Canon 18-55mm IS : I’ve still to get around to full review of this version of Canon’s standard kit lens but initial impressions are very favourable. OK it still feels like a big lump of plastic, not an engineering masterpiece, but optical performance is better and the Image Stabilisation works really well, giving me sharp images at shutter speeds down to about 1/8 second. That’s about 4 stops of an improvement. Not bad for £ 50.
Nikon 18-55mm VR : In comparison to it’s Canon equivalent this lens is huge, but although it looks more impressive and has some nice gold lettering on the barrel, it’s still a big lump of plastic, with a slightly sticky zoom action and a tiny manual focus ring of the sort that Nikon ditched way back after their first few AF lenses drew complaints for having such a poor design. Performance is about average for kit lenses - Central sharpness is perfectly OK at all focal lengths but there is noticeable fall off at the edges even well stopped down. Vignetting - darkening in the corners - is very noticeable at 55mm. Like most kit lenses, it will get you going, but you’ll soon want something better. >>Full Review
Nikon 18-105mm VR : Although still a plastic kit lens, including a plastic mount, images are very sharp, and build quality is quite reasonable. Yes there is some vignetting and noticeable distortion throughout the zoom range, but like the Nikon 18-70 this is an excellent kit lens. Much better than the Nikon 18-55 VR. >>Full Review
Sony 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 : As a long time Minolta fan I’ve recently had a look at the Sony range. Unfortunately, if you’re looking at buying a Sony DSLR this lens is best avoided. Yes this is a cheap option, but the cameras deserve much better. Performance at wide apertures is poor and even stopped down not that great. I haven’t tried the more expensive Zeiss options, so the Tamron 18-250mm or Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 would be my choices. The good news for Sony buyers is that the Sony 75-300 often sold in kits is actually surprisingly good value. More Sony / Minolta lens reviews to come.