Nikon 16-85 vs kit 18-55

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by telecomm, May 29, 2009.

  1. telecomm macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #1
    I'm thinking of upgrading my 18-55 kit lens to the 16-85. I like the range of the kit lens (but a bit extra at either end wouldn't hurt), but I can't afford the 17-55 f/2.8.

    So, would the upgrade to the 16-85 result in a noticeable improvement, or would my money be better spent on something else?
     
  2. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    The 16-85 is a very sharp lens. The out of focus areas will be rather harsh, so if you're looking for a good bokeh effect, you may want to look elsewhere.
     
  3. telecomm thread starter macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #3
    Yeah, I saw the photozone review.

    I've got the AF-S 50mm f/1.4, so I'm covered for bokeh, though. :D

    I'm just looking for a better "travel lens" right now, so I'm not too bothered about the harsh bokeh. Extra sharpness is good, though, and I'm guessing the updated VR would be an improvement over what I've got now too.

    The photozone review (cautiously) suggests the 16-85 might even be a more desirable lens than the 17-55, which I was surprised to see, and the 16-85 gets pretty good reviews all over, which is what got me thinking about this upgrade.
     
  4. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #4
    It's a well regarded lens without a doubt. I could never handle the variable and slow apertures, but that's a personal preference that's based as much of need as anything else (someone shooting mostly in daylight or with a lot of flash isn't going to have much of a problem).
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    I'd think of a third-party f/2.8 standard zoom. Tokina's 16-50 mm f/2.8, for instance, is a very capable lens that -- in terms of built quality -- is pretty much pro-Nikon/Canon quality. It costs about the same as the 16-85 Nikkor.
     
  6. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #6
    The alternatives are really non-nikon constant aperture zooms. I'd check those out too, but the nikon will probably be nicer.
     
  7. telecomm thread starter macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #7
    Yeah, I was thinking of third party lenses as an option too, but I don't really know where to start there.

    One further complication: I've got a D60, so no focus motor (which, I think, rules out the Tokina).
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #8
    You're right, that particular Tokina lens doesn't have a focus motor (the newer version of the 12-24 mm f/4 zoom does). You could still get a Sigma 18-50 mm f/2.8, though.
     
  9. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #9
    Third party lenses makers (which generally means Tamron, Sigma and Tokina for most discussions) have gotten considerably better of late. Quality control and consistency are probably the two big bugaboos still around with them, with Tokina perhaps being the nearest to Nikon/Canon type consistency. It's usually considered the best of the three.
     
  10. telecomm thread starter macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #10
    Nice!

    OK, that's another to add to the list of possibilities.

    I guess the choice is now between

    Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC Macro HSM:
    - constant aperture of f/2.8
    - suitable for macro use

    Nikon 16-85mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX:
    - VR II
    - better zoom range

    Checking here in Oslo, the difference in price is negligible.

    Hmmm... at the moment I'm leaning towards the Nikon, but it's a close call. (I've got a trip to Rome coming up soon, so I think it's one or the other before then!)
     
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #11
    The VR is not really an advantage: first of all, the larger initial aperture of the f/2.8 zooms more than compensate for the lack of VR and especially at normal focal lengths (16~40 mm or so), VR won't do very much.
     
  12. telecomm thread starter macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #12
    Yeah, I've been thinking about that too.

    I must admit to really liking VR, even on my kit lens. I've been able to get usable mid-focal length shots off at shutter speeds as slow as 1/6, so I've come to really appreciate VR. So I guess it's a question of getting a stop or two from the wider aperture, or from the slower shutter speed with VR.

    I guess another thing that makes me a hesitant about the Sigma lens is the shortage of reviews (more specifically, reviews at the familiar sites, making it easy to compare different options).

    Here and here are favourable reviews, but this one makes me a bit more wary.
     
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #13
    No, it's not just about getting one or two stops from a faster aperture, you have a much, much shallower depth of field which gives you a lot more creative freedom. It's one thing the Nikon cannot deliver.
    Check out photozone.de. Just a word of caution: you should not overly rely on one particular review as there are plenty of ways to weight individual results. Another thing is that the Sigma is quite a bit cheaper than the Nikkor.

    For instance, the one `bad' review you've linked to, the author ended up buying a 17-85 mm Canon zoom and he writes what a great lens it is. Photozone, for instance, didn't like this lens too much. Just saying ;)
     
  14. telecomm thread starter macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #14
    That's true, and I hadn't really given that much thought. (I guess I'm thinking of the usual mixed architectural/landscape shots, where I would probably be using mid apertures). Now that I think about it, the viewfinder on my D60 isn't the best, so the wider aperture would help there too. (This is one thing I've really noticed with my 50mm f/1.4.)

    Thanks, how did I miss that one (definitely one of the sites I usually consider)!

    Here, though, the 18-50 and and 16-85 are pretty much the same price. (Or did you mean the Nikon 17-55 f/2.8, which is definitely much more expensive than either.)

    Edit: Oh, and thanks to everyone for your replies here, this has been much more helpful than my post in another forum!
     
  15. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #15
    Not where I am. The Sigma costs about 400*€, the Nikkor about 600 -- i. e. 50 % more. I don't think the relative price difference will be any different where you are. Obviously, you're getting quite a bit, the Nikkor has received good reviews, but personally, I like lenses that give me a shallow depth of field.
     
  16. telecomm thread starter macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #16
    Yeah, I'm going to have to give the difference in depth of field a bit more thought.

    On the topic of price, though, the best price for the (more widely available) 16-85 I've found is 4299 NOK, which is about 479 Euros, but I've only found the Sigma at one place, going for 4485 NOK (about 500 Euros).

    Edit: Found a good price comparison site, and the best prices for each here are: Nikon 16-85 for 4145 NOK, and Sigma 18-50 for 3499 NOK. More in line with the differences OreoCookie suggested above.
     
  17. Captain Zero macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    #17
    I love my 16-85. The only thing I would change about it is the slow aperture, but I've dealt with that by getting a couple fast prime lenses. I would think about any situations that you've been in where you would have taken advantage of the 18-50 range as well as a faster f stop. I'm quite happy with my 16-85 and 35mm and 50mm 1.8 primes for low light and portrait work.
     
  18. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #18
    first, the Sigma is not a macro. there is no such thing as a macro zoom - in their terminology, it just means "closer focusing."

    VR is more useful at longer focal lengths, but isn't as useful if you usually take photos of anything that moves.
     
  19. telecomm thread starter macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #19
    Yeah, I think I may end up going that route. I've already got the 50mm f/1.4, and I think my next prime will be the 35mm. I think I'd be OK with changing to a prime when necessary. (I'd put my 50mm on the camera, for example, to take photos in a museum or aquarium, which has produced results I've been really happy with.)

    Yup, I know that; "suitable for macro use" = "close focusing".
     
  20. iTiki macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Location:
    Maui, Hawaii
    #20
    I had the 18-55, but now have the 16-85. The upgrade has worked out very well for me. I have no regrets. The extra range has been great. I find myself changing lenes much less often. Seeing as you have the faster primes, you should be covered all the way around
     
  21. AlexH macrumors 68000

    AlexH

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    #21
    I love my 16-85. It's my go-to lens. Covers a nice range, nice and sharp; I love it!
     

Share This Page