Nikon today updated its 18-55mm 'kit' lens to include Vibration Reduction (VR). The lens also features a Silent Wave Motor aka AF-S, Super Integrated Coating and hybrid aspherical elements in its design. The optical design is 11 elements in 8 groups - slightly more complicated that its predecessors' formulae to allow for the VR system. Despite the extra features the lens is set to hit the shelves for around US $199 (£179.99 / €270.00) and will eventually filter down to be bundled with DSLRs. More after the click.

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Press release:

NEW NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55MM F/3.5-5.6G VR LENS INCLUDES THE BENEFITS OF VIBRATION REDUCTION IN A COMPACT AND AFFORDABLE ZOOM

MELVILLE, N.Y. (November 19, 2007) – Nikon Inc. today introduced the new versatile AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens that offers Nikon’s proprietary Vibration Reduction (VR) technology to help consumers snap sharper photos than ever before, even while shooting handheld. Compact and lightweight, this affordable lens is an optimum lens to use with Nikon DX-format digital SLR cameras and is the ideal focal length as a “first lens” to faithfully capture life’s day-to-day moments, or a welcome addition to a Nikon D-SLR photographer’s already-established lens assortment.

From family gatherings to sunny vacation beaches, the NIKKOR 18-55mm VR lens produces stunning results with vivid color and incredible sharpness. The 3x optical zoom offers users of Nikon DX-format D-SLR cameras including the D40, D40x, D80 and new D300 with a versatile picture angle perspective ranging from wide angle for dramatic landscapes and interiors, to moderate telephoto that is ideal for flattering portraits.

Beyond the lens' incredible optical versatility is the amazing benefit of Nikon’s VR technology, which enables photographers to take substantially sharper handheld pictures at slower shutter speeds than would otherwise be possible. This provides the distinct advantage of being able to shoot more effectively in a much broader variety of challenging conditions. Nikon’s VR system affords users the ability to take pictures at shutter speeds up to three stops slower* than they ordinarily could shoot without the image-degrading blur caused by camera shake at slow shutter speeds.

Like all NIKKOR lenses, the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens is engineered to exacting standards to meet the demanding needs of digital photography. This digitally optimized lens features hybrid aspherical elements to minimize chromatic aberration, while Nikon's Super Integrated Coating reduces instances of lens flare and ghosting. The lens also features Nikon’s compact Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology for quiet, fast and accurate autofocus performance so no moment is missed.

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens will be available beginning December 2007 at an estimated selling price of $199**.

*Under Nikon measurement conditions.
**Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

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

Focal Length • 18-55 mm
• 27-82.5 mm (35 mm equiv.)
Field of view 76° - 28°50’
Maximum aperture f/3.5-5.6
Minimum aperture f/22-36
Lens construction Lens construction: 11 elements in 8 groups (with one aspherical lens element)
Closest focus distance 0.28 m/0.9 ft. (throughout the entire zoom range)
Maximum reproduction ratio 0.31x
No. of diaphragm blades 7 (rounded)
Filter/attachment size 52mm
Focusing Autofocus with built-in SWM and manual focus
Diameter x length Approx. 73 x 79.5 mm/2.9 x 3.1 in. (extension from lens mount)
Weight Approx. 265 g/9.3 oz
Supplied accessories 52mm snap-on front lens cap LC-52
Optional accessories • 52mm screw-in filters
• Rear lens cap LF-1
• Flexible lens pouch CL-0815
• Bayonet Hood HB-45