When this lens was first reviewed in November 2006, it was pretty much in its own niche. Now though, there’s more competition...
Constructed from 16 elements in 12 groups, the lens features two Extra Low Dispersion (ED) and three aspherical elements. The VR has two modes, normal and active, with Nikon claiming four-stop effectiveness. This lens is also the fastest of the group with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at 200mm. It’s swift to focus, based on use with a Nikon D80, and also quiet. It also has excellent build quality and a robust feel.
The resolution at 18mm is good, with a consistent performance peaking at f/11. At the opposite end of the zoom, results are less pleasing; while still consistent, the overall resolution is average. Where the lens scores well is in its control of chromatic aberration at 200mm, maintaining a low level of fringing across the frame. At 18mm it has good control in the centre but less so in corners.