Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR: The Cheap All-rounder

For curiosity's sake, I bought this lens last November 7 to try it out on my D300. As expected, I was not surprised at all at how superbly sharp and clear were the images taken by this cheap all-rounder. Comparing it with the previous kit lenses that I've tried, nothing seems to beat this latest kit lens offered by Nikon as packaged with the Nikon D90. For the record, I've had a chance to play with these kit lenses: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G (D50), 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G (D70), 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G (D80) and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR (D60). These are all good plastic mount lenses but the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR was so far the best of them all.

It has a VR (Vibration Reduction) feature making it useful in low light applications despite its slow aperture opening at f/3.5-5.6 at the wide to telephoto range. Though it doesn't have a VR II feature which is available in its 18-200mm VR, 70-300mm VR and 16-85mm VR predecessors but nonetheless, it gets the job done by reducing blur when taking photos at slower shutter speeds.

With its usable focal range at 18mm on the wide and 105mm on the far end, it is virtually a walk around lens like the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR DX where you can shoot landscapes, street scenes and portraiture. Its optical system features a single ED lens, hence, chromatic aberration is minimized. Though it has a SWM (Silent Wave Motor built-in), this lens is very slow in focusing especially in low light conditions. My Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF even beats this lens when it comes to ease of focusing.

What is desirable with this lens is the image quality of the photos taken by it. It is comparable to that of the 18-200mm VR at half the price if you're going to buy it separately as a lens. It is a plastic mount lens and it is very light which is a turn off for me considering that they are more prone to breakage if you hold your camera thru the lens and with the D300 attached to it, chances are it may not carry the weight of a bulkier and heavier D300 with vertical battery grip attached.

Having tested this on various shooting conditions, I am quite satisfied with the photographic output. In outdoors, it is a venerable lens but when shooting indoors, you must light your subject with external flashes to get good results. It is likewise slow when shooting inside a studio with dim light because it has a tendency to witch hunt for available light. With lights turned on, it is a breeze to focus accurately on your subjects.

In almost all my shooting experience with this lens on outdoors or even indoors, I have been shooting in CLS (Creative Lighting System) where I use external flash to help illuminate my subjects. I am more of a portraitist that's why i prefer lighting my subjects on the sides to get a more interesting portrait. Definitely, this is not a good lens using it in available light where the usual f/2.8 lenses might be the only choices.

If you're going to ask me if I like this lens? Well, I would tell you that I have already sold this lens because I'm not satisfied with it. But for its price, you don't have any reason to complain at all!! It's like looking at the two photos below - the moment I acquired it, I was smiling like I'm the happiest person with a new toy to explore and when I parted with it, I was kinda sad that I looked like the one in the bottom picture :)

Modelling credits from top to bottom : Nadine Dixon at Eco Park, Brandy at Linden Suites, Victoria Wise at Linden Suites, Zette at Eco Park, Acir at Heritage Park and Annie Lopez at DPI Ortigas Studio

1 comment:

freeman said...

Nikkor 18-105mm lens is cheap, and with the quality of photo its produced, it is worth it