18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G AFS ED DX Zoom-Nikkor

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chris_gibbons|2, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. I'd value an opinion or two please from anyone who has used or is using the above lens.
    I'm looking at it as an inexpensive, used supplement to my kit (on offer around UK150 or so), to go with a D7100, as a general purpose holiday/walkaround lens. Into the same bag might go my 35mm 1.8 and maybe - depending on weight - a Sigma 10-20mm.
    Having just bought the D7100 I'm trying to limit the additional expenses - also fair to say that working out of home base, I use a 70-200 f2.8 VRII or a 300 f4 - but those are very unlikely to come on holiday because of the weight. By the same token, whatever I buy - if I buy - will probably not see too much use apart from holiday time and similar - so again, expense needs to be kept low.
    Thoughts and suggestions gratefully received.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    That is an old lens introduced 10 years ago back in 2004, as the kit lens for the D70: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/007r7T
    Sharpness is good but distortion is very serious.
    Today, a better choice would be the 16-85mm/f3.5-5.6 DX AF-S VR. It has the big advantage of VR and optically is excellent. However, it is quite expensive for a slow, f5.6 lens. If cost is a concern, the 16-85 is probably out.
  3. I had both the 18-70 and the 16-85 and while the 16-85 was a terrific walk- around lens, the 18-70 wasn't so bad either. As they say, you get what you pay for; the 16-85 is better but more expensive. cb :)
  4. I agree with Shun on the quality of 16-85. I own it and love it. The 18-70 was one of the greatest lenses ever offered for the money. I bought it for my d70 years ago. and it served me very well. If you are on a budget I would give it a look.
  5. I agree with those who would favor the 16-85 over the 18-70, all else being equal. (It has VR as well as better optics.) But the 18-70 is no slouch, and I'm still using mine. I took a trip to Northern Europe and Iceland a couple of months ago, and the 18-70 was my main lens for my D7100. (I had a Nikon 1 camera as well.) It served me very well. These days, with automatic distortion correction in PP tools (Lightroom, in my case), the rather severe distortion of the 18-70 isn't the issue it once was, for me. Just frame a little loose and you'll be fine. Given your intended use, I think it's a good value for your money.
  6. I've been really happy with the 18-70 on my D90 (both are for sale right now, but I doubt you want to pay shipping to UK, you'll probably be able to find one there).

    The latest PS RAW importers totally take care of the distortion for me. I find it sharpest 2 stops down all the way through the range.

    I'd rather have the 16-85, but the price difference is so huge.
  7. I use the old 18-135 AF-S 3.5-5.6 for my "snapshot/travel lens" and find it very sharp and versitile. You may want to consider the new 18-140 VR Nikon, Or Sigma 18-125 3.5-5.6 OS.
  8. Fond memories of the 18-70. Good lens for relatively little money, and still (in my view) good value. I sold mine because it made selling a body easier, and got the 16-85VR to replace it. In all ways a better lens, except that it's slightly slower aperture, and twice as expensive. The new 18-140VR seems to fill the exact same role as the 16-85VR in that respect. I probably would still have been really happy using the 18-70 today, if things would have gone that way.
    Today, though, I would consider the 18-105VR if on a budget - it is built worse than the 18-70, slower aperture but optically at least as good and VR is useful, and probably it can be found for the same or less money - a lot less used. With the 18-70 in close second spot as recommendation.
  9. I have and use the 18-70 as my travel/snapshot lens. I also have the 18-200 but end up using the 18-70 more often because of weight and size. Spent two weeks in the UK last summer with the 18-70, Tokina 11-16, Nikon 80-400 and the 35 1.8. The 18-70 got most of the use and the results were more than satisfactory. Most of my shoots were outdoors and daylight so the lack of VR was of no concern. I have considered switching to the 16-85 but haven't pulled the trigger because the 18-70 does just fine.
  10. I had an 18-70mm for a few years and eventually sold it. I never had issues with its sharpness, but I found the distortion unacceptable. It didn't matter that it could be fixed on the computer; it was just bad.
    This is by no means an award-winning photo, but it is an example of the lens' distortion.
  11. If you can pony up to about £190, the Sigma 17-70mm 2.8-4 OS HSM C, will beat everything....period.
    It makes my Nikon 16-85mm soft and slow.....everywhere. Time Nikon updated it to f4. VRIII. etc....
  12. Distortion is one of the easiest 'fixes' there is to do during post processing. In any case, I would imagine that the D7100's automatic distortion control would easily correct the issue in-camera anyway, wouldn't it?
  13. The 18-70 is acceptably sharp, but in no sense is it pretty. Having used it with the D70 when it came out, I was disappointed time and again. A quick comparison with the lowly 50/1.8d at the same aperture and matched focal length reveals the shortcomings of the 18-70 clearly. Look at the newer options.
  14. I like and still use it - it's light, a little faster than some of the wider range zooms at 70mm, and seems sharp to me. No, it's not good with straight lines at the wide end, though OK from about 24mm (if you have the 10-20 in your bag for the wide stuff this may not be an issue). Don't know if the distortion is any worse than Nikon's other 18-x lenses - the 16-85 is well regarded, but with a street price of around £440 GBP, it's 3x the price.
  15. Personally I'd prefer a midrange zoom with optical stabilization for all around use, so I'd get one of the Sigmas, either the 17-50/2.8 or 17-70/2.8-4. Much better values than the slowpoke variable aperture Nikkor midrange zooms with stabilization. But I need stabilization to offset my shaky mitts.
    However if you don't need stabilization the 18-70/3.5-4.5 DX is a good lens and good value. I bought one with my D2H almost 10 years ago and mostly ignored the lens for a couple of years. Took awhile for me to appreciate it but after giving it a fair shake it became the default lens on my D2H - for several years it was always on the camera unless I needed something else. (Nowadays I mostly use the D2H for infrared with a Tamron Adaptall 24/2.5).
    It's "sharp", primarily due to excellent multicoatings and resistance to veiling and ghosting flare. Photos are contrasty and saturated, giving a good impression of sharpness even wide open where the actual resolution of fine detail is merely good but not exceptional. It has a metal rather than plastic mount like some other entry level kit zooms, and the rubbery O-ring dust seal does appear to be effective in minimizing the need for sensor cleaning. The distortion is easily fixed in Lightroom or other editor, and the barrel distortion clears up by the 24mm focal length, so it's only a concern if you shoot mostly wide angles. It isn't noticeable in most casual snaps anyway, unless the horizon or adjacent buildings are a significant part of the photo.
    For that matter, many midrange kit zooms suffer from significant barrel distortion at the wide end. We don't notice because it's automagically corrected in JPEGs, or by many raw converters. One way to evaluate distortion without auto-correction is to open a raw file in Irfanview or Picasa. The 16-50 Fuji kit zoom for the X-system has by far the worst barrel distortion I've ever seen, near fisheye level, at 16mm, but it's automatically fixed with in-camera JPEGs as well as by most raw converters I've tried. It comes at the cost of some softening of the edges and corners. The 18-70 Nikkor is far better corrected than that without editing tricks.
    "A quick comparison with the lowly 50/1.8d at the same aperture and matched focal length reveals the shortcomings of the 18-70 clearly. "​
    There may be some sample variations. My copies of the 18-70 DX at 50mm and 50/1.8D AF Nikkor when stopped down comparably don't reveal any significant advantages to the prime lens. In terms of resolution of fine detail they're equal. In terms of contrast and saturation the 18-70 DX is slightly better, due to the superior multicoatings, particularly on the rear elements. When shooting into the light, including bright diffused light such as a backlit scrim or window with curtains or blinds, the differences become apparent. I found the 50/1.8D AF Nikkor to be overrated, although it's still a good value because it costs only around $100 new.
  16. I had the 18-70 as the kit lens that came with a D200. It seems many people here think the 16-85 is better and I've never used that lens and I suppose the VR would be helpful at the long end. But I do consider the 18-70 one of the best lenses for the money for a walk-about lens. Its quite sharp and does distort a bit on the ends most of which can be fixed with a little post-processing love. If you don't want to or can't get the 16-85, the 18-70 is great value for the money, and it's well built but light.
  17. As a life long Canon owner, I've recently been intrigued about trying out a Nikon DSLR. I've been following local and out of town online sales sites. Just so happens today I picked up a D80 that included the 18-70mm lens. I was pleased it did not come with the 18-55mm kit lens. Nice to hear the good and bad points of it here, just in time!
  18. "A quick comparison with the lowly 50/1.8d at the same aperture and matched focal length reveals the shortcomings of the 18-70 clearly. "​
    That doesn't jive with my experience at all, and having both lenses, I seldom used the 50 1.8 because the only advantage was in f stops, but not in IQ, particularly when stopped down.
  19. I got my 18-70 with my D70 and have enjoyed using it on the D80 and now on my D7100. As others have pointed out, the distortion is corrected in ACR easily. It is a handy lens, compact and sharp in all ranges. I use it wide open in low light situations and its still sharp enough for that. It has a metal camera mount too. I don't know about price, but my 18-105 VR kit lens that came with my D7100 is excellent too. All these lenses suffer from sample variation, so when buying used, check it out carefully and wait for a better sample if in testing it doesn't seem sharp.
  20. I had the 18-70mm for a few years and liked it quite well on a D40. When I got a D7000 I tested the 18-105mm against the 18-70mm, and the 18-105mm was better. Besides distortion, the 18-70mm has significant vignetting at the long end. Post processing can fix the drawbacks, it just takes a little more time at a computer with 18-70mm files. And, the 18-70mm is preferred over the 18-55 kit zoom (I have one of those too).
  21. I bought the 16-85 to replace the 18-70, but ended up selling the 16-85. I just never warmed to that lens for whatever reason. As long as I own a crop body, I'll own an 18-70.
  22. I agree with David L. I compared 18-70 and 18-105 Nikkors and I can't see any reason to choose 18-70. 18-105 is better in any aspect. It has one of the best price/quality relation of all Nikkors.
  23. First, thanks to all for such informed input - much appreciated!
    To sum up - bar one or two dissenters - the consensus view seems to be that the 16-85 would be the way to go, were it not for the price, but if price is a consideration (and it is), the 18-105 or 18-140 would probably be better bets - newer technology, VR, etc.
    As it happens, one of our local dealers appears to have a special on the 18-105 (just ahead of Photokina? Hmmm...what could that mean?) so I'll probably go that route and hope the Minister of Finance is looking the other way - again!
    Best wishes to all from Knysna, South Africa
  24. Lex and Barry:
    Certainly the 18-70 was more lens for $300 than most people were expecting. It is rather sharp, it has at least one ED element. And just as certainly, the 50/1.8D is no stellar performer.
    And yet, on more than one shoot (ten years ago, before I developed my FF kit), I had the chance to try both of these lenses on an outside portrait that I was doing in bright sun for an album cover. The 18-70 was not pretty to my eye at all. Sample variation? Perhaps. But the indirect bright sun made for images that looked like I was shooting through an airplane window. This not because the lens wasn't sharp, but because it was not clean. I changed to the 50/1.8D and it was a huge improvement in /overall/ look, a much better draw, with less distortion, even though the 50 was still well short of being a high-end lens. [I wouldn't even touch it today.]
    Not knowing the OP's ambitions, I can't say whether this would be a spoiler for him. And of course, reasonable opinions on this lens do vary.
  25. I own both the 18-70 and the 18-105. Both resolve well on my D200 and D7000. But... I find that the 18-105 to be a slow focus lens. Very accurate but noticeably slower to focus. Never noticed the 18-70 dragging its heels but I was surprised at the deliberate manner in which the 18-105 finds its target. That being said, I recently returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon. I chose to take the 18-105 over the 18-70 for the extra reach and VR. I used it only slightly less than my Tokina 12-24.
    Final thoughts... it's not great in low light,
    Don't worry about the plastic mount. It's a non issue.
  26. I have kept the 18-70 from the D70 days. I still use it.
    I'm sure it's not the best mid-range zoom lens. But, it may be the best mid-range zoom for $130 used.
    A little story: Two years ago, a pro photographer doing group photos at an event had a malfunction with his pro f/2.8 zoom. He borrowed my 18-70 to complete the shoot with good results.
  27. I used the 18-70 as the sole lens on a Himalayan trek a couple of years ago, and it was just fine. And with an old D70, no
    less. Last year I used an 18-200 with a new D7100, and I don't think the results were any better. I've concluded that what
    one points the lens at accounts for 99% of the variance in the resulting image, and the lens for only 1%. OK, maybe the
    camera accounts for 1%, too.
  28. Chris, I think you will really like the 18-105. As much as I like my 18-70, the 18-105 for me focuses more accurately and I've never thought of it as being "slow" to focus. I've focused on running children with no problem. All my indoor low light shots are very sharp too. The VR really helps with that. Have fun with your new lens.

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