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55-200 VR vs the 18-200mm VR

Carolyn Hodges , May 29, 2007; 12:55 p.m.

I own the 55-200 VR and love it. I also own the 18-70mm and like it (satisfied but not in awe). I'm thinking of eventually selling them both and buying the 18-200 VR.

So my question is, will I love the 18-200 VR? Is the lower end better than the 18-70? And, is the higher end the same as or better than the 55-200 VR?

Responses


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Elliot Bernstein , May 29, 2007; 01:47 p.m.

The only reason to switch would be if you don't like changing lenses.

If you hate changing lenses, you will love the 18-200. If money is not an issue, you will love the 18-200.

Your best bet would be to try the 18-200 lens out for yourself and compare picture quality with what you now have. You likely won't see a difference unless you take out a magnifying glass, and even then, the diffences if any will be very, very small.

Brian Duffy , May 29, 2007; 01:57 p.m.

Optically it's not as good as the 18-70 but it's very good for a super zoom. It's great for travel and anyone who hates to carry 2 lenses and have to keep switching them. I own one and love it. I will probably add a 70-200 f2.8 for a faster sharper long end lens but other than that this lens will spend most of time on my camera. It's not the sharpest but good enough for most situations.

Bruce Margolis , May 29, 2007; 01:58 p.m.

I agree with Elliot but I would add another benefit is VR throughout the entire focal range. I use the 18-200 a lot, especially when I travel. It is a pretty neat lens but it definitely has some limitations. The most noticable is softness at the wide end, though it is no worse -- and maybe a little better -- than the 18-70.

I would suggest you try it out and compare the long end with your 55-200. If the results are comparable, think about switching but if you feel you are compromising quality, then you have to decide whether quality is more important than convenience.

Peter Hamm , May 29, 2007; 02:15 p.m.

carolyn,

i can't say about the 55-200, but check out this review.

http://www.bythom.com/18200lens.htm

He writes that the lens is "Good enough that it has replaced both my 18-70mm and 24-120mm as the walk around lens of choice for when I want to go light and with one lens."

I love mine BIG time. Haven't used the 18-70 except to briefly try it out. It rocks, too as far as I can tell.

Ronald Moravec , May 29, 2007; 02:16 p.m.

18/200 has a lot of distortion. Check the comparison

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/index.html.

You need to move to the professional lenses to be really impressed.

I find my 18/70 to be really nice for a do it all lens. You might like the 18/135. But the more you stretch things, the more the design suffers.

Robert Hooper , May 29, 2007; 02:30 p.m.

The performance of my Nikon 18-200mm VR is noticeably exceed by my Nikon 18-70mm (better color saturation, contrast, sharpness), within the same focal range. From about 150mm to 200mm, performance of the 18-200mm VR is pretty mediocre in my opinion. However , when you consider you are comparing a an 11x zoom to an approximately 4x zoom, the 18-200mm VR does amazingly well. I consider the 18-200mm VR to be a great travel, grab-shot lens, but I always have other lenses for more serious work either with me or back at the hotel while traveling. Of course, the selling point of the 18-200mm VR is great convenience and VR in low light. Unfortunately, what skews any comparison of Nikon lenses today is rampant sample variation. I returned my 18-200mm VR to Nikon for adjustment and a scratched internal element. It returned a much better performer, but who knows if it is the best that it can be? Opinions of this lens seem to run the gamut from poor to stellar.

Will you love the 18-200mm VR? If your 18-70mm is a good sample, maybe not.

Richard Borovoy , May 29, 2007; 03:27 p.m.

Carolyn,

The 18-200 was also on my short list together with the 55-200VR and 70-300VR that I was asking about in the other thread. I'll tell you why I decided against it and you can take it for what it's worth.

I also have an 18-70. One of my buddies let me borrow his 18-200 for a quick comparison. Nothing formal, but the results on my D80 showed the 18-70 to have better sharpness and contrast. That's the primary reason I'm now looking at a 50-200 instead of a 18-200 and I also don't think that the 18-200 is worth the asking price.

Of course, the 18-200 is a Swiss army knife and does things that the 18-70 can't do. Extra reach and VR obviously come to mind as does the need to change lenses less often. Whether those things override the better image quality of the 18-70 only you can decide.

The fact that you already have (and love) a 50-200 negates 2 of the 3 advantage of the 18-200.

It a simple fact of optical life that the wider the zoom range the more design compromises need to be made. The 18-200 is a good example of this. Not a bad all-purpose lens, but not as good as lenses optimized to cover shorter ranges.

If you can live with the occasional lens change, there seems to be no reason to switch from your 18-70/50-200 combination.

Rich

Dave Lee , May 29, 2007; 03:41 p.m.

I used the 18-70mm a lot, then when I read all the rave reviews of the 18-200mm VR, I had to have one. I bought one ($900 on ebay last October) and tested it. It has more distortion than the 18-70mm, and less overall sharpness. It's also bigger and uses a big (72mm) front filter. I was going to travel to Japan with it, but decided to take the 18-70mm instead. I'm glad I did too.

Unless you *need* to shoot at night or in dimly lit rooms with a slow shutter speed, there are better options than the 18-200mm. And as already stated, if you don't like changing lenses.

I would stick with your 18-70mm and your 55-200mm VR. The 18-200mm VR is overrated in my opinion by a lot of people. It's also overpriced. If it sold for $599, maybe, but $749-800 is too high for what you're getting. Better to use a monopod or tripod if you need to shoot with slow shutter speeds.

Dave

Carolyn Hodges , May 29, 2007; 04:27 p.m.

OK - so far, lots of info on the wide side (and good info, I might add), how about the 55-200 end comparison? Thanks


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