Excellent incremental improvement over an already-excellent lens By Scooter
I have the original 18-55mm AF-S DX which came with my D40 kit and love it - it weighs nothing, performs brilliantly, and focuses so close that I can use it as a macro if I want. I decided to get this since I do quite a bit of indoor photography without flash, and wanted some extra stability in low-light, longer-shutter speed situations from the Vibration Reduction which I have on my 18-200mm VR but don't use on my D40 (I use that on my D300, and it almost never comes off). It's performed brilliantly under such circumstances; I can get sharp shots at 1/20, 1/10 and even 1/8 if I'm really stable at the time of the shot - something I couldn't reliably get from the non-VR version. It also helps in the long end (55mm) in uneven light and other times when the VR becomes necessary. In terms of sharpness, light falloff, distortion, and all the other metrics, this lens is as good as, or slightly better, than the original non-VR version. It is also a bit heavier and seems a bit more solid in construction, with a tighter zoom ring and differently-sculpted manual focus ring (with more recessed plastic indentations compared with the original model). I think the addition of VR makes it the perfect lens for the D40, D40x or newly-introduced D60, since its performance is so much better in all metrics and tests (particularly distortion and sharpness) than some of its would-be step-up replacements (i.e. the 18-135, the 24-120, etc.)
If you generally do lots of flash or outdoor photography, and don't tend to experience slower shutter speeds due to lighting issues, or take most of your shots at the wider end of the scale (i.e. 18-25mm) this lens is probably an upgrade that you can either do with or without. In the end the investment is quite small for those few times that VR might save the shot, so I would get one. Granted, VR at this level (i.e not 200 or 300mm) is less about hand shake in daylight, but more about low lighting conditions and longer shutter speeds. As for some reviewer's comments on the default lens speed, etc.
Additional notes: There is some clunking sound from the VR occasionally when focusing, and there is no hood or lens pouch included, but that's less of an issue if, as most people do, you have a camera or lens bag, and as for the hood, I've never used one and never had a problem; if there's sunglare, I can cup my hand around the lens (since it's so light) and have no issues. I think some people use lens hoods to somehow show off that they're "photographers" or "hobbyist-pros" rather than for the reduction of flare and glare when outside in bright sunlight (sometimes direct, etc.) or under sharp lighting. Honestly, I've seen guys taking indoor shots of artwork exhibits under soft lighting with the hood on.27 of 29 people found the following review helpful.
5Nice little lens By Mark A. Manske
I own both the VR and non-VR versions of this lens and use them on a Nikon D40. I have found no issues or instances where the non-VR outperforms the VR. I get all the picture quality I expect and love to use this lens for outdoor landscape shots as well as indoor shots. I fully recommend this lens, and highly recommend purchasing a polarizing filter to use with it for outdoor shooting. The VR is very useful when shooting indoors as it allows me to take crisp, clear pictures down to 1/20 sec shutter speeds while shooting hand-held.30 of 35 people found the following review helpful.
5Great Lens By Ali S.
This is a great lens, and a good upgrade over the older 18-55mm ii with NO VR. The image stabilization really helps you here, i used to get blurry pictures in the evenings and dark environments. This one solves those problems. There is one fundamental problem with this lens. It lacks ED and that means severe lens flare and ghosting. Only way to solve this is to avoid taking pics in the direction of the sun or bright lights. A lens hood may also help. However during night times you may not be able to do anything about street lights as you are probably taking a direct photo of them. For that The 55-200mm VR does have two sets of ED which dramatically reduces flare and ghosting making it probably the best telephoto lens for Nikon. Couple this with the 55-200mm VR and 90% of your photography needs are covered. If you really care about lens flare then you should probably stick with the NON-VR 18-55mm as it is a better lens during day time with ED. Stock NON-VR 18-55mm is proven to be also sharper. Your choice but overall its a fantastic lens. I have this with the 55-200mm VR and i probably wont ever need another lens.
From the Manufacturer
The Nikon Total Digital SLR Imaging System includes world-renowned optical quality from Nikkor lenses. Ongoing research and development of Nikkor lenses allows Nikon to continuously provide Nikon digital SLR photographers with additional choices and even greater optical performance.
Nikon is pleased to add to the lineup the new AF-S DX-Nikkor 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G VR, a lens featuring a built-in Silent Wave Motor and Vibration Reduction (VR). The AF-S DX-Nikkor 18- 55mm f3.5-5.6G VR is an affordable, and compact, 3x zoom lens with amazing versatility. This new lens provides enhanced shooting flexibility as the latest addition to the Nikon DX-Nikkor lens lineup.