Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nikkor AF-S 18-105mm VR

A pretty basic kit lens, with VR and a decent range. Quite a lot of people swear this is the best lens for your camera, if you're gonna have only one lens. Is it so? At this price range, there are always some compromises - and I'm here to show you where exactly.

+ very competitive price
+ decent image quality
+ well-balanced in every way, good value overall

- somewhat soft at the wide end.
- autofocus somewhat weird; MF override is unreliable
- low build quality, mine broke after a few months

Bit weak at the wide end, but still good

closer to the longer end, it's better

Intended Users
Great for:

  • if you're one of those people who want only one lens, this is a very good choice
  • focal length range lets you get many kinds of shots; a great walk-around lens
  • (relatively) small, light, and expendable; a good vacation lens, no sweat if something happens to it

Not for:
  • low light. Although there is VR, it's a slow lens, particularly at the long end
  • if you can afford the 16-85mm, it's a significantly better lens
  • quality portraits work. Sure, you can use it fine, but it distorts and it's not fast enough

Final Verdict
It's good - but not excellent. Let's say that it's great for the money. It's a jack-of-all-trades kind of lens, as most lenses of the category are. It can do a lot of things well, but none excellent. Most beginners and people learning the camera will make great use of this lens, being able to get a lot of beautiful photos. Then, learning what the lens can and cannot do (as well as others at least), these users will probably want to explore other options.


  1. Hi, thanks for you blog, im reading it cause i want to buy my first réflex (probably a d5100) and im learning about lenses. i wish to get the body only and i was thinking to buy the 18-105 VR.
    after reading this post i wondering if to spend the double buying 16-85 is a good option; the image quality diference worth it? i can afford this lens but could not buy anything more for now.
    english is not my natural language, sorry :)

  2. If this is your first DSLR, I'd go for the cheaper 18-105 VR. The 16-85 is better, but probably not worth the money difference for a beginner. You could spend the money later on a lens like the 35mm f/1.8 - which would be a vast improvement towards either of these two zooms

    1. Ok, maybe for the cost of a 16-85 i can get an all-around (18-105) and a good prime lens, a 35mm f/1.8 like you said. Is a good equipment to start i think. My idea is learn and find a laboral way on photography.
      thanks for your time