Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Review by Markus Stamm, published June 2011

Special thanks to Andreas Stamm for providing the lens!

Introduction

The Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR was announced together with the Nikon D90 in 2008 and has since then been a very popular kit lens with quite a few DX DSLRs. However, it can also be purchased separately.

The lens combines a very attractive zoom range with a quite affordable price of around 200€/300$ (at the time of this review), which is considerably less than the cost of stabilized super zoom lenses with an even larger focal range.

In this review we will have a look at how the lens performs on our current DX test camera, the Nikon D7000.

The lens is obviously based on the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-135. On the outside not much has changed, except for the VR sign and VR switch both lenses are very similar. The build quality is Ok for consumer standards. The lens barrel is made of decent quality plastics (still down to the lens mount, though). Both the broad zoom ring as well as the rather thin focus ring operate smooth despite not being damped. The tested sample did not show any signs of zoom creeping.

One of the main features of this lens of course is the optical image stabilization which Nikon calls Vibration Reduction (VR). It's a VR I module (and not the latest generation system VR II) which according to Nikon allows for up to 3 stops longer exposure times. In the field, you should not rely on this number, however a 2 stop gain seems easily achievable.

The VR switch only allows to enable and disable VR, but not to set a VR mode. So, there's no VR Active mode like on some higher grade VR lenses.

As you can see in the product shots the lens extends considerably towards the longer end of the focal range. It uses a duo cam design (two extending inner tubes), fully extended there's some minor wobbling. Thanks to internal focusing (IF) the front lens does not rotate while focusing, so using a polarizer is no problem.

Typical for all G lenses the Nikkor does not provide a dedicated aperture ring anymore and presumably to keep the costs down there is no distance scale.

The Nikkor features an AF-S motor (silent-wave), so it is fully compatible with all current Nikon DSLRs, including the motorless entry-level models. While this has the benefits of providing near silent AF, the speed is comparatively slow - fast enough for every day use but considerably slower than higher grade AF-S lenses. The lens is certainly not the first choice for action shots (nor is it meant to be).

Specifications
Equiv. focal length27-157.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.3-f/8.4 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction15 elements in 11 groups inc. 1 ED and 1 aspherical element
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.45 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5)
Dimensions76 x 89 mm
Weight420 g
Filter size67 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HB-32, petal shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)
Other featuresSilent wave AF motor, VR image stabilization, lens provides distance (D) information to the camera.




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