Reviews of the new 16-35mm/f4 AF-S VR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jose_angel, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Photozone.de review on the 16-35VR; link.
     
  2. ... and by Photoreview (Australia); link.
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Photozone's sample images indicate poor edge/corner performance at 16mm, f8. I had expected a lot more from this lens.
     
  4. (Thanks Shun)... just to add that Photozone use a D3X and Photoreview (Australia) a D3S for testing.
     
  5. Disappointing, at least the photozone review. And is it just me or is that a LOT of distortion at 16mm
     
  6. Disapointing, especialy at that price point. Makes me want to keep my D300 and just get the Tokina 11-16 for half the price.
     
  7. Looks like this lens has the weakest point at 16mm... To my taste it`s worth the sacrifice if in benefit of the longer end.
    The highest peak looks to be at 24-28 which is interesting, although I`d prefer that peak towards 35mm.
    Another issue I`d mention is that the VR looks to be effective up to three stops at 35mm and up to two stop at the wider end (Photozone). It could mean that provide an advantage of two stops over a f2.8 lens (e.g. @ 35mm) or only one stop at the widest range. Photoreview looks to follow Nikon`s literature.
    I`d say this lens could be perhaps worth it for a 12Mp camera user who currently need a new lens in this range, and not interesting for those who don`t need it but are decided to invest on any outstanding new release.
     
  8. hmm, after reading that photozone review, the just-announced tokina 16-28/2.8 just got a lot more interesting.
     
  9. I listened to the Nikonians podcast where they compared to the 17-35 and the 14-24. They said the 16-35 was better in every respect, the 17-35 was more soft away from the centre. The best was the 14-24. I don't particularly look at sample test, just not me.

    At the end of the day I think, sure, get the latest and greatest, hey the 17-35 was the previous latest and greatest. LOL.

    A good thing for me is that I don't use high ISO, always on base ISO and most on tripod. So FX lenses are not an interest for me. The good thing is that these lenses are out, so they cannot sky rocket the prices on the used market like they did with the 28mm f/1.4. I can either get it used down the road whenever or if not worth it I can get new.

    As a DX user, maybe a 17-55 and a 70-200 VRII would be ideal for me. Hey compare the 17-35/16-35/14-24 to my Sigma 10-20, haha. I think I would spend more money on my travels instead of gears. But two lenses I just adore is the 200/2 and 300/2.8.

    As a compat shooter, for travel and film, the 20/4, 28 and 24/2 and 35/1.4 should be awesome in manual focus and for the price. If I pick up hiking maybe a 20/4 and a 100/2.8 would be ideal.
     
  10. For landscapes (according to the test), a typical shot at 16mm and at f/11 shows vignetting almost double comparing to the 14-24 (0.92 to 0.520). The results of resolution at the borders and the extremes which are important to landscape photography are also far behind. At the f/8, f/11 the difference can be from 200 (line widths per picture height) to 800. The distortion at 16 as we know is also not good.
    for 1200$ these are not very good results. Maybe for 900$?
    Nikos
     
  11. for 1200$ these are not very good results. Maybe for 900$?​
    So a 25% discount will buy your tolerance for a lens you wouldn't otherwise consider worth using? Surely if it's not suitable for some application, you would look for a lens or lenses that would work better for that application, instead of just saying it will be OK if they knock a little off the price.
    I don't mean you personally, of course. I'm just puzzled by that approach to picking lenses.
     
  12. Thanks John Morris. Very well put.
     
  13. Yikes, did you see the size of the 16-35 F4 compared to the 17-35 F2.8. Nikon lenses are getting bigger and heavier and I'm getting older. Not a good combination. I'm going to have switch from a backpack to a roller.
     
  14. Yikes, did you see the size of the 16-35 F4 compared to the 17-35 F2.8. Nikon lenses are getting bigger and heavier and I'm getting older. Not a good combination. I'm going to have switch from a backpack to a roller.​
    I hear you, Michael. That's why I invested in the m4/3s system and purchased a Panasonic 7-14/4 lens (14-28 in 35mm terms) for my GF-1...it's so tiny compared to these things.
    I used to own the Nikon 20-35/2.8 and they've just gotten bigger with every incarnation of these wide zooms.
     
  15. For the size, I rather keep my current 18-35. One reason I look forward to shoot film in a manual body with the 52 filter sizes fast primes.
    Seriously, I would just the 14-24 for home and whatever 17-35 or 18-35 or 20-35 you already have if you need it for filters. But these 2 sets are really for at home. I also might have a travel kit. Yes if I really get into film Leica's are very nice. Now you would say 52mm filters are huge....
    But few occasions, quality lenses make you sell more. With my camera club there are some world class images as stated by judges and competition winners and ones been exhibited.Very very few of those made a sale.
    At the end of the day for a sale, you meet the customer and that in most cases is not about a photographic quality photograph. We have a peer, a woman in her 60s, she is maybe one of the leading photog who does make a sale. Never shot film SLR before. All she does is really point and shoot it. She use is a Canon 350D and light lenses, shot in P mode. She took a photograph of customers outside a cafe playing music and Photoshopped it so it had a New Orleans feel to it, it was purchased by the owner. She also shot a print on holiday, at dawn but it was shot on a monopod which was bought, she came 2nd runner up at the even't s competition with a parade festival at night but she got a marketing photograph that was in demand.
     
  16. So a 25% discount will buy your tolerance for a lens you wouldn't otherwise consider worth using? Surely if it's not suitable for some application, you would look for a lens or lenses that would work better for that application, instead of just saying it will be OK if they knock a little off the price.
    I don't mean you personally, of course. I'm just puzzled by that approach to picking lenses.​
    John, equipment has price tags. Unfortunately evaluation is made taking price tag (too), under consideration. It is the "value for the money" issue. Something that does not suit your needs, does not suit your needs regardless of the price. And for me personally (I know you were not making this point personally to me) this lens does not suit my needs so I will not buy it regardless of the price.
    But you probably agree that one has different expectations from a cheaper than a more expensive lens. All I am saying is that based strictly on these test results, this lens looks overpriced. If the tests results are consistent among other reviews too, then I assume that there will be people that will be discouraged to buy it. Having a significant less price of course does not alter the capabilities of the lens but it may push more people to buy it. And that is even more true if you think that there are not real alternatives on this category at the moment. I hope my point is clear.

    Regards.
    Nikos
     
  17. I must say that I am a little dissapointed by this lens. It seems that Nikon now expect users to correct their new distorting range of lenses themselves rather than by design.
    I was initially thrilled to read of this lens and I thought that with the VR and all the exotic materials within it would be something useful to me. Now I see the size, the slow speed and the wild distortion and my interest evaporated like morning mist on a hot day. Yesterday I picked up my Ai'd 28mm f/3.5 Nikkor lens from the 70's and realised how far we have drifted away from those core values of compact size, low distortion and high sharpness.
     
  18. I agree. I believe we all expected that a f4 pro grade lens should have 1) higher optical performance, 2) more compact design and 3) lower price. That`s what I have read in the latest times.
    Athough I think this is a good lens, it can be said that doesn`t fulfill expectations. Three out of three are too much dissapointments... it could have been big but very cheap, or optically mediocre but compact, or...
    The only attractive I see on this lens is the VR system. Not only for available light but as mentioned, to shot with a reasonable DoF at lower speeds.
    Out of curiosity, I have been checking the white brand offer; the 17-40L has more or less the same performance (and looks that the same level of acceptation by their users). Good for them that is smaller (no IS).
     
  19. Jose, a few comments to your points. 1) If you take a look at the photozone 5D Mk II tests of the EF 17-40/4L and EF 16-35/2.8L II, they have similarly poor MTF towards the edges. IMO the optical performance does not seem out of line for a lens of this type; not perfect but similar to the competition. Also, I've seen many people post images that show that when the Nikon 16-35 is focused to longer distances, the edge performance improves. 2) The goal of compactness is lost when VR is put into a lens like this. To work well, I would intuitively think VR needs to be implemented in a part of the lens where the light is nearly collimated. Thus, a longer lens. 3) The build quality of this lens appears very good, and also it has nano-coating which may be expensive to manufacture, and VR. It is nonetheless priced high, I agree. I think 900€ would be more appropriate considering the performance and the features, and 700€ would make it a steal.
    I've been closely following the discussion and samples posted by early users of the 16-35 and also done a bit of testing myself. It is also a lens that could solve some problems in travel photography. Often, in large publicly accessible interiors in, e.g., churches, monuments, palaces, and musums do permit photography but not the use of a tripod. Going to high ISO is fine when you need to stop movement but in interior photography, lighting is often quite high contrast. A lower ISO would yield a significantly higher quality of image in terms of tonality, colours, and dynamic range. Stopping movement using a high shutter speed is not always needed in a wide angle interior shot, as the people can be quite small in the frame and thus the movement effect will be barely visible and not so distracting. I suspect these large interiors belong to the far field part where the edge MTF is better, but I haven't verified this. Even if they do, and the image quality is fine, there is the fact that the lens takes significant bag space and would have to serve for other wide angle shots, including those of smaller spaces and people shots with close distances to subject. In people photos the VR is of no benefit at such short focal lengths, unless I'm going for a deliberate blur shot where the people will show as blur trails and the surroundings will be sharp. I think in weddings for some dance floor shots, this lens could be useful as a special effects lens. However, both of these potential applications that I have for this lens are rather specialized and while I like the handling of the lens much better than the 14-24 or even the 24-70, the price is too high.
     
  20. Myself, I am a bit surprised. I am looking to this lens as a fx version of my 12-24 f4, and according to PZ it is worse than the 12-24 is on DX. On the other hand, I have seen a number of examples online where this lens performs quite well in the corners. then again, the Photoreview review seems much more positive.
    I have to say I am not happy of the test images posted on PZ this time... there is almost no image where corners are in focus, which makes any assessment difficult, except the (expected) one that this lens has a really, really ugly bokeh ;-).
    Other than this, I wonder whether there is a problem of QC with this new lens, since some samples seem to perform quite fine, and some not. This would of course not be a point in its favor. Then again, to put it on a D3x makes its limitation come out more than my eyes are used to: I tried resizing to 12 MP to simulate my D700, and it looks, of course much better: like this I would say it resembles a lot what I get from D200 + 12-24...
    Fortunately for me, I will not be seriously considering a purchase before a year or so, so I can see all the possible reviews come out in between...
    L.
     
  21. according to PZ it is worse than the 12-24 is on DX
    How did you come to such an interpretation? They didn't test the 16-35 on DX and on FX (D3X) it easily outresolves the 12-24 on DX (D200), if I am reading the figures correctly.
     
  22. Perhaps I was not explaining myself well: the 16-35 does about the same kind of work on FX as the 12-24 does on DX: same range of FOV (ok, 12dx=18fx), same aperture. And I'm looking for a 12-24 equivalent for FX. Besides, I own a D200 and a D700 so the kind of resolutions (here meaning MP) I use are practically equivalent between the two formats. So for me, comparing a 16-35 on fx with a 12-24 in dx makes sense to answer the question: will this lens give me the same level of performance in fx as I had in dx with the 12-24? If the answer is yes, I can get the lens, since the 12-24 performance is OK for me.
    Now, according to PZ, the answer would be no, since, for example, comparing 16mm f4 with 12mm f4 I get for the 12-24 excellent/very good/good (center, borders, corners), versus for the 16-35 excellent/good/poor. I am here assuming (which I suppose is fair enough) that the broad classifications are comparable. What is not clear to me is what would be the effect of testing with a D3 / D700 instead than with a D3x. Would the LW/PH scale simply down but the broad categories remain the same (i.e. if it is "good" on D3x would still be "good" on D3)? I'm not 100% sure I have to say, e.g. the photoreview numbers look quite similar between 14-24 and 16-35 and this is a test made on a D3s. When the SLRgear review will come it will be interesting in this respect since I believe they use the D700 as full frame test body. In principle, I am not really interested to know how the lens performs a 24 MP, since I have personally no need for such a resolution, and I don't foresee ever needing it.
    So, if I believe PZ, if I shoot the same photo, say, at 12mm f4 with the D200+12-24 and with the 16-35+D700 at 18mm f4, I should get somewhat sharper results with the D200+12-24 combo. Is this true? I'm not so sure, some of the samples I have seen seem to say the contrary, some instead are quite bad. This is why I'm puzzled.
    L.
     
  23. Very interesting. If I`m not wrong, the D200 + 12-24/4 @ 12mm and f4 gives 2181,5/15,8mm=138,26 line pairs per mm. The D3X + 16-36VR at 16mm and f4 gives 3536/24mm=147,3 line pairs per mm, which is roughly a bit more than a 6%.
    The D3X will give you sharper results simply because the image is bigger, but not because the FX lens is much better. On the D700, I`d think you can be right.
    Please correct me if I`m wrong, I`m green in this topic.
     
  24. What is not clear to me is what would be the effect of testing with a D3 / D700 instead than with a D3x. Would the LW/PH scale simply down but the broad categories remain the same (i.e. if it is "good" on D3x would still be "good" on D3)?
    It cannot be calculated from the data given. But it's closer to a truncation of the tops off the D3X bars at the D700 resolution than scaling. The MTF of the lens and the MTF of the AA filter would need to be known for a more precise estimate.
    In principle, I am not really interested to know how the lens performs a 24 MP, since I have personally no need for such a resolution, and I don't foresee ever needing it.
    Well, in a few years I doubt there will be any choice. I'm pretty sure all the new cameras will have progressively higher pixel counts as computers get faster and are able to more easily process the data without hiccup. So IMO we are better off choosing lenses based on performance with the D3X.
     
  25. In this case we can see how reliable are lens tests. We have two very different opinions. I bought this lens because I need a good wideangle zoom mostly for traveling and social events and I don't want to buy used pro grade lenses. I'm satisfied with its IQ. I made some comparative tests with my 24-70/2.8 Nikkor and I could say that the new 16-35/4 equals or even outperforms the 24-70 (wide open in range 24-35mm) in terms of vignetting and edge sharpness. The VR feature is also very nice. It adds at least 2 or 3 f-stops for stationary objects. I'm very happy with my new 16-35/4 Nikkor. In my opinion this lens shouldn't be compared with the 14-24/2.8 Nikkor but with the 17-35/2.8 Nikkor. The 14-24 is very different lens.
     
  26. To those who already have the 16-35VR... does your samples have that focus ring "little play", described in Photozone?
    (" ... it takes a few millimeters of movement until the focus unit actually follows the focus ring..." )
     
  27. I'm pretty sure all the new cameras will have progressively higher pixel counts as computers get faster and are able to more easily process the data without hiccup. So IMO we are better off choosing lenses based on performance with the D3X.​
    I agree with you on the fact that cameras will all go a bit more up in resolution, although I don't know how much more. But if I can get a bit philosophical and a bit off-topic here: camera pixel count is not what I base my choices on. My photos have two uses: web, and print, which never exceeds A3. I actually dislike large prints. I am an amateur of course, so I can do precisely what I like from this point of view. I do mostly street photography, and the limiting factor for me in terms of resolution is not pixel count, but motion blur and focus precision. I will never exploit a level of resolution requiring tripod and mirror-up, or all the other subtleties that landscape photographers need to systematically get the best out of 20+ MP. I have shot with a D3x and I can easily say that that level of resolution for my style is useless, and more, gets in the way.
    So for what I'm concerned cameras might well go to 100 MP. At some point, I might well buy one of them but surely not because of the 100 MP, more likely despite them. In the kind of photos I do, the final product will never take advantage of anything much beyond 12 MP. So, to go on with the hyperbole, because I had to buy a 100 MP camera because it was all that was available, should I also sell all my lenses and replace them with stuff that outresolves 100 MP, when I will never be able to keep my subject still enough to use 100 MP, AND my final print will never make any use of 100 MP?
    This assessment of course is solely based on my needs, and its conclusions do not pretend to be universal. On the other hand I believe the principle should be universal, that needs are measured on the final result one is after. But I have the impression that a lot of people are more after "what can be done" than after "what thy want to do".
    Ciao
    L.
     
  28. Jose,
    mine has 1-2mm "focusing ring play" and the feeling is a bit smoother (in negative meaning of this expression) than on 24-70/2.8. It doesn't bother me because I use manual focus very seldom on AF-S lenses especially on wide angle lenses.
     
  29. I'll be sticking with my 17-35MM. I also have the 14-24MM, but for me the lenses have different uses.
    Here is an image take with the 17-35 some years ago and a also a 100% crop of the extreme corner of a 4000dpi scan. Its quite sharp in to the corners. I get similar results on my D3.
    There is nothing like real world results to test you lenses.
    Best,
    Anthony
    00VzHk-228747584.jpg
     
  30. And the crop
    Anthony
    00VzHm-228747684.jpg
     
  31. Benjamin, thanks.
     

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