Nikon's AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Raises the Bar, Brings Pro-Level Treatment to APS-C Lenses

Nikon's AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Raises the Bar, Brings Pro-Level Treatment to APS-C Lenses

Nikon's latest DX-format lens offering is its most interesting and promising yet. Covering a 24-120mm full-frame-equivalent focal length, the lightweight 16-80mm f/2.8-4E features relatively fast apertures, an incredibly useful and dynamic focal length range (already proven with the popular full-frame 24-120mm f/4G ED VR), and professional treatments such as nano coating, an electromagnetic diaphragm, and even a fluorine coating on the front element.

While the electromagnetic diaphragm (a first for the DX format) helps give accurate and effective auto-exposure during high-speed exposure sequences (i.e. on "Continuous High" for action shots), full-fledged vibration reduction helps keep shots steady in the potentially shaky hands of any photographer.

The fluorine coat repels water, dirt, and oils on the front element (if you've seen this previous post, you'll understand why it should be on every lens) and is a happy trickle-down addition that I didn't expect would make it quite so soon to lenses for the mid-sized sensor format.

Finally, Nikon's "Nano Crystal Coat" is the first of its kind in a DX lens as well and comes from a heritage of providing world-class ghost and flare control on Nikon's most prestigious line of professional, full-frame lenses (for those without experience with such a lens, it's actually difficult to get lens flare even when pointed directly into the sun thanks to the nano coat).

What may at first sound like a hodge-podge of features turns out to be the recipe for what will likely and easily become Nikon's most versatile and impressive DX lens. While it won't come cheap, the 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR is, in fact, a bit of a bargain at $1,066.95, considering it could easily replace three lenses in any kit.

Pre-orders are open now at B&H. Catch the full press release here.

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Headline: Nikon's AF-S DX Nikkor 16-18mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Raises the Bar

Luckily just a typo. At a focal range from 16 to 18mm I would have preferred a prime instead ;-)

This article sounds like it was written by Nikon's marketing department. What's with all the breathless hyperbole?

I think all these new electromagnetic apertures are a sign that the new D5 will indeed feature the rumored is doing away with their traditional mechanical aperture lever...

michael buehrle's picture

Adam, ya gotta proof read before you hit send. the pic of the lens clearly shows (in 2 spots) that it's 16-80. besides what moron would buy a 16-18 anyway. if they intact made that, someone should be losing their job at nikon.

Michael, you need to proof read before you point out someone's misspellings. It's "in fact" not "intact". :p

michael buehrle's picture

ok you got me but i'm not a writer either.

Adam Ottke's picture

Thank you, everyone, for the typo catch. Very sorry for the confusion.

Anonymous's picture

I just to ask, knowing I am showing my ignorance. When Nikon says its a 16-80mm but says AF-S DX, is Nikon saying if I use this on my D610, in AF I will get a full 16mm on my D610 I can switch it to DX mode, it then jumps to 24mm.....?

Adam Ottke's picture

We're all here to learn; and that certainly can be confusing. So don't worry about it!

But no. Unfortunately, that would just be with a non-DX, "normal" full-frame lens. Nikon's DX format lenses cover just the cropped sensor of the DX (Nikon's branding for APS-C) format.

Now, technically, I've seen many DX lenses ALMOST work on full-frame cameras, but since they don't really cover the entire 35mm frame perfectly, you'd see what essentially amounts to a heavy vignetting effect on every image that isn't very good for general purpose photography.

The smaller format does allow Nikon to produce wider-maximum-aperture lenses than would respectively be possible at the same price point and with the same size lens for the FX format, but that's of course at the tradeoff of frame coverage...

So for the future, any "DX" lens (it'll be in the title of the lens if it's DX -- every time) is a no-go for full-frame cameras.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the reply, I had a hunch that is what it was

Anonymous's picture

So, out of curiosity. Why is this being billed at 24-120mm (on DX and FX)? Price tag is a little hefty , if you wanted to replace some of your existing lenses. Sigma/Tamron alternatives?

Adam Ottke's picture

It's 24-120mm equivalent (equivalent to 35mm format, that is). But the actual physical focal length of the lens is 16-80mm. There's a "reverse" crop factor with these lenses if you want to express the focal length that would give the same angle of view in a full frame camera. This chart helps show the angle of view vs. crop factor vs. focal length issue:

So when people say "24-120mm equivalent," it means that it gives the same angle of view as a 24-120mm lens would on a 35mm camera. It really has nothing to do with whether or not it work on a 35mm camera -- which, in this case, it really doesn't for most practical uses (I mean, it does, but it won't cover the full frame you'd just be wasting pixels).

And I'm not sure of any direct Sigma/Tamron alternatives that really would do this one justice at the moment. The focal length/maximum aperture/coatings/VR combination is incredibly hard to beat. Given all of its premium features, the price is really pretty much in line with what you'd expect. This single lens could be most people's walkaround all-in-one.