Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lens Review: 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR DX Nikon Zoom
This past December I had the opportunity to go to Vancouver and photograph a “PANIC! At the Disco" concert. As me and my friend arrived there was already a huge line of anxious fans waiting for the doors to open. The show was huge and must have been nearly sold out. Here, in amongst the thousands of people was me, with my Nikon D-50 and an 18-200mm Nikkor zoom lens.
This was the first big concert I had ever photographed so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. And of course, lucky for me, the concert was really dark and full of weird and tricky lighting situations. Haha. So what to do? Take out my camera and start shooting.
From the edge of the stage (and my subjects less than a meter away) using the 18-200mm Nikkor zoom lens, I was able to get really sharp, clear, photographs of the performers. No flash was allowed for any of the shots, but even without flash the Vibration Reduction of the lens took over and made it easy to keep the camera stable enough for me to come out with hundreds of clean looking photos. The lens also didn’t affect the colour and the photos came out looking as bright and vivid as they were the night of the show. With a time limit of only three songs to capture all the pictures I needed, I was thankful for the lens’ very quick focus time.
Looking around the stadium there was so much to take in: everything from amateur photographers with small point and shoot cameras to those hired by “The Province” paper with an assortment of camera gear worth more than the show probably cost to put on and weighing more than some of the musicians. This leads me to the size and weight of the lens, which is also something I think any photographer there (or anywhere) would appreciate. After carrying around my camera (lens attached) the whole night, I was thankful that the Nikkor 18-200 was so light and compact, as opposed to some of the other high end, quite massive in size lenses that were being lugged around.
After leaving the edge of the stage, I returned to my seat (some 50 rows back from the stage and off to the side.) I decided to see what this lens (being made for zoom) was actually capable of. I used the large focal length of the lens to zoom in close to the musicians and snapped a few shots right from my seat.

Take a look for yourself:
From my seat, using full and partial zoom respectivly:

From my seat I could capture frames that easily compared to the shots I was getting from right at the bands feet. That’s impressive. Keeping the camera stable again was no problem, even from a far distance. I’d love to take this lens out in a few different scenarios. I see it being a great versatile lens for shooting a wide range of places and subjects.
Overall, the lens was enjoyable to work with, everything moved smoothly and its size made it something I think any photographer would consider for some of those “take only one lens days.”

No matter who you are, amateur photographer or pro alike: I think this is defiantly a lens worth adding to your collection.

By Desiree Mark

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

One more photo from the Pentax K10d. Getting to know stabilization is like learning to use auto focus, it takes time to develop trust in the system and to think of new possibilities. This photo is taken because I could use a slow enough shutter speed to show the snow falling but still hand hold the camera. Click on the photo to enlarge if you can't see the snow falling. Bill