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Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR comparison

Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
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Courtesy of our trusted vendor B&H Photo, today I received a loaner copy of the new Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR. It’s about $1259, very reasonable as such things go, and pre-ordering is a smart move, as it is likely to be a very popular lens.

The last thing I need in a 16-35mm lens is VR. I'd rather have lower distortion or somethin’. It is what it is.

This lens isn’t small. While it’s f/4, it’s a big honkin’ lens, so it’s got to win me over on optics, and f/4 doesn’t exactly add to its versatility. Then again, its business end is a lot smaller than the 14-24, so pick your phallus, so to speak.

Anyway, the $1800 question is whether the 16-35 is a better lens than the 14-24 zoom, or perhaps the 17-35 or the 24-70. All of which makes limited sense, since only the 16-35 and 17-35 are matched in range, and f/2.8 is hardly f/4. Yet everyone wants to know, and so I’ll be bending my will to that question.

About an hour after UPS showed up with the 16-35, I scedaddled over to my favorite mosaic for comparing lenses, and I shot the Nikon 14-24, 24-70 and a few more lenses for comparison. The Nikon 17-35 is still en-route from LensRentals.com and I expect to throw that into the mix later.

Unfortunately, analysis and writing/presentation take 10X longer than shooting lenses! And with an annoying head cold, I can't stay up past midnight to write it up as is my wont— but soon!

Like the recent Canon ultra wide comparisons in DAP, my primary goal is to show the differences between the zooms. But as time allows, a few prime lenses eg Zeiss get interesting also. Not everything can be done at once, it’s easy to throw up a “few quick shots” but I never do that as I must cross-check and double-check and write things up with care because I know my readers rely on my findings for purchase decisions. A single comparison the better part of a day, not including the shooting.

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