Review Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX
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
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.
|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.
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
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.
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.
Conclusion Nikon AF-P 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G DX review with Nikon D7200
|Use the Lens Comparison or look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses.
WYSIWYG 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".