Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor
(From Nikon lens literature) Nikon, Inc. has announced the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens, which offers Nikon digital SLR photographers exceptional wide-angle capability along with superb telephoto versatility. The wide-ratio zoom makes this new lens suitable for a broad range of shooting situations, including indoor and outdoor events; streetscapes; and portraits and scenery, making it ideal for everyday use.
April 6, 2008
by Andrew Alexander
Released in March 2008, the 16-85mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 can be considered the ''designed-for-digital'' spiritual successor to the popular 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 VR. The 24-120mm Nikkor gained much popularity with its combination of a convenient range of focal lengths and vibration reduction (VR) technology: however, it was considered by many to be unacceptably soft, and the maximum aperture of ƒ/5.6 by 85mm and longer to be unacceptably slow.
With the 1.5x crop factor inherent in a Nikon APS-C sensor, the lens gives an effective field of view of 24-128mm. Apart from reducing the size of the individual lens elements to fit the smaller sesnor, Nikon has made some changes to the layout of the elements themselves; the 16-85mm features two additional lens elements (up from 15 to 17), one of which is an additional aspherical lens element. To keep the lens affordable, Nikon actually hasn't packed the lens full of its latest technology: the most it boasts is Nikon's Super Integrated Coating to reduce lens flare and ghosting, however, it does integrate Nikon's VR2 vibration reduction.
As a DX lens, it's not designed to cover the full 35mm imaging circle, and unlike some other lens designs which will work at some zoom settings, the 16-85mm will always vignette to some degree when mounted on a film body or a FX sensor body. The D3 will work with the lens, automatically setting itself to DX mode. The lens is a ''G'' style lens, so there is no aperture ring; on older film bodies the lens would be limited to shooting at its smallest aperture.
|Focal Length (mm)||16-17||18-23||24-34||35-49||50-69||70-85|
The lens is available now with a MSRP of $649.
It's hard not to rush to draw comparisons between this lens and its full-frame predecessor, the Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, but it's a safe bet that this lens will be of interest to anyone who has shot with and enjoyed using that lens.
In a nutshell, the 16-85mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 is remarkably sharp. Its poorest performance is found only when stopped down to the smallest apertures, where diffraction limiting robs the lens of sharpness. But even at ƒ/22 and 16mm, the lens is still very sharp, not even reaching 3 blur units. At longer focal lengths, the lens becomes much softer, reaching 5-6 blur units by 85mm and ƒ/36.
Any other setting gives excellent results. With the exception of some slight corner softness when used wide open (16mm, ƒ/3.5), image quality is extremely sharp. Optimal performance is attained when stopped down to ƒ/5.6, where the image is sharp across the entire frame: you still see some very slight corner softness at wide angle or full telephoto, but we're splitting hairs here. Results at other apertures - ƒ/8, ƒ/11, ƒ/16 - are all equally impressive.
Overall, the 16-85mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 provides excellent sharpness results, better than we've seen from previous Nikon offerings in this class of lens.
Tolerance to chromatic aberration is also excellent for this lens. The worst case scenario for the lens occurs at the telephoto end of its range of focal lengths (85mm), where we see around 5/100ths of a percent of frame height of CA. CA is almost non-existent between 24mm and 70mm, and at 16mm we see no more than 3/100ths. It's worth noting that these results appear only in the corners; in the central region of the image, you'd be hard-pressed to find any evidence of chromatic aberration even zoomed in to 100% on a monitor. Just excellent performance.
There has to be a price to pay for these excellent results in sharpness and resistance to chromatic aberration, and that price is corner shading. We normally see darker corners with wide-angle lenses, and unfortunately, the 16-85mm is no exception. Used wide open and wide-angle (16mm, ƒ/3.5) you can expect the corners to be just over a full stop darker than the center of the image. Corner darkness is a mixed bag for the lens, only becoming a non-issue when the lens is used with conservative settings - the mid-range of its zoom, and when stopped down to at least ƒ/8. When used at 16mm, the best case scenario is a half-stop of corner darkness when used at ƒ/8 or smaller.
Lens design is all about managing concessions, and this would be the one. Fortunately, corner darkening is fixable in most image post-processing software.
Wide angle lenses also have to contend with distorted results, and the 16-85mm has its share of issues with distortion. Barrel (bloat) distortion is prominent when the lens is set between 16-21mm. At a focal length greater than 21mm, distortion changes to pincushion (squeeze) style.
In either case, the distortion results are not extreme, reaching only 0.75% barrel distortion on the wide angle, and -0.5% pincushion by 24mm and greater. These results are most noticeable in the corners. It's possible to correct for this distortion in image post-processing software, however, the prominent distortion throughout the image is barrel; thus, after 21mm, the distortion profile is somewhat complex. It could be tricky to get your straight lines truly straight.
An AF-S lens with ultrasonic motor, AF operation for the 16-85mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 is virtually silent and reasonably fast, if not lightning quick: The AF motor took right around a second to slew from closest focus to infinity. The ultrasonic motor also means you can override the AF motor at any time by just turning the focus ring, without having to switch the camera or lens to manual focus mode.
Close-focusing ability is quite good for the lens at 38cm (1' 3"). The minimum macro area width is just 114 mm (~4.5 inches) on a Nikon DX body. At minimum focus and 85mm, the front element of the lens is about 15cm (just under 6 inches) from the subject. The magnification ratio for the lens is 0.22x.
Build Quality and Handling
Being a DX lens, the 16-85mm is quite compact, balancing nicely on the smaller Nikon consumer and prosumer bodies. Zoom and focus are controlled via two rubber-ribbed rings. The rings are well-separated so there's no chance of confusing the two when working blind or looking through the viewfinder. The rubber ribs give a very good grip; there's no sense at all that your fingers could slip on the controls. Zoom action on our sample was very smooth and solid, but perhaps a little tight. As a result though, it showed no tendency to zoom creep anywhere in the focal length range. The zoom control rotates about 90 degrees (a quarter turn) in moving from shortest to longest focal length, while the focus control rotates about 130 degrees, roughly a third of a turn. We found the amount of travel on the focus adjustment enough that we had no trouble focusing manually. The front element doesn't rotate while focusing or zooming, making working with polarizers a breeze. While the 67mm filter threads are plastic, the lens mount is metal.
The lens barrel extends quite a bit in zooming from wide angle to maximum telephoto, telescoping out about 42mm. Not as much as some long-ratio zooms, but a fair bit relative to the compact dimensions of the lens when set to its widest angle. The included lens hood is of the ''petal'' design, fairly effective at wide angle, much less so at 85mm.
The Vibration Reduction employed is the newer VR2 system, first seen in the 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6; Nikon claims photographers using this lens can achieve stable shots up to four stops faster than with a non-VR lens. While we haven't yet established a test protocol to assess these claims, we can say that the VR works very effectively.
The lens is equipped with a distance scale indicator, and three switches: one for activating and deactivating autofocus (''M/A M''), the next for activating and deactivating vibration reduction, and the last for setting the VR mode between normal and active. The difference between the two modes is the level of sensitivity; ''normal'' mode allows some tolerance for slow movements (ie., the VR system will not attempt to compensate for horizontal movement during a pan, only vertical). The ''active'' mode will be very sensitive to any form of camera movement.
Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR ~$500
The original streetsweeper with Nikon's first-generation VR system, the 24-120mm is considerably less sharp and shows significantly more chromatic aberration. However, vignetting and distortion are much better controlled, and if you're working with film or FX, it'll cover the 35mm imaging circle. Uses 72mm filters.
Nikon 18-70mm ƒ/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX ~$330
Slightly less sharp but good control of CA, vignetting and distortion, this lens is a popular kit lens in the DX class. Also takes 67mm filters.
Nikon 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR ~$700
There's a fair amount of controversy on the net as to whether this lens is a better value for the money. Also a VR2 lens, the 18-200mm isn't as sharp and is a little worse in the CA department; it's slightly better with vignetting, but distorts a bit more. The extra 115mm of reach is attractive, but sharpness at these focal lengths is fair to average.
Sigma 17-70mm ƒ/2.8-4.5 DC Macro ~$340
An excellent alternative with macro capability, it's slightly less sharp, and CA results are almost but not quite as good (at this level, however, we're really picking hairs). Vignetting and distortion are as can be expected for a wide angle lens. The extra half-stop of speed could be useful, but by 24mm, it's ƒ/3.5 anyway.
Tamron 28-75mm ƒ/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical IF SP AF ~$349
While not as wide-angle or telephoto, the constant ƒ/2.8 aperture of the Tamron is a compelling option in this category. The lens shows excellent results for all of sharpness, chromatic aberration, vignetting and distortion, comparable to the Nikon 16-85mm. Focus is mechanically driven though; it does sport an aperture ring, and it's also full-frame, offering full film compatibility.
The 16-85mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 is an admirable lens; excellent sharpness and chromatic aberration results, marred only by some distortion and vignetting issues. However, I'm happy to see Nikon engineers giving sharpness the top priority, as this is the one factor that you can't really correct for in post-processing. The lens is a definite improvement over its predecessor, the 24-120mm, a lens which provided an excellent platform for a wide range of photographic styles. With the release of the 16-85mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, the bar has been raised.
The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.
Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor
Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S Nikkor User Reviews
10 out of 10 points and recommended by eskil (8 reviews)Sharp at all focal lengths, low distorsion, good zoom rangeRelatively small aperture
To me, this is the ideal zoom lens for a DX-camera. It has a good zoom-range going from wide angle to moderate telephoto and performs very well across the whole range. Distorsion and chromatic abberation are very well controlled. Apart from being optically superior, it also differs from kit-zooms by the build quality. It has a metal mount, weather sealing rubber gasket and a focus distance scale. Autofocus is precise and relatively fast.reviewed May 5th, 2014 (purchased for $450)
This is the lens that sits on my D7100 for 90% of the time. With this, a long telephoto and a fast prime you are ready for anything.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by sjkip (26 reviews)Fairly small and handy, very sharpSomewhat limited focal length range
Despite the limited focal length range, this lens is a versatile one for general purposes outdoors or even in museums with fairly poor light. The latter is because the VR works well enough that one can shoot through a small aperture for depth of field, and still be able to hand hold at ISO 1000 or less. All you need in a kit is this one, a good macro, e.g., a Nikon 40, and a longer zoom, e.g., a Nikon 70-300 VR.reviewed October 5th, 2013 (purchased for $600)
I sold my original copy of this lens several years ago, but bought a used one recently. It was a Nikon USA approved example, but be careful with these older lenses if you buy them used. Check the serial number. The 26xxxxxx series is USA approved; 22xxxxxx us not.
The original copy I bought, a gray market one, had zoom creep...the lens didn't hold it's focal length when the camera was tipped. So I sent it back for a replacement, which is a USA approved example without zoom creep. Nikon claims this isn't a fault, that all "top heavy" lenses eventually do this. Better to buy a new one or at least a Nikon USA refurbished one if you're a U.S. photographer.
It's not quite as sharp as my 16-80 on my D7200 or D7500s, but it's plenty sharp. I'm happy with it.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by TomE (4 reviews)perfect allround zoom range, IQnot as sharp on tele
My copy is so used & beaten, that I am considering buying a new one. It's a perfect allround lens, that I can recommend to everyone using Nikon DX. Much better in IQ than 18-200.reviewed May 30th, 2013
I hope Nikon will release a new(better, constant apperature) version soon. If not, I will buy this one again.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by spochana (6 reviews)Handy zoom range with very good image qualityNone (hope to see a constant f for an improved one)
Using this lenses since it first came out with my D90 and still use as normal zoom for other bodies. Never disappoint with its image quality.reviewed April 28th, 2013 (purchased for $500)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by six34sigma (1 reviews)Very sharp throughout focal lengthpoor bokeh
Sharp through the range, great primary lens with a useful focal length. VRII capability is great also with had held shots possible at the wide(er) end at 1/10". Use it as my primary walk around lens.reviewed April 13th, 2013 (purchased for $699)
Solid plastic construction, with metal adapter ring being a strong positive.
Boken is non existent to weak. Possible to get some development of Bokeh with high magnification.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Photografer (4 reviews)The best zoom lens
The best zoom lens that I ever havereviewed October 2nd, 2012 (purchased for $630)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by patricius6 (4 reviews)Image QualityThe tube extends
the best base to zoom DXreviewed January 26th, 2012
9 out of 10 points and recommended by dda (13 reviews)Good build Q / Sharp / Perfect for normal use
Not the fastest, but in combination with my other gear, perfect for all round situations.reviewed July 18th, 2011 (purchased for $550)
Built Q is fine, but I stepped over from Olympus and I do have to state that Nikon should aim to do better here.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by sanctum (4 reviews)sharp, focal range, consistent qualitynil
This is my best lens. Much better than the 18-200 and absolutely no zoom creep.reviewed November 14th, 2010 (purchased for $685)
VR works very well, corner to corner sharpness is great, and almost no distortion at all!
The max wide angle at 16mm is the most useful part, you can really get a group shot in without trying to squeeze everyone like a 18mm.
A must buy for any Nikon shooter, no wonder it is standard with the pro D300s bodies.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by ashtonwentworth (1 reviews)sharp sharp sharp0!
i love this lens it is the one lens that is on my camera 98% of the time it is really sharp no noticeable ca i really wish they would make a pro version of this lens like they did with the 24-120reviewed September 19th, 2010 (purchased for $500)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Mac_In_FL (5 reviews)Excellent resolution and color rendition. Versatile range. Just a great lens!Wish it was 1 stop faster and that's all.
I have had this lens for nearly two years and my appreciation just continues to grow. This lens can deliver stunning images. It is sharp wide-open and becomes razor sharp after 1-2 stops. Color rendition is excellent.reviewed July 26th, 2010 (purchased for $420)
This is such a nice compact and useful range. It has earned the position of being the lens always mounted on my D300 unless I have a specific need for a different focal length or there is no substitute for speed. Otherwise, the 16-85 is my "go to" lens.
I also have the Nikon 18-200/VR (Type 1). Not talking the 18-200 down, but it is a lens of convenience and does not match the overall IQ of the 16-85mm.
I wish it was a little faster but then there are trade-offs there, too and it would probably cost a lot more. This is not an inexpensive lens but definitely worth the price.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by RadiantLite (16 reviews)compact, focal length, consistent image qualityslow aperture
It is one of the best general purpose lens for Nikon DX cameras.reviewed January 13th, 2010 (purchased for $500)
Please Check out complete review and image samples at
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Jaap (1 reviews)Sharp, sharp, sharp!None
If money is an issue, you probably wouldn't buy this lens. If you're looking for a versatile zoom that delivers (at least almost) the quality of prime-lenses, you will. Everytime again I'm amazed how well it performs. It's great.reviewed December 27th, 2009 (purchased for $680)
4 out of 10 points and not recommended by Focus (11 reviews)SharpOver prized
I gave this lens some low number, because I feel it doesn't deliver so much for the price and the number has gotten out of proportion.reviewed December 27th, 2009
I used it for about a year and then sold it to get a 18-105. Only pixel peepers can see the differance, but it does give more tele; the 2 mm on the wide angle I don't miss.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by frances (4 reviews)sturdy build quality, feels good in the hands, vr works well and photos are fairly sharpa little slow
I bought the Nikon D40X and this lens because I wanted a really good vacation camera and lens. The problem with this combination is that when the lens is at max wide angle (16)and the camera's flash is used, a shadow is produced on the lower edge of the photo. This is corrected at 18 and does not recur at other angles.reviewed November 25th, 2009 (purchased for $665)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Ylenh (3 reviews)Specially sharp, VRIt has just broken after one year 4 months... Doesn't focus
I suppose I just had bad luck, and due to the fact that I just bought it when it arrived at the market, the lense probably had a deffect.reviewed September 11th, 2009 (purchased for $713)
Despite this, I really recommend this lense. I really love the sharpness and the colours. It is suitable at almost all situations. I love it in portraits.
I've really notice the diference between 18mm to 16mm.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by VictorN_1212 (3 reviews)sharp overall, vrII works great. the extra 2mm wide open makes a big differencea bit slow in low light. expensive
i've had this lens for over a year now, and i must say it has held up pretty well. build quality is excellent, and vrII works very well. overall sharpness is good and makes for a nice walkaround lens. i make sure to bring this whenever i go with my out of town trips. very usable zoom range.reviewed July 16th, 2009
there's no real glaring weakness of this lens, so i would highly recommend it. ditch that kit lens and go for this!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Rakuda (1 reviews)Useful focal length with excellent sharpness, color rendition, and correctable distortionIt's expensive, and slow
I've had this lens for 4 months now and I love it. It's sharp corner to corner and the distortion at the ends are easily correctable. Plus, I love the VRII on this lens, it works beautifully. Though it's expensive for this grade of lens, I find it the most versatile one for my travel since it's fairly light and has a very useful focal length. Of course, it's also slow... but then I use my primes for low-light photography. For what it does, an all-purpose travel lens, it's perfect for me.reviewed June 21st, 2009 (purchased for $625)
0 out of 10 points and recommended by Tommygun (4 reviews)Good build, sharp, VR, good rangeExpensive and slow
This lens retails around £450 which is a lot for a slow lens. Ok it has VR which can give an extra 3-4 stops depending on how steady your hand is. Generally a very good lens with good build quality and sharp results. Great travel lens but a bit expensive.reviewed June 20th, 2009
5 out of 10 points and recommended by Toby (6 reviews)Sharpness (if you are lucky to get a good specimen), little distortion, little vignettingPoor quality control of Nikon, poor build quality
This lens is an example of good construction but poor quality control.reviewed June 5th, 2009
I bought my first specimen in a Kit with a D300. I was generally surprised by quite good sharpness, good VR, little vignetting, and very little distortion - until I realized that at certain apertures (approximately f8 to f16) there was a small but completely unsharp point in the very middle of the picture.
I went to my dealer and switched the lens. Unfortunately, I did not test the new sample in the shop, because this lens No. 2 did not focus to a distance smaller than about 0.8 m (making a sound like mouse being squeezed). Trying to turn the zoom ring, I realized that something was really wrong about this lens. Went back to my dealer (facing the usual "this is the first time that a 16-85 is being returned" and replying "well, for me it is the second time") and exchanged the lens.
This time, I tested the lens No. 3 in the shop (my usual but simple test of taking flash pictures of a small print newspaper section). Comparing it with the dealer's specimen from his test range (i.e. lens No. 4), I realized that the dealer's sample was significantly sharper (the dealer agreed). I was about to buy the dealer's sample as I checked the corner sharpness across the zoom range: Two corners were completely unsharp, demonstrating that the lens was not centered correctly. At this time, a piece fell from my D300 (one of the connections holding the inbuilt flash in position) and I was about to return the entire Nikon Kit. My dealer grew slightly uneasy and agreed to have me test a specimen No. 5. Lens No. 5 turned out to be ok and I still own it. In the end, I am satisfied with sharpness, also at open aperture, very little vignetting and very little distortion). Also my D300 has not lost any pieces anymore.
I do not understand why a lens in this price category is sold like bananas at a fruit stand: If the dealer allows, the customer may choose a sample that is not rotten. It appears like an insult to the engineers who spend time to construct a surprisingly good zoom lens only to experience a lack in adjustment and quality control compromising this quality.
I would be more cautious in my statements had I not seen similar reports being posted on various sites.
If you like the lens (and there are some pro's - e.g. there are not many zoom lenes that can offer such little distortion at an equivalent of 24 mm), I can only recommend to test it thoroughly at your dealer's shop. Consequently, I would not buy the lens via the internet.
My lesson is that name Nikon does not guarantee a certain level of quality control. Particularly the DX lenses should be checked with great care before buying.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by doomin5 (2 reviews)OstroÃ âºÃâ¡MÃÂ³gÃ âby byÃâ¡ jasniejszy
Bardzo dobry obiektyw jeśli chodzi o ostrość.reviewed April 21st, 2009
Szkoda, że nie ma przysłony 2,8. Mógłby być też lepiej uszczelniony.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by cian (3 reviews)Sharpness and perfect Vr. Very good lens
sharpness, color and perfect Vr. Very good lensreviewed April 1st, 2009 (purchased for $630)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by TrevorOrionPhotography (1 reviews)EXTREMELY SHARP!Variable aperture with a max f/5.6 @ 85mm
I bought this lens in August 2008 and absolutely love it! The 16-85mm range is excellent for most situations (especially landscapes and portrait work). And, I can't emphasize enough how sharp this lens is. Amazing little bugger for the price! Most of the images on my website were shot with this lens, and I always believe the proof is in the puddin'.reviewed January 13th, 2009 (purchased for $596)
My only complaint is the variable aperture, the corner softness and distortion at 16mm combined with larger apertures. Having said that, it's not very often a photographer would need or want a larger aperture at 16mm (except for low light conditions).
Either way, this lens is fantastic and the price/performance ratio is astounding!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Enrake (5 reviews)Sharpness.Non, so far.
I think this lens is just outstanding , extremely sharp and extremely versatile.reviewed January 10th, 2009 (purchased for $500)
A very,very good lens.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by johnmh (8 reviews)Good all-around carry lens
I use this as part of my 'light' carry kit - usually paired with a 70-300. If you want, add a Tokina 11-16 for really wide landscapes.reviewed January 7th, 2009 (purchased for $580)
It's a great all-around lens in a small compact package. Better image quality than the 18-200 - if you're willing to swap lenses, this lens paired with the 70-300 is a FAR superior carry combination.
I have 'good' glass but sometimes it's just too much to carry around - and some places you really don't want to be carrying a 24-70 and 70-200.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Thoppa (17 reviews)Almost everythingbokeh ?
An excellent standard zoom.reviewed December 7th, 2008 (purchased for $525)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Canon-Nikon-user (14 reviews)very sharp, very corrected wide end, very good color rendering, small .Vignetting at wide end wide open.
I think this lens is just outstanding , extremely sharp and extremely versatile.reviewed December 1st, 2008 (purchased for $600)
The best light weight travel lens for my D300 , D80 and D90.
I had 2 copies of the aF-S17-55f2.8DX and this AF-S16-85VR is much sharper at coners and edges.
I think f2.8 zooms are expensive because it's faster and usually had better build. etc, not because it is sharper than a consumer lens in similar range.
And in real life the VR2 beats the f2.8 any time unless your subject is moving fast in low light, but in real low light , f2.8 is not fast enough to stop motion blur any way, get a this lens or a Tamorn 17-50f2.8 with some primes , the af-S17-55f2.8Dx is expensive but not sharper than this lens or the good copy of the Tamorn.
I still think, with its great range and VR2 , this lens is the best in this range in any mount, even better than the 24-105f4LIS on a 5D.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by ppk (8 reviews)compact, sharpexpensive
I sold my jewel of the 1980's and 90's a 35-70 AF 2.8 metal nikkor. With the DX format, the old 35-70 just did not have a desirable range. So i moved on to the 18-135 DX mm and then the 24-85 AF and then on to the 16-85 DX mm.reviewed November 3rd, 2008 (purchased for $699)
The construction of the 16-85 is tight, has a substantial metal barrel, and no play as the lense extends. As i mentioned, this is my fourth lense in this range, and while not constructed on the level of the 35-70 2.8, it is much superior to the other mentioned lenses.
Sharpness is very good, and between the four lenses, it is the best. When you have the camera pointed at an object, focus just snaps in there - and you can see the clarity right on the viewfinder. No hunting around for focus with this lense!
Color is great! We are really making some headway in the medium cost lenses today. I have seen none of the problems of chroma with like the 18-135 exhibits. Distortion is also only noticable at the 16 mm to 20 mm or so area. But, not near like the 18-135 mm.
This lense is not cheap, but it takes as as good a photo on a D80 as the 35-70 2.8, and shoots as good a photo on the same subjects. Two different eras, but if you are going DX, and there is no reason not to, the lense if probably the best of Nikons offerings.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by hbalben (1 reviews)Great Range Nikon qualityNone
I use the lens on my D300 with great results. I was surprised at the quality and fast fouus speed.reviewed September 10th, 2008 (purchased for $699)
The colors are terrific also.
Great all around lens -- the kind you can use all day and not get tired.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Rob917 (1 reviews)Image Quality, 16mm at wide endLens hood tends to come off
I am very pleased with lens. I bought it in July and have used it every day since. It's my main lens and I combine it with the 70-300mm VR. These two lens are just about all I need on my D80.reviewed September 9th, 2008 (purchased for $588)
The image quality is great-sharp, no CA and very little distortion as compare to my 18-135mm.
I'm very comfortable with the construction quality. The VR is very effective I have gotten some hand held shots in very low light which I didn't expect to get.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Caki (1 reviews)Great build quality, Sharp, 16mmprice, weight, aperture range
Great lens from 16mm to 85mmreviewed July 29th, 2008 (purchased for $792)
The DxO module for the Nikon D80 is no available!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by dellbuzz (2 reviews)high quality, sharpprice
Great construction solid performer. Perfectly weighted on my D80. 16mm is great and definitely worth $ over 18mm lenses. I already have many shots saved by 16mm that my friend with an 18mm couldn't get. The 85mm end beats 55mm hands down, making this an ideal day-trip lens.reviewed July 21st, 2008 (purchased for $800)
Dxo has a new module for D80, anyone tried it on dxo 4.5? I can DL it but it won't load in the dxo 4.5
It doesn't say v5 only on main page but
10 out of 10 points and recommended by bridges (4 reviews)range, IQspeed
Great build quality, no zoom creep at all. Fantastic range, can't beat this for a DX body.reviewed June 4th, 2008 (purchased for $720)
sharper than my 17-55 f2.8 this is the one to carry around
10 out of 10 points and recommended by umberto (4 reviews)SharpNone really
Great lens! Perfect for travelling! Very sharp images and VR works like you expect it to! Excellent image quality with excellent build, size and weight.reviewed May 30th, 2008 (purchased for $650)
I highly recommend this lens!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by kryglik (1 reviews)sharpness (even at large apertures), vr, 16 & 85 mmslow, price
I bought this lens to replace my 18-70. I wanted to get more sharpness at wide settings and this lens does it very well. It is sharp everywhere. It's even sharper than some of my prime lenses! 16mm can save few shots, but it is not so big difference from 18mm. It feels better to zoom as it's tougher to rotate zoom-ring.reviewed April 1st, 2008 (purchased for $950)
Build quality is same as with 18-70 (or any other basic nikon zooms). VR is a nice bonus.
Summary: Performance matches it's higher price. Highly recommended!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by Bobcopeland (7 reviews)Very sharp. VR works well. Build quality
The build quality on this lens is excellent. Everything is quite tight and there is no wobble of the lens barrels when it is zoomed to 85. In general the construction feels much better than my 18-70 which it is replacing.reviewed March 19th, 2008 (purchased for $822)
Resolution is very high, noticeably better that the 18-70 and similar to the 18-135.
Image distortion is not serious but is visible when photographing straight lines towards the edges of the image eg. brick wall. The good news is that it is easy to reduce to an acceptable level with Photoshop Elements 5. I have now calibrated it so I know at a each main focal length I can quickly apply a correction factor. DXO will no doubt do a better job but I am happy enough with this method.
This is my first VR lens and it works very well. I can now pretty much forget camera shake during lower light photography.
It focuses close enough for many general close-ups and I can see my Sigma Macro lens staying in the bag for more of the time.
Overall I can't fault this lens. It provides all of the features I want in a lens, high resolution, VR, good zoom range, close focus, fairly compact.
It will make a very good vacation lens but its a pity Nikon say it is not suitable for use with a teleconverter. If anybody tries one please put in a report for the rest of us.