Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 G ED Lens (f/3.5-4.5)

Review of the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 G ED Lens (f/3.5-4.5).

Overall Rating:

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 G ED

This lens was usually sold as a kit-lens with Nikon's better DSLR's like the D200 or D70. It is for the DX/APS-C sensor format of camera and is larger than the Nikon Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G DX VR lens. It has a useful full frame equivalent range of 27-105mm. It is made in Thailand and is a 18 year old design. It debuted at a price of $350 USD. With the slowest maximum aperture being f/4.5 at 70mm it is faster than most other kit lenses and its optical design is more complex, too.

It features internal focusing, three ED elements and one aspherical element. It has a modest maximum 0.16× reproduction ratio. Takes the HB-32 lens hood.

Performance

Autofocus is done by the AF-S motor which can be overridden when the lens is on the "M/A" setting. This is something missing in later kit lenses. The autofocus is not blisteringly fast but still competent. The manual focus is reasonable for what is primarily an autofocus lens.

Optically, this lens is pretty decent. It performs a little better than the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II lens in the center. The sharpness is weakest at 50mm. Barrel distortion (1%) is obvious on the short end and by 35mm is converted to pinchushion distortion (0.3%). Diffraction has begun by f/8.

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center detail of 18-70mm at 18mm (2× magnification)
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center detail of 18-55mm VR II at 18mm (2× magnification) for comparison
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center detail of 18-70mm at 35mm (2× magnification)
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center detail of 18-55mm VR II at 35mm (2× magnification) for comparison
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center detail of 18-70mm at 50mm (2× magnification)
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center detail of 18-55mm VR II at 55mm (2× magnification) for comparison
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corner 18mm/6.3 (3× magnification)
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corner 35mm/6.3 (3× magnification)
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corner 70mm/6.3 (3× magnification)

It has color fringing mostly on the long end (at 70mm) and corner sharpness is not great at 18mm, but the corners perform about as well as the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II lens overall.

This lens suffers horribly from focus breathing making live view focusing in the corners a bit of a pain.

Construction

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. Some would say this is less intuitive. In practice, it gives greater control over the aperture, plus it makes the lens less expensive to produce.

The front element does not rotate making the use of a polarizer a breeze. The lens must be focused again after zooming. It focuses past infinity and therefore beyond light itself.

There is no Vibration Reduction (VR).

Bokeh

Not much bokeh at 18mm but as the lens is zoomed and the focal length increases, the bokeh shows itself, and it looks okay. Nothing jumps out to the viewer.

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f=18mm f/3.5
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f=35mm f/4.2
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f=35mm f/6.3
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f=70mm f/4.5
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f=70mm f/6.3

Infrared

Infrared photography is totally possible with this lens.

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f=18mm f/16
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f=35mm f/16
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f=70mm f/16

Apertures

 aperture
maxmin
18mmf/3.5f/22
24mmf/3.8f/25
35mmf/4.2f/29
50mmf/4.5f/29
70mmf/4.5f/29

Specifications

Images

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lens construction legend

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