Getting a new camera, but a new lens? Yeah, why not.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by X-Morgan, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. X-Morgan macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Hey all,

    After spending a year and a half with my Nikon D50, I think it's time for an upgrade.

    Next week I'm going to get myself the D300. I've had a play with it, and I'm just blown away with what it does. The new CMOS Sensor really shines in the high ISO range and the Live View will really aid me in my ventures outside at 1am to do some Astrophotography.

    I've also been looking at some new lenses, and my heart is set on the Nikon 18-200 VR. Anyone have some hands on experience with this lens? I've played around with the 24-120mm VR on the D300 and it's the first time using VR; I'm hooked.

    Any opinions? Good and bad on the 18-200mm is really appreciated. What makes you love it, and what makes you wanna throw it out the window.

    Cheers :)

  2. bobt macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2006
    Bozeman, Montana
    My son has the 18-200 and I've used it quite a bit and love it. Great "one lens" solution for so much. I'm not a lens snob so others might have a more critical view of it. The VR is great and can't believe how many photos have worked out ok for me when shooting slow.

    Biggest bitch is the damn thing zooms out on its own when walking around. Wish it was a little tighter and would stay put.

    One other thing. You will love the D300. I'm just absolutely amazed and the images I'm able to get, especially compared to a D200. Never thought there would be that much of a difference. (I like super saturated colors much of the time and that is part of it)
  3. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    The 18-200 is a nice lens....a handy all-around traveling lens. That said, it does not excel in any one focal length, and that is the problem. It's not a fast lens, either, so isn't always that useful in low light situations. It's the lens that I will take with me on a trip which is not photography-related, a trip where I'm limited in what I can carry, a trip where I want/need to have just one lens on the camera for sight-seeing and such.... It's not the lens which I use around home for "serious" photography or for trips where I'm traveling by car and not limited in what I can carry with me.

    The D300 is a stellar camera; do yourself a favor and buy it a couple of stellar prime or zoom lenses!
  4. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Now, I don't know nearly as much as other posters in this forum, but if you're going to get a D300, I'd really encourage you to get a better lens than the 18-200.

    I understand that it's really appealing to have that much range in one lens, and if you were saying that you would simply like to add the 18-200 to the lens your D50's lens collection, I would say "Go for it"... but getting a body as nice as the D300 and then putting that lens on it would selling its capabilities short, kind of like getting a Porsche and then putting the tires of your '94 Honda Accord on it.

    There are a few others on here who own the D300 who could give you better advice than I can, but I'm going to be more blunt than them when it comes to this:

    If you want to get a camera and just put an 18-200mm on it, that's great - but you don't need to spend $2k on a D300 to do that.
  5. Hooka macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2007
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    At this point the bodies are becoming disposable. You're much better suited to invest in the glass. You will be able to use it for years and years.

    Also you're better getting a d80 or a slightly used d200 and put more money in the glass that way.

    And if all you want to use is one lens, you really have no business even using a d300. get a d40x, and call it a day.
  6. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Okay, strike that - he's going to be more blunt than me.
  7. yeroen macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2007
    Cambridge, MA
    I'd rent an 18-200 first from or and see how you like it before you spend the $700.

    I too read all the beaming reviews of this lens; boy, what a massive disappointment when I finally took it out for a spin.

    Perhaps it's partly due to sample variation, but I found the 18-200 to be mediocre at best. Any lens of of that focal range is bound to make some hefty compromises. To be fair, I have seen some very nice photos from the 18-200, but in practice I found the images it produced to be soft, low on contrast, and high in distortion. I'd much rather spend the money on a good prime, or save up a little more and go with a pro-level zoom.

    Also keep in mind that, being a 'consumer' zoom, build quality is crap plastic. So you're basically paying for a gimmicky (sorry, but it's true) VR mechanism that's bound to break sooner or later and require an expensive repair.
  8. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    Not to be rude, but he's right. Unless you just like having pricey toys. Use the savings to get a nice video camera (HV30 is supposedly coming out soon). There is something to be said for getting better value for your dollar, putting your money toward different things that do a good job over all your money toward one thing that does a great job.

    Most high end equipment requires some skill and knowledge to operate them close to their full potential.
  9. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yeah... And even if you can afford the D300, why not get a D200 and use the saved cash for a nicer lens? $700 is a lot considering that it's still not a "pro" zoom such as the 80-200mm f/2.8D ED also made by Nikkor, which maintains its maximum aperture at all focal lengths - the 18-200 is slow slow slow in comparison.

    Personally, I'd keep your D50 and spend more on better lenses and accessories. Take a look at freebooter's pictures and you will see that your model of SLR doesn't matter (he shoots with a D40 and produces images that are breathtaking and undoubtedly professional), but rather your lens, overall technique, skills, and post processing. Heck, even I don't find myself missing the shots I want, and my camera is a "lowly" D70s, with no "pro" glass...:


    Keep us informed!
  10. X-Morgan thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Oh dear, I get back from work and I have alot of quite angry people wanting to set me on fire because of my camera/lens combination.

    Let's clear the air.

    This lens won't be firmly attached to my camera 24/7 and it will not be used for absolutely everything. I have over 10 lenses here and they each all have a use. So don't think I'm gonna use the 18-200 as my primary lens. my 50mm 1.4 is for that.

    I've got quite a few pieces of really expensive glass, and these won't go to waste. I just feel that the D50 is limiting both me, and the lenses. The D300 will be future proofing me for the next few years as a camera that can match the calibre of what i have to attach it too.

    I need an 'all rounder' lens instead of carrying 4 of 5 other lenses when I go out for a casual walk.

    I'm only looking at the 18-200 'cos the guy said he'd knock the 18-200 down to £400 if I bought the D300 too.

    So I'd rather not 'call it a day' as getting a D40x would be a step backwards.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I think the long range f/5.6 VR zooms are targeted to those doing photography as incidental to another activity. Anyone who has planed ahead to make some specific image would have gotten a more specialized lens.

    The trick to buying equipment is to be very specific and be able to say exactly what is the problem that needs to be solved. If the problem is "I can't carry a second lens with me" the 18-200 solves that problem. But if you are thinking about indoor portraits it is not nearly the best.
  12. soms macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2007

    IMHO I would spend the money on a D80 an some great class instead of jumping for a D50 to a D300. Thats an INCREDIBLY high jump in terms of performance and price. Make a list of what you want to do with your camera and then compare what the D300 can do to your current one. Unless you are doing work which absolutely needs highend ISOs for night shots w/o a tripod then I suggest you get a D80/D200.

    Within 2 years I guarantee that camera will not be future proofed. Its always wise to invest in good glass, as it won't become obsolete.

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