DX Cropped APS-C cameras only
SWM Silent-wave motor
VR Vibration Reduction
IF Internal-Focussing
ED Extra-low Dispersion glass elements

67mm filter diameter.

Comes with a reversible petal-shaped hood and soft carry case.

Aperture Variation

16-18mm    f/3.5
18-22mm    f/3.8
22-26mm    f/4
26-30mm    f/4.2
30-35mm    f/4.5
35-45mm    f/4.8
45-52mm    f/5
52-65mm    f/5.3

Buttons and Switches

Three switches:

M/A – A, to control manual or semi-auto focussing

VR On/Off switch

VR Active/Normal select switch.

Build and Action

Mostly plastic interior. Plastic filter thread and hood, metal lens mount with rubber flange.

The lens itself is a double-barrelled zoom, so that when zoomed out to 85mm, there are two telescoping elements which are made from metal with a black satin finish. Compared to a 55-200mm VR lens that I handled a few years back, I was surprised that the zooming action was quite firm, and at no point suffers from zoom creep. Time will tell whether it loosens up, and by how much, but at the moment I can’t envisage it loosening up to the point where zoom creep is an issue.

In contrast, the focus ring is quite smooth, and although still somewhat firm, it is possible to make very slight adjustments without stiction becoming an issue. Focus is possible beyond infinity, and is not hard-locked, although there is a noticeable change in friction upon reaching the limits of focus.

One other thing – it has a focus scale! However, it is pretty small (in line with most modern Nikkors) and only has a single point on it which denotes the current focus. No DoF markings.

Autofocus Performance

Autofocus is fairly quick. I must admit that as this lens is primarily for landscaping and portraiture, AF speed is not really an issue. It is marginally faster than the 18-55 VR, but not as snappy as the 70-300mm VR. It is not slow enough to trouble me in the situations that I use it.

Accuracy is pretty spot on.

Optical Qualities

This is a nice lens. I’m quite happy to shoot it wide open, at most focal lengths. I’ve yet to encounter the supposed fall-off in optical acuity at the far end of the focal range simply because I tend not to shoot there. Either way, from 70mm down to 16mm, this is a fine performer, with two caveats. The minor caveat is that the lens distorts slightly in most focal lengths, from moderate barrelling at the wide end to slight pincushion at the far end of the focal range.

More major is vignetting. Wide open at 16mm, you will see clear vignetting, of more than 1 EV. Whats worse is that Cokin P-filter users will have trouble if the filter is not oriented with the frame. Rotate the filter holder 45 degrees and it will leave a very prominent shade on the resulting photo.



Large useful zoom range, making this a good casual walk-around lens;
Internally focussing;
Optics are pretty sweet for a ‘non-pro’ lens.


It is expensive;
I have some minor hesitations about the double-barrelled nature of the construction;

I originally bought this lens to replace my 18-55 VR which has a slightly de-centered rear element which is visible to the naked eye, rendering one side softer than the other. Price aside, I can’t say that I’m disappointed by its optical performance, apart from vignetting. Distortion isn’t much of an issue, since it can be corrected in-camera, or in post-processing quite easily. The increase in size and weight over the 18-55 isn’t too much of a hassle as well, although for those who travel *light* may want to stick to the 18-55 – this is around twice the weight.

All in all, I’m quite satisfied. It also goes very well with a 70-300VR, both in terms of focal range, size/weight matching and filter diameter.