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Review by Markus Stamm, published July 2012
Even though Nikon introduced a stabilized kit lens many years ago with the 18-55 VR, the direct predecessor, the Nikon AF-S DX 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 II ED, remains listed as a current product. That's slightly surprising when considering that both the stabilized and unstabilized versions retail for more or less the same price.
The Nikkor 18-55 VR is a designated DX lens. 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.
In this review we will have a look at how the lens performs on our current DX test camera, the Nikon D7000.
The rather low retail price already gives an indication of what to expect in terms of build quality. Due to the use of rather cheap plastics (down to and including the mount) the lens feels sub-standard, but that's a fate shared by
many entry-level kit zooms. The very broad rubberized zoom ring 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 (or, if mounted, the hood). 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). 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.
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. However, thanks to AF-S, the lens is fully compatible with all current Nikon DSLRs, including the motorless entry-level models.
The 18-55 II is one of the very few lenses that Nikon delivers without a lens hood. The dedicated HB-45 hood is quite affordable, though.
|Equiv. focal length||27-82.5 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. max. f-stops||f/5.3-8.4 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field - not speed)|
|Optical construction||7 elements in 5 groups inc. 1 ED and 1 aspherical glass element|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.28 m (max. magnification ratio 1:3.2)|
|Dimensions||71 mm x 74 mm|
|Filter size||52 mm (rotating)|
|Hood||Nikon HB-33 or HB-45 (optional), barrel-shaped, clip-on|
|Other features||Silent-wave AF drive|