NIKKOR 18–200mm f/3.5–5.6G ED VR II


Nikon’s new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18–200mm f/3.5–5.6G ED VR II lens (27–300mm 35mm equivalent) is an updated version of their popular 18–200mm lens that covers a significant 11.1x focal-length range and probably most of a photographer’s shooting needs. This iteration adds a new locking mechanism and VR II, the second generation of optical vibration reduction that can now compensate up to four stops of camera movement. There are no changes to the basic design of arranged elements.

This relatively compact lens weighs 19.7 oz. and feels solid. It has a 72mm filter thread with a rear-mounted, protective rubber seal. The barrel is well designed with controls within easy reach. There are two large ribbed rings for zoom and focus, a distance scale, and four switches. The new lock switch allows you to lock up the lens at 18mm. It would be great if the lock worked across the focal-length range because this lens suffers from lens creep—the unintended movement of the lens under its own weight when pointed straight up or down.

The lens uses Nikon’s internal Silent Wave Motor technology for an impressively smooth, quick, and accurate autofocus. Fully extended, the VR II let me shoot down to 1/15. This is a sharp lens with good contrast and able to separate detail of similar tonal value. The closest focus distance is approximately 1.6′. I never encountered any lens flare or serious chromatic aberrations; however, at 18mm, there’s mild vignetting and barrel distortion, and at 40–80mm, pin cushioning—a concern if you do architectural shots. A lens shade is included.

I used the lens with a Nikon D300s and D3000 and found it great for traveling light. It’s capable of producing high-quality pictures; however, it does have some distortion issues.—Steve Baczewski

Company: Nikon Inc.
Price: $849.95
Rating: 4

Hot: Compact; wide coverage; effective Vibration Reduction
Not: Lens creep; distortion