Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Review

Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Review

“If only it would continue working…”

nikon nikkor 18-135

I can’t honestly give this a 1 or 2 star rating because i don’t believe every one of these that Nikon makes will suffer the same fate as mine. It’s far too easy to just blast a product because it didn’t work for me, but at the same time, leave out the part that mine might just be a lemon and that doesn’t necessarily mean all of these lenses are bad.

Got mine in a D80 kit for Christmas 2006. Everything worked great. This is my first digital SLR, I had been using Nikon 35mm products and many Nikon AF lenses before this. Focus was much faster than my previous setup. The images seemed extremely sharp at all focal lengths. I wasn’t going to be printing 4ft prints so if there is minor problems in the corners I wasn’t noticing it. Read what Ken Rockwell has to say about judging lenses before you take any of these reveiwers words for it.

My problem
I was out in the cold one night taking some shots and the motor just started making some grinding noise and then ceased to rotate the lens. The lens would no longer focus automatically. Manual focus worked fine, but not AF. This was within the first 1,000 shots of using this camera/lens. I sent it to Nikon for repair. They sent it back to me probably 6 weeks later. The thing seemed to be working fine, I didn’t do any extensive testing with it other than a few dozen shots here and there. I go to an event where I wanted to take pictures and my camera’s AF button wasn’t responding properly and the lens wouldn’t focus. This time it wasn’t a grinding noise, the camera was simply acting as though it didn’t recognize the lens as AF. The weird thing is the functionality would come and go randomly and quite frequently (every 10-30 seconds or so). Took the lens off and tried 3 other Nikon AF lenses and everything worked great so it isn’t the body. Called Nikon, they said I’d need to send it in for repairs…again.

I’m going on a trip at the end of May and I’ll probably be without this lense which means I’ll either need to buy a new lens (most likely the Nikon 18-200mm with the VR) OR stick with my next longest zoom which only goes to 105mm.

I wish my wife had done what i’d asked and bought me the camera body only. But nooo, she had to be nice and get me the kit so that I wouldn’t have to go out and buy a lens. The problem is I wanted the 18-200mm zoom instead of this lense because it is WAAAAAY better and much longer. If I go and buy it now my 18-135mm is a total paper weight and will never be used again.

Your choice:
If you are looking at this lens but can’t afford the $900 for the 18-200mm, then realize you might have the same problems I had. However, if you don’t have the problems i had you will have a great lens that will take nice sharp images at any focal length. The focus is great and the AF (when working) is fast and accurate. I wish this were a larger aperature lens as I do with all my lenses but if it were an f/2 lens then it wouldn’t be $300 now would it? If you can afford it, or are serious about photography, just pony up the dough and buy the 18-200mm, you won’t regret it.

This lens gets a 3 out of 5 because of the problems I had with it. If I had not had the problems I had, or if they managed to fix it permanently the first time I sent it in, I would have given it a 4. For a 5 it would need to be a longer focal length becaue 135 is not quite a zoom for me thus limiting its capabilities.

More Nikon 18-135mm Reviews from Amazon:

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Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Review by Thomas A. Puzio
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