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

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

Overall Rating:

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G DX VR

This is an inexpensive lens in the popular 18-55mm compact zoom range. It's 17 years old and usually sold as a kit lens with Nikon's entry level DSLR's like the D3200, or it could have been bought for $180 (USD). It replaced the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G II ED. It features a very respectable 0.3× maximum reproduction ratio and takes the HB-45 lens hood.

This lens has been replaced by the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR II lens.


Autofocus is done by the AF-S motor which is supposed to be silent but it does make a little noise. It is much quieter than the AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 D lens. It seems to focus very slowly but because the focus throw is so short, its focus performance is not that bad though it's in no way quick. The auto/manual focus button is either autofocus or manual focus. There is no manual focus override via a simple turning of the manual focus collar. The little A/M switch has to be set to manual first. Manual focusing is very difficult because the throw is so short. It is so difficult that, really, the autofocus has to work.

The Vibration Reduction (VR) is a nice added function making this inexpensive, slow lens into a top hand-held performer, allowing one to get sharper shots at lower shutter speeds. Handheld shots at a tenth of a second are possible. Too bad this lens does not have a faster aperture like the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm/2.8-4.

VR (in a moving car) at 1/50 sec. f=55mm/5.6

Optically, this lens is quite good. For a DX lens, it is sharp throughout its zoom range. The AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm DX VR beats it at 55mm. With a high performance-to-price ratio it is a bargain. Diffraction has begun by f/8. Shoot at greater apertures, like f/5.6. Barrel distortion (1%) is obvious on the short end. With 0.5% barrel distortion at 24mm, it is gone by 35mm. Vignetting is non-existant thanks to the smaller DX format.

There is a hint of color fringing particularly on the short end.

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

A touch of flaring is to be expected and ghosting is well controlled.

flaring and ghosting detail at f=18mm/11

This lens is compared in the comparisons section on this site


This lens is most compact zoomed to around 30mm, where its magnification is 1x, and extends for both 18mm and 55mm. Yes, it is made entirely of plastic, including the mount, however, it feels solid in the hand and there is no zoom creep. Really, it could be worse.

It is for the DX/APS-C sensor format of camera and is slightly larger and lighter than the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm OIS lens.

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 rotating front element makes using a polarizer difficult and the lens must be focused again after zooming.


The bokeh is about neutral to, perhaps, just worse. It's a shame that it could not be a stop faster at f/4.

bokeh at f=55mm/5.6 (detail)


Infrared performance is simply outstanding.

infrared at f=18mm/10


Macro performance is excellent for a non-macro lens.

macro ratio of 1:3.2 (detail)
macro detail of this lens
macro detail of AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
macro detail of DX Micro 40mm f/2.8



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