Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR vs Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G
Let’s take a look at how the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR compares to the much more expensive 14-24mm f/2.8G at equivalent focal lengths:
While the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR shows pretty impressive performance wide open, it is no match to the 14-24mm f/2.8G at equivalent apertures, especially in the extreme corners. However, stopped down to f/8, the 16-35mm produces very similar results with excellent sharpness throughout the frame.
At 24mm, we can see that the 16-35mm shows superb wide open performance in the center frame. However, its mid-frame and the corners are lacking when compared to the legendary 14-24mm f/2.8G, which looks absolutely amazing at wide apertures. Again though, with both lenses stopped down to f/8, we can see them perform very similarly, which means that if you want to use the 16-35mm f/4G VR as a landscape lens, it should be a great candidate (with the exception of astrophotography – that’s where the 14-24mm f/2.8G reigns).
Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR vs Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G
Let’s see how the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR compares to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G. I decided to test both lenses at 24mm and 35mm – the focal lengths I use the most for landscapes:
The Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR does quite well at 24mm, but not at the same level of the 24-70mm f/2.8G, which is incredibly sharp in comparison in the center of the frame. When it comes to the corners, however, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G doesn’t do nearly as well thanks to its heavy field curvature. One can obtain better corner results with the 24-70mm f/2.8G by focusing in the corners though.
It is clear that the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR shows much inferior performance at its long end. As you can see, it is nowhere near the level of the 24-70mm f/2.8G, even when stopped down. As I have previously pointed out, the long end is the weak point of this lens.
Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR vs Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D MTF
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/4G VR MTF:
Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D MTF:
In my side-by-side comparisons, the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR produced much better sharpness across the frame when compared to the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D, even in the extreme edges of the frame. Take a look at the below crops from the edges at f/4 @ 35mm, showing superior performance by the 16-35mm f/4G VR (Left: Nikon 16-35mm f/4G VR, Right: Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D):
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