Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4 G ED VR Lens

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83% Silver Award
The 16-35mm F4 VR is an excellent alternative to the 14-24mm F2.8 as a lighter, more affordable ultra-wide angle zoom for Nikon's full frame DSLRs.”

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Key Features

  • 16-35mm focal length
  • 24-52.5mm equivalent focal length on DX cameras
  • F4.0 constant maximum aperture; F22 minimum
  • Ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
  • Image stabilization, vibration reduction (VR II) up to 4 stops
  • 77mm filters
  • 0.28m/11.02" minimum focus
  • Nikon F mount for FX and DX DSLRs

Product Description

Nikon's 16-35mm F4 VR lens is the first true wide zoom to sport optical stabilization, but thankfully doesn't compromise imaging performance to do so. It's very well built with dust and moisture sealing, and has very effective autofocus and stabilization systems. The one outstanding flaw is huge barrel distortion at wide angle on FX, although this can be corrected in software if necessary. As long as you can live with the distortion the 16-35mm is an excellent choice, particularly for full frame users.

Specs

Principal specifications
Lens type Zoom lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 16–35 mm
Image stabilisation Yes (vibration reduction (VR II) up to 4 stops)
Lens mount Nikon F (FX)
Aperture
Maximum aperture F4.0
Minimum aperture F22.0
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Aperture notes rounded blades
Optics
Elements 17
Groups 12
Special elements / coatings two ED glass elements, three aspherical lenses and Nano Crystal Coat
Focus
Minimum focus 0.28 m (11.02)
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Ultrasonic
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale Yes
DoF scale Yes
Physical
Weight 685 g (1.51 lb)
Diameter 83 mm (3.25)
Length 125 mm (4.92)
Materials Plastic barrel with magnesium alloy sub-structure, metal mount
Sealing Yes
Colour Black
Zoom method Rotary (internal)
Filter thread 77 mm
Hood supplied Yes
Hood product code HB-23
Tripod collar No

Reviews

DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other lenses in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Optical Quality
Build Quality
Autofocus
Image Stabilization
Ergonomics and Handling
Value
Silver Award
Silver Award
83 %
Overall Score

Nikon's 16-35mm F4 VR is the first true wide zoom to sport optical stabilization, but thankfully doesn't compromise imaging performance to do so. It's an excellent choice particularly for full frame users, but you do need to be aware of its pronounced barrel distortion at wide angle.

Good For

Users of full frame Nikon SLRs looking for a wideangle zoom that's less expensive and more portable than the existing F2.8 options.

Not So Good For

Architecture and interiors (due to distortion at 16mm), DX users (due to limited range)

User Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Guidenet, Mar 30, 2012 GMT:
    Long Term Keeper

    When this lens came out, the usual nay-Sayers and try-em-outers were making all kinds of negative mini-reviews online and in forums. I was concerned because this focal range is about perfect for me. I needed a superwide for my D700. Further, 24 was my pivotal hot spot for wide angle on landscape images. Had I bought the 14-24 I'd have had my super-wide, but would have always been fighting that long side. If I needed a little longer, I'd have to swap lenses. If I then wanted slightly less, ...

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  • VASEDENY1, Mar 29, 2011 GMT:
    The Nikon 16-35mm F4

    Mostly used on DX and film cameras, it's one of the sharpest lenses I've ever tried. If you stop down just a little (like F5.6), it,s already razor sharp corner to corner. The autofocus is REALLY fast and accurate, cannot even hear it, when focuses. The filter thread is very handy, when you like polarizer effects on wide angle. The only disadvantage for me is the big size, bigger and heavier than the usual wide angle lenses, but that's just a small discomfort to take for the superb quality. I ...

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  • Badger1952, May 29, 2013 GMT:
    Love this lens

    I added this to D800 kit a few months ago and did a bit of architecture (interior and exterior) shooting in Provence - yes it does "suffer" from the usual distortion at 16mm but what wide-angle lens doesn't - I have also aquired DxO Pro Optic 8 software and run the images through it - it automaticallly corrects for camera/lens combinations.  I would heartily recommend adding the DxO package to your purchase of this lens.

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Videos

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Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4 G ED VR Lens by DPReview

Questions & Answers

QUESTION

Am I picking the right lenses for the D800?

Yet another one of these threads, I'd like some opinions :) I'm planning on moving from DX to FF and am trying to figure out my lens strategy. I'm in absolutely no way a pro, and I never will be; I photograph whatever ends up in front of my kit, be it landscape, portrait (in the sense of facial pics of family), general travel photography, macro etc. I even occasionally try to photograph my nephews ice hockey attempts (indoor sport). So, my kit right now: D7000, Nikon 35 f1.8, Nikon 50 f1.8, Nikon 105 f2.8 Micro , Nikon 70-200 f4 and Nikon 18-300 f3.5-5.6. I am getting the D800 and these are my thoughts: Sell the 35 f1.8 DX and the 18-300 (seeming it could be used in crop mode but really not the quality lens I'd put on the D800?). Thus keeping 50, 105 and 70-200. To this, I'd love to add something wide and I'm thinking 14-24 f2.8 or 16-35 f4. I'm the type that read review after review after review (not always a good thing once passing the confusion level of reading to many peoples ...

jdb264c asked
1 year ago

ANSWERS

The 14-24 is the mother of all wide angle zooms (so great that Canon shooters buy it and put with using MF). That said, there are some pretty usability issues--it's super heavy, requires an expensive filter kit to use filters, bulbous, prone to flare, etc). The 16-35 is pretty darn good and accepts pretty standard 77mm filters for less cost. Nice constrast and color. The center is extremely sharp, but the borders fall apart somewhat--though if you stop down you're probably fine, esp. when you move toward 20mm. Lots of distortion at 16mm. Not so good for architecture but fine for landscape. In your case, I think I'd go for the 16-35. The 24-70 is a nice lens. You already have several of the focal lengths covered in primes (esp. if you add the 16-35). I'd get it if you're shooting events or something where you miss shots if you can't jump from wide to short tele very quickly. I like mine for landscape here in Alaska as I'm often shooting in bad conditions. My fingers have bad ... Continue Reading

shawn in ak answered
1 year ago

The 14-24 is a fine lens, but not without it's flaws.   Optically, the main one is that it flares easily, in spite of having nano coating.   If you shoot it outdoors, you'll be well advised to be sure the front of the lens is shaded. A lot of people say their 14-24 is the best lens they rarely use.  I guess I'm with them.  It's so wide on FX that it's not something you typically walk around with, and it's so big you have some issues packing it.   So it's often passed over instead of packed.   The 16-35vr sounds a lot more usable day to day. Since you have the 70-200f4 (a great lens, from what I've heard), you might as well decide if you want to be an F2.8-zoomer or a F4-zoomer.   (14-24, 24-70, 70-200 or 16-35, 24-120, 70-200).    Can't go too wrong either way there.    I've got the F2.8 zooms, and while I love them, I also wonder if I'm going to take them all on a 3-week trip to Europe in the fall, and if so, how to carry them.   The F4 set would all go without question. Continue Reading

PHXAZCRAIG answered
1 year ago

The 14-24mm is a super lens but only if you need its properties. I use it for nightscapes and for that is the undisputed heavy weight champion. But for walkaround I find it too wide and has curvature so it needs to be used in a way that creates a great image. It is large and heavy. So I would not consider it a travel lens. As far as 16-35 goes, never used it but it sounds appealling. I think personally I would prefer the Sigma 35mm F1.4 as its the sharpest lens DXO have ever tested and it gets a lot of rave reviews. Its cheaper as well than the 16-35. It depends on how often you think you would shoot at 16mm. If I wanted a wider photo I would do a panorama as I prefer those to wide angle lens shots anyway. So a high quality useable focal length like 35mm would be handy for travel, light, takes filters, super sharp, little distortion and could make a super high quality handheld panorama (simply swivel on your hips and take 3 photos, take a photo of your hand before and after the ... Continue Reading

1 year ago

QUESTION

Which one to buy: AF-S 16-35mm f/4 G ED VR or the new 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G

Hi all, I have a new D800. I want to buy a ultra wide angle lens. Can you help me decide between AF-S 16-35mm f/4 G ED VR and the new 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G? I want to use filters as well since I do mostly landscape photos - this is why 14-24 is not an option. I like wide angles so the 2mm difference between 18-35 and 16-35 is quite some :) I read some post on forums  and on cameraegg that 18-35 is better than 16-35. Hmm...confused. Any thoughts and advices appreciated. Thanks

alyo asked
5 months ago

ANSWERS

Most of what you hear from comparisons that say the 16-35 is better is due to either sample variation or those trying to rationalize their purchases for a lens that provides, at best, similar performance. Here are the facts: In favor of 16-35 * provides a wider FOV * provides VR * professional build In favor of 18-35mm * compact and lightweight * much less expensive * more consistent edge-to-edge performance (sharpness) In terms of IQ,  most differences in sharpness can be attributed to sample differences.  For example, this review, Photographylife , was conducted by a blogger who is loathed to praise any "cheap lens." They repeated their test because they were so surprised at the outcome. In general, the 18-35 was typically a little sharper than the 16-35 in the center, and a bit more sharper in the corners. However, the test performances was more alike than different.  I doubt that there would be many comparisons which would produce noticeable differences between the tested lenses. ... Continue Reading

gatorowl answered
5 months ago

Hmm, not sure what to make of your reply. Evidence is evidence, whether first hand or second hand. There is nothing to suggest that secondary data sources are less reliable than primary data sources. Let me see, do I give more weight to your word--a person who has posted on DPReview 145 times--or to reputable reviewers who have examined and tested dozens of lenses each? To me, that's an easy call. However, the point of my post was not call your competency as a reviewer into question. I have little reason to suspect that your 16-35mm did not perform better than the 18-35mm you test. My point--which is not inconsistent with your comparison--is that these two lenses are so close in IQ, that any noticeable differences are almost certainly due to sample variation. This is better explained here Canon 24-70 sample variation. If you don't have time to read the entire article, scroll down to the middle of the article where Roger Cicala compares the resolution of the 24-70 to the 70-200 (two ... Continue Reading

gatorowl answered
5 months ago

Probably mainly because it's a much older design with no SWM AF motor in the lens. It definitely has its fans though, and you can find many a heated debate about it in the archive of this forum. You can't realistically shoot the 17-35 at f/2.8 unless you're only wanting a sharp area at the centre of the frame. The rest of the frame will be very soft, partly due to aberrations and partly due to field curvature. Most wide zooms have a very curved field of focus. You need to stop down to at least f/4, better f/5.6 at which point the aperture advantage is gone. The 17-35 also lacks the Nano crystal coat, which believe it or not is not just marketing bumpf but really does make a difference to the colours and global contrast of the lens. The 16-35 is always in short supply. The other day at my local store the rep mentioned they have 80 backorders and only receive stock of 20 per month. That might be one reason. Continue Reading

thelenspainter answered
5 months ago

QUESTION

Nikon 16-35mm, 17-35mm, or 28mm for astrophotography?

I was in the middle of this debate about 3 months ago, and thought I made my decision to get the 16-35mm. I was looking at tutorials for timelapse, and going over the information I had set aside for astrophotography and realized that anything above about 2.8 is not preferred for astrophotography like pictures of the Milky Way or star trails. I'm just really not sure at this point. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I do not have enough money for 2 new lenses, as I just bought a brand new Nikon D610, but I can afford one of the listed lenses. The 16-35mm is wide open at f/4, the 17-35mm and 28mm are both wide open at f/2.8. What are your thoughts? Is there another wide-angle lens that would do an awesome job with landscapes as well as astrophotography?

MadTay asked
10 days ago

ANSWERS

To the OP:  First, welcome to dpReview.  If you don't take too many of us too seriously, this is a great website.  :-) Second, if you have not already done so, I would suggest posting your inquiry on the Astrophotography forum. Continue Reading

PSCL1 answered
8 days ago

why not the 14-24? It's a great lens Continue Reading

Rogerlange answered
6 days ago

I would use the 14mm F/2.8 Samyang Lens. Milky Way Example Aurora Borealis More... Continue Reading

Carsten Pauer 2 answered
8 days ago

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