Nikon AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED

Review Date : Mon, 2 Apr 2007

Author :

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor ED 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G

Nikon optics have a good reputation, and this lens, while not perfect, stands out from the crowd...

Pros: SWM motor, good overall performance
Cons: Some barrelling and pincushion distortion

When looking at the ridiculously long names of lenses, it’s easy to be confused by all the numbers and codes. Breaking the Nikon lens’ name down tells us a lot about the optic’s specification. Autofocus is obvious, while DX tells us this is designed for the small APS-C sized sensor. The magnification factor for Nikon DX lenses is 1.5x, so the lens offers a 35mm equivalent of 27-82.5mm. ED meanwhile, denotes Extra Low Dispersion glass, used for correcting chromatic aberrations. Finally this is part of Nikon’s G range, which feature on-camera aperture controls, rather than a traditional aperture ring. G lenses tend to be less expensive too.

The lens is constructed from seven elements in five groups, and includes an aspherical lens. Minimum focus is 28cm, while the minimum aperture is f/22 at the wide end and and f/36 at the tele. The Nikkor 18-55mm uses plastic throughout its construction, including the lens mount, while the large rubberised zoom ring feels secure, with the zoom action smooth and quick. When focusing, the optics are moved by Nikon’s Sonic Wave Motor, making this a very quiet lens as well as a fast focuser. In AF mode you are unable to manually focus, so need to switch to the M position if you need to fine-tune.

Image Quality
Nikon optics have a good reputation, and this lens, while not perfect, stands out from the crowd. It’s not what we'd call superb, but in terms of sharpness it offers high resolution at both ends of the focal range. It also controls chromatic aberration well, especially at 55mm. Distortion is well controlled too, although there is some barrelling and pin cushioning at the extremes.


The inclusion of the SWM focusing system lifts this lens above the ordinary. Combine that with a good overall performance and you get a budget lens worth its money. It?s not perfect, but it?s the best among its peers.

Jon Tarrant

Jon Tarrant

Former professional photographer and photography journalist, Jon has now put his physics degree to good use by becoming a physics teacher. He contributes technical features to WDC and is our primary lens tester, where his science background comes in very handy. He is the author of eight photography books on topics ranging from portraiture and lighting to Understanding Digital Cameras.

Price as reviewed



Features 16/20
Design 16/20
Image Quality 16/20
Value 17/20
Overall Score 82%