I have noticed some difference with the 70-200/2.8VR. Now I switch VR off if shutter speed is fast enough.

BasilG wrote:

J1000 wrote:

Quote from his 16-85 review:

'VR being active can create a "busy" and slightly false look to the
bokeh'

Can anyone elaborate on this? I have never heard the connection
between VR and bokeh.

I noticed this with the 70-300 VR at 300 mm. The bokeh of some shots
I took was absolutely horrid. Outlining, double images. I think I
deleted them all because they were so ugly...

BG

-- hide signature --

Rumpis
http://foto.pudele.com/ - Low intensity blog about
photography, Nikon and some other stuff interesting to
me. Just for fun. In Latvian.

zzzzzzzzzzz Senior Member • Posts: 2,636
Re: Thom 16-85VR and 18-105 DX review is up

I strongly disagree with both of your statements.

Mike Neary wrote:

Well, if a lens only reaches 200mm at infinity and has significant
loss of focal length at any shorter subject distance, I think the
statement "which doesn't really go to 200 for most uses" is justified.

And I happen to agree with that comment - the zoom range of the 16-85
is really not that far behind the 18-200 "for most uses", and I
persoanlly value the 16-18mm range more than the range above 85mm
which I will gladly switch to a longer lens for.

Cheers

Mike

 zzzzzzzzzzz's gear list:zzzzzzzzzzz's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Nikon D800 Nikon D5500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR +24 more
msc1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,529
Grab your fire extinguishers!!!!

SteveM7i wrote:

Ohhhhh man, you have committed sacriledge!!!!! Thom's word comes from above and is quoted piously at every turn on this form.

And Photozone is generally reviled because it is "just" quantitative ..... and worse yet, is not in agreement with much of the fanboy screed.

The only thing that would get you flamed further is if you mentioned Ken Rockwell in a non-negative light.

Even if you qualified that you hoped to see more quantitative graphical reports, you'ld get blasted.

Certainly, all these reports have their place --- and it's always nice to see a balanced tone --- but it does no good to pick and choose on an internet forum.

msc

...compared to the reviews available at http://www.SLRGear.com and
http://www.photozone.de:

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showcat.php/cat/13
http://photozone.de/Reviews/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests

Steve

Emil Varadi wrote:

See: http://www.bythom.com/Nikkor16-85lensreview.htm
and http://www.bythom.com/Nikkor18-105lensreview.htm

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads