Nikon 18-55 VR vs. 18-70 used--the slippery slope

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by john_watson, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. Thanks to all the help from this Forum I have decided to buy a D5000 for use as a backup and camera for my wife to use. Our lens line up is 18-105 VR, 12-24 Tokina ( not AFS) and 70-300VR..we could probably share the current lenses we have but not ideal.
    For $90 more, I can add a 18-55 VR--seems like a no brainer, I could sell it for that if I don't use it.
    For an additional $100 or so, I could buy a used 18-70 from KEH EX

    We've all been down this road before
    At minimum, the 18-70 has better build quality and probably better performance-- Do you think it is worth the money? I'd be giving up another $100 and VR
    Thanks in advance
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    John, do you like the 18-105mm VR lens? The 18-55 is much shorter on the long end but otherwise has similar construction quality.
    Personally I really dislike the 18-55mm VR because it is way too slow for any indoor use and I would avoid lenses with a plastic mount, but I am used to the 17-55mm/f2.8 zoom. Your mileage may vary. Again, weight is an important factor for a lot of people, and that is why Nikon has many compact DSLRs and plastic-mount 18-xxx DX zooms.
  3. I read your last thread. You're looking to use the camera as a backup and then give it to your wife and share your lens collection, so I presume what you need now is one "extra" normal lens so you can use both at the same time - which would make a cheap, small but good lens ideal.
    Go for the 18-55. It's not as good as the 18-105 but, what the heck, you've also got the 70-300 for tele and with those three and two cameras you'll be fine. The 18-55 has surprisingly good image quality and at $90 is a no brainer. You already know all about 3.5-5.6 lenses and indoor use. The 18-70 isn't that much better, doesn't have VR and it's used.
    One other suggestion I could make would be a 35/1.8 for being inexpensive, fast, small/light and working on both cameras.
  4. For the price of the 18-70, you should nearly get a new 18-105VR - which I believe to be better than both others (except build quality, the 18-70 wins that).
    I loved my 18-70, and I think the extra range makes it more versatile. But $100 more useful versus the 18-55VR... no, don't think so. No deals for the D5000 with a 18-105VR as kitlens? Even though you'd have that lens twice, I believe it to be the nicest one to get still.
  5. In a perfect world, I would buy another 18-105--but that is another $100 more than 18-70, which is why it is a slippery slope!
    I understand performance is good on 18-55, but build quality is suspect, do they ever break?
  6. They don't break unless you drop them a lot. Remember that even the consumer grade Nikon DSLR stuff is of a higher build quality than most things sold to consumers these days.
  7. The worst thing about the 18-70 is distortion at the wide end. Yeah, yeah - it can be fixed on the computer but I'd prefer to not have to do that.
    This photo is no award-winner, and it's a little crooked, but the horizon is bowed and it's not even near the edge of the frame.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    John, unless you go for the ultimate travel lens the 18-200 or the 16-85, instead of duplicating the consumer 18-xxx range, why not get the 35mm/f1.8 as suggested above? That'll give you a better low-light lens.
  9. i agree with shun, i'm not sure i would get two 18-xx kit lenses, even if one is a backup. for a lens collection to be useful, they all have to do something a bit different. however i suspect your dilemma arises from times when you and your wife will both be shooting at the same time. i have the 18-70 and i wasnt that impressed with it, actually, though some people like it a lot. i would get the 35/1.8 over a used 18-70, definitely. that's a no-brainer since you already have that range covered. plus you open up more creative possibilities with a 1.8 aperture.
  10. Eric (Sande), I think that looks more like the natural curvature of the earth than barrel distortion. The curvature will always be more visible with wide angle lenses. My guess is that is an accurate view of that scene.
    I have both lenses. I use the 18-55 on my D60 and the 18-70 on my D200. I love them both, and if you asked me to give one up, I'd have a hard time making up my mind. My D60 package is put together specifically for the light weight. And, by the way, I use the non-VR version of the 18-55 for that specific reason -- several ounces lighter than the VR version, as I recall. I put the VR version on my D40 and gave it to my grandson. But I love the versatility of the 18-70.
  11. congrats on the wise buy on the D5000.
    i love my 18-70mm. i'm still wondering why some don't like it :) if ever you deside to get the 18-55mm please don't waste a lot more money by getting the VR version. you don't need that feature in that range, again, even if some will convince you that you need it.
    anyway, you're covered for the trip with what you have. why not add the 35mm f/1.8?
  12. From my experience, the 18-55 VR has better optical quality (other than its slow aperture, there's nothing to complain) than the 18-70. The 18-70's distortion pattern at 18mm and vignetting issues are especially bad. Its mechanical qualities are obviously better than the 18-55's. But the 18-55's construction is respectable for a cheap, semi-disposable lens. The VR makes the 18-55 VR a far more versatile lens than the 18-70.
  13. Eric (Sande), I think that looks more like the natural curvature of the earth than barrel distortion.
    I've taken plenty of photos with more ocean horizon coverage than the 18-70mm @ 18mm photo posted above. Even AF-S 17-35mm film images @ 17mm don't show such barrel distortion in horizontal format.

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