Nikon DX VR AF-P NIKKOR 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G Lens (f/3.5-5.6)

Review of the Nikon DX VR AF-P NIKKOR 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G Lens (f/3.5-5.6).

Overall Rating:

Nikon

This inexpensive lens in the popular 18-55mm compact zoom range is 6 years old and originally sold for $250 USD. It's usually sold as a kit-lens with Nikon's entry level DSLR's like the D3400/D5500/D5600. It is for the DX/APS-C sensor.

Performance

This is the first AF-P Nikkors lens. "P" stands for Pulse. From Nikon's website: Nikon's new "P" series of lenses uses a pulse motor (utilizing stepping motors) for ultra-fast, near silent autofocus.

The autofocus performance is blisteringly fast — a real improvement over the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR.

Optically, this lens is quite sharp. It is sharp throughout its zoom range. It's on par with the AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm DX VR at 55mm. This lens has a very high performance-to-price ratio so it is a real bargain. Diffraction has begun by f/8. Shoot at greater apertures, like f/5.6. Barrel distortion (0.5%) and vignetting is evident on the short end. The vignetting disappears as the lens is stopped down.

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vignetting and barrel distortion at 18mm/3.5

There is very pronounced color fringing in the short end of the zoom and a touch of it in the long end.

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corner at 18mm/5.6
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corner at 18mm/8
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corner at 35mm/5.6
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corner at 35mm/8
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corner at 55mm/5.6
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corner at 55mm/8

This lens is compared in the comparisons section on this site

Unlike its earlier siblings, it is dead silent making it good for shooting video.

The Vibration Reduction (VR) is a nice function which makes this slow, inexpensive lens into a top hand-held performer. It allows one to get sharper shots at lower shutter speeds. Handheld shots around a tenth of a second are possible. Nikon claim a four stop improvement. Also, it has a maximum 1:2.6 reproduction ratio combined with the VR might make it nice for doing macro work.

Nikon
VR and macro in one (detail)

Construction

This lens is most compact when compressed to its collapsed/locked zoom position. It extends for 18mm, decreased until around 30mm, and then extends again until 55mm. When opened and ready for shooting, it is taller than the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR, but not fatter.

It is made entirely of plastic, including the mount. There is no zoom creep.

This is a G lens meaning that there is no aperture adjustment ring. This means turning a knob on the camera to adjust the aperture. This less intuitive method makes the lens less expensive for Nikon to produce.

The Vibration Reduction does not have an off switch on the lens. Instead, it must be turned-off in the camera's menu. The Nikon D7100 and D7200 do not have a way to turn the VR off.

It takes 55mm filters which is a problem because it will not work with a photographer's arsenal of 52mm filters.

Non-rotating front element makes using a polarizer a joy. The lens must be focused again after using the zoom.

Takes the HB-N106 lens hood.

Compatibility

This lens is compatible with 2013 and newer cameras, like the Nikon D3300, D3400, D5200, D5300, D5500, D5600, D7100, D7200, D7500, D500 cameras. On the D7100 and D7200 cameras, the VR cannot be disabled.

Bokeh

The bokeh is a tad busy..., but better than some other Nikkors.

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bokeh at f=55mm/5.6
Nikon
bokeh at f=55mm/8

Infrared

Infrared performance is poor when stopped down. This lens exhibits an infrared hotspot.

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infrared hotspot at f=18mm/22

Macro

As mentioned, the maximum reproduction ratio is 1:2.6 so leave the real macro lenses at home... No, not really, it's actually a little soft at the 1:2.6 ratio.

Nikon
macro (detail)
Nikon
macro (detail)

The performance is not at the same level as the DX Micro Nikkor 40mm/2.8 lens or the AF-S DX 18-55mm VR lens. As is obvious, this lens is a little soft at this distance. Still, the 1:2.6 maximum reproduction ratio is superb for a lens like this.

Nikon
macro detail of this lens
Nikon
macro detail of AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
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macro detail of DX Micro 40mm f/2.8

Apertures

 aperture
maxmin
18mmf/3.5f/22
24mmf/4.0f/25
35mmf/5.0f/32
45mmf/5.3f/36
55mmf/5.6f/38

Pros and Cons

Conclusion

The Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor f=18-55mm/3.5-5.6 G VR is an inexpensive, well-built lens that offers high AF performance. It's bundled with entry-level DSLRs, and is a solid choice for the first time DSLR owner or enthusiast looking for a high-performance, lightweight lens to carry around. Its retail asking price is modest given what the lens is. It is dirt cheap on the used market.

Ignoring the infrared performance, it is a real winner, but the slow Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR is a better lens even though it's larger and heavier, it is sharper w/less color fringing in the corners and is 100% compatible with the infrared wavelength.

Specifications

Images

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lens construction legend
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A non-VR version exists

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