Nikon AF-S DX 18-135mm to be discontinued

Just another lens in the "to be discontinued section" - this time is the Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor ED 18-135mm F3.5-5.6G (IF):


This lens was introduced back in August, 2006.


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  • It sure would be nice if Nikon could see their way to putting a metal mount on a new and improved version that has VR and sold it for a little more than the 18-105mm VR lens. . .

    • isnt that a 18-200? i guess your saying we need another mediocre 18-xxx lens?
      i say chop this up and make a 20 2.8 AF-s

  • Blash

    Isn’t this the lenses that is on the D90 and D80 ?

    • for the D80 – yes, the D90 has a 18-105 with VR

  • Blash

    ..? So then what are they going to do with the D90 !!??

    • WoutK89

      It stays, a lens is apart from the bodies

  • Nikkorian

    Nobody needs this anymore. Those 20mm diff to the 105VR lens are not worth mentioning.

    Since I will neither buy a D4000, nor a D300s, nor a D700x, I’m only interested in the lenses they’ll be introducing. I’m hoping for

    1.) 17-55 2.8 VR update. If it doesn’t come I’ll settle with either a used 17-55 or the Sigma 18-50 2.8 HSM.

    2.) Since the bokeh of the 35 1.8 Nikkor has not been raved about, I’m still hoping for a new quality DX Nikkor, I’d prefer 30 over 35 and 1.4 over 1.8, with a nice bokeh. If that doesn’t happen either until those August announcements, I’ll again go with Sigma: The 30 1.4 HSM DC is demonstrated in a flickr blog to have a really nice bokeh.


    • WoutK89

      What about a nice 70mm f2.0 DX?

      • funny

        nice yes. Likely not. That’s just a weird random number. If nikon ever makes another DX prime it may be a 50 or 85mm. not that I’d care for one though.

        • PHB

          There is zero chance of seeing a DX 85mm lens and not much more chance of a DX 50mm.

          The cost of a lens is a function of the shape and size of the lens elements. In particular the front element. The size of the front element is in turn dependent on the f/stop number and the coverage.

          If you have a long lens, such as a 200mm, the f/ number is dominant, it is the aperture divided by the focal length after all, so the front element needs to be at least as large as the aperture. a 200mm f/2 will have a minimum front element of 100mm. The Nikor lens actually has a diameter of 124mm.

          Getting the coverage is not an issue for long, fast lenses. The difference between the DX/FX sensor size is just not that big compared to 100mm to make the f/stop number.

          The only lens where it seems Nikon did compromise somewhat to make it DX friendly is the 70-200 f/2.8 which has a falloff issue due to vignetting. The lens came out before Nikon made the switch back to FX, my theory is that they thought that a 77mm filter size was rather more important than a falloff issue which would ‘only’ affect film users who were not considered the target market for the lens anyway. Then Canon went full frame, oops.

          At the wide end of the scale, coverage is the big issue. The 10-24mm DX and 14-24mm FX lenses both do the same basic job, but the DX lens is half the weight and the FX lens has to hang out the front.

          Nikon might make a 50mm DX lens, but it would be way down the priority scale. An 85 DX makes no sense. It would cost almost as much as an FX lens and even DX shooters want to future proof to some degree.

          Other reason to avoid a DX 85mm is that portrait work is an area where the telephoto extension of DX becomes a pain. You have to be 50% further away!

          I think it much more likely that the next primes we see will fill out the range so that Nikon offers either a fast FX or a fast DX lens at 28, 35, 50, 85, 135. Also note that the 35mm DX lens is described as a byproduct of the FX 50mm design. so I would recon a 28mm FX lens followed (possibly) by an 18/20mm DX variation.

          Don’t quite see why Bokeh would be a priority on wide lenses, depth of field is shallower so less is out of focus. I think you will see Bokeh being the priority on the 85mm and 135mm primes when they appear.

          • dude…like…yeah, what he said.

          • Anonymous

            It’s fun when people invalidate their statements themselves without even being aware of it. The 70-200/2.8 needs at least a 71 mm front element. A 70/2 would need a 35 mm front element. The 200 vignettes on full frame a lot, so it could be optimized for FX (meaning larger coverage – so the current lens is a bit DX-like). And now, you say that with a lens with only half the front element diameter there wouldn’t be any DX optimization potential? Yeah, right…

          • Nikkorian

            Also, I have a DX lens with 50-150mm f/2.8 which is half the weight of the equivalent 70-200 2.8. So there must be some advantage. For me there is 🙂

          • PHB

            OK, so those of you asking for ‘DX’ telephotos, go find a DX version of any telephoto in any manufacturer’s range.

            Go try a ‘DX’ zoom on a full frame camera and you will find that it actually covers the frame across at least 2/3 of the range. The 10-24DX works as a 14-24 FX.

            Coverage is not the same as falloff. The 70-200 is performance optimized, not cost optimized. Avoiding falloff on full frame was not a major design goal, using a 77mm filter, size and weight were.It is a pretty safe bet that the falloff will be corrected in the next iteration. But that will at most mean stepping up by one filter size, not doubling the size of the lens.

            If by ‘DX’ you mean cheap, well, obviously Nikon could make cheaper lenses with smaller f-numbers. But that is completely different. Canon’s f/4 telephoto lenses are full frame. And they can use hybrid aspherical elements instead of all glass and plenty of other cost-cutting measures. But that is nothing to do with the DX issue.

            I don’t think its likely we will see an f/4 constant aperture lens range from Nikon either. Nikon clearly prefers the Variable Aperture design. They just launched a $900 Variable Aperture lens.

            If you want small size, you want a VA design. Nikon makes f/3.5-4.5 zooms. What exactly is the benefit to f/4 all along?

            Canon made those f/4 zooms because it was playing catch-up. So they recycled the f/2.8 design as a cheaper ‘lightweight’ alternative. Then they pushed out a bunch of marketing blather about the CA design being ‘professional’. Its all huey.

          • Soap

            The “advantage” of a CA f4 over a VA f2.5-4.5 is argued by many (rightfully or wrongfully) to be one of consistency. They believe that a CA lens meters more “truthfully” than a VA one.

            Be this true or not is not for me to say – but that is the perception which seems to be widely out there.

          • Jeff

            PHB you are mostly correct, though you mistaking maximum internal aperture bore with objective element diameter. but the concept is correct, just how big what part of the lens is slightly misplaced.

            @Soap. only naive fools believe that zooms are ever actually constant in aperture, and metering was never their advantage, it was constant access to a decent aperture throughout the whole range, and the ability to zoom without adjusting settings. most constant aperture zooms are really variable within 1/2 stop, which frankly is good enough.

          • PHB

            @Jeff Yes, you are quite right that its not quite as simple as I put it. But its two decades since I did optics and those formulas have a lot of terms. But in general, it is a pretty good guide to the minimum size of the front element of a telephoto lens.

            One article I read after writing the above pointed out that like soft corners, falloff is typically a benign effect. Trying out the 10-24 I found it absolutely impossible to compose a non-contrive test shot with interesting stuff in all four corners at 10mm. Falloff is easily corrected in software, so maybe avoiding falloff is not worth a bump up in filter size. If Nikon thinks that is the case, some folk will be waiting a long time for that 70-200 f/2.8 replacement.

            In general I see the point of getting a Nikon over other brands is that the Nikon engineers have a much better idea what lenses to make and what features to support than the average bozo on the net (including me). Nobody saw the 35mm DX coming or the 10-24 DX, but they make absolutely perfect sense when you think about the market and will sell in much bigger numbers than the typical suggestions here or on dpreview.

            Lens design is inevitably a compromise. You can’t have perfect sharpness, weight, speed, cost, bokeh and so on at the same time. But in general the choices Nikon makes make a good deal of sense to me. As I see it they are trying to optimize the features that are hardest to correct for in software.

            I am pretty sure we will see a replacement for the 18-135 soon enough. It is a lens that makes a lot of sense as a kit lens for the cheaper DX models. It doesn’t have the range of the 18-200 but it doesn’t have the weight either. It may not be a stellar performer but it definitely isn’t aimed at this particular audience and the replacement will be another mass market lens.

            The replacement will certainly not be a 24mm f/1.4.

      • Desinderlase

        Then why not 17-55 f2.0 VR ?

        • why do you need vr from 17-55?
          i dont think the 17-55 needs anything.
          i want a fast small wide prime. Im sure someone here can attest its what i need. like PHB said above, i would love a 18-20mm DX. it would sit on my camera permanently.

        • Jeff

          f/2 really? this is not a 4/3 image circle, that lens would be larger than a brick. and cost well above the ~$1K price of the current one

    • kimble

      A AF-S 17-55/2,8 VF ir really overdue.


  • shivas

    the 17-55 2.8 hardly needs VR!! It’s sharp and fast, have you even used one?

    Additionally, given it’s near 2-3 lb heft, throwing in VR would require it to be slightly larger and heavier. . .not exactly good things for such a heavy lens, it’ll beat out the 14-24 f/2.8 beast. . . .

    new primes are probably due, a wide and long length duo, I’m hoping anywhere between 20-24mm f/1.4-1.8 and a 85 1.4-1.8. . . . .

    • Willis

      .VR doesn’t add all that much weight. I’ve got both the VR and non-VR version of the 18-55 kit zoom. I can’t tell the difference unless I’m holding both at the same time. The extra bulk bothers me much more than the extra weight.

      I’ll agree that the difference in photo quality at that length is subtle at best.

      • WoutK89

        haha, that is different kind of (plastic) lens, try comparing other PRO lenses in weight.

        • Soap

          Body construction has nothing to do with image quality.

        • PHB

          Effect of adding VR to a plastic lens will be proportionately greater than adding it to a heavier one. So if the weight difference is minor on plastic it will be minor on metal.

          @soap While plastic lenses can have great quality, there is a point where the weight of the glass in a lens is so much that the body needs to be metal to keep everything stiff.

          I think that the more likely replacement for the 18-135 will be another 18-135. It is a perfectly reasonable size – 24-200 equivalent. If they were to bump the f stop number up to make it a f/3.5-4.5 with a 77mm filter it would be a very handy lens to have about and make a perfect compliment to a DX ‘magic three’ of the 10-24, 18-135 and 80-400 AFS. That gives you coverage from 109-4 degrees (15-600mm equivalent) in three lenses with matched 77mm filters (if you care about such things). If forced to leave home with only one lens the 18-135 will have you covered 90% of the time.

  • Jeff

    good. one less stupid DX kit lens to take up resources

    • Zoetmb

      An existing lens doesn’t take up resources. The danger is that by discontinuing this lens (which surprises me because it leaves a hole: the 18-200 is twice the price and from a marketing standpoint the 18-105 isn’t enough reach), they might replace it with a VR version which DOES take up resources instead of replacing primes, for example.

      • arz

        No, Nikon has way too many low to medium consumer zoom lenses. They don’t sell that many and take up a lot of manufacturing resources. What Nikon needed is to update a lot of their old manula to AF-D lenses, and also introduce some new lenses to compete with the F4L army of lenses from Canon. Almost every Canon owner I know owns at least a 24-105L and/or 70-200 F4L.

        • Anonymous

          They don’t sell that many? You bet that these consumer kit zooms outsell primes and pro zooms by a large margin…

        • Zoetmb

          I don’t believe you’re going to see Nikon go head-to-head with the F4 zooms from Canon. If you look at the respective lens lines, you can see that each company has a very different strategy. Since Canon’s lenses are generally less expensive than Nikon, Nikon would lose if they tried to match each Canon lens on a case-to-case basis. And Canon seemingly doesn’t feel the need to fill out the APS line as much as Nikon feels it’s necessary to have DX lenses.

          In terms of total lenses, there isn’t that much difference anymore: Nikon’s got 55 (including the supposedly discontinued 18-135) and Canon’s got 63. Within another 2-3 years, I think Nikon and Canon will have the same number of lenses in their lines, but they won’t be the same lenses.

          One can make the case that the Canon line is overkill. Do we really need four versions of the 70-200: 2.8 and 4.0 with and without IS? Do we really need two 75-300 consumer zooms, with and without IS, when street price is only $40 apart? Of course, you can also ask whether Nikon needs both the VR and non-VR versions of the 18-55 and the 55-200. I think that as a bigger company, Canon is able to support all these models and different price points, but Nikon’s manufacturing seems a lot more limited. Up until the recession, Canon was always better than Nikon in terms of keeping lenses in retail stock. With the recession, even Canon has many lenses out of stock or on backorder.

          Canon does seem to be paring their consumer line a bit. They’ve recently discontinued the 24-85mm, 28-90 III and 55-200 II. Before that, they discontinued the 18-55, 20-35, 28-90 II, 28-105, 28-80 II and 80-200 II. In the pro line, all recently discontinued lenses have been replaced by newer versions.

          Nikon seems to be attempting not to have overlaps in FX pro zooms, so you have 14-24, 24-70, 70-200, 200-400. Cannon doesn’t seem to care about the overlaps as they have 16-35 (or 17-40), 24-70, 70-200, 100-400.

          The DX line is different as Nikon doesn’t expect consumers to buy more than two zooms, so you have 18-XX and 55-200. Canon seems to have dedicated their APS line to wide angle zooms, except for the 18-200, which is obviously for people who want to buy only one lens.

          • PHB

            I think that the reason for the non-VR versions of the 18-55 and 55-200 lenses is simply because they are typically sold bundled with the camera body and some of the bodies did not support VR.

            I would expect the VR lenses to be dropped if the D4000 supports VR.

            And the fact that Canon is claiming 63 lenses to Nikons 55 is probably the explanation for why they sell four versions of the 70-200 rather than two. Meaningless multiplication of variations is what companies do when they are playing catch-up.

          • Soap

            @ PHB –
            No camera body since the F4 last manufactured in 1997 fails to support VR. Your claim that “I think that the reason for the non-VR versions of the 18-55 and 55-200 lenses is simply because they are typically sold bundled with the camera body and some of the bodies did not support VR.”
            The F4 ceased production well before the introduction of the 18-55 and 55-200, both of which came out in April of 2005.

          • arz

            “Do we really need four versions of the 70-200: 2.8 and 4.0 with and without IS?”

            Well, I think we do. The current 70-200 2.8VR is just too expensive. $1800-$1900 is not something most prosumers can afford. That leaves us to what else? An used 80-200 AF-D (the AF-S is very hard to find these days) for $800 where Canon’s non IS version with USM for that price. Many pros would argue that they would like a lighter F4 lens that has great IQs for their backup body while carrying the big one on the main body.

            The whole thing is about competition. It’s ok to have different strategies, but ultimately, it’s what users want.

          • PHB

            @Soap Thats good to hear, to be honest I never bothered to look into the D40/D60 spec very much.

            I still think they should be counted as one lens design rather than two as it is pretty clear that the lens was designed to have the option of VR capability from the start and they either put in the additional mechanism or not. Equally, the Canon f/4 versions of their f/2.8 lenses do not represent a build from scratch.

            From what I see of the Nikon range, pretty much every lens is a stand-alone design designed and optimized for a specific purpose. (OK the PC lenses and the ultra-teles maybe have quite a lot in common). Canon seem to be looking to make more lens variations than Nikon just to make up the numbers.

  • Anonymous

    No surprise for me, since there are a couple of 18-xx lenses, and this one has no VR. Same for the 18-70. Indeed, I have been waiting for such a message since January or February.
    Do you still remember the French Nikon price list (February) that was posted here?
    It did not contain the 18-70 and the 18-135 anymore.$FILE/Tarif_Nikon_Fev_2009.pdf

  • Joe Boston

    Oh well, that lens sucked anyway. Had the worst CA of any recent Nikkor.

  • bo

    that was quick….just hope nikon didn’t wast too much R&D money fo rthis lens

    • Anon

      Judging by its quality, they didn’t 😀

      • Willis

        Agree, it had all the drawbacks of the 18-200 without the extra flexibility.

        • Anonymous

          well, yes, no added benefit, except that it was sharp where the longer zoom wasn’t…

  • watz up with the 18-35?
    the 18-70, 28-100?

  • kristupa saragih

    does it means the new lens from nikon will be 18-135/3.5-5.6VR II ?

    • WoutK89

      no, not yet

  • rwpl

    well no tears will fall from that fact. the lens was crap – had an occasion to test it.

  • funny

    oh please not another DX zoom nobody wants. I hope they don’t update it.

  • Zorro

    For its targeted user, it is a great lens. It has a useful range, it’s sharp, it’s light and compact, and nice to use with its broad zoom collar. For prints up to A4 it will hold its own against other lenses.

    • Anonymous

      with CA correction on the newer bodies and some careful technique, it will hold its own well beyond A4…

  • Considering other similar lenses Nikon is still selling, and their price points; I’m not surprised this lens is on it’s way out.

  • Kickmatic23

    The 18-105mm VR is wayyyy better imo so I don’t care..

  • SimonC

    No surprise here – the 18-135 doesn’t make sense in the current Nikon DX zoom lineup (more than enough 18-XXX zooms) That lens was the kit lens with the D80. Since then, every 18-XXX zoom released has had VR.

    There won’t be any new DX portrait lens (the recent 50 AF-S 1.4G is the closest you’ll get) However, the DX line up is in need of a compact, wide-angle prime (e.g. 16mm or shorter, ideally 14mm)

    The focus for the next lens announcements will likely be around FX, which has some huge gaps in its lens lineup.

    • Nikkorian

      By the way, for those DX portrait lens waiters. There’s a Tamron coming with f/2 at 60mm, very promising! Quite compact too. It’s a macro lens, but will be very good for portraits. I’m looking forward to test results.

      • WoutK89

        for that price, me too 🙂

  • Peter

    suprised it took so long.. not really a good lens,, 135mm is way to short for tele anyway and no vr.. better replace it for 18-105 instead.

    • Soap

      135mm is WAY to [sic] short for tele? In DX?
      You need to learn to use the legs god gave you.

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