Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR II Announcement

Along with the D3300 DSLR, Nikon has also introduced the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II kit lens, another iteration of the lens with a completely new design. Compared to its predecessor, the new 18-55mm kit lens is now much more compact and lighter, because of its retracting design similar to some of the Nikon 1 lenses.

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II

Due to the new retracting barrel, Nikon had to change the optical design of the lens as well and it looks like the lens went through major changes. Considering how weak the DX line of lenses is, many of the older DX lenses, including the 18-55mm simply could not perform well on the new 24 MP sensors that Nikon is now putting into all the entry-level DSLRs. The short term solution for Nikon was to remove the low-pass / anti-aliasing filter, which gets a little more detail out of lenses. However, the real solution is to redesign DX lenses and make them better optically. In the case of the 18-55mm, Nikon made it much better than its predecessor, as can be witnessed from the MTF charts provided by Nikon.

Here are some of the lens specifications:

  1. Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet
  2. Focal Length: 18-55mm
  3. Maximum Aperture: f/3.5-5.6
  4. Minimum Aperture: f/22-36
  5. Format: DX
  6. Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 28°50′
  7. Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.31x
  8. Lens Elements: 11
  9. Lens Groups: 8
  10. Diaphragm Blades: 7
  11. Super Integrated Coating: Yes
  12. Autofocus: Yes
  13. AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
  14. Minimum Focus Distance: 0.92 ft. (0.28m)
  15. Focus Mode: Auto, Manual
  16. G-type: Yes
  17. Filter Size: 52mm
  18. Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on
  19. Dimensions (Approx.): 2.3 in. (59.5 mm) x 2.6 in. (66 mm)
  20. Weight (Approx.): 6.9 oz. (195 g)

If you would like to see more details, including lens construction and MTF, please see our Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II page in the lens database.

Compared to Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR

Let’s take a look at how the lens compares to its predecessor optically:

Nikon 18-55mm VR II vs 18-55mm VR MTF Wide

As I have indicated above, the new version is much better optically, especially in the corners. Take a look at its performance at 55mm (Tele):

Nikon 18-55mm VR II vs 18-55mm VR MTF Tele

That’s a pretty big change in optical performance. The new 18-55mm should perform well on the new D3300 and other high resolution Nikon DX cameras.


Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) autofocusross

    You are completely right about the older DX lenses not being as optically good as they should be – they simply are not. When I changed my D5100 to the D5200 I started finding all sorts of problems with images taken on my 18-105mm VR. Tests on the new 18-140VR which came out last August showed it to be ‘the best superzoom’ todate, which is why I ebayed my 18-105 and got it. At the same time I got a 50mm 1.8G for both low light and even better image quality. I don’t see the point in owning a high res body and using a lens that will fail to deliver.

    This does, however, open up an important debate. The de facto guidelines for buying and using cameras and lenses, right up to this moment, has been, to buy good glass, which you keep, and change the camera body as and when funds allow, to get the most out of the glass.

    That Nikon now have to re-design, optically speaking, their DX lenses, is a very bad sign. It tells us that, although better design was available to Nikon, they chose not to implement it, and kept shovelling out inferior lenses for as long as they could get away with it.

    I wonder how many of the original DX lenses are cursed with inferior optics? We’ll have to see just how many ‘new’ lenses Nikon feel they HAVE to issue to put the image quality right for higher res bodies.

    I am not a designer, camera manufacturer, or optics expert, but as a layman, it makes no sense to me that they put out these high res bodies BEFORE addressing the shortcomings of the existing lenses on the market.

    If anyone is interested, the 18-140mm is an essential upgrade if you are a D3200 3300 5200 5300 7100 owner, assuming you have either the original 18-55 or the option 10-105 walkabout lenses. The price has fallen to approx 50% of it’s RRP as long as you are willing to shop around. It looks, feels, and performs far more like a pro lens than the 18-105 so now is the time to get one, before the good weather returns (in the UK this will usually be two weeks sometime during end of May to middle of July).

    Seriously though, this new lens announced today, to my mind, constitutes an admission by Nikon that their lenses should have been re-worked a few years ago, in readiness for these new bodies. I would be furious if I had just bought a 7100 with and 18-105!

    • 5
      ) Shaun

      Hi Nasim, how would the 18-140 fare with the Nikon D300s, my go to lens at the moment is the 18-200VR which I enjoyed but it has it’s moments at certain f stops ? !
      Thanks Shaun

      • 6
        ) Autofocusross

        Shaun, take a look at:

        http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Nikon/Nikon-AF-S-DX-NIKKOR-18-140mm-F35-56G-ED-VR-mounted-on-Nikon-D5200__850

        and:

        http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Nikon/Nikon-AF-S-DX-NIKKOR-18-140mm-F35-56G-ED-VR-mounted-on-Nikon-D300s__614

        DXOMark are very objective when testing lenses and cameras, they test combinations. In the two pages I have given you above you can see how the lens is rated much better when used with a D5200 and even better with the D7100 – a whopping increase from 7 to 11 P-Mpix resolution. The difference is quite staggering. Bear in mind that leaving the difference to one side, you still have a much higher resolution image on the new bodies, hence you can further enlarge, or crop enlarge portions of the image for more perfect results than otherwise you might have seen.

        To see a lens’ performance improve by 50% between two different bodies is quite staggering, and it goes to show you just how important it is to let go of that old body. Trouble is, new bodies are arriving faster than winter storms, so buying a body at any point in time, right now, means you are going to be outdated in three to six months – but I think it safe to say that we have passed the point where any of the more recent bodies will prove dissapointing in image quality. The higher resolution with improved noise control, which is present on all the releases in the past year, has left us in a very nice position, so in a way, if you have bought, or are buying now, that body won’t be ‘outdated’ like the lower res models could be considered to be. 16mp should be your baseline, higher if possible, as a Nikon shooter thats my advice, I dont know, or speak, of the Canon range, as I am not qualified to say.

        Getting back to the lens itself, if you can afford it, and plan to change the body sometime soon, then go ahead for sure. If you are just thinking of the lens, maybe it is best to hold off completely, as your body, combined with this lens, does not seem to improve things over the 18-105 etc.

        Your goal should be to go for a D52 or 5300, or a D7100 body, and this lens. older prime lenses should be fine on any of these bodies, but you can only veryfy this when you have taken the plunge on the new body I guess.

  2. 2
    ) Majed

    Thanks Nasim,

    But I dont see any focus ring !!!

    Majed

    • 4
      ) John

      This is just a guess, but maybe after you leave the L position and the lens extends a bit, that’s the focus barrel. Sort of like the now-previous 18-55.

  3. 3
    ) Global

    The most important point — its no longer embarrassing to look at. :-P

    Nikon’s aesthetic design teams are, in general, pretty damn weak/average.
    But the previous version of this lens was an atrocity, haha…

    What’s the deal with the button on the barrel??

    • Similar to the Nikon 1 10-30, 30-110 and a few others, you hold down the button and rotate the lens to extend it for use. In its unextended form, it is far more compact and portable

  4. I love the first version of this lens. Small, cheap, sharp enough for 12MP, great macro and “constant” f/5.6 aperture for strobist shots at wedding. This is my go-to lens when too many guests are drunk :D
    Any info about macro capability of this lens?

  5. I wonder how many of the original DX lenses are cursed with inferior optics? We’ll have to see just how many ‘new’ lenses Nikon feel they HAVE to issue to put the image quality right for higher res bodies. I am not a designer, camera manufacturer, or optics expert, but as a layman, it makes no sense to me that they put out these high res bodies BEFORE addressing the shortcomings of the existing lenses on the market. If anyone is interested, the 18-140mm is an essential upgrade if you are a D3200 3300 5200 5300 7100 owner, assuming you have either the original 18-55 or the option 10-105 walkabout lenses.

  6. 10
    ) ganaa

    hello
    dear nasim,I need one Lens for using large group shoot / 30-40 people / And full lenght portrait. best choice 24 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm, or 18-55 mm vr lens?,
    I have d7000. sorry my bad english,

  7. 11
    ) Luis

    Hi Nasim,

    I would appreciate if you could tell How will the new Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR II work on a D5100? Will it improve the results (sharpness and softness from the previous version that came with the camera)?

    Thanks,
    Luis.

  8. 12
    ) jeremy rogers

    hi, I was wondering fs buying this lens would make my pictures better then the previous Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 vr lens? I’m soon going to buy the d3200 and I wanted to know if its better idea if I buy just the body and then this new lens instead of buying the camera with the older version of this lens.

  9. 13
    ) Rakka

    For D5300 – is the 18-140 VR DX better option than the new 18-55 VRII

  10. 14
    ) David

    For what is that circle button on the New VR 2?

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