Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
£830, $1260 It’s a step up from Nikon’s 18-35mm, in complexity and image quality, as well as in viewing angle
Larger and nearly twice as heavy as the Nikon 1835mm lens, this one has a wider maximum viewing angle of 107 degrees. Other improvements include a constant-aperture design, although the widest available aperture of f/4 isn’t particularly fast. Uniquely in this test group, the lens features optical stabilisation, in the form of Nikon’s VR II (Vibration Reduction) system. It has a CIPA rating of 2.5 stops, which is pretty good considering that you only need relatively slow shutter speeds for wide-angle handheld shooting anyway.
Similarities with the Nikon 18-35mm include the fitment of two ED elements and the same 77mm filter thread. However, the 16-35mm has Nano Crystal coatings for greater resistance to flare. It’s a more complex optic, based on 17 elements in 12 groups, rather than just 12 elements in eight groups. The diaphragm is uprated to nine blades, compared with the seven blades of the 18-35mm lens.
Autofocus is fast and near-silent, while sharpness is better than in the 18-35mm at the short end of the zoom range, across the entire frame. However, barrel distortion is more noticeable and the 18-35mm lens overtakes this one for sharpness at mid to long zoom settings.