Nikkor 18-200mm Lens Review

Nikkor 18-200mm Lens Review

“Not the “Perfect Lens”, but close”

nikon nikkor 18-200

I waited 6 weeks for mine to arrive and used it almost immediately at an airshow featuring the Blue Angels. I took about 3 gigibytes of pictures at that show. I used the lens with a D50 in sports mode to capture the fast moving planes. It was a great day with not a cloud in the sky. When I later looked at the pictures I was dismayed to see significant light fall off or vignetting on the shots taken at 200mm with the lens wide open at f5.6.

This light fall off is the most significant problem I have noticed with this lens. I contacted Nikon and they said it was normal. Since the lens is made for the smaller DX sensor the diameter of the lens is smaller. This causes mechanical shadowing at long zoom lengths with the lens at the wide open settings of f5.6 until about f11. All lenses have light fall off, to some degree, at the edges. When you use a regular lens made for 35mm with the smaller digital DX sensors the fall off is outside the sensor and not seen. The light fall off was especially noticable with the blue/uniform background. If the background was “busy” the falloff would be less noticable.

Vignetting/light fall off is also usually seen on the wide side of zooms like this. I have not seen any with this lens. I do use a Hoya Pro 1/2 thickness filter so that a shadow is not made when shooting wide angles of 18mm – 28mm or so. I saw a technical review of this lens that noted it had significant outer distortion on pictures taken at 18mm but I have not seen that.


-Light weight for range
-Large range
-Vibration Reduction
-Sharp, crisp pictures with vibrant colors
-Fast Focus with manual focus adjustment ring for fine tuning


-Light fall off at long telephoto settings and large f stops
-Vibration Reduction helps with handheld shots but does not stop subject motion in low light, you still need a fast lens for that
-High price and limited availability
-Might get light fall off at wide angles unless expensive 1/2
width filter is used
-Lens Creep (but most telephotos have this to some extent)

I have since used the lens to shoot the Special Olympics. The outside track and field photos are excellent. Inside shots where hit and miss with subject movement in low light being the biggest culprit (was shooting no flash at 1600 iso).

For about the same money you can get a Nikon or Sigma 2.8 lens that covers approx. 80-200mm. I have read several opinions that you will still have fewer bad pictures with the VR of this lens and I believe that is true. It is not a perfect lens, but it takes great pictures once you know its limitations.

One tip – If you get this lens, when you use it on a tripod turn VR off, it will actually cause your photos to be blurry.

More Nikon 18-200mm Reviews from Amazon:

Check out for more reviews of Nikon’s 18-200mm, it has more consumer reviews and reports than any other site online:

reviews of nikon 18-200mm

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Nikkor 18-200mm Lens Review By William R. Stockstill (Marietta, GA United States)
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1 Comment »

  1. 1

    Want to know how well the VR feature of the Nikkor 18-200mm works? Here is a series of images shot entirely handheld…at twilight, with moving lanterns…

    Click on any of the images for a larger version.


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