Thursday, April 17, 2008

Review: The All-in-one Nikkor - Part 2

The key for travel photographers is "pack light, carry light, travel light". The additional weight and load will be a hindrance when hiking and travelling. Traditionally, one must have a wide and a mid-tele on 2 separate camera bodies. Or some carry 2 different lens and interchanges them while shooting. The first one adds up to one's load. The latter can prove cumbersome because dust particles can enter the camera and can ruin the outcome of your image. With one 18-200vr mounted on one camera, the photographer can concentrate more on shooting than worrying about dust and others.

Field tests:

Distortion

1/250", F8, ISO 100, Coudy WB,

As with my 18-70 (click for Ken Rockwell review), distortion is noticeable at 18mm wide, as seen on the above example (look at the horizon). As with other standard tele, zooming to 24mm can do the trick, though sacrificing the "wideness". Distortion can be easily corrected in post-processing. So for me, it's not really a major issue. I am saving up for the the AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED, which for me is best for landscape, it's UWA (Ultra Wide Angle) with almost no distortion.

Shooting indoor, architecture or anything that requires wide angle-shots, is a different story. You'd better be off using another lens.

Bokeh and sharpness

Both can be done in post-processing, but nothing beats the real thing. True or real bokeh when used properly can help isolate the subect and make it stand-out. Sharpness complements these types of shots. An isolated subject that is not sharp doesn't look right.

The AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED is the king of Nikkor High Power Zooms for me. It's built like a tank, as heavy as one, costs as much as one, but one hell of a sharp lens. With a fast-fixed 2.8 aperture, the 18-200 is generally no match. I was able to get my hands on one (borrowed) and took this shot below:

70-200vr @ F2.8


Here's a similar shot but taken with my 18-200vr.

18-200vr @5.6


The results maybe similar, but we can't arrive at the conclusion that the 18-200 is as sharp as the 70-200. The photos were taken on different days and time and both were pp'd (a bit) differently. What I am trying to share with you is that the 18-200vr is really sharp and produces nice bokeh. It performs very well on daylight and for me is the perfect lens for mountaineers/backpackers.

Next: Conclusion