Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G II ED AF-S DX
This lens was introduced in December 2006 as an entry level “kit” lens for the Nikon D40, replacing an almost identical lens. As part of a “kit”, it typically costs next to nothing. At USD 115, which is the price you should expect to pay if you buy this alone, it is less of a bargain.
Optically this new version is identical to its predecessor. In this new version, the auto-focus has been improved slightly. This should result in slightly faster and more accurate focusing, but it is still a slow and noisy micro-motor. The new version is identified by a “II” immediately after the “G” in the identification plate on the lens.
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. Distortions are well controlled for such a low-cost zoom. Flare, ghosting and CA is well under control. Wide open, there is some vignetting. 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.
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 micro-motor type with gears.
In my opinion, 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 overall usefulness. Unless your budget is really tight, I recommend going for more expensive, but also more useful alternatives 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 and VR).
Rating: Ed: -, User: - (normalized, 0=useless, 50=average, 100=excellent).
Mount: Nikon F.
Aperture range: f/3.5-5.6 to f/38.
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).
Filter diameter: 52 mm.
L x D, W: 74 x 69 mm, 210 g.
Approximate street price: USD 115 (new, w/o tax).
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.