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Conclusion - Pros

  • Decent optical quality
  • Effective vibration reduction system
  • Very good macro performance

Conclusion - Cons

  • All-plastic construction
  • Rotating front element annoying for filter users
  • Somewhat susceptible to flare, with little help from near-useless lens hood
  • Short travel of focus ring makes critical manual focus rather tricky

Overall conclusion

Tne 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G AF-S VR is certainly a worthy upgrade to Nikon's already well-regarded kit lens. The addition of the Vibration Reduction system, which seems equally capable as those previously only available on more expensive lenses such as the 18-200mm VR, greatly extends shooting flexibility into low-light situations which would previously have required a faster lens or tripod. And the optics are at least as good as before, meaning you'll get few nasty surprises when those precious images are viewed up-close on the computor monitor.

Indeed overall there's little to criticise about this lens given its entry-level price point, and the few faults it does possess are scarcely unique in its class. It's distinctly susceptible to flare in strongly backlit situations, so you need to be careful when pointing the camera in even the general direction of the sun; unfortunately the optional matched lens hood will only help a little here, and the rotating front element design precludes the use of a more effective petal-type hood. And the vestigial manual focus ring is only just about functional, which is annoying in those situations where autofocus fails to hit the desired mark. Like Canon, Nikon could learn a thing or two from Pentax and Olympus about doing these simple things properly.

But when all is said and done, it can't be denied that with this new VR version of the 18-55mm, Nikon have taken what was already a good lens and made it even better; it can't be overstated how useful VR can be in expanding photographic possibilities when using a camera handheld. Of course it won't help when you really need high shutter speeds to avoid motion blur, so don't expect it to perform miracles for indoor available-light people pictures, but it will help when you want to shoot in low light conditions and can tolerate slow shutter speeds. Indeed with the excellent high-ISO capabilities of modern dSLRS, VR will allow you to keep shooting in the fading light well past sunset.

So in conclusion, this is a small, lightweight and versatile lens, which deserves a place in every DX-shooter's bag, and earns a recommendation for sure.

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Build quality 6.5
Ergonomics & handling 6.5
Features 7
Image quality 7.5
Value 9

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Samples Gallery

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Nikon 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 VR DX Review Samples

20 images • Posted 28th January 2008 • View album
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