Review Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S VR

Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,129
Location
Central Ohio
Real Name
Andrew
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Image © Nikon USA

Background
My Nikon D500 is a great camera and there might be times when I want to use that camera outside its primary purpose. It's primary purpose is the long range sport shooter, paired with the 70-200/2.8

What about the other times? FX lenses in the wide range are going to be too tight, so we look at a dedicated DX lens range. The 18-140/4.5-5.6 VR is a great candidate. See how well it fairs below.

All images in this review taken with the Nikon D500.

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1/320, f/5.6, ISO 100 @ 140mm

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1/250, f/7.1, ISO 1800 @ 140mm

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1/100, f/5.6, ISO 450 @ 66mm

Handling/Weight/Size
This lens is mostly made of plastic, so the weight is not really there. It balances well on the D500. It is by no means a large lens.

The zoom ring is nice and smooth and your field of view with the DX crop factored in is 27-210mm. That is a pretty good range for a walk around all in one shooter.

It works well in many situations from street photography, wildlife and photojournalism as you will see in the images samples provided.

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1/250, f/5.6, ISO 360 @ 140mm

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1/200, f/4.8, ISO 100 @ 56mm

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1/160, f/5.3, ISO 560 @ 95mm

Image Quality
I've looked at the 18-200VR and 18-300VR. All considered great performers from Nikon. I generally don't need much more than the 200mm-ish field of view on the long end. A majority of third party sources and some small testing I've done on my own have shown that the 18-140 was generally a better performer in all comparable ranges.

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1/640, f/6.3, ISO 100 @ 22mm

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1/400, f/5.3, ISO 100 @ 95mm

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1/250, f/7.1, ISO 100 @ 140mm

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1/250, f/7.1, ISO 100 @ 112mm

Auto Focus
We are not in pro grade AF territory here, but the performance is great for everyday use. I've not missed shot because the lens could not focus fast enough.

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1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100 @ 140mm

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D500 HDR mode
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100 @ 100mm

Bottom Line:
If you don't need the longer field of view of 210mm, then this is a great value lens when you look at the performance that you get from it. If you do need more reach and an all in one, then the Nikon 18-200 or 18-300 lenses might better fit your bill. You might also want to consider a 2 lens kit, perhaps the 18-55 and the 55-200VR.
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
244
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Agree
This is a great GP lens, with a great zoom range.

My gripes:
  • Having used a 24mm lens when I shot film, I found I miss the extra width.
    • I'm looking at the 16-80 as an alternate lens. Or a WIDE zoom to be a companion lens to the 18-140.
  • The zoom ring is medium stiff. Not real stiff but (I hate to admit this) it is not as smooth/light as the Canon 18-135 STM. This means it needs a bit more force to turn the zoom ring. I'm old school, I like smooth/light zoom/focus rings.
  • It is too slow for shooting high school night field games (football, soccer and lacrosse) and gym games (volleyball and basketball). The lighting is LOW. I was at ISO 12800 and 25600.
    • I had to get a 70-200/4 for the field (the f/2.8 was 2x the weight, and too heavy to carry for 5 hours), and 35/1.8 and 50/1.8 for the gym.
    • During the day, it is a GREAT field lens, when shooting on the sidelines.
  • There were times when the 18-140 felt too heavy for this old man. I switched to my old 18-70, to reduce the carry weight.
The IQ is plenty "good enough" for most uses.
But, it isn't a pro lens. So don't expect pro lens quality.
The sensor on my D7200 is able to deliver more IQ than this lens can deliver, so the IQ is limited by the lens.
 

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