Mark Thalman: My Favorite Lens - the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom-Nikkor

Nikon 18-200mm lens

"When I ordered my Nikon D200 I decided to get the current hot lens designed to go with it," said Mark Thalman, "the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor. This lens has been getting rave reviews in both lab and real world tests. I think Pop Photo said it was the best superzoom ever. I was excited when my order went through."

"The day the package arrived, The Raptor Project was doing a show in the parking lot of my office. In fact the show was to start in less than half an hour. I couldn't get my D200 set up in time, so I decided to use a Nikon body I had been borrowing. I put away the Nikkor 80-200 F/2.8 lens, a large hunk of glass weighing in at roughly 2.8 pounds, that was already mounted on the camera. I unwrapped and mounted the brand new 18-200."

"I set the camera to Aperture priority mode, set the lens to wide open, turned VR on and only thought about image composition for the next hour and a half. This is the fastest focusing, smoothest focusing, quietest lens I have ever used. But the most important aspect of a lens is the final product. I went inside to view the images and was happy with my decision to buy this lens."

"About a week later, I decided to print one of my images as large as I could to see how it would turn out. This is where the rubber meets the road. The 11"X17" (A3) size print that I made of the Bald Eagle (Uncle Sam) with a backlit flag as the background was better than I had expected. The image on the screen is good, but the print is spectacular. With the zoom range and VRII this is my favorite lens for all of my photography."

To tell us about your favorite lens, all you have to do is send an email to with "Your Name: My Favorite Lens" in the subject line. Provide a paragraph or two about why you like your favorite lens so much. Include the brand, focal length, maximum aperture, and camera body you mount it on. If you have an anecdote about your lens, please include it. You may also submit a picture you took with the lens to illustrate why you like it so much.

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