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Customer Review

226 of 237 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the ideal affordable compromise between range and quality, November 15, 2008
This review is from: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras (Electronics)
If you take photographs for fun then this is a great lens. I am using it on the ultimate fun camera, a Nikon D40 and the lens completes it very well. I usually don't analyse things to death like photographing text from a Newspaper or grid patterns to measure sharpness or distortion. I just use it to take pictures and observe the results like a normal person would. Having said that I am quite critical and have had really good cameras with excellent optics.

Overall this lens feels like it is a really good product and feels very robust and well made. It is well finished and shows good attention to detail and quality control. The two rings (zoom and focus) feel and glide very well. albeit with a very slight plastic sliding sound. The switches feel fairly OK and generally everything seems like it will last a very very long time. Of course it cannot match a mid 80's Nikon prime lens but it is hard to make such a comparison. Firstly they are built differently with different numbers of components and secondly they are used differently.

Personally I don't understand the difference that a steel camera mount would make over the plastic one this lens has. I suppose if you remove and replace the camera lots of times then it could make a difference. Although having said that a plastic surface on the lens would be kinder the steel mount on the camera. Plastic being self lubricating would prevent both from being scratched. I don't sleep less well at night because of it.

Visually the lens looks a bit plain and lacks the silver ring that the 18-55 came with. It also lacks an writing on the forward business end of the camera. There are also no markings for focal length.

One thing about this lens that I do find very annoying is the extremely fiddly lens cap. Because of the way they moulded the cap the two surfaces you press together to unclip it from the lens front are very short and smooth and have an angle on them that makes the fingers slip off. As a consequence the lens cap has fallen out my hand onto the floor a few times. That is something to remember if you are standing on a grate, a dirty floor or on a clifftop. This is a common problem with the 18-135 and 18-200 lenses.

Now to the lens' performance. It focuses extremely fast and very silently. It has a very useful reach. I have found you can overcome the smaller minimum aperture with a higher zoom and this gives really good bokeh for portraits. The VR works a treat as well. In combination with the camera's really good performance at high ISO it makes it very capable at photographing the insides of restaurants and houses without the need for flash to ruin the colour balance.

The lens is very sharp. The photographs I took came out very well. I have no issues with them whatsoever and anything that went wrong in taking those images I would put down to my relative inexperience.

The lens did not have any negative effects on the colour, I didn't notice any purple fringing or anything other than really pleasant results. Overall I am actually very happy with the sharpness and detail this lens captures.

I am wondering whether to use a UV filter and am not sure about using the petal design hood. There are all sorts of views about the advisability or otherwise of these items.

Other products I compared this to are the 18-55 lens my D40 came with. In its own right it is an excellent lens and seems sharp. It does feel a bit on the lightweight side compared to the 18-105. The 18-135 I tried felt a little bit crude in how the zoom ring moved. It didn't feel as well finished compared to the 18-105 and made plastic sliding sounds when operating the zoom ring. That lens was very sharp too but holding it steady at 135mm was a bit difficult.

I used a 50mm 1.4 manual focus lens from the 80s that had awesome bokeh but was otherwise a pain to use. The other lens I tried was the 18-200mm which was an awesome lens. It had a focus that seemed even faster than the one on the 18-105 but it was a little too big and made the camera feel very front heavy. Because of that it lost a bit of the fun factor. Along with the fact that it was almost 3 times more expensive I am glad I bought the 18-105.

I paid A$385 at Ted's in Highpoint. $385 would equate to US$246 in November 2008. An 18-200 sells for A$1045. Even the 18-135 often sells for more so I feel I got something of a bargain. The people at Ted's are fantastic for customer service and I'm sorry I didn't buy my D40 from them.

Anyway I hope this review helps someone.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 19, 2008 5:01:14 PM PST
CDB says:
Serious, objective review, thank you.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 3:46:42 PM PST
Gatorowl says:
I agree. Great review.

I've been debating about selling the 18-105 that comes with the D90 I ordered. This review suggests that this lens is a definite keeper. Down the road (assuming I like the D90), I may add a 70-300 at the long end and/or a sigma 10-20 at the wide lens, but I suspect that the 18-105 will remain my walk-around lens

Thanks for the review

Posted on Mar 28, 2009 3:55:18 PM PDT
R. Nienaber says:
I also had a problem holding the lens cap. I bought some epoxy glue that is made for repairing plastic things, and fashoned two extension lips onto those slippery clips, and sloped the lips so as to hold the fingers. The color is off white, but black paint could be added. Works great! ( A little water on your fingers helps when molding the soft epoxy )
An alternate might be to buy one of those lanyard strings to attach between the lens cap and shoulder strap bracket for about $2.00.

Posted on Sep 15, 2009 3:24:27 PM PDT
Mr Cool says:
"Personally I don't understand the difference that a steel camera mount would make over the plastic one this lens has."
Well, on my lens one of the three "wings" broke off while on vacation which rendered my expensive investment (D90) useless. I lost lots of shot opportunities because of this stupid flimsy plastic. It would NEVER happen with metal mount. Yes, it's cheap to replace (approx. $5 or so) but NOT while you are on vacation and need the camera the most. So, now you understand why this is bad choice for a lens. It has good optics, so Im just gonna buy a few mount parts and have them ready for the next time. But honestly, why should I go into such trouble with something that should have been done right in the first place?

Posted on Sep 29, 2010 3:52:10 PM PDT
R. McAtee says:
Good review, but serious viginetting at 105mm. You can even see it in the last sample photo. This is a good versatile lens, but if you want good telephoto, you'll probably want something better. I love the 70+ degrees you get (dx format) at 18mm. This lens performs very well at wide-angle. Plus, it's a relatively fast lens compared to other zooms.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2011 12:42:42 PM PDT
Inanimate objects cannot be "stupid". That is the province of we humans. I find that taking care of my equipment, in the knowledge that some lenses have plastic mounts, goes a long way to ensuring longevity.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2011 1:42:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2011 1:43:26 PM PDT
J.G says:
Mr. Cool, you only took one lens with you on a vacation? There's your problem right there, not the plastic mount.

Posted on Mar 4, 2012 5:54:13 AM PST
STCRH says:
Just got mine for a recently purchased D7100. Just taken some shots around the house but really like the versatility and quality of the lens and the pics. It will be my go to lens. Agree that the lens cover is a bit clumsy to apply because of the slanted edge. Oh well I guess.

Posted on May 20, 2014 7:04:22 PM PDT
ezyErnie says:
I have an 18-105 and I used it with my D5200 and my d7100. Great lens, IMHO. Thanx for this review.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2014 8:11:30 AM PST
My old Nikon took two hits a long time ago. I got hit in the head and lens when photographing human trafficking years ago, and also took a fall from a bosun's chair while shooting from a yacht mast. The lens and camera were fine- but the mount inside looked all twisted up. Still worked fine- but man- did that mount hardware take the brunt of those two assaults on the camera. Taught me how important the mount can be.
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