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When my husband decided to upgrade my old Sony SLR to a Nikon D7000 camera, this is the lens he bought for me as my original 'do everything' option. I have since been given a spectacular 18-300 Sigma lens so this one is now seeing a little less action than it was but it saw me through thousands of shots before it went into semi-retirement.
It's quite a hefty lens, especially when combined with the D7000 body which is no lightweight either. At its lowest range (18) it's wider angled than I ever achieved with my Sony whilst the 105 is a fair zoom in normal usage. This one lens replaced two that I previously needed to cover the same range on the Sony. Distortion at either end of the range is not noticeable to an amateur like me.
It has the feel of a well-made lens from a company who know what they are doing. It's a dependable favourite and I would still use it if I were going somewhere where the 18-300 was too long for comfort. For example when going to an indoor athletics event in Birmingham last year, I was asked to prove that my camera was not fitted with what they called a 'professional' lens - I fear the zoom on the 18-300 would have got me thrown out.
The lens comes with Nikon's vibration reduction technology which works well but has to be switched off when used with a tripod.
I bought this lens with a D7000 after reading reviews of both, and have not regretted my decision. The lens gives much more range than most kit lenses I have had experience with(ie 28 to 70mm range) and this lens has very little distortion across its range. The Vibration Reduction means you can use the lens at full zoom without getting noticeable blur even at low levels.
The weight of the lens does not feel significant. The barrel is made of solid-feeling plastic, the lens has a metal mount, I find that it is easy to accidentally hit the Vibration Reduction switch to off, which is annoying but may not be a problem for many people. There is one advantage to turning the VR off- which is noticing the results, the difference between VR being on and off at dusk is obvious the moment you see the photos. I have never had any lens creep, even when holding the camera at ridiculous angles.
The supplied Lens Cap HB-32 Feels solid and screws into the front of the lens barrel.
The variable maximum aperture does limit your ability to use depth of field, so this is not the lens for anyone who wants to use bokeh (having things out of focus behind their subject) to the best effect. In this regard it is no substitute for either a prime lens, or a zoom lens with a lower and constant aperture. Nikon and Sigma, and others make such lenses, but they cost and weigh significantly more.
So: an excellent starting point, but if you are keen on only having one lens consider the similar model that goes to 200mm, if you want to do more artistic photography, get prime lenses or a more expensive zoom lens
As this is a DX Lens, designed for the smaller format digital sensors, those who wish to continue using 35mm film SLRs, or those looking to upgrade to a full format (FX) digital camera should not buy this lens as it will produce faded edges on their photographs.
I obtained the Nikon D90 camera kit which included the 18-105 kit lens. I was not to sure what to expect with it being a kit lens but as part of the kit you get it for a good price. The zoom range is very nice and much better than your normal 18-55 etc kit lenses. Centre sharpness is very good for a lens of this price. Lens sharpness does fall off in the corners but that is to be expected and as you close down the aperture the corners do tend to sharpen up a bit. The VR may only be type 1 but it is great for low light shots. Do remember though the VR wont freeze movement in the pics but will help reduce camera shake. The lens does have distortion at the wide angle end but you can correct this with software so not a big deal. I like the pinch type front cap as well as the hood which I keep on all the time to protect the lens from knocks. All in all a very well regarded lens that offers great value for money.
The 18-105 is one of Nikon's kit lenses - cheaper lenses that often come as part of a kit with a camera.
Currently on Amazon at £249.99 this is a (relatively!) cheap lens from Nikon.
The lens looks and feels a nice quality piece of equipment - like all (or possibly nearly all) Nikon lenses it's black, the writing is in silver and gold. It comes like all of them with a body and lens cap, it also has a petal hood and a soft case/bag. It's got a good enough weight to it to be comfortable and balance a camera nicely, but it's light enough you'd not worry about taking it for a day out. The switches (for auto or manual focus and VR on or off) work smoothly, the manual focusing ring is a nice fit and operates easily, everything feels like it's well made.
The image quality is great, if at the extremes of zoom and aperture it can drop slightly, but only a little and you'll only notice if you're doing large crops or prints - at most monitor sizes the difference won't be visible. I've not experienced any vignetting on this (well except due to a filter but that's a whole other review) even when used at extremes of zoom or aperture, I've taken sunrise pictures on this and all have turned out perfectly clear.
This is a fantastic lens for the price, well above the quality of your average kit lens. But if you're looking for a professional grade lens, you may want to go for professional grade glass - at the price tags they come at.
As stated this is an AF-S DX ED VR lens.
Just to cap quickly over what that means:
AF-S means it has its own motor - it will work on older or entry-level bodies.
DX: This means it's designed for DX bodies - this is crop sensored. In current Nikon bodies The D3000, D5000, D90 and D300 are the main DX bodies, although there's many older ones as well. Most professional bodies are fullframe, and therefore this lens could cause vignetting - although it will still fit.
ED: (taken from nikon's website) ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass and Aspherical lens elements ensure high resolution and contrast while minimizing spherical aberration, astigmatism and other forms of distortion.
VR: Vibration Reduction helps to reduce camera shake, so perfect if you have shakey hands - this is to allow you to use exposure speeds up to 2 stops lower, allowing for low light conditions, it should be turned off if using a tripod however.
Overall I love this lens - and while I'm hoping to slowly build a collection of professional grade lenses, I can see me keeping this for the simple fact it's light and easy to use - it weighs in at only 420g, meaning you can keep it on you all day.
Overall a great lens for the price. 4* due to slight IQ loss at the extremes.
Note: I've put battery life at 3 but obviosuly it doesn't take batteries, I just had to put something!
(May be elsewhere under the same name)
An important lesson in photography is that it doesn't matter how expensive your digital camera is, the pictures you take will only be as good as the quality of your lens. In fact, I would rather own a cheap camera / decent lens combo, than own a top-of-the-range camera and a cheap lens. One of my favourite reasonably priced lenses at the moment is Nikon's 18-105mm VR, a versatile and lightweight model which outperforms its economy price-tag.
Costing £216 from amazon.co.uk, the lens is compatible with all of Nikon's current crop of digital SLR models, and many of their older shooters. The lens features a zoom range of 18-105mm (equivalent to around 7x), which makes it extremely versatile - it allows me to take wide-angle shots, and also get fairly close to my subjects when needs be. As a result, the lens represents a decent option for nature photographers, suitable for both landscape and animal spotting.
The 'VR' part of the lens's title stands for Vibration Reduction - a feature activated by flipping a small switch on the side of the body. In general, Nikon's vibration reduction is superb, and in practice you can get away with using a slower shutter speed that you normally would at full zoom. A switch above the Vibration Reduction allows you to choose between Auto and Manual focus modes - and here's one of the main issues I have with the lens - the manual focus ring feels flimsy, plasticky, and generally cheap. That said, let's not forget this is a budget model, and apart from this particular issue, the lens is rather good. It features Nikon's top quality ED glass, designed specifically to increase sharpness and minimize any chromatic aberrations.
The lens is comfortable to hold (and pretty light), with the zoom ring coated in a large rubberized grip. The zoom is spaced out nicely, and a decent turn is required in order to navigate through the entire range. This makes accurate zooming really easy, and thankfully, there isn't any 'lens-creep' (when the lens moves by itself via the power of gravity as you angle it vertically), which is something I find to be particularly annoying. Although it features a plastic lens mount, the build quality (apart from the focus ring as mentioned earlier) feels well made, and is arguably of a better quality that Nikon's other budget zoom, the 55-200 VR.
The aperture range (amount of light that enters the lens) starts out at f/3.5, and reaches f/5.6 by the time you get to around 85mm - for this reason the lens isn't especially good for low light photography (check out Nikon's cheap 50mm f/2 if you want an excellent and pin sharp low-light shooter) although the autofocus speed is pretty snappy in dim conditions. All the focusing is done inside the lens, meaning that the actual lens barrel doesn't ever rotate, which is good for those who like to use polarizing filters. Speaking of filters, if you're intending to use one with the lens, you'll need it to be of the 67mm variety. I generally leave a UV or skylight filter on all my lenses, so the glass at the front is protected at a times.
The closest focusing distance is around one and a half foot, meaning it really isn't best suited as a macro lens. That said, it can produce good results from this distance at full zoom - I've shot a few insects in this manner to decent effect. Finally let's look at the image quality - surely it can't be any good for such a reasonable price? Well actually, I have found the 18-105 to produce sharp results throughout the entire zoom range. That said, there is a little softness at the extremities - but nothing out of the ordinary for a budget model. Similarly, there is a bit of vignetting at full zoom (darkness in the corners of the image), although again, it's not something that I am particularly concerned about.
Overall then, Nikon's 18-105 VR is a really good lens, which I would wholeheartedly recommend if the finances dictate that you can't purchase a more expensive model. Personally, I would love to own Nikon's 18-200mm VR for the increased versatility, but it costs a hell of a lot more, and the image quality isn't any better. Although this particular model may sound fairly expensive, in the world of Nikon lenses, this is the equivalent of pennies - a real bargain at the price and a decent buy.