We thought we'd found our perfect superzoom in the record-breaking Tamron 18-250mm, then Nikon casually loosed this stupendously expensive contender from their in-house glassmaker Nikkor. Curses.
At 18-200mm (that's the equivalent of a wide-angle 27mm to a decent 300mm telephoto on an old film SLR) it's not got quite the stretch of the Tamron, but it does have the big advantage of packing Vibration Reduction, which makes up for Nikon's lack of in-camera wobble-reducing tech.
And at a centimetre longer than the Tamron and a tad chunkier, it's not made to be discrete. Fully extend it to 200mm and it looks like your Nikon's peering through a telescope. But compared to carting about the two lenses you'd normally need to cover this range, it's a model of compactness.
Optically, the results compared to others of its type are extremely good. On sharpness and focusing speed it consistently comes out top. There’s a fair bit of distortion with straight lines appearing bendy at full wide angle and a touch pinched at full zoom, but nothing drastic.
Shines in low light
The built-in vibration reduction is seriously impressive, and you’ll find yourself taking snaps at full zoom in the sort of questionable light that would certainly come out blurry with other lenses. Along with the excellent optical performance, it goes some way to justifying the high price.
If you can stomach it, given the performance and the Vibration Reduction, we reckon it's worth the extra outlay. Otherwise just strap on the Tamron - and keep a steady hand.