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Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR Gordon Laing, January 2009
 

Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR coverage

The Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR is designed as a general-purpose budget 3x zoom for any DX-format Nikon DSLR, although it's best-suited to the entry-level models in the range like the D40 and D60. Mounted on a DX-format body, the lens delivers an equivalent range of 27-83mm, giving wide angle to short telephoto coverage. To illustrate this coverage in practice we fitted the DX 18-55mm VR on a Nikon D60 body mounted on a tripod and took photos fully zoomed-out, then fully zoomed-in. You can see the results below.



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Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR coverage
Nikon D60 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR at 18mm
Nikon D60 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR at 55mm
DX 18-55mm VR at 18mm (27mm equivalent)
 
DX 18-55mm VR at 55mm (83mm equivalent)


The wide angle side of things is adequate for most, but the telephoto is quite short with many wanting to zoom closer. This is the compromise with a lens of this basic 3x range, but Nikon offers a number of options with longer ranges including the DX 18-70mm, DX 18-135mm and the DX 18-200mm – see our Nikkor lens group test for full details.

Alternatively, a great lens to complement the DX 18-55mm VR is the DX 55-200mm VR which literally takes over where the other stops; see our Nikkor DX 55-200mm VR review for more details.


Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR stabilisation

Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR controls
 

The major new feature of the Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR is of course the inclusion of Vibration Reduction facilities to counteract camera shake. As an optically stabilised system, you’ll see the effect through the viewfinder, although with a equivalent maximum focal length of 83mm, any wobbling isn’t that obvious even with the lens fully zoomed-in.

To enable VR, simply flick the switch on the side of the lens barrel to ON. Note the lens can detect panning and automatically disengages horizontal stabilisation. If you have the lens mounted on a tripod though, you should still switch the VR to OFF.

To test the stabilisation on the DX 18-55mm VR, we took a series of photos with it zoomed-into an equivalent of 83mm, where traditional photographic advice would recommend a shutter speed of 1/80 to eliminate camera shake. Our sequence therefore started at 1/80 and reduced by one stop each time until 1/5. We performed this sequence twice, first without VR enabled, and secondly with VR enabled. Below are 100% crops taken from the non-VR and VR images at a shutter speed of 1/10.

Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR Vibration Reduction off / on
Nikon D60 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR - VR off
Nikon D60 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR - VR on
100% crop, DX 18-55mm VR at 55mm, 1/10, VR off
 
100% crop, DX 18-55mm VR at 55mm, 1/10, VR on


Without VR enabled, we found we needed a shutter speed of at least 1/80 to completely avoid camera shake, whereas with VR enabled, we could achieve the same effect at 1/10. This corresponds to three stops of compensation and is a valuable facility to have at your disposal.

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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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