8 out of 10 points and recommendedLight weight, good performance when stopped down a bit, low cost, good compared to competitor's kit lensesDistortion, sharpness at 18mm, AF speed only average
This lens is a good performer, especially considering it's kit lens competition (Canon). Like any $100 zoom, it really needs to be stopped down a few stops for optimum sharpness. It is capable of great pictures, especially in daytime or with lots of available light.reviewed January 2nd, 2007
Since the lens isn't very fast (F3.5-5.6), it's not really suitable for nighttime shots without a flash. I'm a big fan of leaving the flash off and capturing available-light candid shots of people. The 18-55 isn't the best lens for that kind of photography, but for daylight, especially outdoors, it is a good lens. I'd not buy it separately, but as part of a kit it does its job very well.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp, widely available, low cost, Fast, low distortionBuild quality, not AF-S, relatively slow focussing
This is nearly a must for any Nikon consumer DSLR owner. Besides the brilliant available-light images you can get indoors and out at F1.8-2.8, this lens pretty much has it all, for $100. Sharpness isn't ideal until you stop it down a bit (to F4 or below), but the lens is a very good performer at its smallest aperture.reviewed January 2nd, 2007 (purchased for $105)
The cons are that it has only a so-so build quality (lots of plastic), it is a little soft when wide open, and the AF is relatively slow (compared to modern AF-S lenses).
Not only can you come up with excellent images while forgoing the use of a flash, but forcing yourself to deal with a fixed field of view will sharpen your photography skills as you have to focus more on your composition and the other settings that are within your control.
An excellent lens for anyone from an interested beginner to a seasoned amateur. Highly recommended.