The Nikon DX 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 VR is the kit lens sold with most of Nikon’s newer digital SLR cameras such as the Nikon D3000 or D5000. These cameras no longer have an internal focus drive motor, so will only autofocus with Nikon AF-S lenses which have motors in the lens. The Nikon 18-55 VR also features Nikon’s optical stabilisation, or Vibration Reduction - VR system, which in the past has proved to be excellent.
At a cost of roughly £ 80 on top of the camera body it would be unfair to expect top class Nikon quality here and, like most kit lenses of this sort, the Nikon 18-55 VR feels very light and plasticy - more kid’s toy than engineering excellence. It looks fine and balances well with lighter Nikon camera bodies. It’s only when you start to use it that the basic build becomes apparent.
Kit lenses have to be considered as a starting point - they’re meant to get you going and are usually perfectly adequate for holiday or family snaps, but if you’re serious about your photography you’ll soon want something better. The Nikon 18-55 VR’s lightweight feel and slightly sticky zooming action are pretty much what you’ll get at this price, and, despite the Nikon name and nice gold lettering on the barrel the Nikon 18-55 VR is not a joy to use. There is a manual focus ring but it’s very small and right at the front of the lens which makes it very difficult to use if you fit a lens hood or a filter holder.
However it is cheap and has Nikon’s excellent VR built in, so the important question is how does the Nikon 18-55mm VR perform?