Having previously owned the legendary Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 wide-angle lens, I was keen to try out Nikon’s 16-35mm f/4 offering and see how it compared to its big brother. Wide-angle lenses are a great tool to own but I ended up selling my 14-24 a year ago as I found it was just too bulky/heavy and its vast expense didn’t warrant the limited use it would receive. Since then I’ve stuck with my 24-70 f/2.8 but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t the odd occasion when I’d wished for a bit more width. The 16-35 was the lens I’d been searching for and within minutes of bolting it onto my Nikon D810, I felt like this was a lens I’d come to love.
The 16-35 in my opinion has several key benefits over the bigger 14-24. It’s about a third lighter, features Nikon’s excellent Vibration Reduction (VR) system and also accepts regular 77mm filters – something the 14-24 falls down on. The image quality is superb and although the 14-24 is regarded as one of the best ultra wide lenses ever made, you’d do well to notice the difference. Quality exudes throughout each shot with superb sharpness, great corner detail and a decent bokeh that can be achieved when stopped down to f/4. Another big plus for me is the fact the lens can reach to 35mm. When shooting sports events, as I was when trailing this lens at a golf tournament, you sometimes need to react quickly to a situation. Being able to go instantly from an ultra wide 16mm straight to 35mm is a real plus – another reason I’d choose this lens over the 12-24. The biggest factor though is the weight difference. At 320g less than the 12-24, the 16-35 is a welcome relief to use when you have 2 or 3 cameras swinging from your shoulder. On days off where I love to hike, I could see this lens really coming into its own.
In short, this is a top quality ultra-wide lens for those full-frame (FX) Nikon shooters – highly recommended.