In 2006, Nikon released the Nikon 18-55 mm, written fully as Nikon AF-S DX 18-55 mm 3.5-5,6 G VR, the first kit lens from Nikon with Silent Wave Motor. We’ve tested this lens both with a Nikon D5100 and a Nikon D3200 . The optical performance of this lens clearly benefits from the extra resolution of the 24 megapixel Nikon D3200 . This kit lens is often bundled together with one of the cheaper Nikon camera bodies. This lens is not very fast (f/3.5-f/5,6)and the zoom range is limited. An alternative to the Nikon 18-55 mm is the Sigma 18-50 mm; this one too has image stabilization and is half a stop up to two stops faster.
Nikon AF-S DX 18-55 mm 3.5-5,6 G VR @ 18 mm
Nikon AF-S DX 18-55 mm 3.5-5,6 G VR @ 55 mm
The Nikon AF-S DX 18-55 mm 3.5-5.6 G VR has a 3x zoom range with an angle that matches that of a 24-83 mm lens on a camera with full-frame sensor. Thus, the range is too limited for portrait photography.
Construction and autofocus
Both the house and the mount are made of plastic and the filter rotates during focusing. That is not convenient if you use a polarizing filter. The focus stroke is very short stroke, focusing manually is therefore difficult. The focus ring and zoom ring run very smoothly without the lens feeling cheap. The drive of the autofocus is done with a Silent Wave Motor. The drive is almost silent and fast. Focusing is quick with a Nikon D5100; from 15 meters to 1.5 meters in 0.23 seconds. Commuting in low light is rarely observed.
The effectiveness of the built-in image stabilization is measured at a focal length of 55 mm. The effectiveness is about 3 stops.
We’ve tesed a copy of the Nikon 18-55 mm earlier on a Nikon D5100. Vignetting, expressed in stops, was remarkably low at all focal lengths and apertures. With another copy of this lens, tested on a Nikon D3200 , our Imatest mesaurements show vignetting will be seen in a blue sky when the lens is fully open.
The distortion, expressed as a percentage, is substantial at 18 and 24 mm, but at the other focal lengths nicely low. Distortion can be controlled with software. Move your mouse over the image for the results of another copy tested on a Nikon D5100.
The lens suffers from ghosting and flare at an open source. In practice, this should be taken into account.
The resolution, expressed in lines/sensor height, reaches very nice values immediately at full aperture in the center over the entire zoom range. The resolution in the corners is disappointing, when used on a Nikon D5100, it is best to work at f/8.0. At that value, the difference between center resolution and corner resolution is not that high anymore.
In this area, the Nikon 18-55 mm performs, mounted ona Nikon D5100, rather poor at 18 mm and in situations of high contrast the chromatic aberration will have to be controlled with software. NMounted on a Nikon D3200 , chromatic correction of the jpg files is corrected in the camera.
Conclusion Nikon AF-S DX 18-55 mm 3.5-5,6 G VR review
- Good resolution especially in the center
- Low vignetting
- Low purchase price when purchased with camera
- Fast autofocus
- Compact construction
- Center resolution better than in corners
- Not a fast lens (f/3.5 – f/5.6)
- Limited zoom range
- Considerable distortion at 18 mm
- Sensitive to backlight
- High chromatic aberration at 18 mm
The Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55 VR mm/3.5-5.6 G is compact and lightweight. The lens does have limitations. The zoom range is somewhat limited and the lens is not fast (f/3.5-f/5,6). We’ve tested this lens both with a Nikon D5100 and a Nikon D3200 . The optical performance of this lens clearly benefits from the extra resolution of the 24 megapixel Nikon D3200 . The resolution is high, when mounted on a Nikon D3200 . The resolution in the center is higher than in the corners. Chromatic aberration can be an issue for jpg files at 18 mm, if the chromatic aberration is not corrected in the camera. The same applies for NEF files, which don’t benefit from in-camera correction of chromatic aberration. If the Nikon 18-55 mm is purchased with a camera, the purchase price is low.