Unhappy with 16-85 unsure of 16-35 f4

spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
edited November 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I've been trying to get an idea about a good alternative to my 16-85VR as I struggle to get good sharp images out of it - at least it is definitely not sharper than my old 18-105 was and so I need a few suggestions from yous guys. I am really tempted to buy the Sigma f1.8 but it has no VR and I have the shakes a bit too much. If I look at the 16-35VR f4, the DxO Mark results on a D7000 indicate it is no better than the 16-85 that I have which is not much use. I would probably get better results from it that my 16-85 if the VR is as good as the 24-120's VR though (anybody know if it is the same?). The 17-55 f2.8 looks useful, but again it has no VR.

Ideally, I would like a D610 and 24-120, but I can't run to that, so what suggestions or sage advice do you guys have?
Always learning.
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Comments

  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 559Member
    I used a 16-85 on my D90. I was very happy with the wide end. The long end was so so. I had focus issues with mine. Nikon fixed it. But I found it very useful as a 16-65 walk around lens :-) The problem is finding something better for DX in that range.

    14-24 2.8 is a very good lens but total overkill on DX.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,006Member
    I can tell you first hand that the 16-35mm F4 is sharper than the 18-105mm VR. If you are shooting a lens like the 16-85mm VR wide open I could understand the disappointment, none of the consumer lenses do well in that regard. Don't put too much weight into DxO Marks, please.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,605Member
    I have been using the 17-55mm F2.8 for over five years on a D300 and now a D7100. Used it for everything from a wedding to family pictures to scenery pictures. Even for street shots it was fine. I am very happy with the sharpness. Only shoot wide open when light is an issue or trying to blur the background. From F4 to F16 it's fine. It's been my work horse for years and never let me down.

    Yea every once in a while I wish it had VR. Only used it once on my wife's D90 and it was front heavy and I did not like the balance in my hands. It's fine on the D300 and the D7100.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    Why the need for vr?
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,605Member
    I use to be able to brace properly to get shots under 1/30 of a second. With age my keeper rate of long exposure shots is declining so I have increased the ISO value to avoid shooting under 1/30.

    I love VR on my 70-200mm lens when I shoot under 1/100. For the 17-55mm it's more of a nice-to-have option.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    I know what vr is for lol! I was asking why Spraynpray needs it. The general rule is that your SS should not be lower than your focal length. At 200mm your SS should not be under 1/200th of a sec at 16mm your SS should not be under 1/16th of a sec and the likelihood of getting a sharp shot is much higher. This is wht Vr on a 70-200mm makes alot of sense. In fact using VR on a 16mm at a SS of 1/200ths of a sec will probably create blur not eliminate it.
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,605Member
    Okay...good question as to why Spraynapray needs it.

    And yes I am well aware of the ratio of SS to focal length.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    np.. just getting it out there lol.. I am a sucker for the superwide... On the flip side I sold my only Vr lens years ago.
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    edited November 2013
    @henrik1963: "The problem is finding something better for DX in that range."

    Absolutely.

    @PB_PM: Good to read. In the absence of DxO tests though, what is there that is trustworthy?

    @Photobug: @kyoshinikon: Sure, I'm also aware of the fl/ss rule, but I find that I am shaking too much for sharp-sharp these days. I even gave up caffeine which helped a lot, but still wanted VR to help. If I wasn't going for VR, I would go for the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 maybe. I think I'll test it against the Nikon.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited November 2013
    I usually have a small tripod attached to the camera and carry that around with me.. That really helps with getting steady shots (just the extra mass/momentum and bracing it against my chest).

    spraynpray, what camera are you using again ? I find that my D7000 tends to have motion blur due to the shutter snap, so I use the quiet mode and that makes a significant difference for me (when I don't have the tripod attached) (where is my D400!)

    The 16-85 was supposed to be the sharpest kit lense! I am not sure why you think its not sharp? However the new 18-140 is now the new kit lense champ(as you may know i have one and i am happy enough with its sharpness). The alternative is the sigma 17-50 F2.8 OS, it was one of the sharpest DX lenses before the new 18-35 F1.8. It was designed to be used with their 46MP sigma dx cameras so its sharp. hope that helps.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • GodlessGodless Posts: 113Member
    I've been trying to get an idea about a good alternative to my 16-85VR as I struggle to get good sharp images out of it - at least it is definitely not sharper than my old 18-105 was and so I need a few suggestions from yous guys. I am really tempted to buy the Sigma f1.8 but it has no VR and I have the shakes a bit too much.
    Perhaps your 16-85 is faulty. Before taking the lens to a service center, I would like to know how do you take your photos? What are you trying to achieve and with what settings?

    Try the M mode (or S Mode) and set the shutter speed higher, until you get sharp enough images.
    Yes, you will need to raise the ISO. PP - Problem solved.

    Or get a tripod.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited November 2013
    In a general note…shutter speed with VR can often be much slower than with no VR. Unfortunately when capturing moving subjects, the slow shutter speeds allow too much subject motion induced blur. I use a minimum when possible, of 1/160 sec for people, higher if possible. When over 135mm focal length….up to following the rule of inverting the length in mm.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    edited November 2013
    The first lens that I bought when I got my D7000 was the Nikon 16-85mm VR. The first lens that I sold when I started moving toward faster glass was the Nikon 16-85mm VR. Although I never fine-tuned it on that camera, I too, just never got the sharp images that I thought I should be getting for spending the extra money. Wound up getting the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 and enjoyed it more - even without VR.

    One note about Sigma's newer lenses. I'm sorta noticing that my Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens is producing sharper images on my D7000 than the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G that I've had for a couple of years. Go figure.
    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    Hey guys, thanks for the replies.

    @heartyfisher: I use a tripod/monopod whenever possible/necessary, but I need to be able to shoot freehand whenever I don't have time for the tripod or the subject and light shouldn't require it. Like in a church there are some I can do off the monopod, but for other shots it's not really possible as I'm on the move and some vicars don't allow flash period.

    Your 'shutter snap' (I read that as mirror slap?) point interests me as I have a D7K, I often use Exposure Delay Mode and can't say it really makes all the difference I need, but I will focus my attention on the release mode side of things for a while - good suggestion!

    I am really hot to get that 18-35 f1.8 but I have read a fair amount of focus issues with it so I am holding off but according to DxO (sorry @PB_PM I don't know who does better tests?), the 18-35 is as much sharper than the 17-50 OS than the 17-50 OS is sharper than the 16-85 VR.

    @Godless: I got it serviced a few months ago and it made no difference so either it is bad technique/shakes or it is just not sharp. I just posted a reptile shot on PAD that is handheld and close which is sharp using my 60 micro but that was using lights so although it is sharp, I would expect that. I see some club members shoot and I think I am like a rock by comparison to them, but I try not to compare myself to the worst standards as it isn't helpful. I get results using my CF tripod that should IMHO be sharper.

    @Msmoto: For sure a better body (like the D610 I tried) would enable me to shoot higher shutter speeds in low light by boosting the ISO to 6400, but for the moment I have what I have for a body (hah - in both senses of the word) so ISO 1600 is my top limit.

    Maybe I will go to the shop this weekend and take my D7K to try that Sigma....

    Always learning.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited November 2013
    I have had a play with that sigma 18-35 1.8 (but on a canon.. I felt dirty after that :-) )... Its nice :-) its weight will help steady the vibrations of the D7k! I may get it one day.. That range of focal lengths is just not to my taste.. sigh..

    Re the tripod thing. I don't actually use it conventionally ie it hardly ever touches the ground :-) I just use it to brace the camera against my waist/chess/shoulder (etc) or just have it hanging off the bottom of the camera. i find I can get 1-2 stops of extra stabilisation that way.

    PS you cant expect a kit lense to rival a macro for sharpness !!
    This is taken with the 18-140 kit on my D7K. image

    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    edited November 2013
    Hiya hearty, yeah, I only mentioned the macro shot because it shows that even without VR *shock horror* I can usually take a sharp snap! I get what you meant about the tripod as a fixed stabiliser.

    I really like the 18-35 range on DX but that Sigma would have been better if it was a 16-35. A 16-50 f1.8 VR would be juuust the ticket!

    If I had a D610, the 24-120 would be perfect because the HI ISO noise is so brilliant.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,093Member
    I think you should consider the new 18-140mm.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    edited November 2013
    @NSXTypeR: I just compared the 16-85, 18-140 and 16-35 on DxO and they all score the same when tested on a D7000. I just dunno WHAT to do now - I think I have researched myself to a standstill. @-)
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,093Member
    In that case I doubt the 18-200 would be a lens that you'd want either.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    edited November 2013
    I think I will wait for the refresh of the 16-85VR all things considered. The 16-35 f4 VR has a very restricted range which means I have to cover the 35-70 range with maybe a 24-120 f4 VR and that makes the replacement of the 16-85 a pretty expensive affair! $-)

    I need the 16-18 part of the range BTW which was why I swapped the 18-105 for the 16-85.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited November 2013
    Yeah .. that 16mm capability is nice. the only other 16mm is the tokina 16-50 F2.8 but i am not sure if its still available.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    I haven't noticed any softness on the 16-85mm hand held. It seems to perform fairly well throughout the range. For me it is the 'walk round' DX lens.

    image

    My best,

    Mike
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    Good to read of your experience Mike. I am thinking it may be more the difference in the effectiveness of the VR between the 16-85 and the 24-120 that I tried. Night and day.

    I'll do some on-tripod tests with the VR off and see what it is like before I go jumping into anything.

    Always learning.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
    Interesting thread; thanks for starting it up, Andrew. I had been considering the 16-85 as a partner for the 70-300 I have.

    You guys never make these decisions easy, do you.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    In your case Ian, I would try before you buy. You may be steadier than I, or you may get a better copy. Don't rule it out just because of me! 8-}

    Like @henrik1963 said above, the problem is finding something else in that range. If you want 16 on the short end, they don't exist. I have the 70-300VR also and so the overlap between the two is important (at the wide end I have the 11-16 Tok). Other lenses like the 17-55 f2.8 have small gaps both ends so I end up buying two lenses to replace one.
    Always learning.
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