When I was shooting film, I found it necessary to carry a ton of equipment to every location. My gear bag was stuffed with two Nikon F-80 bodies (one for colour film, one for black and white) several lenses covering different focal lengths, a wide variety of filters, flashguns, and the spares necessary to cover all possibilities. It weighed a ton.
The switch to digital has reduced the size and weight of my bag dramatically. My current set-up, which features a Nikon D200 and 18-200VR lens, accomplishes pretty much anything I want to do effectively and in a much smaller package. The only downside is that it is still heavy. For that reason alone I went searching for a lens that would offer reasonable performance, and be both lighter and smaller than the 18-200.
As a reference I consulted the Nikon guru Ken Rockwell’s website and this article caught my eye.
It seemed among his fav lenses from Nikon, there were some surprisingly inexpensive inclusions, among them the 18-55DX. At that price, how could I lose? Off to the store I went, and soon returned home with my prize. I have not been disappointed.
The 18-55 at under $200 (Can.) performs well and is less than half the size and weight of the 18-200VR. Obviously it is greatly reduced in range, but for backpacking or travel it is about perfect. I don’t have a lab to test performance, but to my eyes (that’s what really matters to me) it is sharp, with no colour aberrations. The 18-55 is the basic lens included with many of Nikon’s low-end digital cameras and for most of us there is no need to replace it. Of course there are times when a higher quality lens will demonstrate its worth, but before you fork over close to 10X as much for the pro 17-55 you need to ask yourself …. Do I really need it?