While David Pogue, the brain behind the Grey Lady's tech coverage, is on his geek cruise in the Carribean, he's had some "close up" time with a Nikon DSLR and a 18-200mm, vibration reducing lens. That's enough focal range to cover a Macworld Keynote from the thirtieth row back, and also get wide angle closeups of new iPods after. We have to agree with him in saying that's quite a hot piece of glass. (Our words.)
Too bad it's almost impossible to get.
It's good enough that the man who can get his mitts on any gadget in the world requested one for Christmas from Mrs. Pogue. He didn't get one.
This is because the lens is so hot, it's been sold out all over the country and even Amazon is marking up its $750 price to the $1000 range in response to the short supply.
David "Piano Man" Pogue goes on to talk about the optical characteristics of the lens, pegging it to the overall trend of image stabilizing cameras. I agree with him on many points, like the fact that there is a trend in IS cameras. But I disagree when he says:
Only *optical* image stabilization counts.
He discounts all the image stabilizing cams that use sensors with faster ISOs (that is, sensors with more light sensitivity.) But those chips can also eliminate blurry shots by making the shutter speed much faster. Sure, its not actually shifting the lens or sensor mechanically, but you know what? A clear shot is a clear shot. The common people wouldn't make a distinction, and they would happen to enjoy the slimmer form factor that the higher ISO point and shoots maintain without bulky stabilizing equipment.
Mr Pogue writes and tells us the sample shots from the lens will be available soon as he gets off that damn love boat. And David, we're still waiting for that iPhone song.