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Nikon 18-70 f/3.5-4.5G AFS DX

DX-18-70_L
Review Date: Jun 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, excellent macro performance, price
Cons:
Build quality

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.

I own two Nikkor 18-70 zooms. I have more than 20,000 images with this lens. Most amateurs will consider this lens to be superb.

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 Nikon D200 (10.5MP). In other words, the same lens on a D200 produces much better results than on a D70.

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 many samples. Of course, there is no VR. My experience with the 18-200 is that it starts to fall apart rapidly after 100mm. If you care about image quality, I would buy the 18-70.


 
Nikon D70s

D70
Review Date: Sep 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The Nikon D70 is reliable, easy to use, very fairly priced, and produces exceptional photographs.
Cons:
Almost none.

The Nikon D70 is an exceptional value. The standard 18 - 70mm kit lens is remarkably sharp, and has exceptional macro performance. There is some modest vignetting wide open, and a small amount of barrel and pin cushion distortion. However, most observers are wowed by the appearance of 13X19 prints.

Battery life is exceptional - approximately 700 pictures. To date, I have shot nearly 10,000 images, without a single failure or problem. The camera is sharp, ergonomic, reliable, and an absolute pleasure to use.

I recommend the D70 without hesitation.