DxOMark has recently tested the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, which in some markets will be sold as a 'kit' zoom with the latest D5300 SLR. As part of our ongoing collaboration, we've added the test data to our lens widget, so you can compare it with Nikon's other current DX standard zooms. We've included test data on both the D7000 and D7100 - the latter should be a good indicator of its performance on the D5300. Read on for more analysis. 

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens test data

Click on any of the images or links below to open our interactive lens widget, and explore the data further

The AF-S Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G E VR puts in a pretty impressive performance all round (here shown on the 16MP Nikon D7000). Sharpness is high, especially towards the wide end, although it drops a bit at telephoto. The lens isn't at all bad at maximum aperture, but as usual for this kind of lens, the best results are generally obtained at F5.6 - F8.

Lateral chromatic aberration is pretty well-controlled too, and only likely to be particularly visible at the extremes of the zoom range. It's worth noting that all of Nikon's current SLRs (and most others dating back to 2007) correct this automatically in JPEG processing anyway, as does Nikon's own Raw conversion software. So you'll only see it all if you have an older camera, or use third party Raw converters.

Vignetting isn't much of a problem - there's visible darkening in the extreme corners when shooting wide open at either end of the zoom range, but it can effectively be cured by closing down a stop. Recent Nikon SLRs can also correct for it in their JPEG processing.

The distortion graphs reveal the price of the lens's impressive sharpness, though. There's the usual barrel distortion at wideangle, but the 18-140mm also shows considerable pincushion distortion across the rest of its range (and worst at 50mm). This will cause visible bowing of any straight lines towards the edge of the frame, and is likely to be visible in a range of picture types (e.g. images of buildings, or landscapes with non-central horizons). It can also be corrected in software if necessary, but at the expense of image sharpness.  

Compared to AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR

The 18-140mm is effectively a premium kit lens, offering an extended range (equivalent to 27-210mm) compared to the usual 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR (27-83mm equivalent). The test data shows that it's notably sharper, particularly in the 50mm region, but with that penalty of hugely increased distortion.

Results on D7100 and D7000 compared

This comparison shows the increased sharpness you get from going from the 16MP D7000 to the 24MP D7100. The gains are considerable at all focal lengths, substantially because the D7100 also lacks an optical low-pass filter. This means that all lenses will look shaper on the D7100 (and D5300) in much the same way.

Overall, the 18-140mm looks like it should offer a substantial step up over the basic 18-55mm kit lens, and indeed is one of the very best of Nikon's extended-range zooms for its DX SLRs. But this does come at the cost of pretty huge distortion, and although this can be corrected in software when necessary, doing so will have a slight impact on the image sharpness.

Full test results on DxOMark (and other recent reviews)

Our lens test data is produced in collaboration with DxOMark. Click the links below to read DxOMark's own review of the Nikon 18-140mm, or see other recent reviews on the DxOMark website.