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Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX

Weight: 7.5oz
Filter Size: 52mm

    It's light and it's all plastic. It's cheap and it is also surprisingly sharped if stopped down. The AF is not particularly fast, and barely qualifies as AF-S since there is no instant AF over ride; you have to flip a switch on the body or lens. There is not a whole lot to write about here, this lens comes in most as part of a kit with most consumer Nikon dSLRs.
    It's more important to be there then have the best equipment. A few years ago Kokatat used this as the first ever whitewater cover shot on their catalog. Shot with this humble lens.

Charlie Center in the Crucible.

Nikon D200, Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G @ 32mm 1/800 F8 ISO 200
It's sharp if you can keep it around f/8. 100% unsharpened crop.

  Build: 4/10                  - Cheap plastic, it wont last more than a few years of class V.
  Handling: 6/10            - Terrible focusing ring but the zoom ring is smoother than expected.
  Performance: 7/10      - Sharp stopped down.
  Value: 8/10                 - It's cheap at ~ $120.
  Overall: 7/10               - Performance better then cost..

Practicality for kayaking: 8/10

 Nikon may rule the roost for the best mid range kit lens. In many ways this lens makes sense for kayaking. Provided you shoot under bright sunlight and a DX format camera. If you get it near free in a bundle it's certainly worth it. If paying full price, the Tamron or Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 lenses would be a better investment, but are obviously much more expensive (offering better optics and similar AF performance).

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