Nikon Lens Review: Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED VR II
The Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G is a feature-packed, effective and easy-to-carry standard zoom without the pro price tag. Find out how it fared in our latest Nikon lens review.
There are plenty of high-end features packed into this travel-friendly zoom. The ring-type ultrasonic autofocus is fast, practically silent and comes complete with full-time manual override.
The VR II optical stabiliser is similarly top notch, offering a four-stop advantage as well as boasting an ‘Active’ mode that’s ideal for shooting from vibrating platforms or when you’ve got the shivers.
Build quality isn’t a match for the pro Nikon lenses on test but the lens is still pretty tough and beautifully put together, feeling much more of a quality item than Nikon’s kit zooms.
The only drawback is that the maximum aperture of f/5.6 at the long end of the zoom range is two stops slower than for some of the lenses on test. And f/5.6 at 85mm still gives scope for minimising depth of field.
Shot at 28mm. Excellent real-world use means you can expect fabulously sharp, high-contrast images time after time.
Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G Review: Performance
The 16-85mm acquits itself well in the lab and is a joy to use. The VR system is superb and image quality is impressively sharp, even at the largest apertures, making the f/5.6 at 85mm all the more usable.
Contrast is excellent and the lens gives superb results in practically any shooting conditions.
Lab data isn’t spectacular at 85mm, but real-world results are pin-sharp corner to corner.
At 16mm there’s only slight colour fringing, which essentially disappears at longer focal lengths.
Distortion is only really noticeable at 16mm, but even here it’s very uniform and easy to correct when editing.
Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G Review: Verdict
What’s good – Class-leading zoom range, ring-type autofocus, dual-mode stabilisation and superb image quality.
What’s bad – The maximum aperture is f/5.6 at the long end of the zoom range, and only f/5 at about 50mm.
Small on size and weight yet big on performance, this is a standard zoom that’s incredibly easy to live with. If you’re not fussed about the lack of an f/2.8 constant aperture, this lens is unbeatable.
Build quality: 4/5
Image quality: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5
Price: £420, $650
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on Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 at 6:00 am under Lenses, Reviews.
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