I was thinking about some of my old friends, friends in the form of photography equipment that I used very regularly. For several years my go-to lens was a Nikkor 28-200mm f3.5-56D IF AF lens. When it came out it was part of a new breed of super zooms, lenses that could handle everything from wide-angle to true telephoto. Around the same time, this lens came out so did 28-300mm lenses from third-party manufacturers. I stuck with Nikon because I felt it was just getting greedy out to 300mm. Of course, any zoom lens is a compromise between the number of focal lengths and the quality of the image. For those who are on the move, or photography is a secondary purpose like taking a walk with the family it is better to have a wide range of capabilities with less than perfect sharpness than no photos at all.
My least favorite part of this lens was its inability to focus close up. However for that, I had a Sigma 105mm macro, but that meant having to take another lens along. The other workaround I had was a set of Kenko Auto extension tubes. I only needed to bring one tube usually the 20mm tube and I was good if I happened to have an interesting subject that begged photography. Unfortunately, extension tubes only made a slow lens slower, and images less sharp.
I bought this lens for my Nikon N50, which was not around for long, and then it moved onto an N6006, and the last film camera the lens saw use on was a Nikon N80. The N80 is a fantastic camera and can be had on the used market very cheap by the way. My next camera, the Nikon D100, was the death bell for the 28-200mm. Nearly all of the DSLR at the time had the smaller APS-C size sensors with a crop factor of about 1.6. What was a good wide angle lens at 28mm on 35mm film was now the equivalent of a 44mm, not even the slightest bit wide angle, but the added telephoto was welcome. When I moved up to the D100 I went out and purchased a Nikkor 18-35mm 3.5-4.5 D to fill in some of the gaps at wide-angle, and that was a great lens. Even with the new zoom at the low end the old 28-200 just didn’t feel right in the lineup, and I eventually replaced it. My old trusty workhorse was sent off to eBay, another casualty of the digital era.
I still have many photographs of nature, landscapes, and my family taken with this lens. While it may not have been the fastest or sharpest piece of glass on the planet it served me well. All that said, with so many better lenses, both new and used, on the market the 28-200mm would not be on my list of lenses to buy for a full frame dslr. Sorry old friend.
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