Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras – Product Description:
This 5.8x zoom, designed exclusively for use with Nikon’s DX-format, features Nikon’s VR image stabilization and is perfect for portraits and action. The wide-ratio 5.8x zoomCompact, versatile and ideal for a broad range of shooting situations, ranging from interiors and landscapes to beautiful portraits–a perfect everyday zoom. Vibration Reduction is engineered specifically for each VR NIKKOR lens and enables handheld shooting at up to 3 shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible, assuring dramatically sharper images.
|Product Features :
Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras – Review:
PROBABLY THE IDEAL AFFORDABLE COMPROMISE BETWEEN RANGE AND QUALITY!
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.