Hands-On Review: the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Lens


Oh, how my heart warms when Nikon rolls out a new DX lens! Welcome to my smaller-sensor world, NIKKOR AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR! The marketing propaganda from the big brands attempts to drive the masses to full-frame cameras, so it is nice when said big brands make really nice glass for those of us embracing APS-C sensor cameras.

What is the new NIKKOR 16-80mm lens and where does it fit into the DX lens family? That is an easy question to answer. The new lens gives DX users the equivalent of a very versatile and popular 24-120mm equivalent zoom range. In this general focal-length range, you have the long-time DX pro workhorse, the AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens on one end, the popular AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR in the middle, and the “kit” AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens at the other end. Looking at the price and the specifications, you see that the new NIKKOR 16-80mm lives in between the variable-aperture lenses and the “pro” f/2.8 constant aperture of the NIKKOR 17-55.

40mm, f/5.6

Believe it or not, when APS-C sensors were the norm, many professional photographers were excited about the possibility of smaller and lighter APS-C-optimized lenses for their camera systems. When the NIKKOR 17-55 f/2.8 came out, a lot of photographers I knew were a bit surprised that the new DX lens was larger and heavier than the full-frame AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED. However, in all fairness, it was smaller and lighter than the enormous AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8D ED-IF lens that it was designed to replicate on DX bodies. The promise of smaller and lighter was definitely not fully realized with this large DX lens, until now. This is where the new NIKKOR 16-80mm comes in.


The new NIKKOR 16-80 f/2.8-4 is sculpted from polycarbonate. Its older sibling, the NIKKOR 17-55 f/2.8, is a metal monster of a lens. The new lens’s satin texture makes the plastic body feel solid and keeps it from screaming, “Plastic!” Rub your hands over it, however, and it definitely does not feel like painted metal. Metal lenses are often cool to the touch; plastic just seems to be room temperature all the time. The zoom and focus rings are covered in traditional Nikon rubber with different tread patterns on the rings.

The new lens is the first in the DX line to get the “E” designation for its electronic aperture. For years, Nikon has stayed with the tried-and-true mechanical aperture, but its latest offerings are sporting the electronically controlled diaphragm. The electronic diaphragm gives an exposure accuracy advantage over the traditional mechanical system.

Another first for the DX line (thank you!) is the inclusion of the Nikon Nano Crystal Coat for superior flare and ghosting control. A gold-shadowed “N” on the lens body designates this feature. The front element has a fluorine coating to protect the optics and allow the lens to be cleaned more easily. Add these features to the pro-lens-like 4 ED elements and 3 aspherical elements and you can see that this lens is more than equipped to be the flagship of the DX line.

16mm, f/8

Protecting the lens from stray light entering is the unique-looking HB-75 lens hood; a combination of a scalloped petal hood and a rectangular hood. It looks pretty cool and appears to be multi-piece, as there is a seam on the bottom near the release button for the bayonet attachment and screws. The release button has also been redesigned and seems very durable and more robust than the buttons in the past. If you are the type of person who likes to lay lenses down on their sides, the rectangular sides of the hood will keep the lens from rolling off the edge of your desk or table.

Other than the lens hood, a new design to me, the lens is pretty straightforward modern NIKKOR with the three standard Nikon switches on the barrel: manual/auto and manual, vibration reduction (VR) on and off, and VR normal and active mode.


If you are familiar with other Nikon wide-to-telephoto and mid-range zooms, you will have a good sense of the size of the new lens. The DX NIKKOR 16-80 is almost identical in size to the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED VR lens and slightly beamier and shorter than the popular AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR II lens.

The lens fit great in my hand, and felt solid at its size. You can wrap your hand around most of the lens, but it isn’t so small that you use only your fingertips to hold it. Its front filter is 72mm.


Yes! It is light! It checks in at just over a pound, at 1.1 lb. The NIKKOR 17-55 has another half pound on the new lens; weighing 1.66 lb. That half pound is definitely noticeable when the lens is in the bag or being carried around attached to the camera. Nikon advertises this lens as the “World’s lightest 5x zoom with an f/2.8-4 maximum aperture.”


The NIKKOR 16-80mm has a mechanical tactility familiar to many current Nikon lenses. The zoom ring has a nice tight feel to it, but it seems to grab harder around somewhere between 24mm and 35mm, making the entire travel from 16mm to 80mm seem not completely smooth. A great feature of the zoom ring is the internal gearing that allows you to cruise coast-to-coast through the zoom range with a quarter of a turn of the ring—great for quickly composing action shots or getting quickly zoomed in for a telephoto grab. The lens gets longer by about 1/3 when extended to 80mm.


16mm, f/2.8, 1/8 sec., HANDHELD 16mm, f/2.8, 1/15 sec., HANDHELD

Internal-focus NIKKORs used to get an “IF” designation, but I suppose that is so much the norm now that the internally focusing NIKKOR 16-80 does not get to add acronyms to its designation. A turn of about half the focus ring’s circle gets you from the minimum focus distance of 1.15' to infinity. The focus ring will keep spinning past the close focus soft stop and the infinity mark, but at a different torque, to indicate that you have passed the stops. The ring feels OK but, as with almost every autofocus lens on the planet, it is missing that old-school delicious feel of turning helicoids.


What can you say about the shooting experience with a versatile mid-range zoom lens that makes for an interesting review? If you know the answer, definitely let me know!

44mm, f/3.5

The new NIKKOR 16-80 lens was a pleasure to take out into the field, especially because of its portability factor. Half a pound might sound like only 8 ounces, but my D300 and this lens felt much smaller, lighter, and overall more portable than the D300 with my daily driver 17-55mm lens attached to it.

A daytime trip to the Red Hook area of Brooklyn begged for me to return under the cover of darkness. Empty commercial/industrial streets abound and, better yet, they are relatively quiet when compared with other areas of New York City. I love the feel of the off-the-beaten path streets in the dark, especially the way the street lamps create surreal and soft lighting on the garage doors, trees, pot-holed pavement, and cracked sidewalks.

22mm, f/8

The images illustrating this article are not corrected for distortion, and you can see that the lens does have some alternating pincushion and barrel distortion as you zoom through the wider angles. The distortion was easily eliminated in post processing, but I left it in here to illustrate the optical properties of the lens. As far as other post-processing adjustments, I tweaked the white balance and made minor corrections for color and exposure, but the images have not, in any way, been extensively modified.

To test the lens’s 4-stop-advantage VR system, I shot off-tripod in some challenging nighttime conditions. I was able to get workable images down to 1/8-second shutter speeds—a very nice performance! VR has come a long way since it was first introduced, and it keeps getting better. Tripod manufacturers beware!

20mm, f/8

Finishing my hands-on review on Friday, September 11, I took advantage of the Tribute in Light near the site of the fallen World Trade Center buildings that gave the New York City skyline a distinctive look for several nights. The lights, an installation of 88 searchlights that throws two beams of lights into the night sky, resemble the Twin Towers and serve to honor those who lost their lives on that day.



16mm 25mm 35mm 50mm 80mm


When compared to the DX NIKKOR 17-55, this new lens gives you expanded reach, a lightweight and smaller frame, the latest coatings and electronics, and cost savings. All of this comes at the expense of one stop of light in the telephoto ranges over the f/2.8 lens. The DX NIKKOR 17-55 f/2.8 has a great reputation and is a fantastic lens. It has been my mainstay lens for years, but the portability of the new DX NIKKOR 16-80 f/2.8-4, its expanded range, vibration reduction, and the latest bells and whistles might indicate that the DX torch has been passed to this newcomer to the Nikon line.

Heart. Warmed.


Hi Todd,

my 17-70mm sigma is brocken and its going to cost me ~$250 to fix it.  So i have decided to buy new lense, I am stuck in between 16-80 and 16-85. Is the new 16-80mm that much better over 16-85mm?  Is it worth it?  

New 16-80 is f/2.8-4 (and f=20mm has still f/2.8, f=27mm has f/3.0 and f=32mm has f/3.2).  Old 16-85 is f/3.5-5.6 and you have f/4 by 24mm and very quickly f/5.6. This is the main difference. And 16-80 has much better bokeh and much better flare resistance and much better VR and much smaller difference between lens samples. 

That is all. 

Thanks for chiming in and helping a fellow B&H customer, Tomas! I missed the original message. 

Hey Dustin,

I missed your comment. I apologize. I think your post got lost in the mail as it was near the eclipse avalanche!

Yes, the 16-80 will be the better choice!

Hi Todd,

I agree with others that this is a great article.  I was chatting with someone at B&H about this lens and they suggested I also look at the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM; this is for a Nikon D500.  I see you discussed the Sigma 17-50 below, but not the 17-70.  Thoughts?



Hey Bob,

Thanks for the kind words! 

Sigma 17-70...missed that one! Too many lenses, too little time! I assume it is pretty comparable to the Nikon, with a slightly lesser zoom range. The Sigma is a touch lighter and has a 1:3 "macro" capability.

Sigma has been making some great stuff and gaining a passionate following lately, so its an intriguing option. Having said that, you cannot go wrong with this Nikon!


Great article Todd. My question relates to the 16-80 vs the 17-55, on a D5200 body.

I shoot a lot of car photography and landscapes, and have a need to get some items REALLY sharp - should I get the 16-80, or the 17-55, keeping in mind that I may get a full frame camera later on? It's hard to tell if the difference of image quality in the two lens is really that discerenable. Te new tech on the 16-80 is impressive, but that "pro" designation on the 17-55 have me questioning which is the better lens.

Thank you so much!

Hey Mike,

Good question!

If you are certain you are going to switch to full-frame in the future, I might not tell you to spend your cash on either of these lenses. If you want to take the loss when reselling, or think you might stay in DX for a few more years, I would tell you to go with the 16-80.

I am telling you this as a 17-55 owner.

Why the 16-80?

  1. Smaller
  2. Lighter
  3. Sharper (probably...the version I tested was slightly sharper than the 17-55)
  4. VR
  5. Latest coatings and electronics
  6. Wider zoom range

The 17-55 is a great lens and was my workhorse for many years, but it is older and heavy. Many photographers, including myself, were hoping the 17-55 would have been smaller when it was released as it was designed for DX. The reason it gets a "pro" designation is that it is f/2.8 straight through. With the 16-80, you do lose one stop, but that is overcome by VR and clean higher ISO performance these days. Unless you really need the f/2.8 depth of field advantage, that one stop isn't a huge deal these days.

So, in summary... 16-80 unless you know you are switching to FX in the near future. In that case, I would start saving for the FX f/2.8 zooms and a new body.

Let me know if you have a follow-up or two!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the compliment! 

Thanks for replying Todd! I guess my one follow up would be that FX lens:


If I were to get that and keep it on the D5200 body for now, would that give me a discernible difference vs the DX 16-80? As you said, I'm trying to weigh future proofing my lens vs getting a DX and then selling in a few years when I'm ready to move on.

But, if the FX lens is the best choice overall, then I can save up a bit more and get that one, then be good for a long time. Thank you so much for the help! It can be daunting to narrow down the right choice.

Hey Mike,

That 17-35 is a good lens, but it is also very long in the tooth. It was released back with the Nikon D1 at the dawn of the digital age. It is also big and heavy, like the 17-55...so keep that in mind. Lots of pros used to use that lens and many fantastic shots were taken with it....but very few probably still carry it with them.

I would do some research to see what people's experience on FX bodies is with that lens before you pull the trigger. I is a non-DX lens, but it was paired up with DX cameras when it was launched and at the height of its popularity.

To answer your question, my guess is the DX 16-80 is optically just as good, or better than the 17-35. It will certainly focus faster and has newer coatings.

Remember, the FX equivalent of the 17-55 is the classic 24-70mm. For future-proofing you might think about having a bit longer reach on DX for a while with a 24-70mm. The Nikon one is huge and spendy, but Tokina makes a nice version for less.


Standing by for follow-ups!

Thank you Todd!

So then, between this 16-80, the Tokina 24-70, and the Nikon 24-70, what would be your favorite?

If it helps, I have a 50mm prime for portraits and such, and a 55-300 Nikon kit lens that does the job fine for telephoto work, so distance shots are not as big a concern as that wider angle for nice landscapes and car portraits.

As always , thank you!

Hey Mike,

If you are contemplating staying in the DX world, the 16-80 is a no brainer.

If you are FX-future-proofing, either one of those 24-70 lenses is going to work great for you. Its more of a budget and arm/back strenght issue. Both are big and heavy lenses...the Nikon is a bit longer than the Tokina, but neither are lightweight.

Hold onto that 50mm! The kit zoom lens will go to pasture with your other DX stuff if you make the switch to FX.

The 24-70's, especially on FX, will be your workhorse lens...wide to moderate telephoto. On DX, just not as wide.

And, of course, there are many intriguing options in the wide-angle zoom category, if you'd rather go wider...like the Nikon 14-24, Tokina 16-28, Tamron 15-30, Tokina 16-28, and Tokina 17-35...not to mention the older Nikon 17-35 that we discussed earlier. I am sure I just opened up a whole new can of worms!

The safest bet, if you are going to go FX in the future, will probably be the mid-range 24-70 zoom.

Standing by for heavy rolls!

You've brought up all the lenses I've been looking at over the past few weeks!

Well, let's narrow it down a bit - after looking, most of my photos are in the 18-35mm range, and I find myself wishing I had a bit of a wider angle - it's rare I zoom in much more than that.

Let's say that I will keep the DX format for now, but may switch to full frame in a few years. Could you tell me the best lens you think will work in that range, regardless of price? I've often read it's best to stick with OEM lenses, but the other ones are so much cheaper, could they be as good? The 16-80 is still an option too!

Thank you Todd!

Hey Mike,

OK...good info.

I think I would suggest the 16-80 as a true versatile workhorse lens. Its a 24mm equivalent on DX at the wide end...that is pretty wide, but not extreme wide.

The advantage is that its a great lens with a really good zoom range. The disadvantage is that you arent FX-future-proof. However, if/when you sell your DX gear, that lens will have a pretty good resale value as I doubt there will be anything newer or better in that range for several years.

If you want to future-proof...I might try the 16-28 Tokina. I've always enjoyed the Tokina lenses I have owned and used. They are optically very good and they are well made.

3rd Party vs. OEM...there is a lot of conjecture in the photo world about this. Sometimes the OEM lenses outperform the competition. Other times, the tables have turned (like with my Tokina 12-24 vs. the Nikon 12-24 I owned...the Tokina was sharper and had better color rendition). One thing you can say with confidence is that the 3rd party lenses always provide better value to the photographer. Saving $1000 is nothing to sneeze at, and you'd be hard pressed to see that price differential justified in the results. It all boils down to your budget and where you want to spend your money. You could almost get the Tokina 16-28 and 24-70 for the price of one of those Nikon non-DX zooms.

So...in my mind, the path of least resistance is the DX 16-80 and then start saving for the transition to FX. If you want to go with a non-DX lens, you have to decide to go OEM or 3rd Party.

Fun fun! Let me know what you think!

Awesome, I think this is the route I will go!

When I do my first photo session, I'll post a sort of before and after image. Before being the kit 18-55 lens, and after being the 16-80.

Hopefully, this chain will help someone else in my position down the road.

Thank you so much for taking the time Todd, it's much appreciated!

No worries, Mike! I hope you like the 16-80! I think you will! Looking forward to your results!

Thanks for reading Explora!

Hi Todd-

In the end, I went with this lens, and the results compared to my base 18-55 kit lens are dramatic- much more color, much less retouching needed, and very sharp.

You can see some results here, if anyone is interested. Again, D5200 body:

Open Field



Thank you for the help! And to anyone else on the fence: as long as you plan to keep your DX format camera, this is the one to get.

Hey Mike!

Awesome shots! Nice wheels (from a fellow Bimmer-head)!

I am glad you got the lens and are enjoying it!

Thanks for checking back in!

HI Todd,

I am  also in same dilema...I had a newly purchased Nikon D500....I am a hobbyist trying the waters into serious Photography. I do have basic 50mm prime and 55-200 mm DX lenses .

I an contemplating on adding more gear as i move along the road ...so what should be my next lenses with my D500...is that should be 16-80mm  ..I am serously thinking on Tamron 24-70 G2 ..Will it be an over kill ?? as it would be a 36-105 for D500..will it be a handicap  more than an advantage?? Please advise...

Hi jagadish,

Decisions decisions!

The Tamron 24-70 G2, or any other 24-70 f/2.8 lens would be a good companion to the D500 and certainly not overkill.

The advantage to the f/2.8 lenses is that you have that aperture all the way through. The disadvantage, and this is a pretty big deal in my book, is that every 24-70mm f/2.8 lens on the market is a monster. The Nikon 18-80mm is not. Smaller, lighter, wider at the wide end, more tele at the other end, and likely just as sharp everywhere.

The 16-80mm is a serious lens for serious DX shooters. I don't think you can go wrong with it.

My $0.02.

Standing by for follow-ups!

Thanks a  Lot  Todd for a very prompt response..

So my problem is i can not afford  16-80  now and also  24-70  immediately  in near future.So as i understand you are suggesting  16-80  for now...??  and decide on 24-70 at a later point in time??  or Am I  good to have it in first place.?? Thanks  in advance.

Hey jagadish,

You are welcome!

The advantage of the 24-70mm is that you will be "future-proofed" if you ever switch to full-frame. However, if you are content and happy in the DX world, I would recommend the 16-80mm. I do wish that lens was at a lower price point, but, in all honesty, it is priced comparatively with other lenses of its stature and capabilities.

Also, be sure to check our Used Store to see if a gently pre-owned lens is better for your budget. All of our stuff is tested and has a 30-day return policy.

Cheers! Standing by for more questions...I hope I am helping!


Great article. I am going to buy my first camera. I want a camera primarily for taking pics of landscape (Europe trip soon), my son's soccer games and portraits. I am torn between the D5600 and the new D 7500. I feel like I am leaning more towards the D7500. Do you have any suggestions as to which camera would be best suited for this?. Also , what "do it all" lens would you recommend please? 

The kits that ive seen include the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens . Is this a good lens for a starting camera for this type of photoraphy? do you know the link for any article that can help me understand all the numbers and letters that lens' have ? 

Thank you very much fro your help. 

Hello Jorge,

All good questions!

First...cameras. The D7500 is the latest and greatest from Nikon for the "pro-sumer" DSLR world. The D5600 is a great camera as well, but if you want newer and faster, the D7500 is the way to go. Both cameras would be suitable for your needs.

The 18-140mm kit lens is a good all-around lens and great for starting out. The lens featured in this article, the 16-80mm f/2.8-4 is a great all-around lens as well and has the advantage of a larger maximum aperture to let in more light for low-light shooting as well as allowing for shallower depth-of-field effects that help make portraits look great. The disadvantages are cost and the fact that it will not zoom out as far as the other lens for capturing soccer action.

As far as decoding the Nikon lens nomenclature, that would require an entirely separate article that would be obsolete before we finished editing it! The important numbers are the focal length (expressed in millimeters) and the maximum aperture (expressed as an f-stop number). After that, the letters all highlight particular features of the lens—some more important than others. In your example above, AF-S is the silent-wave auto focus, DX means it is an APS-C cropped sensor format lens, G means there is no aperture ring, ED is for extra-low dispersion glass elements, and VR is for vibration reduction. Do a search on the interweb for "Nikon lens decoder" and see what you can find!

Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions! Thanks for reading and your compliment on the article!


Spare your money and buy a D7200 if 4K vids don´t matter. D7200 has it´s advantages against the D7500. Check it out.

Excelent review!! I have a question for you: I will buy a D500 with the 16-80mm 2.8-4 kit lens. I come from D7100 with 18-140mm kit lenses. I mainly use it for traveling, casual indoor and landscape photography. Before thinking in the 16-80mm I was decided to buy the new 18-300mm 3.5-6.3.  Even I feel convinced the 18-80mm is better and a more pro lense I doubt if I will miss part of the zoom I had in the 18-140 and if it its worth to buy the 18-300mm on top of the 16-80 just for travel purposes? Just to clarify I sold my 18-140mm but still have a 55-300mm kit lenses just for casual sport but never take it for traveling as 18-140mm used to be fine and I prefer to package my wide angle tokina 11-16mm 2.8 which is more pro. Summing up, will you buy the 18-300 and use it for traveling on top of having the 16-80 on a D500, or just use the 18-80?

I guess the answer depends in how better is the16-80 in this range and how needed is a 80-300 just for traveling. I deeply will appreciate you thoughts and opinions on this.  


Hello Claudio,

The 16-80mm lens is really really good. You will likely use this lens more than any other. Personally, I would skip the 18-300mm and just use your older 55-300 kit lens if you need the extra reach.

Traveling with the 11-16mm Tokina, Nikon 16-80, and 55-300 will have you more than covered!

Thanks for the compliment and thanks for reading Explora!

Have you tried sports shots with this lens? I am getting into rodeo action shots and unsure about the autofocus speed. Very interested in this lens. I am shooting on a Nikon D7000 body. Thank you


Hey Don,

I did not get a chance to try sport shots with this lens. When we test gear, it is considered "commercial photography," so we cannot photograph a ton of things...including organized sports.

However, the lens' autofocus was excellent and I did not notice any issues with it, even on an older D300 body. I think you would be impressed with this lens.

Thanks for your question! Please let me know if you have follow-ups!

I own a Nikon D7000 , and right now im considering to buy whether the 16-80mm or 17-55mm. The budget is not really my issue. so between this 2 lenses which one do you prefer ? Considering i mostly use my camera for traveling with family and doing some landscape. Also, which one perform better in low light ? (e.g taking group picture in low light )

Hey Steven,

I have the DX 17-55 f/2.8, and it has been my workhorse for years. However, if I was starting new, I would probably go with the new 16-80 lens. I believe it is sharper and it is definitely smaller and lighter than the 17-55. The 17-55 will give you a 1-stop advantage in light gathering through the telephoto parts of the zoom range, but the 16-80 has vibration reduction that will overcome that advantage.

In short, 16-80! Stay light! Stay small! Shoot more!

Thanks for reading and good luck! Let me know if you have more questions.

There have been a lot of reviews "dinging" the Nikon 16-80 on distortion and "MTF" charts.  Going by the reviews alone, I would have to think long and hard about this lens.  Full disclosure:  I got mine with the D500 kit, thus with a substantial discount.  That being said, I love this lens and I have spent money on plenty only to become disenchanted with the short comings a few months down the road.

This lens is fanstastic.  Distortion is easily corrected in lightroom ( I am going to try Nikon's in camera distortion control next ) and the colors and contrast are fantastic.  The lens is plenty sharp, too.

If you do not have the benefit of getting this lens discounted with a kit, I still would recommend it.  Once you see the pictures, you will forget all those reviews criticizing this lens based on 1's and 0's.

If you are in the market for the D500, I would strongly recommend getting it packaged with this kit lens.   I would probably urge you to do it!  

Hey John,

I really liked this lens. I have been shooting the heavy and large DX 17-55mm f/2.8 for years and this lens outperformed it...all while being lighter and smaller. This lens, and the DX 35mm f/1.8, should be in every DX shooter's bag.

I am glad you are enjoying yours! Thanks for sharing your experience!

Great review and enjoyed it, Cannot decide among Sigma 17-50mm f2.8, Nikon 16-85mm f3.5-5.6 and this one. Can you plz recommend one? I already have a 35mm and tamron 70-300mm. I just want to have a good walkaround lens. The price of sigma lens is much less than the price of this lens.

Thanks in advance,  

Hey Peter,

Quite the dilemma! Unless you are on a strict budget, I would scratch the Nikon 16-85 off the list and narrow your choice to the Sigma 17-50 and Nikon 16-80.

So, between the Sigma and the Nikon, here are your pros and cons:

Pro Sigma: Price. f/2.8 constant aperture.

Pro Nikon: I would guess it is slightly better optically than the Sigma. Smaller and lighter than the Sigma.

Con Sigma: Might not be optically as good as the newer Nikon.

Con Nikon: Price. Variable aperture.

My recommendation is, if it is in your budget, to go with the Nikon and not look back. If you want to save a lot of money, go with the Sigma and use the almost $700 you save on some other lenses like a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.8...or both! Actually, now that I think about it...I might pick the Sigma and get some awesome prime lenses as well!

I hope this doesn't confuse you further!

Thanks for the very useful review, and some great shots thrown in there too.

I have to admit I'm a very lucky man, today I became the proud recipient of one of these lenses coupled to a shiny new D500. I'm now looking into all the additional accessories to upgrade a few things from my previous kit (D90 with 18-105 and 55-300).

As you're probably aware this lens differs with a 72mm thread as opposed to the more regular 67mm. I was wondering if you'd have any opinion on which filters are best suited for this lens. I prefer to use B+W and was wondering if there would be any issue with either using the slim-line XS-Pro with the aspherical glass on this lens, or if I stuck to the fatter F-Pro, if there would be any additional vignetting at wider angles? Any thoughts or experiences with these would be very useful.





Hey Chris,

Thanks for the kind words! 

You can't go wrong with B+W filters. Great choice! As far as slim or regular, I do not know for certain, but my guess is you wont see any vignetting with a standard filter on this lens. 16mm on an APS-C camera is not super wide, so I think you will be OK.

The D500 and this lens are a great pairing! I am jealous!

Thanks for reading and writing in!

Enjoyed the review thanks.

Does this lens lend itself well for wedding photography.

Very new to wedding photohgraphy and found myself stuck a little on closer shots even with my 50mm f1.8

read lots of different opinons as to best all round wedding lenses.



Hey Mark,

Yes, this is definitely a lens of choice for wedding photographers using DX sensors. The other option is the older 17-55 f/2.8 that gives you one stop more light at the longer focal lengths, but that lens is older, larger, heavier, has a narrower zoom range, and not as quick as the newer 16-80...so you are giving up a lot for that one stop of light.

This lens will likely become your workhorse. Keep the 50 1.8 for really low-light scenarios or when you want to travel super light. You may want to consider adding a 70-200 f/2.8 as the other lens in your quiver for weddings and travel. Big and expensive, but a great tool to have!

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have more questions!



how is it for portrait photography? 

Hi firdaus,

Thanks for your question. This lens is great for portraits and its zoom range makes it well-suited for that role on a DX camera. Just know that at the longer ends of the zoom range, you will be shooting at f/4 instead of f/2.8.

Thanks for reading!

Hi Dan,

This lens will be very good for video as the autofocus motor is next-to-silent and the electronic aperture allows click-less aperture selections.

Most modern lenses made have been designed knowing they will be used to shoot video and, therefore, are engineered to support and not hinder the DSLR videographer.

Thanks for reading!

I own a Nikon D5300 and Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR Lens. I was thinking about investing into Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Lens. What's your oppinion? Is it worthy the investment? What's the difference? I'm mostly into travel photography (city, landscapes). I also enjoy a lot of night photography (cities at night, mostly), but for that I usually use a tripod. Thank you!

Hey Andi!

Thanks for your question. Your 18-300mm lens is a good lens, but as it has such a large focal length versatility, certain concessions are made optically to cover such a vast range.

The 16-80 is a very nice lens and you will find that it out-performs your 18-300mm without being quite as versatile. My guess is that it will become your go-to lens and live on your camera 90% of the time unless you need the extra telephoto reach.

Another lens you may want to consider is a 50mm or DX 35mm f/1.8 prime lenses. The 50mm f/1.8 is spectacular and not too pricey. The 35mm is great and even less. I am a big fan of these two lenses for everyday convenience and lightening your load.

I hope this helps! Standing by for follow-up questions!

Very informative and I appreciate the real-world review, Todd! 

Hi Andi, I too own a Nikon D5300 (two, in fact) and recently purchased the same lens you have, the Nikon 18-300 f/3.5-6.3G. I sold my two primes: the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G and the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX to have the money for the 18-300. My reasons for getting the lens:

- PURPOSE. I rarely do prime portrait work; I'm not really a diehard bokeh worshipper.

- COMFORT. The 18-300 is pure joy to carry. I find myself enjoying much of the benefits of carrying less in my camera bag. I do event photocoverage on the side as a paid hobbyist--and have lugged around the primes, the Nikon 17-55 f/2.8, Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 and a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8. Plus an SB700 and SB910. It's literally a pain in the neck (and shoulders)! The less weight I carry, the more relaxed and focused I become with my work.

- FLEXIBILITY. I'm finding myself doing more street and travel photography. The images are relatively crisp and sharp in my opinion. I took a macro shot of a flower and then zoomed in on the moon early in the morning--both in a matter of seconds with one lens and without a tripod. My primes and the non-VR 17-55 obviously have its restrictions.

I've put my beloved Nikon 17-55 up for sale and will replace it with the Nikon 16-80 f/2.8-4 for the same reasons: LIGHTER, VR, LONGER REACH (I've read other reviews and with Todd's review, helped me to finalize my decision to get that lens).

In my opinion, Nikon sensors & lenses have come a long way--lowlight photography is getting more accessible because of the tech advancements even with a variable aperture zoom lens on an entry level dslr.

I'm looking forward to completing my "reduced" lens arsenal soon. :-)



I am planning on buying a D500 in the near future and I know this is the kit lens for that camera. 

I shoot everything from corporate events and car shows to motocross races + everything in between. 

My two primary goals for a lens are sharpness and quick AF.

I have approx. $1,000 budget for glass -- am I better staying with this lens (and get a telephoto zoom in the future)... or should I get the 24 - 85 f3.5 and the 70 - 300 F4.5?

Thank you!

Hey Scott,

I would definitely stay with this lens. It is really really good and will be your workhorse glass. The aperture is a good size, especially for your indoor work at shows and events. If you need f/2.8 straight through, you could get the DX 17-55 f/2.8, but this new lens is smaller and lighter and has newer coatings and technology.

My $0.02!

Thanks for reading!

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