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Nikon 18-200mm VR
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Nikon 18 - 200mm

Nikon 18-200mm. (enlarge)

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How to get one

SPECIFICATIONS

Full Name: Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor D 18 - 200 mm f/3.5 - 5.6G DX ED IF VR. Different countries will use different combinations of all this alphabet soup.

AF-s means it focuses silently and you have instant manual override just by grabbing the focus ring.

D means it tells your camera's meter the distance to your subject. This helps a little for flash exposure metering.

G means it has no aperture ring so it won't work on ancient cameras that require one. Since these old cameras are film cameras it wouldn't matter anyway.

DX means it only works on digital cameras. The corners will be black at many focal lengths on a film camera.

ED is special glass used to increase sharpness.

IF is Internal Focusing. The lens focuses with only the slight motion of a few internal elements instead of having to crank the entire lens in and out. This means the front no longer rotates as you focus, making polarizing and grad filter use easy.

M/A (Manual/Automatic) mode means that even while in autofocus you may simply grab the focus ring to make manual focus adjustments. Next time you tap the shutter it returns to AF mode, and next time you grab the ring you're instantly in manual mode. I wish everything on earth worked this well.

SIC is Nikon's latest multicoating to increase light transmission and reduce ghosts.

SWM is a Silent Wave Motor, which is an ultrasonic piezo device similar to Canon's USM. It moves things without making noise. The lens focuses silently, handy for snoop photography and for sensitive pets and wildlife.

VR is Vibration Reduction. It lets you get sharp images without a tripod. The lens works internally to compensate for camera motion, vibration and shake. Of course it can't compensate for your subject moving.

I have a page about all this and more here.

Focal Length: 18 - 200 mm is similar to a 28 - 300 mm lens on a 35 mm camera.

Aperture: f/3.5 at 18 mm, f/5.6 at 200 mm.

Maximum Aperture vs. Focal Length

     18 mm:  f/3.5
     35 mm:  f/4.2
     60 mm:  f/4.8
     95 mm:  f/5.3
   200 mm:  f/5.6

Optics: 16 elements in 12 groups. That includes two ED glass elements, shown in yellow, and three aspherical elements shown in blue. The VR group is inside the red box, as seen in the diagram at Nikon's site.

Close Focus: Nikon's rating is 1.6 feet (20" or 0.5 meters) throughout the entire zoom range. This is fabulous! Mine is even better: at 200 mm it focuses to 16" (0.4m) from the image plane. This is closer than 8" (0.2m) from the front of the lens since the lens pokes out 9" from the image plane at 200 mm. At 18 mm mine focuses to 15" (0.38 m) from the image plane or 9.5" (0.24m) in front of the lens. This all means you always can get close enough.

Maximum Macro Ratio: 1:4.5. This is great. This means you can fill your frame with an area as small as 4-1/4 x 2-3/4" (108 x 72 mm)!

Seven-bladed rounded diaphragm stopping down f/22 (18 mm) to f/36 (200 mm). It works well and is very round at every aperture at which this would be important.

72 mm filter size. WHOOPS! I use mine with a 72 -> 77mm step up ring at all times for compatibility with my other pro lenses. It does not vignette.

HB-35 Bayonet Lens Hood included. Flower-shaped. I never use these since they get in the way. I use my hand in rare cases where the sun's shining in my lens. The 18 - 200 is particularly resistant to ghosts anyway. The hood is a miracle: it's designed so that it can be used even if I have my 77 mm step-up ring and 77 mm filter in place. Of course if you use 77 mm accessories as I do you have to reach deeply into the hood to attach and remove them, and you can't remover the hood unless you first remove the step up ring.

CL-1018 Lens Pouch included. I seems to be a weird fake suede. It's not very padded. It's a floppy pouch with a flat, hard round bottom. It folds flat. I never use these. My 18 - 200 is always on my camera!

Size: 3.0" (77 mm) diameter. Extension from lens flange (length excluding rear mount extension) is 3.8" (96.5 mm) 18mm and 6.4" (162 mm) zoomed out to 200 mm. Erectile function is roughly linear as the zoom ring is rotated.

Weight: 19.790 oz (561.1g), measured. Nikon specifies 19.8 oz (560 grams).

Price: Nikon lists "estimated selling price" as $699.95. See How to Get One for details today.

Nikon Product Number: 2159, in catalog as of spring 2008.

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