Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR review

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Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR review

Postby Razvan » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:05 pm

After buying my second hand D80,I wanted a all-around lens for street photography especially. So I ended up with the 18-105mm,at half the price of my other option,the 16-85mm.
The cost was 300 dolars,purchased from the biggest photo store in my city.

General information:

Design :
In order: at 18mm,at 18mm with lens hood,at 105mm& at 105mm with lens hood.
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-DX lens(for cropped sensor cameras)
-built in AF-S motor,so it will autofocus on entry level cameras and offer fast & silent operation
-stabilised,with an advantage up to 3 stops
-a useful range of 27-157.5mm,aperture F/3.5-F/5.6
-at about 76x89mm,it's half of the size of my hand :) very compact piece of kit; fully extended it's about 80% the size of my (small) hand,so it's still pretty compact.
-weight 420g; I must say it's perfect for entry-level camera users,because the weight of the camera is close to the one of the lens,which gives an even weight distribution :)
-optical construction: 15 elements in 11 groups,with 1 ED and 1 aspherical element; the older 18-70mm had 3 ED elements,so this means a higher index of difraction for the 18-105mm and also,less resistance to CA
-number of aperture blades: 7
-minimum focus distance: 0.45m :) pretty good
-filter size: 67mm (non-rotating) :) great news for filter users
-plastic mount (well that's the sacrifice for a affortable stabilised walk-around lens)

First impressions:

-beautiful little piece of kit,both rings work very well; manual focus ring has overwrite,so I can grab the it at any time,without turning any switches :)
-VR works like a charm,I managed to get sharp photos at 1/8 shutter speed. here's an example at 1/1.6 shutter speed,while sitting down in a armchair:
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and of course,a 100% crop :
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-focusing speed is pretty fast & very silent on my D80. the only time I had some trouble focusing was in dimmer conditions. well to be fair,most lenses don't excell here. the focus hunt,from one extreme to the other took about 1,7-2 seconds.
-a downside of this lens is the lack of contrast of the output photos
-there is no focus distance window

Tests:
Flare resistance
Well it's hard to get bad results with this lens because it doesn't have a very bright aperture & also,the lens hood is very efficient in stopping the sun rays. I got here 2 shots with the lens pointed straight at the sun.
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Sharpness,distorsions & vigneting
I decided to test all of these aspects in normal outdoor conditions & using the DxO Optics afterwards,to correct automatically the distorsions & vigneting. And also,this way is easier too see how the lens performs in real life. The shots were made from my balcony,with the camera mounted on a tripod.
- In order : 18mm F/3.5,corrected,crop center,crop corner
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-18mm F/5.6,corrected,crop center & corner
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-18mm F8,corrected,crop center & corner
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-18mm F11,corrected,crop center & corner
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-24mm F/4,corrected,crop center & corner
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-24mm F/5.6,corrected,crop center & corner
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-24mm F8,corrected,crop center & corner
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-24mm F11,corrected,crop center & corner
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-50mm F5,corrected,crop center & corner
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-50mm F8,corrected,crop center & corner
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-50mm F11,corrected,crop center & corner
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-105mm F/5.6,corrected,crop center & corner
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-105mm F8,corrected,crop center & corner
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-105mm F11,corrected,crop center & corner
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Conclusions:
-at F11,the lens has the most sharpness output,overall
-very soft corners at 18mm
-the most pronounced distorsion is at 18mm,togheter with the high level of vigneting
-the smallest amount of distorsion is at 24mm
-CA was really not an issue,but I will do more tests for CA alone & return with the results

All-in-all,compared to it's Canon rival,the 17-85mm,it has roughly the same sharpness output & contrast,a greater zoom range & 1/2 of the Canon's price tag.(at least in my country)
The plastic mount is really not an issue if you treat your camera & lens with the proper respect & care.
Razvan
 

Postby luis » Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:37 pm

Maybe merge with this other topic?
luis
 

Postby Razvan » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:13 pm

luis wrote:Maybe merge with this other topic?

Definitely not. I spend a lot of time making this a worthy review. I would like to ask an admin/mod to erase my last review.
Razvan
 

Postby Citruspers » Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:16 pm

Definitely a good review, although I think your corner sharpness tests ara bit off, as the people in the corner are not in focus?

For the mods: Please leave the review as it is, don't merge it. :)
I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".
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Citruspers
 
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Postby Razvan » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:35 pm

Citrus,about the focus issue...it's a bit impossible for the people to be off-focused. I knew abut the extremely soft corners of this lens before I bought it anyway.
Still,at F11 the results are good for landscapes.
Razvan
 

Postby hackmann » Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:09 pm

This is a nice review!

In my opinion, this is the best affordable walk around lens.

Only problem I found it tends to give too much cool temperature shots, some chromatic aberration at wide agle and too much vignete at 105mm.

Despite that is a impressive lens, 80% of my shots i use this lens, even having some expensive ones. Very good for portraits.

Check some awsome shots i had with this at my webpage:


http://www.carloshackmannphotography.co ... 2248_WCZ6v
http://www.carloshackmannphotography.co ... 1209_Zz5MR
http://www.carloshackmannphotography.co ... 1443_MQ7yN
http://www.carloshackmannphotography.co ... 9814_VU2Dy
http://www.carloshackmannphotography.co ... 9475_dpCRB


This is the best lens kit ever!
:)
hackmann
 

nice review

Postby Dirk » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:50 pm

I have this lens for my nikon d80 too, mine is pretty sharp for a kit lense.

Personally i hate the word Kitlens, because fine lenses are almost made "worthless" because they have been sold in a kit with a body.

What range and VR it is imho better than a 18-200 on IQ i think it scores higher too although i find my images with a 18-70 DX ED SWM still a bit more sharper than with the 18-105.

But it shure is a very fine walkaround lens and it offers good quality for money
Dirk
 

Postby Razvan » Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:15 pm

I love this range,there's nothing like it. But I will upgrade to better & faster lenses eventually. It has its limitations
Razvan
 


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