This super-zoom lens for Nikon DX format DSLRs covers a huge 7.8x zoom range, equivalent to 27-210mm on a 35mm camera. It sports silent internal focusing and Vibration Reduction.
The size, weight and build of this lens are typical of 18-135mm optics that used to be bundled as part of a kit with Nikon DSLRs. It’s reasonably lightweight at only 490g, thanks to the mostly plastic construction, although the lens mount is metal and the lens balances well on the body used for testing. The plastics used are of high quality, creating a reasonably robust impression, reinforced by the rubber gasket, designed to prevent the ingress of dust and moisture via the lens mount, although the lens itself isn’t weather sealed.
A silent wave motor powers auto-focus and it obtains focus reasonably quickly. Manual adjustments can be applied at any time via the narrow focusing ring closest to the lens mount. The manual focusing action is smooth and well damped, which makes fine adjustments easy to apply. The zoom action is also smooth and consistent through the range. Enough resistance has been applied to prevent the zoom creeping forward when it is pointed down, which is good as there is no locking switch provided.
Closest focus distance is 45cm, and focusing is performed internally, so the 67mm filter thread does not rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with graduated filters and polarisers.
Nikon’s Vibration Reduction system promises to allow hand held shooting at shutter speeds slower than the usual rule of thumb for sharp hand-held photos might allow. With care, sharp hand held shots are possible at shutter speeds as low as 1/13sec around half the time, which is around four stops slower than would normally be possible.
Sharpness at 18mm is already outstanding in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture, and the clarity recorded towards the edges of the frame at this aperture is good. Stopping down improves sharpness towards the edges of the frame, falling just short of excellent levels at f/5.6.
Zooming to 50mm results in sharpness being reduced. Clarity is still very good at maximum aperture in the centre of the frame, although the performance of this lens falls short of good towards the edges of the frame at this focal length and aperture. Stopping down improves sharpness across the frame, peaking at f/8. Here sharpness is excellent in the centre and very good towards the edges of the frame.
Finally, at 140mm, sharpness is very good in the centre of the frame and good towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/8 produces outstanding sharpness in the centre of the frame with very good clarity towards the edges.
Levels of chromatic aberrations are well enough controlled with fringing towards the edges of the frame only becoming an issue when the lens is stopped down to f/22 at 18mm.
Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is well controlled. At 18mm the corners are 1.83 stops darker than the image centre and at 300mm the corners are 0.59 stops darker. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/8 or beyond throughout the zoom range.
As is often the case with lenses sporting a high zoom ratio, distortion is quite pronounced at both ends of the range. At 18mm 5.02% barrel distortion is present, which is quite noticeable and at 300mm 1.5% pincushion distortion is present, which is less apparent. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so it should be relatively easy to apply corrections in image editing software afterwards.
No hood is supplied with this lens, which is unusual, as Nikon normally bundle one as standard. Luckily this lens isn’t too prone to flare or loss of contrast when shooting into the light, so it may not be necessary to spend another £15 on the optional HB-32 hood.
Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Sample Photos
A compact all-in-one lens that’s ready for anything.
Clarity within reach
7.8x wide-angle to telephoto zoom
Sharper handheld shooting
The VR image stabilization advantage
Advanced Nikon technology and superb NIKKOR optics
ED (Extra low Dispersion) and Super ED GlassED Glass is an optical glass developed by Nikon that is used with normal optical glass in telephoto lenses to obtain optimum correction of chromatic aberrations. Super ED glass exhibits an even lower refractive index and lower light dispersion than ED glass, while excelling at eliminating secondary spectrum and correcting chromatic aberration.
Vibration ReductionA Nikon in-lens technology that improves image stability by automatically compensating for camera shake. Lenses that offer VR will feature the abbreviation VR on the lens barrel.
Silent Wave MotorAF-S NIKKOR lenses feature Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM). This technology converts “traveling waves” into rotational energy to focus the optics. This enables high-speed autofocusing that’s extremely accurate and super quiet.
IF LensA NIKKOR lens in which only the internal lens group shifts during focusing. Thus, IF NIKKORS do not change in size during AF operation, allowing for compact, lightweight lenses capable of closer focusing distances. These lenses will be designated with the abbreviation IF on the lens barrel.
A-MA-M stands for Auto-Manual Mode. Thanks to a mechanism incorporated in the lens barrel, smooth focusing operation in Manual focus mode is realized in the same way as users have become accustomed to with conventional manual-focus lenses by adding an appropriate torque to the focus ring.
Super Integrated CoatingNikon Super Integrated Coating is Nikon’s term for its multilayer coating of the optical elements in NIKKOR lenses.
ASAS stands for Aspherical lens elements. This type of lens utilizes non-spherical surfaces on either one or both sides of the glass in order to eliminate certain types of lens aberration.
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