Ahhhh, the Nikon 16-85 VR, the workhorse of my DX kit! When I was looking for a good multi-purpose mid range zoom, it came down to this lens and the Nikon 18-200 VR. Because I tend to error on the wide side of things, I went with the 16-85. My reasoning was pretty simple. If I am carrying more than 1 lens (which I normally do in my go-lite DX everyday/travel kit), I would just slap on the 70-300 VR II for the occasional telephoto shot. If for some reason I was restricted to 1 lens, well….I figured I was being restricted because of weight and the 16-85 VR II is a bit smaller and lighter. Everyone is different, but for me, I wanted to the 2mm on the wide side. Needless to say, it has served me very well. Here are my findings after a spending some quality time with my trusty companion.
- Good range: You can compose everything from very tight wide-angle style portraits, to mid range landscapes, to some very reasonable compressed scenes (like the buildings below).
- Great image quality: I think it is a pretty sharp, contrasty lens, with excellent colors. Again, I’m not a pixel peeper, so your results may vary. That is why I include some photos at the bottom of this page. Alll images were shot with the Nikon 16-85 VRII.
- Size: This is a great take anywhere/travel lens. It is pretty inconspicous and can easily fit in most camera bags or backpacks. Heck, I have put mine in a Camelbak and went mountain biking with it. A very convenient lens!
- Build: I think it is built pretty good. It’s not like Nikon’s 2.8 pro series lenses, but it sure built better than the old 70-300 G. I have worked in the rain with it, and it hasn’t missed a beat.
- VR: VR stands for Vibration Reduction. You can turn it on or off. I turn it off when I am using a tripod. When it is on, it helps you get a better percentage of sharp shots by magically stabilizing the lens. This means you can use your camera in darker conditions without a flash. I don’t know how it works, but if I were to guess, I would bet a gyroscope is involved. Again, that is just a guess….
- AFS: This is Nikon’s specialized focusing system. Basically, it means it is a pretty quick focusing lens that will work on all Nikon camera bodies because the focusing motor is in the lens. This technology makes it very quiet while focusing as well.
- This lens, coupled with a telephoto and a nice low light prime, will provide you a very complete digital camera kit.
- Again, this is a purely subjective decision. If you are looking for a good one lens solution, you might consider the 18-200 VR II. I haven’t used it, but I have heard great things about it.
- This is DX Lens. That means on your DX, cropped sensor camera, the effective focal length is about 24mm-120mm if it were on a standard 35mm film camera.
- Also, because it is a DX lens, it won’t perform at its best on an FX camera. For a comparable range on your FX camera, you might consider Nikon’s new 24-120mm f/4.
- Because of its variable aperture, it doesn’t make the best portrait lens. For portraits, you want a larger aperture (smaller f stop number) so you can blur the background to emphasize your subject. You might want to consider pairing it with nice prime lens that has a smaller aperture. Maybe something around a f1.8 or f1.4. If you would like any recommendations, feel free to shoot me an email.
I bought mine from B&H Photo Video. You can find the lens Nikon 16-85 VRhere.
Things I Like:
Things To Note:
Here are some of my favorite images that I made with my trusty Nikkor 16-85 VR II.