1. sparker

    sparker

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    Simon
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    Good afternoon,

    Does anyone one have first hand experience of large zooms like the Nikon 18-200 or the Sigma equivalent? Are they good or just a gimmick?

    Your thoughts please

    Thank you
    Simon
     
  2. mark.roper

    mark.roper

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    Mark
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    Depends what you're using it for, I have the Nikon 18-200 VR, which I bought to replace the 18-55 kit lens figuring it'd be more versatile, which it is, but it has some limitations. I find the images are not particularly sharp at the 200mm end (though they're very good at the 18mm end), although stopping down to f/8 at 200mm helps.

    I used it for a motorsport event recently and was disappointed with it at the longer end, I have a Sigma 150-600mm as well and it takes much better pictures than the 18-200 @ 200mm, unsurprisingly perhaps but I guess it means the zoom range is not quite as useful as you'd imagine.
     
  3. GTG

    GTG

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    Varies greatly depending on price. The expensive ones like Nikon 18-300 vr are good and have generally very positive reviews / tests. Cheap ones you will get what you pay for....
     
  4. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    Richard
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    Optically they can be pretty good, though commonly sharper at the wide end with softer corners, and sometimes a bit flat at the long end. They also suffer from 'focus breathing' which is the euphemistic term for reducing focal length at close distance (for compactness). So if it's say small garden birds at 2-3m away, a 300mm focal length will actually be more like 200mm.

    Then the obvious things like slow maximum apertures all the way and the fact that you're always carrying quite a big lens if you don't use the longer settings much.
     
  5. ancient_mariner

    ancient_mariner

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    They are usable if convenience is more important than image quality. I have a Sigma 18-250 for my Sony outfit Bought for holidays) and while I have produced acceptable 20"X30" prints from images taken with it, that lens still lacks crispness compared to a better zoom or prime.
     
  6. mark.roper

    mark.roper

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    Taken with the Nikon 18-200 VR

    This one at 18mm :-

    [​IMG]

    This one at 200mm, same spot, same time, same view :-

    [​IMG]

    I took these to see the difference between the 2 extremes of the zoom range, but if you zoom in on the 200mm picture I think it's a tad softer than the 18mm (both shots at ISO100 at the widest aperture for the focal length).
     
  7. woof woof

    woof woof

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    Alan
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    I haven't had one of the newer ones but years ago my first lens bought to use on a digital camera was a Sigma 28-300mm. I think it's fair to say that it wasn't the best lens ever made but it was a good day out and holiday lens and although the pictures weren't state of the art sharp and there were optical issues whole images looked good and indeed some of my favourite pictures were taken on days out and holidays with that lens.

    I'd say that if you can accept the perhaps rather ordinary optical performance and less than exciting aperture range these lenses can make a lot of sense especially if you can resist the urge to pixel peep and obsess over every optical compromise.
     
    HoppyUK likes this.
  8. sparker

    sparker

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    Simon
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    Thank you all for you replies.
     
  9. Nod

    Nod Kronus

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    Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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    As a single lens solution to cover most eventualities and for an end use of small (6x4) prints or web use, they're pretty good (or, at least, my Nikkor 18-200 is) but they do have their limitations. They tend to distort a bit at either end, showing barrel distortion at the short end and pincushion at the long. Both are easily corrected in PP if needed. As Alan says, less ideal for pixel peepers!
     
  10. woof woof

    woof woof

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    I have A3 prints from my old 300D/20D with a Sigma 28-300mm and they look fine and no one has ever said "You should have used an Otus for that shot woof woof."
     
  11. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    All zooms do that, to a greater or lesser extent, with a hefty dose of vignetting and often more than a hint of CA, too. But they're all easily fixed in post-processing, or even in-camera.
     
  12. Dylanlewis2000

    Dylanlewis2000

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    As others have said... yes, there are compromises, but it really does depend on what you want. I upgraded my 18-55 to a 17-85IS but found the 85 too short, therefor when i went on holiday i was finding that i was still taking a zoom lens. I bought the Canon 18-200 after testing the Sigma, and Tamron equivalents. I found that with both the Sigma and Tamron examples they were significantly softer than that of the Canon. I have been using the Canon happily for the last few years, however, lately i have considered about moving to a CSC to save weight.
     
  13. Unicronatron

    Unicronatron

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    Stephen
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    I've found the Canon 18-200 to be a useful lightweight lens for travel. I've managed to get some really nice and surprisingly sharp shots from it, but it really needs quite optimum conditions to mangage that i.e. Good light, stepped down, certain focal lengths.

    After upgrading to better quality lenses I noticed the general difference in sharpness and colour so stopped using it as much. Also it is quite slow for action or low light.

    Where its really been great is for example backpacking in situations where I wouldn't want to change lenses because of environmental conditions or because of missing the shot. I've certainly managed to capture some moments I wouldn't otherwise.
    I've also taken it on extended hiking trips where I wanted to keep weight down.
     
  14. Unicronatron

    Unicronatron

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    Stephen
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    Also I know people advocate learning photography using primes, but I actually think having a super zoom as a first lens really helped me. Particularly as most of my photography was travel based.

    It gives you freedom to experiment without having to mess around changing lenses and investing in a lot of glass. You basically end up taking more photos of more subjects which helped me figure stuff out.

    Once I started to get my head around what I wanted to do with the camera I started investing in more specialised tools, slowed down and gradually phased it out. Taking less, but hopefully more thought out photos
     
  15. woof woof

    woof woof

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    I mostly use primes myself but not because of any belief that they're better (they may be optically better but maybe not so much that any non geek looking at the final picture would even notice) but because they're usually more compact and often have a wider aperture. Those are the advantages but they come with one big disadvantage and it's that you're stuck with the focal length and perspective. With a zoom you have the advantage of being able to position yourself for the framing and perspective you want and the latter is quite important as with a prime you can change position and / or crop the shot later but you're stuck with the perspective.
     
    Graham W likes this.
  16. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    Eh? Perspective is a function of your position in relation to the subjects in your image. It has nothing to do with focal length.
     
    HoppyUK likes this.
  17. woof woof

    woof woof

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    I don't think you've understood me so I'll have another go.

    Perspective is decided by focal length if you position yourself to frame the shot.

    Let me explain, here's an example... Mrs Woof Woof is posing in front of a mountain / tree / lake / building / whatever...

    With a 35mm prime I frame Mrs WW for full body / half body / head and shoulders as I see fit and I take the shot. Now I swap to a 28-70mm zoom and Mrs WW is still stood in exactly the same position but this time when I go to take the shot I get the choice of different perspectives from 28 to 70mm. Assuming of course that I have the room to manoeuvre and position myself accordingly. The final image will look quite different at 28, 35, 50 and 70mm even though Mrs WW is the same size in each picture.

    The 35mm will give the perspective I expect from a 35mm lens no matter where I stand and I can only get 70mm perspective if I move to 70mm framing distance and crop the picture later but the zoom allows me to get the framing and perspective, anything between 28 and 70mm, without cropping.

    My point was that with a prime you're stuck with the perspectives you can get from that focal length but a zoom is more flexible as it allows different perspectives because you'll stand in different positions to get the desired framing of your subject and the perspective you want.

    With a bag full of primes I can achieve what I could with a zoom though :D

    PS.
    I initially posted because I think that there is maybe a bit of prime snobbery in the view that you should learn with a prime. Zooms too give a lot to think about as you need to understand the effect focal length, framing and positioning have on the final picture and decide what you want to achieve.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
  18. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    Agree with the gist of your post, but this statement contradicts it. Focal length affects the framing but perspective (the relative size of objects at different distances) is only affected by shooting distance.
     
  19. woof woof

    woof woof

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    No it doesn't contradict if you take a moment to follow what I meant.

    A 35mm lens give the perspective I expect no matter where I stand... to explain... the perspective will be different when I change position but the end result will always be what I expect from a 35mm from that position. The only way to get something different would be to shoot from 70mm distance with the different framing as I'm still using the 35mm and then crop post capture and end up with 70mm framing as well as 70mm perspective. With the prime it is what it is but with the zoom I have the option of getting different perspectives for the same framing of the main subject. I can only get the same result from primes by having a few or cropping.

    That's what I meant.
     
  20. timbo2410

    timbo2410

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    I have the nikon 18-200 as my first lens and it is by no means a gimmick!. I use it for travelling and it's a great lens .. sure it's not a prime .. sure it's not the fastest or the best lens out there .. but it's a great lens .. I still use it for travelling today. If you get a prime (I have the nikon 100, 300mm f2.8 and 2 nikon 600mm f5.6 and f4), they are the bees knees .. but cost a lot and are more difficult to travel with (also think insurance) .. sure you can get smaller primes but they have their own disadvantages as well .. if you want extended range then your looking at teleconverters (not cheap) .. your stuck at one focal length .. so yes pros and cons. My question to you would be what do you shoot? Do you just travel around and snap pictures between the 18mm and 200mm range? Are you happy with that? if so, go for it .. like I said I use mine to this day .. if your looking at Sigma as a brand instead of Nikon (to keep costs down), then all I can say is I bought a Sigma 150-600mm sport and it's build quality is fantastic .. don't know what the other range of lenses are like but they can do some very good quality gear. What is it you actually want to shoot and we can help more .. don't waste money on something you may never use (we are all guilty of that)
     
  21. gabriel_herlihy

    gabriel_herlihy

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    I recently bought a Tamron 70-300mm lens, with autofocus for the grand total of £80! I know what you may be thinking, it'll be s*** as it's so cheap, but... Quite frankly it was one of the best things I have bought!
     
  22. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    "A 35mm lens give the perspective I expect no matter where I stand..." That doesn't make much sense - if you move, perspective changes. Nothing to do with the lens.

    Whatever it is you meant, you're not expressing it clearly. Lenses do not have any inherent effect on perspective, only distance does that. It's a common misunderstanding but since this is the beginner's section it should be right. At close distance, objects near the camera appear much larger than similar objects just behind. As distance increases, so the relative sizes become more similar. That's perspective, no lens involved.

    It's often said that wide-angle lenses produce more exaggerated or dynamic perspective, but that's not what happens. A wide lens allows you to shoot close and still include everything in the frame, but it's the close distance that produces the perspective effect and the lens just records it.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
  23. woof woof

    woof woof

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    Richard, no matter what I say you'll nit pick it to death and I've said this multiple times now and I can't understand how you don't "get it" but I'll give it one more go before I give up on humanity and go to bed :D

    For the nth time and as this is beginners and as I want to be clear for anyone who hasn't lost the will to live yet, and slightly differently explained... :D

    If I have a 35mm lens and I want a half body shot of Mrs WW with something in the background I have one distance I can shoot from (because I want a half body shot of the Mrs with something in the background) and therefore one perspective and I'm stuck with it. Yes I can move further away or indeed closer and get a different perspective but it's no longer a half body shot. I know this because I know what I'm going to get. I get the perspective I expect because I'm familiar with 35mm lenses! :D

    If I take the prime off my camera and fit a 28-70mm zoom suddenly a whole new world of perspective possibilities opens up to me. If I position myself for the same half body shot at 70mm (at a greater distance from the Mrs) the background will look relatively larger and if I position myself for a half body shot at 28mm (closer to the Mrs) the background will look relatively smaller.

    It's always a half body shot because that's what I want but how the scene in the background looks will change depending upon the focal length used and the distance that the focal length needs me to be at for a half body shot and this will give me different perspectives.

    If I try to reproduce what is possible with the zoom with primes I'll need a few of them or I can reproduce the look of the 70mm shot with a 35mm prime by shooting from further back and cropping to 70mm framing.

    Yes, I get that lenses don't change perspective only distance does that but when you're framing the shot you can do so at different distances at different focal lengths and get different perspectives including (hopefully) the one that gives you the result that suits you best.

    My point in getting into all this was the comment above which I've heard before that you should learn with primes. I do think that there's maybe a little prime snobbery out there in the world and I just wanted to say that although primes can make you think about positioning and framing and everything else so do zooms... Yes with a zoom you can stand in one place zooming in and out and snapping away all day but another thing you can do is position yourself for the perspective you want and then adjust the focal length to frame the shot. You can use a 35mm prime all day and be very happy but getting 70mm or 28mp perspective out of a 35mm is going to take some work :D but with a zoom and some brain power there are possibilities and with a zoom you can get a shot with the framing and perspective that you'd get from a 70mm, a 50mm, a 35mm or a 28mm and so on.

    That was my point.

    Thank You And Goodnight :D
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
    HoppyUK likes this.
  24. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    That's a very good explanation and I'm glad you persevered with it.

    I sometimes think that "perspective" is a dangerous word to use in photographic discussions because not everybidy interprets it in the same way. That can be very confusing, and not just for beginners! But the explanation you've provided works without even needing to use the word.
     

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