Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II AF-S DX

Nikon continues to pump out new lenses for their top of the line digital SLR cameras and although the selection of modern available cameras remain limited and rather easy to pick, choosing the right lens can be tough even for people that feel they need extra features that their included kit lens doesn’t have. But if budget is a major concern, the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6g ED VR II may fit the bill. Priced well under $900, the NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6g ED VR II brings plenty of the newest technologies to amateur photographers while keeping the weight light.

Latest Update: The Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II is Now on Sale at Amazon.com

Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II

Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II AF-S DX

Classification

The Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II adds to the big family of standard zoom lenses out there. In the focal range area, it is very much similar to the AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, but the latter adds some versatility along with some convenient functions. Therefore, this is one of the lenses that will replace the IF-ED model.

Design & Construction

The Nikon 18-200mm VR II looks very much similar to the older 18-200mm counterpart mentioned earlier because of the similar features that they both share. One minor change is the VR label printed in gold rather than red. The lens construction is similar though where there are two ED glass elements and three aspherical lens elements that together contribute to better sharpness, color correction, and image quality. As for the overall build quality, the ruggedness isn’t improved that much and still falls under the pro grade lenses that are available. Still it looks like a professional performer that can pair well with the latest Nikon digital SLR cameras.

Actual user review:
“I can’t say enough about this Nikkor lens. It has produced so many beautiful shots on my Nikon D90. My sister in-law loved my photos so much she got one too. The quality is solid. Photos are sharp, but can be a bit slow in low light. This lens is incredible when I took it to a Lakers game. My friends thought I had floor seats looking at the zoomed photos.” – L.Ly (CA,USA)

Features & Specifications

Just like the IF-ED, the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6g ED VR II has the same 11x zoom versatility and 27-300mm picture angle equivalent in 35mm format making it an excellent one-lens solution. It also incorporates the VR II technology which helps reduces unnecessary vibrations that cause blur. This in turn increases the sharpness without any processing power by allowing handheld held shooting at 4 shutter speeds slower.

Superior color consistency is achieved too with the Super Integrated Coating technology which drastically improves light transmission and at the same time also helps reduce flare and ghosting. Since it lacks the Nano Crystal Coat found in advanced models, this coating effectively minimizes the negative effectives. Using wide aperture settings is no longer a gamble thanks to the two ED elements and three aspherical lens elements that eliminate coma and keep chromatic aberrations to a minimum. It also uses the Nikon Silent Wave Motor which is effective in ensuring quiet autofocus operation while maintaining quickness and precision. Out-of-focus image elements have a more natural appearance thanks to the rounded 7-blade diaphragm.

One of the newest features to grace the 18-200mm ED VR II is the helpful zoom lock switch which keeps the lens barrel secured when a minimum length is in use. Versatility is also extended allowing focus of up to 20 inches.

On the side, everything else is basically the same with the HB-35 lens hood that it comes with. This flower-shaped lens hood aids in separating the most wanted parts of the image from any light that degrade the area. Manual and autofocus operation can be easily switched using the M/A focus mode switch making it ideal for a number of different DSLR cameras.

Bottom Line

Nikon successfully improves a highly receptive product giving more amateurs a reason to use a high zoom ratio lens. The image stabilization technologies are very efficient and the two VR modes make it ideal for using the lens for a variety of occasions. It may not have the same build quality as the professional lenses, but the weight is considerably lighter to better complement the entry-level cameras and the technologies housed in the lens can make any user feel like they are using a more improved Nikon body. All of the technologies ultimately lead to an overall better picture in all angles of quality.

Average User Rating:
The lens is quite responsive when it comes to autofocus and focuses on the selected focal point rather quickly. The lens does not tend to hunt back and forth searching for the subject and focus. The zoom barrel is relatively smooth when zooming from one focal length to the other. Results are relatively sharp and crisp and 9/10 times the results are satisfactory. The weight of the lens is reasonable as well (if you are used to SLRs, if not you might find the body a lens weight a bit much if you have been used to compact cameras or point and shoot cameras). Overall a very versatile lens with a very wide range of focal lengths, eliminating the need to buy more lenses for the average photographer who doesn’t really want to spend the money on several prime lenses that would cost a mini-fortune. A recommended buy as a first lens as it serves most photographic situations.” – A.Qasim (Bahrain)

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Nikon has done an amazing job in creating a lens with such a large zoom range that does not seem to vignette at the extreme end of the telephoto range. The lens is fast enough (But faster still would be always appreciated) for most casual photo work. The VR feature has been very handy for those long range hand-held shots. I will continue to use this lens for the majority of my photo work, only rarely going to an 11-18 lens for extreme wide angle shots where I can’t back up far enough.” – XRX (CA,USA)

Anyone can design a $2000 lens that is sharp and can cover a limited focal length. No one, however, to my knowledge has designed a lens suitable for a D90 or similar which can do as many things as well as this lens does at this price. At f8, this lens is every bit as sharp as Nikon’s own 10-24 super wide when both are set to 20mm. I know, because I own them both and I’ve done the comparison shots on the tripod and the whole bit. This is huge, because the wide end usually gets ten times the use of the telephoto end. In other words, Nikon made exactly the right set of compromises. There is distortion, to be sure, but lens distortion is now a non-issue because of DXO and other lens correction software. If you haven’t yet got DXO, it will improve the technical quality of your photos far more than any possible lens upgrade could do.If your needs are modest regarding telephoto, or if all you do is ride from place to place in the car, or take shots of the kids around the house, then by all means, switch lenses and carry the big bag. I’ve got one too for those applications. But if you require a single lens solution for a great many situations, where speed and weight are of the essence, if your group would hate you for holding them up while you fumble around changing lenses, if you’re wanting a nice frame-filling shot of a far off critter which will tolerate no closer approach, then this lens is for you. It is hands down the best combination of size, weight and performance available, with the possible exception of the Sony NEX5 with its new superzoom lens. There’s no reason for you to miss shots that the guy next to you with his little Panasonic superzoom is going to reach out and get…a very slightly less sharp picture still may be worth a thousand words!” – R.Diefenbach (WA,USA)

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