Published July 17th 2006

Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5

The full name of this neat little lens is really AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED. Phew! It's the kit lens to most of us.

Nikkor 18-70mm DX f3.5-4.5G ED

This is a great all-round lens that has been delivered with many a Nikon DSLR-kit. I had the chance to shoot quite a bit with this lens when I first got my D200, and that was a very pleasing experience.

I like this lens for its good image quality, its light weight and for the SWM focus motor. It's not quite wide enough in the wide end for my wideangle wishes, but that's nothing a 12-24 or 10-20 can't fix.

As a kit lens for the average photographer it's a great lens.

What's in a name?

If we take that long name apart, it actually hides some of the virtues of this lens:

AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED

AF-S. Yep, sure it's autofocus. The S I'm not so sure about.
DX. Digital sensor image circle. Read: compact, lightweight.
Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm. Yep, sure it zooms, and from 18-70mm. A good 27-105mm film equivalent
f/3.5-4.5. Not super bright but good enough.
G. Gee... I don't know...*
IF. Inner focusing. We like that. Nothing rotates, nothing grows or shrinks.
ED. ED-glass eliminates chromatic aberration.

They couldn't fit more in there. They ought to have, because

SWM. Silent Wave Motor gives you quick and quiet autofocus.
A/M. Switches from autofocus to manual with a button on the lens. Or you can just grab the focus ring and turn it, overriding the AF.

Sunglasses and flyrod
[Nikon D200, Nikkor 18-70 f3.5-4.5]

* Give us good lens web pages!

I've been trying to find out what that G means, but even though it's used on quite a few of Nikon's lenses, I fail to see the system or find the explanation.
And Nikon services us users with some horrible web pages when it comes to lenses. A bit of text, some mumble-jumble about the glass, lense-groups etc. and links to PDF-files with only little more information.

I hate PDF-files!
Get a grip you guys!
Your are publishing on the internet, not on a fax machine!

You ought to have a staff who could transfer the contents of youy PDF's to your web pages, so that I don't have to wait for that dreaded Acrobat viewer to load just to discover that there is no more than what I have seen already.


I want:
  • Samples galore. Show us what the lens can do! Let some pros borrow lenses and shoot samples. Lend me some lenses! Let me! I'll be happy to do it...
  • High quality images of the lens from all angles
  • Pictures of the lens on a camera body or two
  • Pictures of the lens with and without caps, hood etc.
  • Pictures of the lens in all configurations - zoom extension, focus extension


I found the G and the S!

July 27th 2006 - I finally managed to find a place where all the Nikon acronyms were explained. The letter G signifies a lens with no aperture ring for manually setting the aperture. This will have to be done from the body. The S in AF-S tells you that the lens has a Silent Wave Motor (also known as SWM) doing the focus. It will in other words focus on bodies with no built-in focusing motor. Most of the other letters and acronyms are explained on this Nikon glossary page.

The Nikon Imaging page is a lot better than most other of Nikon's pages I have found. Just skip the silly global entry page and go directly to product lineup. Most lenses have some good pages, although some of the older ones, like the manual focus Micro Nikkors, are dreadful with much too little text and even broken images. Shame on you, Nikon!