Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX review
4 Conclusion & samples
Conclusion - Pros
- Huge 11.1x focal length range, ideal travel lens
- Decent build quality - much better than Nikon's 18-55mm kit lens
- Very effective vibration reduction system, at least 3 stops benefit
- Excellent fast, silent autofocus with manual override
- High image quality in the normal to short telephoto range, and good at 200mm
Conclusion - Cons
- Pronounced distortion across much of the range
- Extremely soft at 135mm
- Rather average close-up performance
- Zoom creep
Just occasionally, the old cliches are still the best, and with the 18-200mm VR the phrase 'jack of all trades, master of none' springs immediately to mind. It's a lens which delivers somewhat flawed results over its entire zoom range; where it's sharp, it has heavy distortion, and when that distortion comes under control at the long end, it loses sharpness. Its close-up performance is reasonable, but not spectacular, and overall it will likely be outperformed optically by a cheaper combination of standard and telephoto zooms. So for a certain type of photographer interested mainly in absolute image quality, this may well cause it to be regarded as nothing more than an expensive snapshot lens.
But to dismiss the 18-200mm VR based purely on its optical quality is to miss the point quite fundamentally. The whole idea of such a lens is to allow the photographer to travel light and never miss a shot while changing lenses, or indeed not to have to risk water or dust entering the camera in adverse conditions. So what you do get for your money is a hugely flexible zoom range which can handle the vast majority of photographic opportunities, coupled with excellent autofocus and vibration reduction systems. And all of this is wrapped up in a relatively compact package, with build quality which feels solid without being excessively heavy. It really is a lens you can leave on your camera all day long and scarcely miss a shot, and it has to be said, this makes it a lot of fun to use.
So when all is said and done, we have to understand that superzooms are essentially about making some optical compromises to provide the broadest possible range in a single lens, and it's up to each individual to decide whether those compromises are acceptable. I wouldn't recommend the 18-200mm to someone whose primary interests were either architecture or wildlife, for example, but for the photographer who wants to shoot a little bit of everything and not have to change lenses, it's more than fit for purpose. Ultimately this is probably as good a superzoom as money can buy, so as long as its limitations are recognised and understood, it has to be recommended.
|Detail||Rating (out of 10)|
|Ergonomics & handling||8.0|
Recommended (with reservations)
There are 26 images in the samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. A reduced size image (within 1024 x 1024 bounds) is provided to be more easily viewed in your browser. As always the original untouched image is available by clicking on this reduced image.
Nikon 18-200mm f3.5-5.6G VR DX Review Samples
Feb 26, 2008
Feb 24, 2011
Feb 24, 2011
Feb 12, 2011
|Devil Rock (Stuttgart, Germany) by cornissimo|
from Neon Signs
|Carla... by lickity split|
from Beautiful caucasian female faces
|Lunar New Year Fireworks by Michael L NYC 99|
|Vatican Basilica by wam7|
from Street lights
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has a the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.
Massive corporation P&G is being sued by a Cincinnati photographer for serious copyright violations. If the courts rules against P&G, the company could pay as much as $75 million in damages.