The Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR was announced in November 2007 as the company’s latest budget kit lens. It will work on any Nikon DX format DSLR, although is best-suited to the entry-level models like the D40, D40x and D60. The lens has become a standard bundle option for the D60 but is also available separately for anyone who wants an affordable stabilised lens for their Nikon DX body.
The DX 18-55mm VR delivers the same 27-83mm equivalent range as its predecessor, the non-stabilised DX 18-55mm II, and also shares the same f3.5-5.6 focal ratio. The range takes you from wide angle to short telephoto and is a classic 3x general-purpose option.
Internally though the optical design is more complex, and of course the really big difference is the inclusion of Vibration Reduction on the new model. This counteracts camera shake and allows you to handhold at shutter speeds much slower than normal – Nikon quotes three stops of compensation, which is equivalent to the difference between a shutter speed of 1/60 and 1/8. Like all stabilising systems, it won’t freeze a subject in motion, but can prove invaluable for static compositions – and as an optical system, you’ll also see the stabilising effect through the viewfinder.
Like its predecessor, the DX 18-55mm VR is an AF-S model, which means it employs one of Nikon’s SWM focusing motors. It’s a classy touch which allows the lens to focus quicker and more quietly compared to most kit lenses, and it also means it’s fully compatible with the D40, D40x and D60 bodies which don’t have built-in focusing motors.
The previous Nikkor DX 18-55mm II delivered particularly impressive performance for a kit lens, so the big question is whether the new model can match or even better it, while offering the added advantage of Vibration Reduction facilities. In our Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR full review we’ll put that to the test, comparing it against its predecessor and Nikon’s other popular kit zoom options. And as always, for a demonstration of its features in practice, check out our Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR video tour.
We tested the Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR using a final production Nikon D60, running firmware version 1.00. Following our convention of using default factory and best quality JPEG settings to test camera bodies unless otherwise stated, the D60 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; Noise Reduction and Active D-Lighting were set to their default Off settings. Vibration Reduction was enabled for handheld shots and disabled for tripod-based tests.