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  Reviews by: johnmh  

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Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED DX VR AF-S

18-200dx
Review Date: Mar 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: A good one lens 'carry' solution. If this is how you use it and accept its limitations, you'll be fine.
Cons:
Perfect at extremes? - no, but few other lenses will cover the same range as well

This lens stays on my wife's camera 90% of the time. She doesn't like changing lenses and doesn't have to with this lens.

If using outside in nature you won't notice the distortion at the wide end. Avoid using in urban environments with lots of lines.

This is a nice 'all-in-one' lens, not a great pro one. It covers a wide range and does what you want out of a consumer carry lens. Look at it in this way, and accept that it is NOT perfect throughout its substantial range.

If you're willing to carry multiple lenses, and change them, (and pay more) go for a 16-85VR and 70-300VR. A great 'carry' combination. Wider coverage overall and better IQ.


 
Nikon 500mm f/4G ED VR AF-S

500VR
Review Date: Mar 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Astounding lens all around. VR allows hand holding for shots you couldn't have gotten previously.
Cons:
Expensive - but worth it. Supply seems limited and unable to meet demand. You may wait a while if you want one.

Nothing to complain about.

Greal lens, great IQ, works fine even with longer TC's.

Manageable size and weight for the reach but I can see this still being an issue as 'carry-on' for planes and longer back-country treks.

It's expensive but you're getting your money's worth and given recent events a safer 'investment' than Wall Street. Nonetheless, you should be realistic about whether you can justify spending what is a very substantial amount of money. In that sense this is a pro lens - or one for amateurs with disposable income.

This lens - along with other pro level glass - will be passed down in my estate, with my heirs fighting over it.



 
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF

1996NAS_180
Review Date: Mar 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,370.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Good range - portable package.
Cons:
Dated lens. No internal focusing motor. Better values for th money now available

This lens is in dire need of an update. The range makes it a good compliment to the 16-85 but this lens will disappoint. Focusing speed is slow - lack of an internal focusing motor makes focus speed dependent on the body you are using. It's OK for slow or fixed subjects - but forget birds in flight.

The price/performance for this lens is not good when you compare it to the Nikon 70-300VR - a less expensive lens that's a great value for the money. It also fares poorly compared to new Sigma OS offerings (120-400 and 150-500).

This lens is a bit soft wide open at 400mm though it sharpens up when stepped down. But the inherent limitations that come with its maximum aperture limits mean you'll want good light to use this lens.

I WANTED to like this lens as a compliment to the 16-85VR but it simply doesn't provide you the performance you should get for the price.

I have compared this lens to the Nikon 200-400 (which costs 3-4 times more) the Sigma 150-500 (which costs 1/3 LESS), Nikon 70-300VR and the Nikon 70-200 with TC's. I own all of these. If you can live with the shorter reach the Nikon 70-300 VR is the best value for the money. The Sigma is worth the price in comparison (it gets soft at 500 but at 400 wide open is clearly better than the Nikon - it's cheaper too. only major complaint is that it's f/6.3 at 500 at best).

I am among many who hope that Nikon updates this lens - but fear that the end result will be priced higher - and remain overpriced for what you get.


 
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS

150-500
Review Date: Sep 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $980.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good reach for the size and money. Appropriate value for he money relative to others in the category.
Cons:
Slow relative to other lenses but any faster and you'd have a more expensive, larger heavier lens.

IMO you're getting what you pay for with this lens, though I wish Sigma had charged $500 more and put a little higher quality into it.

I have a Nikon 200-400VR - it's a great lens but large and heavy - and 5-6 times more expensive than this lens. I was hoping for an updated 80-400 AF-S VR but have so far waited in vain. Wanting a smaller, lighter 'carry' lens for backcountry treks I picked up the 150-500, going for its slightly longer reach over the 120-400 - an advantage for wildlife.

I got what I expected, a pretty good lens for the money. It can be used hand-held - though a monopod is a good idea at longer lengths. Generally got good shots with it but noticed that it's easy to knock the OS switch to 'off' - and it shows in the end result. You have to be careful in mediocre light - it'll take longer to lock in focus - you will notice the lens speed in less than ideal conditions.

On a tripod, this lens gives much better results. However that's not what I wanted it for. While shooting elk in RMNP, another photographer with a 170-500 on a tripod with a remote was rather impressed with what I was getting hand-held or on a monopod.

This lens let me get shots I couldn't have gotten without carrying around the larger and heavier 200-400. I was also able to leave it on the back seat and shoot from the car when unexpected shots came up - it was small enough to maneuver in the car. The 200-400 is NOT as easy to maneuver in comparison.

I may still buy an updated 80-400 if Nikon ever makes an AF-S version, but I expect it'll cost $500 more (at least) than this lens - almost 50% more for less reach.

Some complain that theyre not getting their money's worth from this lens but compared to other 400mm/500mm zooms, you're getting an internal focusing motor, vibration reduction and the reach for under $1000. Compared to an older Tokina 80-400 I picked up, this lens was about 50% more expensive for far more functionality and quality (albeit in a larger package). It's only marginally longer than the Nikon 80-400.

Compared to other lenses - Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, even Nikon, this lens is priced appropriately for what you get. It's more than some of the other 400/500mm lenses that lack OS/VR, slightly less than the Bigma (50-500) which surprises me, and significantly less than the Nikon 80-400 which lacks an internal focusing motor and is limited to 400mm.

I wouldn't have minded paying more - and getting a bit more, but that wasn't an option - unfortunately.