Nikon 16-85 mm VR f/2.8 ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by orcama60, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. Hi guys. I wonder if Nikon could build this lens in f/2.8 ... it is really annoying and dissapointing that third party lenses between 17-60 mm f/2.8 are not as good at the only Nikon lens in that category, the Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 which by the way, it is too expensive. There is nothing ( except for the 17-55 f/2.8 Nikon ) less expensive and affordable that we could buy without breaking the bank. Personally I do not want to go for a third party lens. Had the tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and I returned it because of the really strong barrell distortion. Never tried the Sigma or Tokina on that category but according to the reviews, those lenses are not nearly as good as the Nikon but the problem is that this lens is too expensive, so why Nikon does not build this lens, the 16-85 mm VR in f/2.8 ? I do believe that zoom range is much versatile than the 17-55, and if they add f/2.8, it will be a killer lens, a "must have one" and I will be willing to go for not matter what. I find 17-55 too short in the zoom range and too expensive to justify it, so that is why I am begging for this mentioned lens to be built in f/2.8, so what do you think guys ? Does anybody knows something about if this lens will be built in f/2.8 ? If they would, it will be in my camera for ever as a main lens.
  2. So, are you saying that even though it would be more expensive than the 17-55/2.8, which you consider to be too expensive, you'd still want it? With the VR included, it would be even more expensive still - probably very similar in price to the 70-200/2.8 VR, the price for which you probably already know.

    Of course, the very compact and lightweight 16-85 we currently know would become larger and much heavier if it were to get the large, fixed aperture. A lot more glass would be involved.
  3. If they made a 16-85/2.8 VR, it would be larger, heavier and more expensive than the 17-55. It's not just a matter of making it with a larger hole in the back - making lenses faster and making zooms have constant aperture requires more and larger glass elements, and optical glass of the quality Nikon uses is very expensive.
  4. if they make that lens in f/2.8 the sale of the 17-55mm will drop. bad for marketing. seriously, that will be very expensive and heavy. that will boot it out of its category and target market.......but that will for sure be a killer lens for weddings and similar events. upper body workout should be part of your regimen though :)
  5. It is beyond both the laws of physics and economics to make an excellently sharp, distortion-free, constant f/2.8, wide zoom-range, VR, and inexpensive lens. Something has to give. You can not have it all.
  6. Note that Nikon does not seem to make pro zooms (i.e. f2.8) with much more than three-X zoom ration. The 17-55mm is less than 3x, as is the 70-200mm f2.8, 24-70mm, and the 14-24mm f2.8 isn't even 2X. A 16-85mm is more than 4x, so I highly doubt Nikon would ever build it. If you like the Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 but think it's too much, why not buy a used one? I did, and don't regret the purchase.
    Kent in SD
  7. Don't knock third party lenses so readily. I have the Tokina 12-24 f/4 I find it to be excellent, as good as the Nikon for sure. I'm very seriously considering the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 HSM or the Tokina 16-50 f/2.8 (if the Tokina AF is fast enough).
  8. I'm amazed how many people seem too think a f/2.8 standard zoom is some sort of holy grail. Sure, they have their place for professional users mainly (weddings, PJ come to mind), for whom the pricetag of the 17-55 should be no major issue. But for amateur/hobbyists? Seriously need it?
    Well, I don't. I'm perfectly happy with the 16-85VR for what it is: an allrounder, walkaround, ease-of-use lens with some strong points (the range mainly) and some weak points (the aperture). So to battle the weak point, I add a few primes, all f/2.8 or faster, and tada - solved. Likely at a lower weight too, and possibly cost.
    So, in my view, Nikon has to fill one gap: a 16 or 18mm DX f/2.8 prime :)
  9. The Nikon 17-55 isn't free of distortion either, in fact, I doubt it's much better than the Tamron in this respect. Software like DxO Optics Pro can often successfully remove distortion, provided the lens and camera combination are supported. I haven't used the 16-85 yet but I'm sure that at its widest end, there will be a fair amount of barrel distortion as well.
    No lens is perfect, lens designers will always have to make compromises, especially in complex (fast) zoom lenses.
  10. A 16-85/2.8 would be perhaps 50% bigger and heavier than the current 17-55/2.8 and cost 2-2.5k unless made to a low optical and mechanical quality standard. The Canon 24-105/4L is a wide range zoom with a constant aperture, much more moderate specs than a 16-85/2.8 and yet it isn't all that good (see full-frame review on A narrow focal length range allows the lens to be highly corrected and reasonable in size (well, the 17-55 certainly is, but for the Nikon 24-70 you might say it isn't).
  11. >>>So, in my view, Nikon has to fill one gap: a 16 or 18mm DX f/2.8 prime :)
    I'm glad I'm not the only one to recognize this. Attention Nikon: Give us wide AF-S primes. I don't even care if it's not f2.8 -- a 3.5 compact, lightweight would be great.
  12. So, the OP wants lens that goes wider and longer than the 17-55 f2.8 Nikon currently makes... and wants it for less money?
    Well, if they do build it, I'm placing a pre-order for sure!
    I think this might be a less-than-useful thread... just sayin...
  13. I love my 16-85, why mess with something terrific. If I need more speed, I use the 35/1.8, 1 1/2 stops faster than a 2.8 lens. They cost less and weigh less than any high quality 2.8 mid-zoom I know of.
  14. Will, this has been a frequent topic here for as long as digital SLRs have existed. I think the problem from Nikon's point of view is that the lenses would be more format-specific than longer lenses or zooms and therefore the sales volumes for the individual lenses would be smaller. I think there is a clear need to update the wide angle primes and the outcome should be both a new compact prime lineup (perhaps DX only) and a fast prime lineup for low light (e.g. wedding, low light documentary) users; the latter should be FX. So far the only recent wide angle prime is a landscape/architectural wide angle prime (the 24 PC-E which is designed for stopped down work) but it doesn't address the needs of the f/1.4-f/2 crowd. I have gone to manual focus Nikkors (28/2) and Zeiss primes (35/2, 25/2.8) for this - and we all know how hard it can be to focus these lenses using the stock screen of a modern DSLR. The quality of these manual focus lenses is somewhat better than the current autofocus Nikkor prime wide angles though. For autofocus I use the 24-70/2.8 which is a really good performer for PJ type work but it's huge (i.e. not at all unobtrusive), expensive, and only f/2.8 (though its wide open sharpness makes partly up for its shortcomings). By contrast the 28/2 is very compact and has charming image quality characteristics; for me it is easier in some ways to work with a small lens when photographing people at close range.
  15. I Ilkka is on to something about Nikon's needing to think of lenses for both FX and DX. I still don't seem Nikon getting into single focal lenses. These specialty lenses are becomming a niche product for Sigma and Zeiss. I think Nikon's biggest need is for pro lenses that are smaller and more affordable to support their FX cameas. They need two or three f4 VR zooms, like Canon has. They also have other lenses that badly need updating such as 300mm f4 VR. Now that FX sales are growing, they also need to update the 80-400mm VR to at least be AFS. It seems to be true that Nikon doesn't have any really good choices for FX single focal lenses under 24mm, but they do have the outstanding 14-24mm f2.8. I'm betting they stand pat on that and put their developement money into lenses with broader consumer appeal. That won't be a 16-85m f2.8 either, due to what it would cost!
    Kent in SD
  16. F2.8 zooms are a lot heavier. Given how well modern DSLRs handle low light and ISO--plus VR--there really isn't as much need for glass speed.
  17. Personally I'd be more than happy to see a 16-85/4.0... Not as bulky and expensive as a 2.8 lens would be but still a big step up from the current 5.6 max aperture model I own.
  18. Gogu, whether a 16-85 f/4 would be a big step up would still be an open question, wouldn't it? The existing 16-85 is a pretty proven solution. Yes it is f/5.6 at the long end. We know that when/if we buy it. Most of us also know it's a very nice lens for a bit too much money.
    Kent, I personally would not call primes "speciality lenses", nor a niche market. No matter which way you look at it, zooms seem stuck at f/2.8, primes are often enough faster than that. And f/2.8 is fast, but f/2 a lot faster. In addition, the point Ilkka makes on primes being small and unobtrusive is spot-on too. It's horses for courses, and both zooms and primes have a clear role. Nothing speciality about that.
    Nor did I ever or will I ever understand that "need" for constant f/4 lenses. To me, it is an assumption that constant aperture lenses are better, and one with very little substantial proof. Maybe in the past, but the current designs?
    And f/4 isn't all that fast. The good old 18-70 "kit lens" was faster for a considerable part of its range...
    That said, yes, Nikon would be nice to update some lenses in the line-up. For me, the 80-400 is the most serious candidate, more than the 300 f/4. But we'll just have to wait and see what comes out.
    Ilkka, good point that Nikon should not focus on one specific sensor format, and I should have left the DX part out of my remark. But reason I called it DX: a 16mm FX prime would be a seriously different animal from a DX one, judging from the size differences between the FX wide angles and DX wide angles. And the FX crowd already have the 14-24, what more does one want for wide-angle work? ;-) (yes a smaller one...)
  19. Well they definitely could make at least a 16-85/4 VR. They just don't want to. Wish for a good zoom? Buy a lot of expensive 2.8 ones...
    Heh, I see I'm not the only one who'd welcome such a lens.
  20. Wouter Willemse wrote:
    Gogu, whether a 16-85 f/4 would be a big step up would still be an open question, wouldn't it? The existing 16-85 is a pretty proven solution. Yes it is f/5.6 at the long end. We know that when/if we buy it. Most of us also know it's a very nice lens for a bit too much money.​
    First of all, I just stated *my* opinion and yes, I believe that a *constant* f4.0 max aperture would be a great improvement for this lens, after all it would be only one f-stop "darker" than the holly Graal of the pro zoom lenses, that’s an f2.8 max aperture!
    That said, I own this lens and I believe it's a terrific lens in both focal range and IQ.
  21. Alex Iwonttell wrote:
    Well they definitely could make at least a 16-85/4 VR. They just don't want to. Wish for a good zoom? Buy a lot of expensive 2.8 ones...​
    Well, you definitely have a point here Alex...
  22. Gogu, not saying you cannot have your opinion. All I'm saying is that the assumption a constant f/4 16-85 "will be better" is just an assumption, which may also prove to be wrong.
  23. Wouter, theoretically you are right but we both know that an f/4 constant aperture would be something *every* photographer would like to have on this specific lens. I fail to see what would be "worst" in such a lens comparing to the actual f/5.6 lens. Who wouldn't welcome a faster lens?!
  24. Gogu, I don't want to drag this on too long, but no, I would not immediately welcome it. Because it would make lens larger, and more expensive. And F/4 is not all that fast. A constant aperture is an empty feature to me, I fail to see why it would make a lens better.
    But most of all, I'm not too much into craving for non-existing lenses, I rather draw my NAS-roadmap on existing items.
  25. Wouter, it's as you said...a matter of opinions:)
    I just believe that an f/4 is of course bulkier than an f/2.8 but not that much, I'd say it's at the limit of the convenient weight/size. And a constant f/4 IMHO it's not that an "empty feature" at all, it's just one f-stop darker than an f/2.8 pro lens and I don't like to try and "guess" what my aperture is at a given focal length when working at A and shooting at low light. But as I said above, that's only my two euro-cents;-)
  26. Can you even imagine how many cigarettes and how much sake the Nikon lens designers must have consumed, debating just these very same topics?
  27. Jerry, .... :)
    But as Alex mentioned above, it may not be only a matter of design difficulties/problems...
  28. Thank you guys for your answer. For a lens designer, I don't think it is impossible to build a 16-85 mm VR f/2.8. I do agree it will probably be a bulky lens, heavy, larger and far more expensive than the 17-50 f/2.8, so why in heaven, they built the 70-200 mm VR f/2.8 then ? Because the difference ( in range ) between the 17-50 f/2.8 and the 16-85 is not that much, is it ? I am just saying that 16-85 built in f/2.8 will be a much better lens than the 17-50 f/2.8. Everybody, according to what they say, agree that the right focal distance for a portrait picture is 85 mm, so this lens, the 16-85 actually is a very good lens not just for being tack sharp, but because it is kind of wide angle and also a mid telephoto ( 85 mm ) which is the right focal distance for portrait pictures, so why they do not make it in f/2.8 so it will be a lens that will enhance the weeding shooter's capability and will eliminate the need to switch from one lens ( 17-50 ) to another with more range ( like the 70-200 f/2.8 ) ? If they don't build it, so I guess the way around it is to invest in 3 lenses, the 35 f/1.8, 50 f/1.8 and the 85 f/1.8. And also, why Sigma built a lens 17-70 mm f/2.8 which is very close to what I am asking here as a suggestion and Nikon can not do it ?
  29. The Sigma 17-70 is actually f/2.8-4.5. Variable aperture is easier to make. I used to have one. It's a touch faster than the Nikon consumer lenses and has macro but it's not quite as sharp.
    If you want a portrait lens, buy a portrait lens. An 85/1.8 would be a good option.
  30. Hey, now: The Sigma 17-70mm 2.8-4.5 macro hsm af is my all around everyday lens and does a darn decent job of close-ups when I don't have the Sigma 150mm 2.8 Macro attached.

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