Not all kit lenses are created equal...
Often overlooked when choosing your first D-SLR, a kit lens can have a big impact on camera usability, performance and image quality. Nikon’s AF-P 18-55mm optic is the standard kit lens bundled with the D3400, and while it doesn’t offer anything new in terms of focallength range or maximum aperture, Nikon has concentrated on improving autofocus. This has been achieved through the use of a stepping motor, which moves in discrete steps to achieve more precise rotational control than a conventional motor. The result is faster, more accurate autofocusing, despite the D3400’s ageing 11-point AF module. Another advantage of Nikon’s stepping motor over its older Silent Wave AF system is its ability to produce smoother, quieter focus transitions when shooting videos.
Despite this cutting-edge AF tech, Nikon’s engineers have made the AF-P 18-55mm lens extremely compact. Its retractable lens barrel contributes to an impressively compact 63mm closed length, and even with Vibration Reduction the lens only tips the scales at 205g.
It all makes for a noticeable improvement in usability and performance over previousgeneration AF-S 18-55mm kit lenses, which are best avoided if included in cheap package deals. Nikon offers the AF-P 18-55mm kit lens with or without Vibration Reduction, but the negligible cost and weight savings gained by cutting VR aren’t enough to compensate for the compromised performance in low-light and action photography.
Whichever AF-P 18-55mm variant you go for, you can be assured of excellent optical quality for the money. Its design includes two aspherical elements that minimise aberrations and distortion, while Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating is employed to reduce ghosting and flare.
This new kit lens is impressively compact and lightweight, and is an affordable option when bought bundled with the D3400