AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105MM F 3.5-5.6G ED-IF VR

zoom range


Nikon s 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom can be bought either as a standalone tens or as the kit lens with a Nikon D7000 and D90: in both cases it can be obtained for around ?200, which is almost ?100 less than its list price. This lens is, therefore, not only very versatile, thanks to an almost 6x zoom range, but also exceptionally affordable.

The lens barrel is dominated by a wide zoom collar that occupies more than half of its length and offers just the right amount of resistance. There is a narrow manual-focusing collar to the rear and a pair of sliders that select the focusing mode and switch the vibration control system on/off. And there s a petal-type lens hood as well.

Being a DX-format (APS-C) lens the maximum angle-of-view on offer is less expansive than the 18mm wideangle figure suggests.

In terms of full-frame coverage, the 18-105mm zoom range equates to 27-157mm, which may sound less notable but probably meets an even wider variety of common needs.

 18-105mm zoom

The f/3.5-5.6 maximum aperture is more limiting, however. Nikon counters this through the incorporation of vibration reduction technology but this only aids low-light use: it does not help in terms of recreating the out-of-focus backgrounds that a wider maximum aperture would have delivered.

Automatic focusing is quick (but not blisteringly fast) and very quiet thanks to the use of Nikon s Silent Wave Motor technology, which is a remarkable inclusion in such an inexpensive lens. The manual-focusing ring remains stationary in AF mode but can be used at any time to provide manual adjustments. It is necessary to shift grip in order to reach the MF collar but this is an easy manoeuvre and the lens remains well balanced even when the lens is fully extended.

Beneath the skin there is an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element and another element with an aspherical profile to help reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations. Sadly, a significant amount of chromatic aberration remains, especially at the shortest focal-length settings.

There is a trace of barrel distortion at the wideangle end of the zoom range, changing to pincushion distortion at medium and longer focal-lengths; however, these are minor effects that will mar only those subjects that are particularly demanding.

 18-105mm zoom

Technical testing revealed a very strong set of MTF curves (see chart) that remained at or well above the critical 0.25 cydes-per-pixel threshold down to f/22. Smaller apertures are provided and result in lower MTF figures but these settings would be used only rarely and ought to be avoided by choice whenever possible.

In the field, this proved to be a capable and easy-to-use lens that mastered a variety of subjects, including close-range sport, portraiture and general scenic use. Colour fringes could sometimes be detected but only to a very slight extent and only upon close examination.

Overall this is a noteworthy lens on account of its high-level specification and affordable pricing. It has a significant weakness in its residual chromatic aberrations, despite the use of ED glass, but its MTF performance is truly impressive. In short, the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 is an excellent starter lens that can accommodate a wide range of common picture-taking situations and is worthy of serious consideration for all Nikon users who are working to a tight budget.

PROS Fantastic value for money

CONS Colour fringing at 18mm

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