8 out of 10 points and recommendedIncredible Focal Range, Decent Aperture Range, Internal FocusingBuild Quality Problems?, Some Focus hunt in low light, No Focus Distance Scale
Well, I received this lens as part of the D80 kit. It's been great so far, but I have noticed that at times, on either my camera or on others' Nikons, the lens is sometimes not recognized by the camera (the aperture setting flashes on the LCD). Perhaps the lens mount is cracked, because it happens in certain positions, like if I try to move the lens around.reviewed March 26th, 2007
Other than this problem, the lens is excellent, as one would expect. Build quality is otherwise good, and it feels nicer than the 18-200 Tamron I tried recently. I do wish I had a VR lens (like the Nikkor 18-200), as I shoot a lot of pictures handheld in natural light. But if you don't need VR, this is great, because you probably won't need any other lenses. Sure, I could pick up a prime lens or two, but I am generally satisfied with the sharpness and f-stop range of this lens. I do find some images, especially taken more than 10 feet away, to be soft at times. I wish I had a scale to check my depth of focus, but you can't have it all on a lens priced like this. Aside from that, I do have to wait quite a bit for the auto focus to pick up anything sometimes, in a low-contrast area or in low light. f/3.5 at 18mm seems about average for a lens like this, but handheld exposures at 135mm, f/5.6 (which make up a good portion of my work) get a bit trickier; you're going to want a lot of light, and steady hands.
I would recommend this lens over anything else (or, accordingly, the D80 kit over the body-only) to anyone looking for a do-it-all lens that doesn't cost $900 (such as the Nikkor 18-200). It makes a good complement to the D80, D70/D70s, or D200, and it feels right in your hands. It's a bit heavy for the D40, balance-wise, but since the D40 is sold with the 18-55, you might as well just get a second lens, like the 55-200 VR. If you have a body-only camera, on the other hand, and you're on a somewhat reasonable budget for a do-it-all lens, put this one at the top of your list.