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Nikon 18-140mm
DX VR (2013-)

© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

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Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 DX VR

Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 VR DX (DX coverage only, 67mm filters, 17.2 oz./487g, 1.5'/0.45m close focus, about $600). My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link directly to it at Adorama or directly to it at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get yours through those links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.


September 2013   Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses    All Reviews


Ideal for: Perfect for a do-everything lens on use on DX digital cameras.

Not for: Won't work well on FX digital or 35mm cameras because the lens can't cover the entire image. On 35mm cameras the sides and corners are black, and FX cameras will mask-down their finder to cover less than half their usual area.


Sample Image Files

Noni's Yard

Trees with power lines — a tiny hint of what happens in every yard if everyone gets an electric car. 24 MP Nikon D7100, Nikon 18-140mm VR DX at 24mm, Program and Auto ISO modes set f/8 at 1/250 at ISO 100, Standard Picture Control with +1 saturation and 7 sharpening. Camera-original © LARGE BASIC JPG. Of course the background isn't in focus if you're looking for sharpness out there.


Palm, 10:42AM 23 September 2013

Palm. 24 MP Nikon D7100, Nikon 18-140mm VR DX at 40mm, shifted Program and Auto ISO modes set f/11 at 1/80 at ISO 100, Standard Picture Control with +1 saturation and 7 sharpening. Camera-original © LARGE BASIC JPG. Of course the background isn't in focus if you're looking for sharpness out there.


Introduction       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More


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B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

This Nikon 18-140 DX VR is a great do-everything lens for DX cameras. It's sharp, focuses well, covers every focal length a good photographer needs and works great.

Touch the focus ring at any time for instant manual-focus override.

This new 18-140mm is one of a very handy series of similar lenses. This 18-140 is smaller than the Nikon 18-200mm (72mm filters, 3.8"/96mm long, 19.9oz/565g, $850) and bigger than the Nikon 18-105mm DX VR (67mm filters, 3.5"/89mm long, 14.8 oz./420g, $400).

Forget the discontinued Nikon 18-135mm (67mm filters, 3.4"/86mm long, 13.5 oz./383g). It has no VR, making results at 135mm potentially shaky in all but the best light.

Pick yours based on how much you feel like carrying versus how long you need to zoom or want to spend. See comparisons for details.

The 18-140mm range on DX cameras sees about the same angle of view as a 28-200mm lens sees on 35mm or FX cameras.


Compatibility       intro     top

Everything works perfectly on every digital Nikon ever made, except that you're wasting most of your sensor with FX cameras.

Don't use this on 35mm cameras; the corners of the images would be black.

Yes, it will shoot on FX cameras, but the sides and corners will always be cut-off with just a big circle in the middle. Nikon offers a trick "crop" mode in their FX cameras as a sales incentive to remove the dark sides and only use the middle of the sensor, but you throw away more than half an FX camera's resolution, and have to peep through a small cut-out in the center of the viewfinder.

Nikon offers the DX crop mode on FX cameras more as a trick to get people to buy Nikon FX cameras, thinking that they'll be able to use their existing DX lenses. When people do, they quickly discover that the crop mode is a crock, and wind up buying all new FX lenses anyway. Nikon does this to make it seem like it's less expensive to stay with Nikon than to change to Canon when stepping-up to full-frame, and this trick works for Nikon.

If you see FX in your future, don't be buying a lot of DX lenses.


Nikon 18-140mm VR DX

Nikon 18-140mm VR DX. enlarge.


Specifications         top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More


Name        top

Nikon 18-140mm VR DX

Nikon 18-140mm VR DX.

Nikon calls this the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR.

    AF-S: Silent Wave Autofocus Motor, also called SWM.

    DX: Won't work well on 35mm or FX cameras.

    NIKKOR: Nikon's brand name for all their lenses.

    G: Gelded for cost-reduction and removing compatibility with older cameras.

    ED: Magic Extra-low Dispersion glass for reduced secondary chromatic aberration.

    VR: Vibration Reduction.


Also has:

    D: Couples distance information to the Matrix Meter.

    Aspherical: Specially-shaped glass for greater sharpness.


Optics        top

Nikon 18-140 construction

Nikon 18-140 internal construction. Aspherical. ED.

17 elements in 12 groups.

One ED and one aspheric element.

It's multicoated, which Nikon calls Nikon Integrated Coating.


Diaphragm        top

Nikon 18-140mm VR DX

Nikon 18-140mm VR DX.

7 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/22-38.


Coverage        top

DX only.


Focal Length        top


When used on a DX camera, it sees angles of view similar to what a 28-200mm lens sees when used on an FX or 35mm camera.


Angle of View        top

76° - 11.5° diagonally on DX.


Close Focus        top

1.48 feet (0.45 meters) from the image plane.


Maximum Reproduction Ratio        top

1:4.3. (0.23x)


Hard Infinity Focus Stop?        top


You have to let the AF system focus at infinity.


Focus Scale        top



Depth-of-Field Scale        top



Infra-Red Focus Index        top



Aperture Ring        top



Filter Thread        top


Does not rotate.


Vibration Reduction (VR)         top

Claims 4 stops improvement.


Size        top

Nikon specifies 3.1" (78 mm) diameter by 3.8" (97 mm) extension from flange.


Weight        top

17.185 oz. (487.2 g), actual measured.

Nikon specifies 17.3 oz. (490 g).


Hood        top

Plastic bayonet HB-32 hood, not included.


Case        top

Optional CL-1018 sack, not included.

A sock works better.


Quality        top

Made in Thailand.


Included        top

67 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap LC-67.

Rear Lens Cap LF-4.


Optional        top

Bayonet Hood HB-32.

Carry sack CL-1018.


Announced        top

05 August 2013 at 12:01 AM NYC time.


Nikon Product Number        top



Price, USA        top

$600, August 2013.

Box, Nikon 18-140mm DX VR

Box, Nikon 18-140mm DX VR.


Performance       top


Intro   Specifications   Performance   Usage   Compared   Recommendations   More

Overall    Autofocus    Bokeh    Color   Coma    Distortion

Ergonomics   Eyeblow   Falloff    Filters   Focal Lengths, effective

Focus Breathing   Full-Frame   Ghosts   Hood

Lateral Color Fringes    Macro    Maximum Apertures    Mechanics

Sharpness    Sunstars   Survivability


Overall       performance     top

The Nikon 18-140mm VR DX is an optically, practically and ergonomically great lens. If you think you want one, by all means, get one.


Autofocus       performance     top

Autofocus is as fast as most other current Nikon AF-S lenses. There's no surprises here; AF speed is more than fast enough for everything I shoot.

Manual focus is also easy; just move the focus ring with a fingertip.


Bokeh       performance     top

Bokeh, the character of out of focus backgrounds, not simply how far out of focus they are, ranges from fair to good, depending on focuses distance, focal length and aperture settings.

If you want the softest backgrounds, stand back and zoom-in to the longest focal length you can. Shoot at 140mm f/5.6 for the softest backgrounds.


Color Rendition       performance     top

The color rendition is the same as my other Nikkor AF lenses.


Coma       performance     top

Coma (saggital coma flare) often causes weird smeared blobs to appear around bright points of light in the corners of fast or wide lenses at large apertures. In lenses that have it, coma goes away as stopped down.

This lens has no coma, bravo! It's sharp all the way out to the edges wide-open.


Distortion       performance     top

The Nikon 18-140mm VR DX has plenty of distortion, which is normal for lenses like this.

The good news is that recent digital cameras like the D90, D3100, D3200, D5000, D5100, D5200, D7000, D7100, D4, D600, D800 and D800E can be set to correct the distortion automatically in-camera — so long as you have the latest camera firmware installed in your camera!

In my case, this lens is newer than any firmware I've loaded, so none of my cameras corrects it.

These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.

On DX at 10' (3m)

Correction factor, uncorrected images


© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

* Some waviness remains.


Ergonomics (handling and ease-of-use)       performance     top

Nikon 18-140mm VR DX

Nikon 18-140mm VR DX.

Ergonomics are exactly like Nikon's other similar lenses: great!

Most of the lens is the huge zoom control, which is perfect. The zoom range is evenly (logarithmically) spread, so none of the range is bunched-up.

The zoom system feels like it's 100% plastic, and there is some stiction. It's a little less easy to set precise focal lengths because it sticks a little; it's not smooth like the 70-210mm f/4 AF.

The only other control is the smaller focus ring.

My only complaint is that the sample I bought did not mount or unmount well. It felt very gritty whenever I rotated it in the mount, even worse than Sigma and Tamron lenses usually feel. I'm unsure if I got a dud, or if Nikon is cheaping-out on us. Most people rarely change lenses, so I'd not worry about this. I'm used to shooting one camera with a bag full of fixed lenses and having to change lenses for every other shot; today with this lens' huge zoom range, most of us will never change lenses.


Eyeblow       performance     top

As the 18-140mm VR DX is zoomed in and out, air pumps in and out, and you may have some air blow out of the eyepiece into your eye.

You won't usually care, but the design of the 18-140mm VR DX is such that air, and thus dirt, are pumped in and out into both your lens and your camera.


Falloff (darkened corners)       performance     top

Falloff on DX is minor. Even without any correction, it's invisible in actual shooting unless you're shooting blank skies, in which case, stop down one stop and it goes away.

I've exaggerated this by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background.


Nikon 18-140mm VR DX at infinity, no correction:

18mm Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff
35mm Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff
70mm Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff
140mm maximum aperture is f/5.6 -> Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff

© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.



Filters, use with       performance     top

There is no problem with vignetting, even with combinations of thick filters.

I can use two standard, full-size Hoya filters and have no vignetting. They measure 9.5mm thick, not including rear threads, and this is about as many filters as you can use before you get any vignetting.

Don't waste money on expensive "slim" filters for this lens, it doesn't need it unless you are stacking them for very special effects.

The filter ring never rotates, and does move in and out with zooming.


Focal Lengths, actual        performance     top

The effective maximum focal length shortens at distances closer than infinity in order to allow this lens to focus as close as it does.

If you compare this lens to a fixed 135mm lens, it looks about the same at infinity, and at six feet (2 meters), this lens includes about 20% more in each direction than the 135mm lens. This difference becomes greater at closer distances.

This is good: this is an artifact of an optical trick Nikon plays to get closer focusing. If they didn't, a regular 135mm lens only focuses to 1.3 meters, while this lens focuses about ten times closer! Losing maximum magnification at close distances in exchange for closer focusing is a very good trade to make.


Focus Breathing       performance     top

Of interest mostly to cinematographers focusing back and forth between two subjects, the image from the Nikon 18-140mm VR DX gets smaller as focused more closely.

At the long end of the zoom range, this effect can become strong.


Full Frame, use on     performance    top

Forget it. The corners and sides of the full 24 x 36mm FX frame are always black, regardless of focal length.

We can't cheat and use this lens on full frame, as we can with some lenses like the 35mm f/1.8 DX.


Ghosts       performance     top

GHosts, Nikon 18-140mm VR DX

Nikon 18-140mm at 26mm and f/11. enlarge.

Ghosts are just about perfect: point it directly into noonday sun, and you'll get about the right amount of ghosts to show the effect.

The ghosts don't vary with or without a filter.

If you want fewer ghosts, use a fixed lens, and if you want more, use an old single-coated zoom.

You won't see any ghosts unless you go out of your way to shoot into the sun. This 18-140 lens does exactly what I want it to do: no flare or ghosts for most uses, unless I deliberately want it to flare.


Hood       performance     top

The plastic bayonet HB-32 hood is $12 extra. It's not included and I wouldn't bother buying it.

It's the same hood as the 18-70 DX, 18-105 VR and 18-135mm DX lenses.


Lateral Color Fringes       performance     top

There are almost no lateral color fringes on the D7100, which corrects them automatically.

If you're looking too hard, you may see some very minor yellow-blue fringes at 18mm, and some very minor green-magenta fringes at the corners at 140mm, but I doubt anyone would notice them.


Macro       performance     top

Macro gets about as close as many zooms:

Nikon 18-140mm VR DX

Full-frame image at 140mm at f/8 at close-focus distance.

It has lower contrast at f/5.6 at 140mm at this close distance, and is much improved by f/8.

The nature of macro shots is that depth-of-field is almost nothing, so the more you can stop down, the better. I shoot my macro shots at f/32, and use studio strobes so I have enough light.

See also Best Macro Lenses.


Maximum and Minimum Apertures     performance    top



Mechanics and Construction       performance     top

Nikon 18-140mm VR DX

Rear, Nikon 18-140mm VR DX. enlarge.

The Nikon 18-140mm VR DX is a typical all-plastic consumer zoom, with mostly glass glass and a metal mount. Don't expect this lens to come back for more if you drop it.


Filter Threads




Plastic bayonet.


Hood Mount



Barrel Exterior



Focus Ring

Plastic; rubber covered.


Zoom Ring

Plastic; rubber covered.


Depth-of-Field Scale




Look like mostly plastic.


Aperture Ring




Dull-chromed metal, don't know if it's brass like most Nikon lenses.





Mounting Index Dot

White plastic ball.


Identity Plate

Debossed gold-look plastic.


Serial Number

Sticker glued into a recess on the bottom of the lens.


US Model Signified by

"US" prefix to serial number.


Moisture seal at mount



Noises When Shaken

Mild clicking from the optics and VR systems, no clicking from the aperture blades.


Made in




It's all plastic. Hit it, and it's a goner.


Sharpness       performance     top

Warning 1: Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens.

Warning 2: Lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers.

While amateurs waste time worrying about lens sharpness, pros know that lens sharpness has little to do with making sharp pictures. This said, the Nikon 18-140mm VR DX is super-sharp corner-to-corner at every setting. There are no problems here!

Of course diffraction always limits sharpness of all lenses at apertures smaller than about f/11. By f/22, all lenses are pretty soft.


At 18mm

It's sharp edge-to-edge, even wide-open.


At 35mm

It's sharp edge-to-edge, even wide-open.

It's so sharp that diffraction limits performance starting at f/11.


At 70mm

It's sharp edge-to-edge, even wide-open.

The sides can be a tiny bit lower contrast, but I'm not going to worry about it.


At 140mm

It's sharp edge-to-edge, even wide-open.

It's so sharp that diffraction limits performance starting at f/11.


Nikon's Claimed MTF Curves

Nikon 18-140mm MTF at 18mm
Nikon 18-140mm MTF at 140mm
MTF at 18mm.
MTF at 140mm.


Sunstars       performance     top

Mercedes C250 Star, 23 Sept 2013

Star on The Star, f/13 at 140mm.

With its rounded 7-bladed diaphragm, the 18-140 makes no stars at larger apertures.

At f/11 to f/16 and smaller, you can get some messy 14-pointed stars. See also the disc of the sun above at Ghosts.


Survivability       performance     top

The Nikon 18-140mm VR DX is all plastic. Hit it hard and I suspect it's going to have to go in for repair.

The VR system and autofocus motors are proprietary. If one breaks and Nikon can't or won't supply parts, that function of the lens won't be fixable in decades to come.


Compared             top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

2005 &
2009 (II)
Close focus


Max. Repro.
9.3 oz.
14.8 oz.
17.3 oz.
19.9 oz.
29.2 oz.
Price, 8/2013

The 18-70mm (non VR, introduced 2/2004) and 18-135mm (non VR, introduced 8/2006) lenses have both been discontinued.


Recommendations       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

All Nikon's 18-xx mm DX lenses are excellent, so pick yours based on size, weight and price. They all take great pictures; it's just how much you want to carry and long you want to zoom.

It's like cutting a sausage to length. Pick how long you want it, and they are pretty much are priced by the millimeter.

The wide ends are all the same.

Personally I prefer to get close with my feet, so I use only my 35mm f/1.8 and carry my flyweight 55-200mm VR in my other pocket for that rare long shot, but that's just me.

All Nikon's DX lenses are super sharp and they all can take equally superb pictures if you know what you're doing. Any differences between them we can leave for the nerds to argue amongst themselves.

See also Assembling a System.

I do love this lens, it seems like a perfect combination of range and size. The 18-200 has gotten too heavy for me, since I rarely need 200mm. No big deal, pick your lens based on how much you want to carry and price. The pictures all come out the same; and if you're splitting hairs, I have yet to see a mid range DX zoom sharper than this 18-140mm.



I'd leave either a 67mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 67mm Hoya Alpha UV on the lens at all times.

I wouldn't buy the hood. The lens doesn't need it, and since the hood mounts directly to the front cell of the lens, won't do much to help the lens if it gets hit.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 67mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

If you plan to get lenses with 77mm threads (like an ultrawide zoom) you may want get a 67mm -> 77mm step-up ring, and treat this lens as a 77mm-threaded lens from now to eternity. This will save you a lot of aggravation, unless you really do build a system around 67mm filters.


More Information        top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

Nikon's Press Release.

Nikon's 18-140mm page.


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