June 11th, 2011
The Nikon AF-S 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II Nikkor digital SLR zoom lens is designed for Nikon DX format SLR cameras, and is Nikon's second generation AF-S 18-200mm VR zoom lens. The newer AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, combines an 11.1X zoom range with enhanced Vibration Reduction (VR II) technology to provide DX-format Nikon SLR users with a versatile zoom range in a compact form-factor.
Designed as an all in one travel lens solution, the Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II provides a very practical zoom range for most users, suitable for photographing wide-angle landscapes or group shots of people, to zooming in on the action to capture outdoor sports, wildlife, or kids at play. The lens provides the equivalent field of view of a 27mm - 300mm focal range in 35mm (FX) terms.
The AF-S designation indicates that this lens will provide autofocus compatibility with Nikon's entry-level oriented digital SLR cameras that do not incorporate an AF motor in the camera body, like the Nikon D3100 and the D5100 (and older Nikon D3000 and D5000 models etc.).
The lens features VR II, Nikon's second generation vibration reduction technology, which allows for up to 4 stop compensation, to help take sharper pictures under lower light situations without the use of a tripod.
The Nikon AF-S 18-200mm VR II features a zoom lock switch at the 18mm setting which prevents the barrel from creeping down while traveling with the lens. A sun shade hood, and lens storage pouch come supplied in the box.
We recently tested the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II with a Nikon D90 SLR camera. Our summary of the lens performance results and accompanying sample images are provided below.
Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Nikkor Zoom Lens
11x Zoom versatility: The Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II offers a versatile zoom range from 27mm to 300mm in 35mm terms.
The Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm VR II zoom lens offers the same wide-angle coverage as provided by the standard AF-S 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR Nikkor kit lens, while extending the telephoto end of the zoom to the equivalent of of that offered by the Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm F/4-5.6G IF-ED VR zoom lens.
As such, the Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm VR II serves as a one lens replacement compared to having to carry around two lenses to cover the same focal range.
Two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements: Offers enhanced sharpness and color correction by effectively minimizing chromatic aberration, even at wide aperture settings.
Nikon VR II (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization: Vibration Reduction, engineered specifically for each VR NIKKOR lens, enables handheld shooting at up to 4 shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible, providing sharper still images and video capture. Two Vibration Reduction modes are available:
NORMAL VR mode: Reduces
ordinary camera shake. Panning is also supported.
Three aspherical lens elements: Minimizes coma and other aberrations, even at wide apertures.
Zoom lock switch: Secures lens barrel at its minimum length (18mm).
Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM): For fast, accurate and quiet autofocus.
Rounded 7-blade diaphragm: Renders more natural appearance of out-of-focus image elements.
M/A focus mode switch: Enables quick response to changing situations between manual and autofocus operation.
72mm Filter Size: Internal focus mechanism facilitates the use of circular polarizer and other filters. The front of the lens does not rotate while focusing.
Flower-shaped lens hood: Included HB-35 lens hoodshades the objective from unwanted, image-degrading light.
Focus down to 20 inches from the subject: provides for close up photography.
The lens is comfortable to hold, and feels well balanced when matched with a camera like the Nikon D5100 digital SLR.
The AF-S DX 18-200mm VR II incorporates a metal lens mount design, and although not as refined as some of Nikon's upper end professional lenses, the finish and feel is within expectations for this type of consumer oriented lens, and is similar to competitors offerings in the same class.
Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm VR II Image Sample Test
Using the Nikon D90 with lens set at 200mm
The Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm VR II lens appears optimized for center sharpness when used with this combination of settings. While there is some visible corner softness in the image, it will hardly be noticeable if you are mostly producing regular size prints or for online use.
In this test with the lens set to its widest 18mm focal length setting, the amount of center sharpness is pretty good. Corner softness is quite visible when viewing the image at full size, although once again it will not be as noticeable unless you are printing bigger enlargements.
Chromatic Aberration (colour fringing around highlights) is well controlled, with the lens delivering decent performance. The results are in part attributed to the use of the Nikon D90 SLR in our tests. Like most of the new Nikon SLR cameras, the D90 has a built in feature that compensates for lateral chromatic aberration.
The Nikon D90 "Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction" function serves to reduce moiré and helps optimize edge sharpness, providing a practical advantage with any lens.
In fairness, in order to provide the added zoom versatility offered by the AF-S 18-200mm VR II while maintaining compactness and ease of portability, there has to be some tradeoffs. As such, the Nikon AF-S 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II compares quite well to the AF-S DX 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G VR zoom all things considered.
Wide-angle distortion effects are not so pronounced when photographing subjects from further away. Wide-angle lens distortion can also be minimized by not setting the lens to the widest zoom setting when shooting at closer range.
The Nikkor AF-S DX 18-200mm VR II did exhibit some pincushion distortion (inward bowing of gridded straight lines in an image) at the upper telephoto zoom range, although in our real world field tests the effects were not that noticeable.
Many of Nikon's current digital SLR's like the Nikon D90, D5100 and D7000, feature a built-in 'Distortion Control Correction' function. Selecting this feature in the Nikon D90's 'Retouch Menu' (with Auto settings), the Nikon D90 did a decent job at reducing the appearance of distortion, as shown in the third sample image above.
Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED performed fairly well in terms
of controlling lens vignetting (dark image corners). Vignetting is worst
at 18mm wide open at F/3.5, although with some improvement seen with
the lens stopped down to F/5.6 at the same focal setting. Vignetting
becomes less of an issue in the middle of the zoom range.
While incorporating such a long zoom range into one lens does come with some tradeoffs (more noticeable distortion and some edge softening depending on the focal length), the versatility and convenience provided by the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-200mm VR II in our opinion outweighs these issues, and makes the lens quite suitable for its intended users of family and travel photographers.
The lens offers a comfortable design with a large front located zoom ring. The manual focus ring is located further down the lens towards the lens mount, and manual focus can be quickly activated by sliding the M/A (Manual / Auto) switch found on the side of the lens.
The Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II incorporates Nikon's Vibration Reduction II (VRII) technology. The VR system built-in to the AF-S DX 18-200mm VR II did a good job in our tests, allowing us to handhold the lens up to 4 stops slower than would normally be possible without using a tripod.
The AF-S motor incorporated in the lens means that the Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II is fully auto focus compatible with all of Nikon's current SLR lineup. The lens is responsive in its focusing, and while not as fast as some of Nikon's higher end lenses like the AF-S 70-200mm F/2.8G VR II, the lens did a good job in attaining focus in our tests.
The Nikkor AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II offers decent sharpness performance throughout the zoom range, with some corner softness being more noticeable at the widest of the wide-angle settings.
Considering the many benefits offered by the Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II zoom, including; general image quality, focal length versatility, compactness, and the optical vibration reduction system (VR II), we have no problem recommending the Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED zoom lens.
In our opinion, the AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.-5.6G IF-ED VR II serves it's intended purpose well, and is a logical choice if you are looking for a one lens solution for your Nikon SLR.
Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II Specifications
|Mount||Nikon F Mount (metal)|
|AF Motor||AFS Silent Wave Motor|
|DX Focal Range (1.5x)||27-300mm|
|Angle of view||76° to 8°|
|Construction||16 elements in 12 groups (with two ED glass and three aspherical lens elements)|
|Zoom Lock||At 18mm position|
|Max Reproduction ratio||0.22x|
|Number of diaphragm blades||7 rounded|
|Closest focus||0.5 m / 1.6 ft.|
|Vibration Reduction||VR II up to 4 stop compensation|
|Filter Attachment size||72mm|
|Size||77 x 96.5 mm / 3.0 x 3.8 in.|
|Weight||565g / 19.9 oz.|
|Included Accessories||72mm Snap-On Front Lens Cap LC-72, Rear Lens Cap LF-1, Bayonet Hood HB-35, Flexible Lens Pouch CL-1018|