Summary

Highly Recommended awardThe bottom line is if you’re looking for a quality general-purpose DX-format lens which zooms-out to an equivalent of 24mm, then the DX 16-85mm VR is the model to go for and easily comes Recommended. It misses out on our Highly Recommended award though due to a lack of really compelling advantages beyond existing models and the fact you can buy the DX 18-200mm VR for only a little extra. As such our advice is to think very carefully about what you really need from your general-purpose lens and how it might fit into a kit now and in the future.

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Nikkor AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

Nikkor DX 16-85mm VR Vignetting / Light fall-off

Nikkor DX 16-85mm VR Vignetting / Light fall-off

To measure the Nikkor DX 16-85mm VR’s vignetting and light fall-off we photographed a white target with a highly diffused custom filter. The lens was manually focused to infinity and tested at its shortest and longest focal lengths with its aperture wide open. The images were shot in RAW mode to avoid any in-camera corrections, then analysed with Imatest and the full areas presented here at a reduced resolution. This time, bigger percentages are better. Results for rival lenses are shown at the bottom of this page.
Nikkor DX 16-85mm VR vignetting zoomed-out
Nikkor DX 16-85mm VR vignetting zoomed-in
DX 16-85mm VR at 16mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 59%
DX 16-85mm VR at 85mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 78.2%

With the DX 16-85mm VR zoomed-out to its widest 16mm focal length and with the aperture wide open at f3.5, light falls-off in the corners to an average of 59% of the centre measurement. This is roughly similar to the DX 18-200mm VR, but noticeably superior to the DX 18-135mm, DX 18-55mm VR and DX 18-70mm when all are zoomed-out. Interestingly the best result here is earned by the D90’s DX 18-105mm VR kit lens which scored 67.7% when zoomed-out.

When zoomed-into 85mm at f5.6, light falls-off in the corners to an average of 78.2% of the corner measurement. This is the first ace for the DX 16-85mm VR, scoring comfortably higher than any of the other lenses here. The DX 18-200mm VR super-zoom comes closest at 73.4%, but there’s a decent gap between them and the other models, especially the older DX 18-135mm and DX 18-70mm which scored 58.5% and 55.4% respectively.

So a good result here for the DX 16-85mm VR in terms of light fall-off which is minimal across the focal range, and easy to correct if desired. That’s enough for our formal tests now, so let’s check out some more real-life sample images in our Nikkor DX 16-85mm VR Gallery.

 

Nikkor DX 16-85mm VR Vignetting / Light fall-off compared to other lenses (bigger percentages are better)

Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR f/3.5-5.6 vignetting wide / tele
Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR f/3.5-5.6 vignetting wide / tele
DX 18-55mm VR at 18mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 48.3%
DX 18-55mm VR at 55mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 63.9%
DX 18-105mm VR at 18mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 67.7%
DX 18-105mm VR at 105mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 69.9%
Nikkor DX 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 vignetting wide / tele
Nikkor DX 18-200mm VR f/3.5-5.6 vignetting wide / tele
DX 18-135mm at 18mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 50.2%
DX 18-135mm at 135mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 58.5%
DX 18-200mm VR at 18mm f3.5
Mean corner fall-off: 62.2%
DX 18-200mm VR at 200mm f5.6
Mean corner fall-off: 73.4%
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