The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR zoom is Nikon’s answer (after many years) to Canon’s EF 17-40mm f/4L zoom. But I suspect that the Nikon offering will yield superior performance, though that remains to be seen, especially at the 16mm end.
As with the newly-announced 24mm f/1.4FG ED, the new 16-35mm f/4G goes to great pains to achieve high image quality, though sharpness at 16mm looks a bit dubious off-center. As a “first”, the 16-34/4G include VR (vibration reduction) functionality, something not yet seen in such a wide-angle zoom for a DSLR. I would personally rather have omitted the weight and extra complexity of the VR lens group, but I’ll reserve judgment until I can put it through its paces.
The 16-35/4G ED VR is a “G” lens, which means that it cannot be used on Canon with a mechanical lens adapter, thus reducing its versatility for those of use with more than one brand. Very disappointing since for many types of landscape work, manual control is perfect, a gain not a loss.
The AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR will be available in early March 2010.