10 out of 10 points and recommendedVery sharp, good contrast, low distortion, large apetureA bit bulky. Supplied case could be much smaller.
I bought this lens because I was unable to get hold of an 18-200 VR in time for my forthcoming holiday. I began to think a little deeper about my proposed purchase and came up with a number of what I believe are valid points in favour of spending the extra cash. (Or maybe I just needed to convince my wife!)reviewed April 24th, 2006 (purchased for $1,488)
1. Although the VR is said to give 4 stops advantage over a similar lens, this advantage becomes minimal when you consider that the VR needs to be stopped down to f8 or f11 before it appears to deliver its best definition. On the other hand my 80-200 is very sharp from f4 so I reasoned that this took care of two or three stops advantage straight away.
2. Then I considered distortion. This lens has very little distortion compared to what has been written about the 18-200 VR.
3. Chromatic aberations (purple fringing) are not visible in my pictures (15x10). I have seen a number of samples on the internet taken with the 18-200 VR which had considerable CA.
4. Breathing. I intend to use my lens in the tropics and that means a lot of moist air. All zooming is internal with the 80-200 so breathing will only occur in the focusing elements and this is a fairly small movement. On the 18-200 the zoom accounts for an extension of several inches, so I reasoned that this would mean the intake of a fair amount of moist air and the longer term risk of fungal growth.
5. Build quality is fantastic. I have only owned Nikon consumer lenses before and the difference is staggering in every respect. All contols have a silky smoothness about them.
I use this lens with my D50 and although it uses the mechanical linkage to achive focus, the speed is very good with virtually no hunting in most light conditions. One day when I upgrade this to a higher megapixel model, I am confident I will be in posession of a lens which will enable me to fully appreciate any improvement in definition.
The 80-200 lens did cost me quite a bit extra and it was quite difficult to find a new one. I am thrilled with the performance and I believe that in the end it will prove to be worth the extra cost. In short the lens has become virtually invisible between what I see and what I want to print.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedVery sharp. VR works well. Build quality
The build quality on this lens is excellent. Everything is quite tight and there is no wobble of the lens barrels when it is zoomed to 85. In general the construction feels much better than my 18-70 which it is replacing.reviewed March 19th, 2008 (purchased for $822)
Resolution is very high, noticeably better that the 18-70 and similar to the 18-135.
Image distortion is not serious but is visible when photographing straight lines towards the edges of the image eg. brick wall. The good news is that it is easy to reduce to an acceptable level with Photoshop Elements 5. I have now calibrated it so I know at a each main focal length I can quickly apply a correction factor. DXO will no doubt do a better job but I am happy enough with this method.
This is my first VR lens and it works very well. I can now pretty much forget camera shake during lower light photography.
It focuses close enough for many general close-ups and I can see my Sigma Macro lens staying in the bag for more of the time.
Overall I can't fault this lens. It provides all of the features I want in a lens, high resolution, VR, good zoom range, close focus, fairly compact.
It will make a very good vacation lens but its a pity Nikon say it is not suitable for use with a teleconverter. If anybody tries one please put in a report for the rest of us.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedVery sharp across range of apetures, compact, blurred backgroundsCA
I have owned this lens now for a couple of weeks and tried it on a wide range of subjects.reviewed April 24th, 2009 (purchased for $291)
Its sharpness is very good across the range but it definitely improves a little from f2.8 upwards. The wide apature has enabled me to go back to the good old film days when, due to budget constraints, I had only a wide apeture standard lens which forced me to work harder to get the best shots. Low light portraits in particular look more interesting due to the small depth of field.
With regard to CA, it is present and like other writers, I was concerned about this when I ordered the lens. I use a D200 so there is no automatic reduction of this problem. That said, the problem is not serious and on shots which I feel may be spoiled by CA I convert from Raw with View NX first. This is free and does a good job of removing the CA. I have tried Capture NX2 which also works well but I stuggle to understand the logic of this program.
Focusing I have found to be pretty much as fast as my other Consumer AF-S lenses and is more reliable and much faster that I would be able to achieve manually. I think people make too much of focus speed.
Focus locks on quickly in most cases but I have found that it is not so good on very low contrast subjects. I am unsure whether this is caused by the lens or the body.
The lens focuses internally so the front element does not extend or rotate. This is beneficial as it should not suck in moisture or dust as could happen with lenses which extend the front of the lens to achieve focus or zoom.
Overall I am very pleased with this lens. It is very sharp, focuses well, offers shallow depth of field and seems sturdy. What more could you want.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedVery Sharp, convenient size, feels very well engineeredDistortion
Sharpness: This has been raised as an issue. I went out this morning and took a series of pictures at f4 to f8 around 75 & 85mm. I use a D700 and the results on all pictures were very sharp at the centre and the edge. Viewing the files at 100% on a decent monitor, I could not see any worthwhile difference between f4 or f5.6.reviewed November 15th, 2010 (purchased for $1,687)
Distortion: It could be better but its not too serious and is easily sorted in Photoshop ot Elements. Its more of an inconveniece which slows down my work flow.
Vignetting: Not brilliant at the wide end but many modern lenses seem to suffer from the same problem. I have to correct this with most of my lenses unless I crop out the centre of the picture. Again this is an easy fix with photoshop or Elements
CA: This could be better but again this is easly dealt with using the tools in ViewNX
Build: the lens feels very well put together with no slackness in either theFront lens tube, zoom or focus rings. To put it in context my 80-200 focus ring feel less well engineered and I know it to be a superb example of this particular lens.
VR2: what can I say, it does exactly what it says on the box.
I use my camera every day for work and pleasure and this lens now stays on for everything except maco or telephoto shots. I had several other lenses which covered similar focal lengths and I have now sold them all. I am very pleased with my lens and it should save me a lot of money in the future as at last I have a lens which does everthing I could realistically expect and I will be keeping it. Yes it does have a few minor issues but they can all be solved with software. In short, a brilliant lens.