Support Cameralabs by shopping at our partner stores or donating via Paypal
 






Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
 
  Latest camera reviews

Sigma DP1 Quattro
Sony Cyber-shot W830
Nikon COOLPIX L830
Nikon D750
Canon SX400 IS
Sony Cyber-shot H400
Panasonic Lumix LX100
Canon SX60 HS
Canon ELPH 340 IXUS 265
Canon G7X
Nikon COOLPIX P530
Canon SX520 HS
Canon G1 X Mark II
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
Panasonic TZ60 / ZS40
Sony RX100 III review
Sony A3000 review
Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Nikon COOLPIX A
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
 
 
   
 
  Best Buys: our top models
   
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories
   
 



Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
   
 
  DSLR Tips



 
Support me when shopping at Amazon by clicking through to them here! The prices are the same, but they share some profit, and that's what pays for my work! Thanks, Gordon
Nikkor DX kit lens group test: 18-55mm vs 18-70mm vs 18-135mm vs 18-200mm VR Gordon Laing, April 2007

 

Nikkor kit lens group test introduction

If you’re in the market for a new Nikon DSLR, you’ll have the choice of buying it as a body alone or with a bundled kit lens. Kit lenses are traditionally budget models with 3x optical zoom ranges designed to get you started, and while Nikon sells such a lens, it also offers several alternatives with longer optical ranges and extra features. Many camera stores additionally offer the choice of buying a Nikon body bundled with a higher-end lens.

Since many owners end up using their first lens for some time, or even the entire lifespan of their camera body, it’s clearly important to choose the right one from the start. In this group test we’ll examine the four most popular lenses bought with Nikon DSLRs, whether the official kit models, or popularly bundled alternatives. All are DX models which means they’ll work with any Nikon DSLR, from the entry-level D40 to the professional D2X. They’re also all AF-S models which means they’ll auto-focus when fitted on the latest D40 and D40x bodies.

from left: Nikkor DX 18-55mm II, DX 18-70mm, DX 18-135mm and DX 18-200mm VR lenses



In terms of focal range, the most basic model in this group test is the Nikkor DX 18-55mm II. Introduced with the Nikon D40 DSLR, this is the cheapest lens on test here and offers a basic 3x optical range. Next up is the Nikkor DX 18-70mm, a popular general-purpose lens which offers a step-up in quality for owners of mid to high-end Nikon DSLRs; it’s the oldest of the four lenses here, but is still a popular bundled option for the D80.

Third in this group test is the Nikkor DX 18-135mm, introduced as the standard kit lens for the Nikon D80, although now also available bundled with other bodies. Finally we’ll look at the Nikkor DX 18-200mm VR, which while not strictly a kit lens, is an enormously popular model which many stores are selling bundled with several Nikon bodies including the D80 and D200.

 
Click here for the Nikkor kit lens group test
 

Each of the four lenses on test most obviously offer steadily increasing focal ranges, which the DX 18-200mm also crowns with Vibration Reduction to combat camera-shake. Beyond this though there’s many differences in build quality, focusing speed and optical performance. In this Nikkor lens group test we’ll closely examine and compare their performance to help you make the right decision for your Nikon DSLR, whether you’re upgrading an existing kit lens, or buying a new body and lens combination.

To see an overview of the characteristics of each lens and examples of their coverage in practice, check out our Nikkor DX lens group test video tour.


Testing notes

We tested each lens here with a Nikon D80, although the results and features are equally applicable to any Nikon DSLR. Following our convention of using default factory and best quality JPEG settings, the D80 was set to Large Fine JPEG mode and sRGB, with Auto White Balance, 3D Matrix metering and the Optimise Image parameter set to Normal for sharpening, tone, colour, saturation and hue; High ISO Noise Reduction was set to Normal.

The serial numbers for the DX 18-55mm, DX 18-70mm, DX 18-135mm and DX 18-200mm lenses tested were 2095691, 3599043, 2280910 and 2666378 respectively.

If you found this review useful, please support us by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs