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Nikon 18-200mm. (enlarge)
It focuses to a foot and a half at every focal length. This is measured from the CCD.
The lens extends at longer focal lengths. Mine focuses just 7 - 1/2" away from the filter at 200 mm!
Nikon's close-focus spec of 20" is the distance from the subject to the image plane, which is the back of the camera, not the front of the lens. At 200mm the lens extends almost to the subject!
Unlike the old days, there is no separate macro range. It focuses continuously this close at every focal length setting. The effective focal length shortens a bit at 200mm, which is how the internal focus system works to allow such short focus distances. I explain this on my 18-200 VR focal length page.
Here's how close it gets:
Full-frame shot of my wrist at 200 mm. Red area enlarged below.
And here's how sharp it is:
100% crop of same image from my D200.
This is a 10x magnification on-screen and is the same as a three-foot (1 meter) wide print!!
This looks pretty good to me. This is a 100% blow-up from my D200, and the D200 is extremely unforgiving of lens flaws. If you see any slight chromatic fringes they could just as well be from the single-element curved crystal of my cheap watch or Bayer artifacts from the camera. It looks great to me.
This is from a BASIC JPEG file at large (3,872 x 2,592 pixels) image size. It was a 1.8 MB JPG. You RAW users might see more.
Of course it's tough getting anything in focus at macro distances. Depth of field is nonexistent with every lens. I shot this at f/16 with my SB-600 on-camera with a Lumiquest bounce card so the light could bounce down to the front of the lens.
At super close distances and racked all the way out to 200 mm the 18 - 200 has a little less contrast at f/8 due to spherical aberration.It goes away at f/16. At other distances and focal lengths this goes away, too. At f/8 and this close nothing is likely to be in focus anyway due to the lack of depth-of-field. This applies to every lens.
Even at f/16 very little is in focus. I was lucky to get this shot. Many of the shots would have a hand or the face in focus but not both! If you're not getting good results pay rapt attention to your focus and depth of field before you blame your lens. Even at f/32 professional insect photographers throw many shots away when the bug moves from lying perfectly flat.
Some wiener will have to ask. In order to show you this as efficiently as possible with reasonable file sizes for browser display I added sharpening at 500% at 0.3 pixels before I saved the crop in Photoshop's Save For Web at a moderately low 40% quality. This gives the best view without a fat file. That might sound like a lot of sharpening, but it works best considering what's lost elsewhere at that tiny radius. The overall shot was set to my standard 150% at 0.3 pixels and saved the same way. This is websmithing. I wish I could make bad lenses look good this way for photography, but it doesn't work. The Nikon 18-200mm is a great lens.