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Author Topic: Nikkor 18-55 VR Lens Quality  (Read 7276 times)

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« on: October 28, 2012, 02:32 »
Hello all.

I got a new D7000 last month, with two lenses Nikkor 18-55 VR DX and Nikkor 55-200 VR DX.
When I mount the 18-55 on my camera, the images I shoot are all some kinda soft and not crisp sharp.

I have tried several different conditions. all have the same issue.
Live focus gives me a slightly better images but overall image quality is not as good as it must be.
I have tried photographing mountains with F/8  ISO 100 and around 1/640 Shutter speed with VR off
Long time exposure on a tripod with VR Off and also many other shots.
Do you think I need a replacement for this lens ?

55-200 preforms better with the same conditions. Image quality when I use 18-55 liveview is a bit lower than 55-200 autofocus.

I have also tried adjusting the AF fine tune but no luck yet...

There are sample of 100% crops here. please check and lemme know what you think... ???

Kind regards.

« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 04:59 »
I have no experience with D7000 but I have bought 18-55 VR DX year ago because I needed immediate replacement for another lens. I was absolutely amazed how sharp were images taking into account price - only 150 USD for this piece of plastic (definitely much sharper than more expensive 18-70mm 3.5-4.5). Not as sharp as 35/1,8 but great - even with 1/50 with VR on Nikon D90. I would say you must have faulty piece.

« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 06:11 »
I find that lens almost useless for stock.  When I do use that lens I try to shoot at 18mm - F/11 which gives the best results.  Have a look below:

I will say that I have very little experience with different lenses, using the very sharp Nikon 50mm 1.8 almost exclusively.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 06:20 by etienjones »

« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 07:02 »

I have depended on this site for Nikon lens evals - - and they give the 18-55mm pretty bad marks -

Looks like you should go for another lens.  I used the 18-70mm and was very happy with it.  Rated much better than the 18=55mm here -

Good luck and

c h e e r s

« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 07:29 »
None of 300 - 400 of my images taken with this lens was rejected for "out of focus" or other technical reason. But I don't photograph landscapes.

« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2012, 10:45 »
I have tried photographing mountains with F/8  ISO 100 and around 1/640 Shutter speed with VR off
Long time exposure on a tripod with VR Off and also many other shots.
Do you think I need a replacement for this lens ?

There is more to the whole story than what you wrote.

First look at the price point of those lenses, they are certainly not top of the line, which means sharpness will already suffer no matter how you look at it.

If you're into sharpness you should stick to prime lenses as they will deliver optimum sharpness.

Zoom lenses mostly cannot produce the sharpness of a good prime.

Secondly, do your research what the "sweet" spot is for either of your two lenses.

Each lens has a so called "sweet" spot where the lens performs "the best".

To shoot mountains at f8 is probably not your best bet. Landscape is usually best shot at f11 or higher (depending on lens).

No need to shoot landscape at 1/640 of a second, usually the trees won't run away unless you scare them - pun intended.

So the longer exposure time will compensate for the higher f-stop.

Long time exposures are always tricky as it's imperative to have a good tripod or place the camera very sturdy to prevent any shake during exposure.

I live close to the coast and sometimes I simply cannot shoot long exposures as the gusts are so strong that even a pro-tripod cannot prevent the camera from shaking.

I mean shaking is relative, we're talking about tiny movements that will soften your image. So that actually has nothing to do with the lens.

The softness of the lens will add to the problem mentioned above.

So take these issues into considerations next time.

« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2012, 11:22 »
Hello again and thanks for your valuable information and advices.
Today I have tried again, results was much better today.
I have attached an image of mountain trees which are about 2 miles away.
I get the best results with F/8 - F/10 on a tripod and manual focus

Is the sharpness okay for this kit ?
Will it pass a review by picky reviewers like shutterstock's or photolia's ?

If I apply sharpen filter on the image once, the result is much better...
Included for comparison...

Any ideas ?

Thanks a lot.

« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 11:26 »
The lens gets good reviews by users over at Fred Miranda;

« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 11:32 »
That's non VR version.
Maybe different...


« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 12:07 »
Ken Rockwell sure likes it. He says "this little plastic lens is a miracle. It's sharp, sharp, sharp."

I've done hundreds of stock photos with the relatively inexpensive Nikon 18-70 (no VR) lens.  Don't drive yourself nuts looking at 100% zooms.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 12:16 by stockastic »


« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2012, 12:16 »
That's non VR version.
Maybe different...


Got a non-VR version myself and sometimes I've wondered about the quality of the lens but I used it this week for a job including interiors and exteriors and it's pretty good used at f8-f11 and on a tripod. It's terrible that it has a crappy plastic mount and I'm going to test it against a 18-70mm AF-S which I got cheap. No definite results yet but I think the 18-55mm is sharper. If you have a VR, be sure to turn off VR when used on a tripod.

Vibration Reduction (VR) is Nikon's solution to reducing camera shake when either using longer focal length lenses or slow shutter speeds. The Canon equivalent is Image Stabilisation (IS). In most situations, VR (or IS) is a very good thing.

The exception to this is when you're shooting with the camera mounted on a tripod.  Then VR should be switched off.

A VR lens uses an in-built gyroscope to keep the lens steadier than you can achieve by handholding alone, enabling you to shoot at slower shutter speeds than you could achieve without it.

To get the best from VR, half press and hold the shutter for about a second before actually making the exposure. When you half press the shutter the motor powering the gyroscope starts up and then it takes about a second for the VR to take effect.

All the above refers to handholding. When you mount a camera and VR lens on a stable tripod the effect changes.

In that situation, VR will introduce instability because the motor driving the gyroscope is moving and causing vibration. In other words, it will increase camera shake rather than reduce it.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 14:45 by OM »


« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2012, 13:32 »
Maybe the fine tune menu on your D7000 should be tried?  I think it allows you to make adjustments for individual lenses?


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