Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G AF-S DX VR

Check availablity: Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, B&H, eBay.

This lens will usually cost you USD 50 or less if you buy it as part of a “kit”. At that price, it is a bargain. At USD 190, which is the price you should expect to pay if you buy this alone, it is less of a bargain and you may consider even more expensive options such as the Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 (larger maximum aperture) or Nikon 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 VR (more useful zoom range).

This is a so-called “normal“ zoom, which means that it covers the zoom range you are most likely to use. If you are like most photographers, a “normal“ zoom is the lens you will be using most of time, so you need to weight your options carefully.

Optically this is not a bad lens. Sharpness is good, and there are no significant optical faults. Distortions are well controlled for such a low-cost zoom. It has a very handy minimum focus distance of 28 cm with a 1:3.2 magnification (so if this had been a Sigma, it would have been called at “macro” lens). It is small and light-weight. The VR works well.

In terms of build quality, it has a plastic mount and a plastic feel. It has no distance scale. The focus motor is of the slow and noisy gear type.

If this lens is offered you as part of a “kit” at nominal cost, go for it. However, the small maximum aperture (f/3.5 at the wide end, f/5.6 at the tele end) and the 3.1x zoom range limits its usefulness. If you have to pay the full price, I recommend that you consider other options for your “normal” zoom.

Rating: Ed: -, User: - (normalized, 0=useless, 50=average, 100=excellent).

Mount: Nikon F.
Format: DX/APS-C.
Aperture range: f/3.5-5.6 to f/36.
Optical zoom: 3.1x.
Close focus distance (CFD): 28 cm / 0.92 ft (from sensor plane).
CFD magnification: 1:3.2 / 0.31X.
Focus: AF (built-in, gear-type).
Groups/elements: 8/11.
Filter diameter: 52 mm.
L x D, W: 70 x 74 mm, 265 g.
Approximate street price: USD 190 (new, w/o tax).
Production: 2007-today.

Company Profile

Key info

Established: 1917
HQ: Tokyo, Japan
Web: Global, EU, US, man

Nikon is a multinational corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan specializing in optics and imaging. Its products include cameras, lenses, flash units, scanners, binoculars, microscopes, measurement instruments, and steppers (used in semiconductor fabrication). The company was founded in 1917 as Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha (Japan Optical Industries Corporation), and renamed Nikon Corporation, after its cameras, in 1988. Nikon Corporation is one of the companies of the Mitsubishi Group.

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