9 out of 10 points and recommendedExcellent performance for the priceBuild quality could be improved
This lens is destined to be a Nikon classic, not because its image quality is fantastic, but rather because it offers an unusual combination of quality and price.reviewed June 23rd, 2006 (purchased for $250)
I own two Nikkor 18-70 zooms. I have more than 20,000 images with this lens.
Optical quality is very good. The lens is sharp at all apertures, has good contrast, focuses quickly and reliably, and has excellent macro performance. There is some variability lens to lens, try to test several if you can. These lenses easily exceed the resolution of a 6MP camera (e.g., Nikon D70s), and test the resolution of a NikonD200 (10.5MP).
Build quality is OK, but not first rate. On the other hand, this lens will be obsolete well before it wears out.
There are two significant issues. First, there is a lot of vignetting, especially at 18mm. This is easily corrected in Photoshop or Nikon Capture. Second, there is moderate distortion at 18mm, and it is complex and CANNOT be easily fixed with software. Be careful taking pictures with a flat horizon.
As a one off lens, it is priced at about $300 as of June 2006. As a kit lens, it is much cheaper. At these prices, it is an extraordinary bargain.
I have tested this lens against Nikon's new 18-200 zoom. Up to 70mm, the 18-70 is every bit as good, and better in some samples. Of course, there is no VR. My experience with the 18-200 is that it starts to fall apart rapidly after 100mm.