Customer Review

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed gem by manufacturing quality issues., July 19, 2011
This review is from: Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED VR Nikkor Wide-Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras (Camera)
Much have been told here about it, and "I agree" with the most of it! In lieu of repeating similar accolades, let me add a perspective of "coming down" from a F/2.8 pro set, and a same-time Canon system user:

I think the consensus is clearly that optically Nikon made a great product, clearly aiming at the competition from Canon. It is a product complementary to the equally great 70-300 G-VR lens. I like to see that this lens has a relatively low distortions on wide end. This was a great flaw in many other Nikon's "prosumer" lenses, like the old 24-85mm f/2.8-4D, which brought so many people upset to the "Canon camp." When I compare the results of the 16-85 to images made by the old pro-class 35-70 f/2.8 D, I am pleasantly surprised that I cannot see any significant difference in sharpness or aberrations. Flare control is quite fine too, AF speed not exciting, but decent.

However, I do not like to see that this lens is prone to huge vignetting with any filter attached to it. Of course in this context I wish that the front element would be more generous 72mm.

I also wished that the max opening would be f/4, but considering the excellent VR and the ever increasing ISO capabilities of the DSLR bodies, the f/5.6 is much less of an issue as it used to be. I like to see how lightweight it is! I for once favor polymers over metal, I do not share the opinion that "good quality lens must be all metal." There is more: The lens is equipped with a weather seal on its mount! Great.

However my particular exemplar has several manufacturing issues, which you also may or may not encounter. I replaced the lens and got the same issues with the replacement:

a) Autofocus motor makes the nasty "electrical spark" crackling noise: ksh-ksh-grh-grh. This sound is very obnoxious. My 70-300 is totally silent, thus my lens must have a faulty AF motor. I had to exchange the lens, the replacement is better but far from being really silent.

b) The focus ring is way to tight, I can barely turn the lens on time in some dynamic situations. Zooming almost forces the entire camera/lens assembly to twist in my right! I also think that the zoom ring is too small, placed too far fore. Generally the handling is less pleasant compared to the 70-300 G VR.

The lens is "Made in Thailand." Maybe Nikon should look into a better Quality-Assurance in its plant? It is still a great complementary product to the 70-300 G VR, building together a nice 16-85+70-300 G-VR light-weight travel set, which I now often take with me in lieu of the previous bulkier "pro" set 17-35+35-70+80-200 f/2.8. They are darker, but the optical quality is really splendid and the VR allows me to photograph stationary objects with less light.

A highly recommended product despite these issues, and a clear competitor to the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS, if you also use or consider to use Canon.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 19, 2011 7:31:23 PM PDT
Webtrance says:
It's too bad you've experienced issues with this lens. My 16-85 auto focus is whisper quite just as my 70-300vr is. My focus ring is firm yet very smooth...zoom is firm and smooth as well. I'd have to assume you got a 'rare' bad copy. Return it and get a new one!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2011 7:45:04 PM PDT
ThomasH says:
Indeed, done, I am waiting for the replacement as we speak!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2011 8:02:13 PM PDT
Webtrance says:
Good deal! I got mine from Adorama, though I usually buy from B&H. Good luck with your new copy!
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