Review Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR II Nikkor (N APS-C)

The Nikon 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR II has entered the market in 2009. This succeeded Nikon’s first version of the Nikon 18-200 mm. The only difference, except for a small cosmetic difference, is that in the second version, the zoom ring no longer zooms out as it hangs vertically. As is known, the nickname for an 18-200 mm lens is holiday zoom lens. Today, the main competitor of the holiday zoom is perhaps the digital compact camera. In many compact cameras, you encounter a large zoom range, with the great advantages of the compact construction and low weight. In contrast, because of the small sensor of a compact camera, there is a greater sensitivity to noise. Regarding zoom range, the Nikon 18-200 mm VRII offers much more than the Nikon 18-105 mm kit lens, but it is not much bigger or heavier. In terms of zoom range, the Nikon 18-300 mm has surpassed the Nikon 18-200 mm in the meantime, but that holiday zoom is bigger, heavier, and more expensive.


Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR II Nikkor @ 18mm
Nikon 18-200 mm,Nikon 18-200mm test,Nikon 18-200 vs Nikon 18-300,vakantiezoom
Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR II Nikkor @ 200 mm

A zoom lens like the Nikon 18-200 mm with a zoom range of more than 10 x yields a dramatic difference in perspective. Because of the large zoom range, it is no longer necessary to change lenses.

Construction and autofocus

The Nikon 18-200 mm II is very compact and not much bigger or heavier than the Nikon 18-105 mm. That is quite an achievement! The housing is made of plastic and the mount of metal. The focus ring of the Nikon 18-200 mm runs very lightly and without play. The zoom ring does not have the same resistance on the entire route. Fortunately, the difference is not great. We do not encounter play in this ring either. The drive of the autofocus is through a built-in engine. For some Nikon camera owners, this is an important factor. After all, not all cheap Nikon cameras have an AF drive for the lens in the camera. Focusing goes smoothly on the test camera, a Nikon D3200 , and ‘hunting’ only happens in limited contrast.  {insertgrid ID = 289}

Image stabilization Nikon 18-200 VR

The built-in image stabilization, called VR by Nikon, is of the second generation. A shot taken without tripod or VR at a shutter speed of 1/100 second and a focal length of 70 mm is just as sharp as a shot taken with a shutter speed of 1/10 second with VR. The gain is about three stops in our test, which is not small. The Nikon 18-200 mm VRII is dim, which is compensated for by the built-in VR. Review-Nikon-DX 18 200 ED VR test
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Vignetting Nikon 18-200 VR

With the Nikon 18-200 mm, vignetting is nicely kept within limits. This applies to both the NEF files and jpg files. Here you see the Imatest results for the Nikon D3200 jpg files. When you stop down once, vignetting is not disturbing at any focal length, quite an achievement for a holiday zoom. Vignetting-Nikon-18-200-VR

Distortion Nikon 18-200 VR

Viewfoto3840Nikon 18200
The distortion of the Nikon 18-200 mm VRII NEF files is large at most focal lengths. Under 30 mm, the distortion is barrel-shaped, up to 6% at 18 mm. That is considerable. Above 40 mm, the cushion-shaped distortion is also on the high side with about 1.5%.
Move your mouse over the image for the distortion of NEF files.
We have tested the Nikon 18-200 mm VRII including in-camera correction of distortion by the Nikon D3200 . Under 30 mm, the barrel-shaped distortion is less clear, but still 18% at 4 mm. Above 40 mm, there is no longer any visible distortion.


As a photographer, you want blurry parts, think of a blurred background, to be displayed peacefully in the picture. This is not done with the Nikon 18-200 mm, which you see in the circles in the blurred rounds for example.
Limiting depth of field is hardly possible with this lens. Firstly, the lens is not bright and secondly, the sharpness at the edges is less at full aperture. However, that is true for many zoom lenses.
For a more beautiful bokeh, you should move to more expensive, brighter lenses that also have a smaller zoom range.
Nikon-DX 18 200 ED VR II bokeh200mm
Nikon-DX 18 200 ED VR II bokeh18mm-mini Nikon-DX 18 200 ED VR II bokeh200mm-f8-2-mini

Ghosting and flare

The Nikon 18-200 consists of 16 lens elements in 12 groups. With such a complex design, it is not surprising that the Nikon 18-200 mm VRII is sensitive to back light. Both flare and ghosting are to be encountered, which you will have to take into account while shooting. The old adage: “Keep your back to the sun when you shoot” applies here. flare18mm-Nikon-DX 18 200 ED VR II

Resolution Nikon 18-200 mm VR

The center resolution is high from full aperture and decreases slightly at the longer focal lengths. The latter is usually the case with zoom lenses. The Nikon 18-300 mm has a larger zoom range, is as dim but draws slightly sharper at the longer focal lengths than the Nikon 18-200 mm.
The difference between the resolution in the center of the Nikon 18-200 mm and the resolution in the corners at some zoom position is large, however. With focal lengths longer than 90 mm, it is best to use aperture f/11. You do have to make sure then to keep a sufficiently fast shutter speed at the long focal lengths.
Click on the image for all results.
Nikon D3200 Resolution::Nikon 18-200 mm VR review]” target=”_blank”>Review-Nikon-DX 18 200 18mm-resolution

Chromatic aberration Nikon 18-200 mm VR

Just like with the Nikon 18-300 mm VR, you can encounter visible chromatic aberration in the NEF files of the Nikon 18-200 mm. The performances of both lenses are approximately equivalent at this point. Chromatic aberration can easily be corrected in Capture NX, Photoshop, or Lightroom.
The Nikon D3200 test camera excellently corrects chromatic aberration of the Nikon 18-200 mm, leaving no visible chromatic aberration in jpg files.
Click on the image for all results for chromatic aberration in Nikon D3200 jpg files at multiple focal lengths.
Nikon D3200 Chromatic aberration::Nikon 18-200 mm VR ]” target=”_blank”>CA
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Conclusion Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR II review

Nikon-DX 18 200 ED VR II See our list of tested lenses or the lenses with a Nikon mount tested by us to compare the performance of this lens to other lenses. 
ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens when you store the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: “What you see is what you get”. {insertgrid ID = 308}


  • Wide zoom range
  • Highly effective image stabilization
  • High to very high center resolution
  • Low chromatic aberration in jpg files
  • Compact construction, low weight


  • Corner resolution is somewhat disappointing at most focal lengths
  • Sensitive to back light
  • Visible chromatic aberration in NEF file
  • Bokeh not that nice
t is sometimes argued that an 18-200 mm holiday zoom lens cannot be good due to the large zoom range. Our test shows that this assertion is partly wrong. The resolution is, especially in the center, very high in combination with the Nikon D3200 . If you are going to stop down a bit, the corner resolution becomes better at most focal lengths. The Nikon D3200 is partly responsible for the high resolution. Things like distortion and vignetting can be corrected and chromatic aberration is sufficiently low.
Is there anything to criticize with the Nikon 18-200 mm? Yes, the lens is sensitive to back light and the representation of blurry parts is not so pretty either. In addition, typical of the compact design, the brightness is very limited so that you have to deal with slow shutter speeds in low light. As a potential buyer, you could also look at the Nikon 18-300 mm. The Nikon 18-300 mm has a larger zoom range, is as dim, but draws sharper at the longer focal lengths than the Nikon 18-200 mm. At a focal length of 18 mm, the Nikon 18-200 mm beats the Nikon 18-300 mm. Both lenses are great on vacation!


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