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Review Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX

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Never before in a review of a lens with a high price-to-quality ratio have we made the recommendation to buy a different lens. There has to be a first time. And that is now. The Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5 -5.6G DX is a kit lens that you can get for an attractive price with a Nikon 3300, D5300 or D5500. In comparison with the 18-55 mm kit lens that is sold with older Nikon DX cameras, the Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX is better in the sense that it is fitted with a stepper motor, so that the auto focus is faster—both with phase detection (photography) and with contrast detection (video).
For video, an advantage of this new AF motor that is perhaps more important is that focusing is more fluid and that the AF motor is quieter, so that you do not hear it in your video recordings. The Nikon AF-P DX 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G looks, as far as specifications are concerned, looks a great deal like the Nikon AF-P DX 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G VR. The latter is 10 grams heavier, has built-in image stabilization and is therefore 50 euros more expensive. When testing the two kit lenses, we were not able to discover any optical quality differences. Not hard to guess which recommendation we’re going to give in the conclusion...

Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 G DX list price: 219 euros

nikon185afpkit

Build and auto focus

The target audience for this light little lens is a starting photographer who is buying his or her first SLR camera. Nikon has really made something nice from it, when you check out the optical performance. (More about that later.) Practically all brands choose to equip starter models with a very narrow ring for manual focusing. That is also the case with Nikon. For a starting photographer, that doesn’t make so much difference, because they will initially rely on the auto-focus of the camera. And that is fast and good.
If, after a while, you want to make deliberate use of blur/out-of-focus in a photo for creative purposes, then it’s time to look at a brighter (f/2.8 or lower) lens with a broader focus ring.
Specificaties
 

 
The 3x zoom range—the field of view corresponds with the field of view of a 27-82.5 mm lens on a camera with an FX sensor, as shown below—is sufficiently broad for a wide range of applications. When the time comes that you start to specialize in nature photography, portrait photography or architectural photography, then it’s time to look for a more specialized lens. It is, after all, not with reason that you got a camera with interchangeable lenses, right? Until then, the Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX will fulfill your expectations, or exceed them.
1855FOV

Vignetting

18mmvignet

The Imatest measurements show a modest amount of vignetting in the RAW files: at full aperture about 1 stop, but that is cut in half after stopping down 1 stop. For every shot, we saved a RAW and a jpg file simultaneously in the camera. To our surprise, it appeared that when saving jpg files in the camera, the contrast was increased, so that the jpg files at full aperture in the corners show about twice as much vignetting as the RAW files. Above you see the same shot stored in the camera as a RAW file (left) and as jpg (right). This is not uncommon, and we saw it earlier in a test of the Tokina 14-20 mm.

Flare, distortion and chromatic aberration

DSC 0039

At the shortest focal lengths, distortion is clearly visible, but no worse than with other zoom lenses at the same focal length. Distortion is simple to correct with software.
We really did not come across flare (reduced contrast) and light flecks as a result of bright backlighting during the test. Color separation in the corners (chromatic aberration) is visible in the RAW files, but is already edited out in the jpg files by the camera. If you use RAW files, then the simplest method is to let the lens correction profile make this correction. 

DistortzonderVR

Sharpness

In general, the sharpness is good, so that the highest sharpness is reached after stopping down 1 or 2 stops. Only at the shortest focal length are the corners less sharp at full aperture. At 55 mm, the sharpness of this lens gives nothing up to many lenses with a much higher price. Overall, this is a very good performance for such a small, light and inexpensive lens.

DSC 0114Click on the illustration above for a larger version.

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Conclusion Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX review with Nikon D7200

nikon185afpkit

Use the Lens Comparison or look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses.

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, whereby you have applied all available in-camera lens corrections. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".

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18
27
6.6
7.1
6.0
6.0
5.6
8
9
23
35
7.2
7.4
8.5
6.0
5.8
8
9
33
50
7.7
7.1
9.6
7.5
8.3
8
7
55
83
8.5
7.8
9.6
8.7
9.0
8
7
Overall
Overall
7.3
7.4
8.4
6.0
6.2
8
8
ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. If you make use of lens correction profiles in Photoshop or Lightroom for converting RAW files, then the RAW scores for distortion and vignetting are the same as the jpg scores.
18
27
7.6
8.0
9.1
8.9
5.5
8
9
23
35
7.4
7.8
8.7
8.9
5.5
8
9
33
50
7.5
7.5
8.8
9.3
7.8
8
7
55
83
7.6
7.7
9.4
9.5
7.4
8
7
Overall
Overall
7.0
7.5
9.0
9.1
5.5
8
8

Pros

  • Compact and light
  • High price-to-quality ratio
  • High image quality at 55 mm
  • Fast and quiet AF thanks to the stepper motor

Cons

  • No built-in image stabilization
  • Visible distortion and vignetting at 18 mm
  • AF can only be used with recent Nikon cameras

Do not buy a Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX.
Buy a Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR

The Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX and the Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR are equally matched. The version with image stabilization costs 50 euros more and is 10 grams heavier. Both have a good price-to-quality ratio, but a starting photographer with his or her first SLR camera will certainly benefit a great deal from image stabilization. With IS, you get more sharp pictures at the same shutter time/aperture/ISO combination if you use a long shutter time, like for interior shots or shots in the dark. Because the Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR is a good lens—and you will thus enjoy it for a long time—the investment of 50 euros extra is a no-brainer as far as we’re concerned. 

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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Comments (4)

  1. Wirralite

Nice advice to new starters and I agree get the V.R. now ~ dont get the NON V.R. first or you will regret it in the end. Happy Shooting!

 
  1. Ivo    Wirralite

Thanks for your contribution, Wirralite,

Ivo

 
  1. Ivo    fecimiyimne

there are two versions of this lens(with and without VR).
We tested both versions and advise to choose the version with VR

ivo

 

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