24-85mm VR or 16-85mm VRII?

Started Oct 5, 2012 | Discussions
ErikkaSmith Regular Member • Posts: 248
24-85mm VR or 16-85mm VRII?

Ok, I made a thread a while back about whether or not to replace my 35mm f/1.8G with the 28mm f/1.8G and I won't. Rather, I'll just buy a zoom lens cause I dont have one (except the 18-55mm VR kit).

I shoot DX and I'm looking into 2 lenses: 24-85mm VR (which is a kit lens of the D600) or a 16-85mm VRII (only for DX). I've done my research and in terms of VR, the 16-85mm wins but the Image Quality of the 16-85mm is similar to the 18-55mm VR kit lens that comes with a lot of DX bodies. The Image Quality of the 24-85mm VR is ambiguous.

Can anyone suggest which lens I should take? I'm only looking for Nikon NIKKOR lenses.

 ErikkaSmith's gear list:ErikkaSmith's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D3100 Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +2 more
Nikon D600
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Bob GB Senior Member • Posts: 1,729
Re: 24-85mm VR or 16-85mm VRII?
1

ErikkaSmith wrote:
I shoot DX and I'm looking into 2 lenses: 24-85mm VR (which is a kit lens of the D600) or a 16-85mm VRII (only for DX). I've done my research and in terms of VR, the 16-85mm wins but the Image Quality of the 16-85mm is similar to the 18-55mm VR kit lens that comes with a lot of DX bodies. The Image Quality of the 24-85mm VR is ambiguous.

Can anyone suggest which lens I should take? I'm only looking for Nikon NIKKOR lenses.

First of all both lenses have VR2, so basically the same VR performance.

Secondly, the 16-85 is better than the 18-55 in all areas, IQ, VR, build, range, focusing override, don't rotate when zooming and more.

For DX the 16-85 is the best lens.

hoof Senior Member • Posts: 1,904
Re: 24-85mm VR or 16-85mm VRII?
1

This is easy.  Get the 16-85mm, unless you anticipate getting an FX body in the near future.

I own both the 16-85mm and the Tamron 17-50 F/2.8 VC.  The vast majority of my photos with both are under 24mm.  When I owned a Nikon 18-200 (then later a Tamron 18-270), most of my photos were under 24mm.  24mm is not all that wide on DX, at least for the kinds of shooting I do.  Heck, I found 18mm just a bit too narrow for a walk-around lens (but 16mm works out great).

The 16-85mm is, IMO, the best of the DX-only slow zooms.  It replaced my superzooms because I found myself rarely needing to go past 85mm when using a slow zoom, and when I did, I almost always had time to swap in my 70-300, which has better IQ.

But my main point is that 24mm isn't wide enough for a walk-around zoom.  The only way I'd consider it for DX is if it was paired with the Nikon 10-24mm, but I suspect the 10-24mm would end up on the camera 90% of the time while the 24-85mm only got used rarely.  The 16-24mm range dramatically increases the usefulness of a walk-around lens, IMO

 hoof's gear list:hoof's gear list
Panasonic LX100 Olympus Tough TG-4 Nikon D750 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +21 more
Chuck Steenburgh
Chuck Steenburgh Senior Member • Posts: 1,982
What Bob GB and hoof said
1
 Chuck Steenburgh's gear list:Chuck Steenburgh's gear list
Casio Exilim EX-FH20 Nikon Coolpix S800c Nikon D40 Nikon D70 Nikon D7000 +22 more
GlennW Senior Member • Posts: 2,125
Re: 24-85mm VR or 16-85mm VRII?

This is easy. The 16-85 & 70-300 make a great sunny day pair.  Metal mount + distance scale. Both lens share the same 67mm filter size. The equivalent on FX is the 24-120 to cover the same zoom range. Save the 24-85 for the D600 FX shooters.

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 GlennW's gear list:GlennW's gear list
Nikon D5300 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +4 more
David141
David141 Junior Member • Posts: 26
Another viewpoint
1

Another viewpoint:

If you play around with the widgets on slrgear.com it would appear that the full frame intended 24-85 zoom is astounding on a reduced frame camera, certainly more impressive than the DX lens. See here and here .

If you load the widget for the 24-85's performance on the D800 it's horrible in the corners, explaining its less than stellar reputation on full frame.

As someone above suggested, the 24-85 and the 10-24 would make a very handy pair on DX.

lost_in_utah Regular Member • Posts: 458
Re: Another viewpoint

I vote 16-85 over the FF lens. I actually just purchased the Tamron 17-50 non VC with a $100 MIR. Tamron is offering a $75 MIR on that lens currently if you're into that kind of thing. Good luck with your decision.

Photographer124 Regular Member • Posts: 171
Easy answer: 16-85mm (nt).

no text here

 Photographer124's gear list:Photographer124's gear list
Nikon D3200 Nikon D750 Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
brianjb Regular Member • Posts: 378
Re: 24-85mm VR or 16-85mm VRII?

I vote for the 16-85 also.  I have the 16-85 and the 24-85D.  The 24-85 focal range is fine if you shoot entirely above 24mm, but otherwise it is awkward.  The 16-85 is simply more versatile which is what you want a zoom lens to be, because it will not win on image quality over more specialized lenses.

Think about what lens you prefer as a general lens that you can use for a variety of situations you shoot in, and pick that lens.  Then supplement that lens with more specialized lenses for your specific needs where image quality is more important than convenience and versatility, because you won't get all three in a zoom, at least not if you are critical when it comes to image quality.

GlennW Senior Member • Posts: 2,125
Re: 24-85mm VR or 16-85mm VRII?

I shoot DX and I'm looking into 2 lenses: 24-85mm VR (which is a kit lens of the D600) or a 16-85mm VRII (only for DX). I've done my research and in terms of VR, the 16-85mm wins but the Image Quality of the 16-85mm is similar to the 18-55mm VR kit lens that comes with a lot of DX bodies. The Image Quality of the 24-85mm VR is ambiguous.

Can anyone suggest which lens I should take? I'm only looking for Nikon NIKKOR lenses.

It is true between 16-85 & the 18-55 or 18-105, IQ is very similar for their ranges. Differences show up in close focus distance, build quality, price. Usually 18-105 or 16-85 beats 18-55 until you need something faster for low light. I doubt if 24-85 would be put on DX body for lens test. Any of the 3 will be too poor on D600 to do lens test there.

Final choice 24-85 on D600 or other FF camera, but 16-85 on your DX. Best news may be having 16-85 back in stock since Thailand floods.

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 GlennW's gear list:GlennW's gear list
Nikon D5300 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +4 more
OP ErikkaSmith Regular Member • Posts: 248
Re: 24-85mm VR or 16-85mm VRII?

Oh man, I haven't replied to my own thread for a long time; but thanks all for your suggestions!

It's hard to choose between the two above since there has been heavy contention regarding the fate of DX in the near future, as per Thom Hogan's recent entry. People here have mixed views about the 18-55mm (DX) and the 16-85mm (DX): some say it's both are similar except for build quality and focal length, other says that the 16-85mm (DX) is far superior than the kit lens (18-55mm [DX]).

I'm now leaning towards not buying either since I might migrate to FX if there's enough evidence that DX will begin to fade away (though, FX makes everything far to expensive for photography to be a 'hobby') which makes the 24-85mm (non-DX) a better choice and the 16-85mm, being a DX, would probably be useless for when DX becomes only part of a subculture in the future. And I do plan to buy another DX body as an upgrade should Nikon still support it.

I might probably just wait until January until I can buy a standard zoom lens, whether non-DX or DX, to replace my 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR kit lens. I'll just stick to the kit lens, and see where the road takes me.

BTW, I photography mostly in indoor situations without flash using a 35mm f/1.8G (DX) and it's pretty nice. I'm beginning to use my kit lens also in indoors but with a Nikon SB-700 Speedlight (which is also pretty nice!).

 ErikkaSmith's gear list:ErikkaSmith's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D3100 Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +2 more
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