Nikon 18-135 Lens Review

Nikon 18-135 Lens Review

“Good, but not excellent”

nikon nikkor 18-135

I’m a hobbiest/enthusiast not a professional, yet I’ve taken the time to learn terms like vignette, bokeh and about pincushion/barrel lens effect. The 18-135mm DX Nikkor lens suffers from all of them. If you’re not a perfectionist or professional, then you will certainly not be disappointed by this utilitarian starter lens. If you expect to take your photography to “the next level” then this lens will quickly become a paperweight not worthy of space in your camera bag. —

First, I’ve noticed vignetting (i.e., a slight darkening of the corners) at “extreme zoom” (135mm zoom). It’s most noticible on skylines and photos of airborne objects. —

Second, I’ve noticed slight pincushioning (the inverse of a fish-eye lens, everything is pulled towards the center of the photo, destroying square lines) at almost all zoom settings. —

Third, the Bokeh (blur) is bad bokeh. Typically, photographers consider good bokeh to be that which is brightest in the center and gradually fades towards the edges until it merges with the blurred background. The 18-135mm lens suffers from bad bokeh, which is the blur highlight is on the edge of the blur. While this might be what you want for some artistic reason, it makes small light sources that blur in your background really stand out and detract from professional grade photographs. —

Lastly, if you do any night shots, macro/close-up work or want to do any extended shutter photography, you will find that the lack of image stabilization (or vibration reduction as Nikon calls it) will drive you to purchase another lens quickly… unless you can work with tripod for all of your shots. —

However, I’ve not suffered from any of the auto-focus issues that other customers have (although it doesn’t focus well in darkness, this is not the lens’s fault and there are solutions outside of the lens to solve this problem), nor have I had any defects in my lens. The photos are sharp (other than the above problems), but I have not had a chance to test (nor will I intentionally experiment with) durability. I’ve taken my 18-135mm on several “vacation” style outings and snapped well over 1000 shots in the first 3 weeks I owned my D80 w/ 18-135mm Nikkor Zoom lens. — Already I’m upgrading to the 18-200mm Nikkor Zoom lens with VR. — I wish I had not purchased this lens as part of my kit, but it has been good to me.

In summary, the 18-135mm Nikkor zoom-lens is an excellent beginner lens, but if you are a perfectionist (or professional) you would be better served to avoid purchasing the 18-135mm as part of your starter kit.

More Nikon 18-135mm Reviews from Amazon:

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Nikon 18-135 Lens Review by Zergling For Hire (San Jose, CA USA)
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