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  • Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED VR Nikkor Wide-Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras
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Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED VR Nikkor Wide-Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras

by Nikon
| 42 answered questions

List Price: $789.00
Price: $629.00 and eligible for FREE Two-Day Shipping Details
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  • AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens
  • Designed for use with Nikon DX digital SLR cameras, including the D40, D60, D80, D90, and D300
  • 24-128mm effective focal length for APS-C sensor cameras
  • Vibration reduction allows in-focus shots with longer exposure times (up to four shutter speeds slower)
  • Ideal for wide-angle shots and portraiture

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13 new from $610.77 27 used from $369.99 6 refurbished from $500.00
Important Warranty Information: All Nikkor autofocus lenses from Nikon Inc. USA include four years of Nikon Extended Service Coverage at no charge. Be sure to look for the Nikon ESC certificate with every Nikkor lens purchase you make.

Frequently Bought Together

Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED VR Nikkor Wide-Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras + B+W 67mm Clear UV Haze with Multi-Resistant Coating (010M)
Price for both: $668.90

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Technical Details

  • all-glass-optical
  • interchangeable-lens
  • image-stabilization

Read about our customers' top-rated lenses and cameras on our review pages: Lenses, Digital SLR Cameras, Compact System Cameras

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 85 x 72 x 3.4 inches ; 1.1 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B0013A1XDE
  • Item model number: 2178
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: November 24, 2003

Product Description


The compact and highly versatile Nikon 16-85mm wide-angle-to-medium telephoto zoom lens is ideal for a broad range of shooting situations, from interiors and landscapes to portraits. The lens is equipped with Nikon's Vibration Reduction technology, which minimizes the effects of camera shake. This allows handheld shooting at up to four shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible, producing dramatically sharper images at distance. The lens also offers two extra-low-dispersion (ED) glass elements, which minimize chromatic aberration to produce superior sharpness and color correction, and three aspherical lens elements, which virtually eliminate coma effects and other flaws, even when used at the widest aperture. And photojournalists will love the exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM), which facilitates accurate, high-speed, ultra-quiet autofocusing.

Other features include a Super Integrated Coating (SIC) that offers superior color performance and reduced ghosting and flare; a closest focusing distance of 1.3 feet throughout the entire zoom range; a rounded seven-blade diaphragm that improves the appearance of out-of-focus image elements; and a one-year warranty.


  • Focal length: 16 to 85mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/3.5 to f/5.6
  • Zoom ratio: 5.3x
  • Minimum aperture: f/22 to f/36
  • AF-S Silent Wave Motor: Yes
  • Vibration Reduction: Yes
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.3 feet
  • Maximum angle of view: 83 degrees
  • Dimensions: 2.8 inches in diameter and 3.4 inches long
  • Weight: 17.1 ounces
  • Warranty: 1 year

Product Description

Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED VR Nikkor Wide-Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras (2178)

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 165 customer reviews
Overall, the build quality on this lens is very good.
Roger J. Buffington
The 16-85 is also significantly smaller and lighter than the 18-200, and the lens extension is much tighter, as well there is no zoom creep.
G. M. Matthews
Wide angle is sufficient and the portrait focal length is very good.
QA Guy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

382 of 391 people found the following review helpful By d80shooter on May 21, 2008
I have both the 18-135 and the 18-200, yet this lens has become my everyday go to lens for most of my photography. The 18-200 has tremendous versatility and I have made many great photos with it. However the softness and CAs around the edges is quite pronounced and definitely shows in larger prints of 12x18 and larger (I could have a poor copy). My 18-135, on the other hand, is tack sharp throughout the frame and is a great lens. However, the lack of VR is a limiter for using the lens as an everyday lens where low-light, hand held shots are often required.

Now to the 16-85VR: As I shoot mostly landscapes and outdoor shots, the 16mm wide end was particularly attractive to me. Only 10% or so of my shots are beyond 85mm, so I don't think I'll miss the 85-200 range. The build quality is about like the 18-200 without the zoom creep. I conducted informal tripod tests of this lens against my sharp 18-135 and the 16-85 actually exhibited better sharpness and contrast all across the frame from 16mm-50mm at all apertures, with the sharpest apertures being f8 and f11 (no surprise there). However, wide open is sharp as well, with very little light falloff at the corners, even at 16mm. In the 60mm - 85mm range, the 18-135 was usually just a bit sharper (except at f-11, where they were equal) for both the center and edges (you have to look really hard and pixel peep at 100% to notice the slight difference). Given the great sharpness (especially in the 16-50mm range), VR, and almost total lack of noticeable CAs, I can highly recommend the 16-85 for a general purpose, on-the-camera-all-the-time lens.
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160 of 168 people found the following review helpful By Photobug on May 30, 2008
As an avid landscape photographer, I have been pleased with the convenience of the Nikkor 18-200VR on my D300 (which I absolutely love!). But I have been hoping to get sharper images and greater focal range by switching over to the new Nikkor 16-85VR paired with the 70-300VR. Overall I am very pleased with the 16-85. My initial observations:

- I noticed a significant improvement in the exposure of landscape shots (not as dramatic on indoor shots). Outdoors, I regularly shot with a -.7 adjustment as images tented to be slightly over-exposed with the 18-200. With the 16-85 lens the images came out with much improved exposure. Images just look better to the eye and as noted in comparative histograms from many test shots.

- Ditto with improved color accuracy. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much better colors were captured with this lens. Again, this is most noticable in outdoor images.

- Improved image sharpness was not as pronounced as hoped but at least equalled or exceeded 18-200 in most instances with a shutter speed of at least 1/20 sec. Surprisingly my initial test shots revealed that between 1/6 to 1/20 the VR was just comparable or in some instances not quite as good as the 18-200 across all focal lengths from 18-85. I often end up shooting at slow speeds and have been impressed with the ability to shoot so low with VRII in the 18-200 and the 16-85.

- Balance is better with 18-200. Perhaps this is a minor nit, but for handheld shots, the D300 seems slightly better balanced with the larger 18-200 than with the 16-85. Perhaps this allows for a steadier hand at slow shooting speeds.
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192 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Alex on March 27, 2008
I missed one. 70-300 VR is great, but 70mm is often too much and 18-135mm lens has no VR, so "no flash" in museums, aquariums etc. usually means no pictures.

Most Nikon fans probably wonder if this new lens is a worthy alternative to 18-200 VR. 18-200 VR lens covers the range of this lens almost completely, adds plenty on telephoto end and costs about as much. So optical quality of 16-85mm VR lens better be very good. Not many reviews and test results are available on the web at the time of writing. I spent hours searching for test data and found only one French site that had detailed test results.

The major weaknesses of 18-200 lens - bad distortion and corner softness are clearly addressed in this new lens. Distortion is about half of what you get with 18-200 lens, and sharpnes is on par with 70-300mm VR. The only weakness is relatively harsh bokeh - out of focus background blurring.

My personal experience with the lens is pretty much in line with formal tests. The lens is as sharp as it gets. Tansitions between two objects of different color are usually one pixhel wide. Distortion, noticeable at 16mm is not very bad and quickly disappears as you increase focal length. VR works like a charm. This lens is not fast, but professionals should have incentive to pay 3 times as much for their toys. I think 16-85mm VR and 70-300 VR lenses is probably all amateur like me needs, with light and compact 16-85mm VR lens mounted on camera most of the time.
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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Dan De Lion on April 25, 2008
I've now taken well over a 1000 pictures with this lens and a D300 body. I've used it in the desert, in snow fields, in Las Vegas at night, in heavy overcast sky and indoors at a wedding without a flash. The results are easily up to professional standards - sharp, no chromatic aberrations, low distortion.

The VR makes it easy to hand hold down to 1/5 of a second. This, to some degree, makes up for the lens' relatively slow speed. The plus side of the trade-offs this lens design makes is that you get a much greater focal length range than the much more expensive, much heavier, faster glass - while retaining great performance.

Build quality is great with no lens creep. It feels like the two front extension tubes are metal (I don't know that for a fact). There is only minimal wobble at the front of the lens when it is fully extended. This movement is about the same as found in any fixed focal length Nikkor lens.

It's a bargain at $650.

Dec, 2011 -- After several years of use and tens of thousands of pictures: This lens is super sharp. It easily outperforms the 16 MB sensor in the D7000. It is capable of 24x30 inch prints with pro level results.
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