The Compromise Lens

Nikon 18-200 3.5-5.6 VRThat’s a bit of a misnomer. Every lens is a compromise. Even the best lenses have some compromise, such as being heavy or really expensive. What I just recently bought is what many people believe to be too many compromises. I bought a reconditioned Nikon 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR. The old one. (The new one isn’t out yet, but was recently announced by Nikon. Maybe not great timing.)

Here is a review at DP Review on the lens. If you jump to the last page of conclusions you will see that the review thought that it had distortion through out, and was soft at the long end. Despite this, Scott Kelby has used this lens on vacation many times and got great pictures. So, when it looked like I was going to be going on a trip where even a DSLR would be kinda heavy, I figured I needed to get to just one lens. (I couldn’t see myself going with just a point and shoot.)

The range you get with this lens is amazing. I went for a short ride on my bike with a fanny pack to check out the lens. It is crazy you can go from wide to really zoomed in just a twist of the lens.

As it turns out, the trip isn’t going to happen this year. Maybe another time. But I still have the lens. I think I am going to keep it. I have always wanted a better “walk around” lens. I find my 17-50 too short. I am often at the wide end of it, but sometimes you just need the reach. It would be great to have on photowalks so I didn’t feel I needed to carry more than on lens. It would have been useful on the beach when I was taking pictures of the girls too. The 17-55 was useful there, but sometimes…

It looks like this will be a very useful lens for anything that I am not doing client portrait work. It will take some getting used to the smaller aperture. We will have to see after some more use how I like that for people shots. I am often working at the 2.8 end of my lenses, so this is quite a change. I need to take and look at more pictures before I can know for sure. For now though, I will be walking around with just one lens.

1 thought on “The Compromise Lens

  1. Agreed – complain all they want about the CA and ‘zoom creep’ when you point the camera down — this lens bests them all when it comes to just being a good ‘one-size-fits-all’ lens. It goes along with what you said – the best camera is the one you have. I often found myself leaving the camera at home when I had to bring a ‘big expensive’ lens… now, the 18-200 is my go-to on a DX sensor, for sure.
    I do all my traveling with just that lens on a D300 ( … seriously, it’s an amazing lens… I’m sure you’ll just learn to love it more and more as time goes on.

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