Nikon 18-55 Review

Nikon 18-55 Review

“Excellent incremental improvement over an already-excellent lens”

nikon nikkor 18-55

I have the original 18-55mm AFScooter “SRD” (United States)
<a -S DX which came with my D40 kit and love it – it weighs nothing, performs brilliantly, and focuses so close that I can use it as a macro if I want. I decided to get this since I do quite a bit of indoor photography without flash, and wanted some extra stability in low-light, longer-shutter speed situations from the Vibration Reduction which I have on my 18-200mm VR but don’t use on my D40 (I use that on my D300, and it almost never comes off). It’s performed brilliantly under such circumstances; I can get sharp shots at 1/20, 1/10 and even 1/8 if I’m really stable at the time of the shot – something I couldn’t reliably get from the non-VR version. It also helps in the long end (55mm) in uneven light and other times when the VR becomes necessary. In terms of sharpness, light falloff, distortion, and all the other metrics, this lens is as good as, or slightly better, than the original non-VR version. It is also a bit heavier and seems a bit more solid in construction, with a tighter zoom ring and differently-sculpted manual focus ring (with more recessed plastic indentations compared with the original model). I think the addition of VR makes it the perfect lens for the D40, D40x or newly-introduced D60, since its performance is so much better in all metrics and tests (particularly distortion and sharpness) than some of its would-be step-up replacements (i.e. the 18-135, the 24-120, etc.)

If you generally do lots of flash or outdoor photography, and don’t tend to experience slower shutter speeds due to lighting issues, or take most of your shots at the wider end of the scale (i.e. 18-25mm) this lens is probably an upgrade that you can either do with or without. In the end the investment is quite small for those few times that VR might save the shot, so I would get one. Granted, VR at this level (i.e not 200 or 300mm) is less about hand shake in daylight, but more about low lighting conditions and longer shutter speeds. As for some reviewer’s comments on the default lens speed, etc. – this is a $200 prosumer lens, not a $1,500 17-55mm pro wide-zoom with f/2.8 costing 8 times what this lens costs; for the money, you can’t get anything better for a Nikon with this kind of performance.

Additional notes: There is some clunking sound from the VR occasionally when focusing, and there is no hood or lens pouch included, but that’s less of an issue if, as most people do, you have a camera or lens bag, and as for the hood, I’ve never used one and never had a problem; if there’s sunglare, I can cup my hand around the lens (since it’s so light) and have no issues. I think some people use lens hoods to somehow show off that they’re “photographers” or “hobbyist-pros” rather than for the reduction of flare and glare when outside in bright sunlight (sometimes direct, etc.) or under sharp lighting. Honestly, I’ve seen guys taking indoor shots of artwork exhibits under soft lighting with the hood on.

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Nikon 18-55 Review by JPHOTO (USA)
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