JForbes From United States of America, joined Sep 2011, 27 posts, RR: 1 Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3440 times:
It's a fine general purpose lens that makes significant quality sacrifices to achieve a wide range. It has significant distortion on the wide end, and isn't super sharp on the telephoto end - you will want to shoot it around f/8 to f/11 on the telephoto end to get the most out of it.
If you just want to stick one lens on your camera, it is a fine choice as long as you are willing to make the range/quality/size compromise found here.
If you're looking to use it for spotting, it will be adequate if you're reasonably close to the aircraft. You should have no trouble getting images in to the database if that's what you're after.
It's probably the best of the 18-200 type lenses, for what it's worth.
darreno1 From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 223 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3404 times:
I had this lens on my d40 and d3100 for a short while and I agree with JForbes. It was a great and convenient 'walk around' lens but the crispness I was looking for was just not there, especially on the long end. I also had issues with uniform sharpness. For example, a side shot of a jet will usually be crisp on one end and a little blurred on the other. I thought maybe it was my settings or a bad copy of the lens, however once I switched to the Tamron 70-300mm I had no such issues with the same settings. Who knows, it might have been my copy but I'm not a big fan of wide-range zoom lenses regardless. They do give up quality for convenience.
sunilgupta From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 774 posts, RR: 15 Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3336 times:
I agree with all of the above.
The best results for aviation photography with this lens are had using "A" Aperture Priority and f11. Obviously, this requires bright light. Results are sharp edge to edge (or at least tail to nose).
If you are shooting on the wide angle side of the lens, then Lightroom or Photoshop have profiles for this lens that can be used to correct the minor distortion. Chromatic aberration is also minor and can be fixed with the Nikon raw software (and maybe LR or PS but I have never tried).
This lens and the Nikon 80-400 are my travel lenses... period
scbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 11790 posts, RR: 48 Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3250 times:
Quoting viv (Reply 4): Few zoom lenses are as good as prime lenses.
Of course. All zoom lenses have to make compromises which means they'll never match a highly optimised prime. That's not to say there aren't very good zooms out there (I have, IMHO, Nikon's finest offerings in that respect), but you cannot expect a zoom with over 10x focal range to be very good across much of that range.
A long time ago, when I was first starting out in photography, an old pro advised me to never go for a zoom lens that had a range in excess of 3 to 4 times the shortest focal length. Mine all still follow that 'rule' (14-28, 28-70, 70-200 & 200-400).