Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED DX II - Review / Test Report
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2007

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Peter-Cornelius Spaeth!


The Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED DX II is a standard zoom lens often sold in combination with entry level Nikon DSLRs since late 2006. The lens is available in a black and a silver variant to match the colors of the corresponding bodies. The Nikkor is a designated DX lens thus projecting a reduced image circle and as such it is not compatible to full-frame SLRs. The field-of-view is equivalent to 27-82.5mm so while it may not be a speed daemon it covers a quite attractive range.
Regarding its name it obviously replaces the original mk I. However, the optical design has not really been altered and consequently most of the old review text has been copied. Nikon applied some cosmetical changes to the outer construction (silver ring, changes in the contouring)- FWIW, a step forward in my subjective opinion.

You will probably not shop for a naked Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED DX II but if so the price of less than 130US$/€ already indicates that there're limits of what you can expect from such a lens regarding its build quality - it feels sub-standard due to rather cheap plastics but that's a fate shared by all entry-level kit zooms. On the D200 it certainly feels a little misplaced. The very broad rubberized zoom ring which feels reasonably smooth. Due to cost cutting measurements there isn't really a dedicated focus ring - you simply use the slightly fluted front portion of the inner lens tube instead. The target audience for this lens will probably not mind but this is surely an annoyance for more serious users - manual focusing is quite a nightmare. If you touch the focus ring the viewfinder image tends so shake significantly because of the wobbling of the inner lens tube.

As you can observe above the lens extends during zooming (and focusing) and it reaches its longest length at the two extreme ends of the zoom range. The shortest physical length is around the ~35mm setting. The front element rotates so using a polarizer is quite cumbersome. Typical for all G lenses the Nikkor does not provide a dedicated aperture ring anymore. Surprisingly the Nikkor features an AF-S motor (silent-wave (ultrasonic)) but while this has the benefits of providing near silent AF the speed is comparatively slow.

Equiv. focal length27-82.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.3-f/8.4 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction7 elements in 5 groups inc. 1 ED and 1 aspherical glass element
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.28 m (max. magnification ratio 1:3.2)
Dimensions71 x 74 mm
Weight205 g
Filter size52 mm (rotating)
HoodNikon HB-33 (optional), barrel-shaped
Other features-