Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Checking out PowerReviews

I am evaluating whether to use PowerReviews to power the new user-generated reviews on our web site. As part of that process, I submitted a review at one of their current clients, Adorama.com, which uses a very robust PowerReviews implementation, including the ability to share photos, which I tried (ideal for reviewing a camera lens -- or a camera phone...). I was really impressed by the "blog this review" option that appeared on the review confirmation page. It worked flawlessly (I simply had to type in my blog address and password), and automatically added a link to adorama.com to my blog -- perfect for SEO.

My review of Nikon 18mm - 200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR Wide Angle Telephoto Zoom-Nikkor Lens with 5 Year U.S.A. Warranty

Originally submitted at Adorama

Nikon 18mm - 200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR Wide Angle Telephoto Zoom-Nikkor Lens with 5 Year U.S.A. Warranty

The single best super-range zoom lens

5 out of 5

Pros: Vibration Reduction, Sharp for a super-zoom, Compact, Huge 18-200mm zoom range, All-purpose

Cons: Can slip if pointed down

Best Uses: Where pro glass is banned, Fun, Travel

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

The huge 18-200mm range on this lens is equivalent to 28-300mm in a 35mm format. Zoom lenses with such huge ranges have been around for a long time, and are very popular as an all-purpose lens, but they have inherent drawbacks.

Specifically, these "super zooms" aren't going to be as sharp or as fast as professional lenses or even as fast as cheaper fixed lenses. By "fast", I mean the maximum aperature is only f/3.5 when shooting at 18mm and only f/5.6 when the lens is zoomed out. Compare this to a fixed $100 portrait lens which shoots at f/1.8, and you'll see the drawbacks pretty quickly. The fixed lens can shoot in lower light without a flash, or can capture action shots at much faster shutter speeds.

Nikon has attempted to change the rules with this lens by adding "VR" (vibration reduction) technology. It works like the steady shot setting on a camcorder, allowing you to shoot at a slower shutter speed and still get crisp shots. This makes the lense twice as expensive as other "super zooms".

Is it worth it? In my opinion, absolutely YES. If you are a professional photographer, you would never be fooled into thinking that this can replace all your prime lenses. But if you are a serious amateur and don't want to carry a bag of lenses around with you on vacation, then this little wonder will handle almost any situation. It is definitely sharper than the "super zooms" made by Tamron and others, and that's before you add in the VR technology.

One bonus I love about it is how compact it is. Most sports venues forbid the use of "professional" photo equipment, but I get this lens through security every time, and with the VR technology, get some pretty good action shots.

Others have mentioned that the lens slips when pointed down. I have found that this is true, and it's disappointing; however it does not slip from the fully-closed 18mm position. It only slips if it's already partially zoomed out.

If a super-zoom makes sense for your needs, and you can afford it, then I highly recommend this lens.

Example of a 200mm shot with this lens


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Example of an 18mm shot with this lens


Tags: Made with Product