Today Nikon announced a brand new FX lens – AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR, world’s first ultra wide-angle zoom with Vibration Reduction technology. The lens is ultra-fast with AF-S silent-wave focus motor, has Nanon crystal coating against flare and is sealed against tough weather conditions. Unlike the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G lens, the new Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 VR has a 77mm filter thread, which is great news for landscape photographers.
- Ultra wide-angle zoom lens that covers focal lengths from 16mm to 35mm
- Vibration Reduction (VR II) enables sharper pictures while shooting at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would otherwise be possible
- The adoption of Nano Crystal Coat effectively reduces ghost and flare
- An ultra wide-angle zoom lens that, while offering a wide angle view of 107°, is compatible with 77mm screw-on filters
- Fixed maximum aperture of f/4
- ED glass and aspherical lens elements are utilized for a new optical design that achieves high resolution
- Quiet focusing with built-in Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
- Two focus modes selectable – M/A and M
- Focal length: 16-35mm
- Maximum aperture: f/4
- Minimum aperture: f/22
- Lens construction: 17 elements in 12 groups (with two ED glass and three aspherical lens elements, and Nano Crystal Coat)
- Angle of view: 107° – 63° (83° – 44° with Nikon DX format)
- Closest focusing distance: 0.29 m (1.0 ft.) at a focal length of 16mm or 35mm, 0.28 m (0.9 ft.) at a focal length between 20mm and 28mm
- Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.25x
- No. of diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded)
- Filter/attachment size: 77mm
- Diameter x length (extension from the camera’s lens-mount flange): Approximately 82.5 x 125 mm
- Weight: Approximately 680 g/24.0 oz.
- Supplied accessories: 77mm Snap-on Front Lens Cap LC-77, Rear Lens Cap LF-1, Bayonet Hood HB-23, Flexible Lens Pouch CL-1120
Compared to Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8
The MTF data charts from the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G and the older Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 suggest that the new Nikon 16-35mm has more contrast on both wide and telephoto side. The same is also true for sharpness and better handling of chromatic aberrations.
Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 MTF:
Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 MTF:
Although there are no direct sharpness comparisons available yet, the MTF data of the lens looks much better than the 17-35mm f/2.8 lens.
Price and Availability
The Nikon 16-35mm f/4G ED VR lens will be available in late February 2010 with an estimated selling price of USD $1259.95.
B&H has the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G ED VR lens listed as “New item – no arrival date known”, but you can choose to get notified when the lens is in stock.
I think this lens is an excellent alternative to the already great Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 and superb Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lenses. This is the first professional ultra wide-angle zoom lens that has VR II technology for image stabilization, which is going to have a 2-3 stop advantage over the older 17-35mm lens. Nikon specifically manufactured this lens at f/4.0 constant constant aperture to keep the price low. The current Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 is selling for approximately $1,760 and the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 is selling for $1,830, so this lens is definitely the cheapest of the group. Just like the 17-35mm f/2.8, the Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 takes 77mm filters (unlike the 14-24mm f/2.8 that has no filter thread), which is great for landscape photography.
If real-world tests do not reveal any problems with this lens, it will definitely be my lens of choice for landscape and architectural photography, along with my favorite Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8.
Check out some image samples at Bob Krist’s Blog.