16-85 if you already own a 17-55?

Joined
Mar 14, 2010
Messages
49
Location
Arizona
This is very similar to a thread that I started a couple of days ago and is still active. But I felt it best to pose this question as a seperate thread.

If you already own the Nikon 17-55, which I do, would you consider also picking up the Nikon 16-85 to be used as a "general purpose everyday" lens. I understand the redundancy but also can see the added range in a smaller, lighter package. What do you think, is this a one or the other or is there a place for both?

Thanks, Jim
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
914
Location
MN, USA
No

I have the 16-85 and would trade it in a minute for a 17-55. 55-85 is about two steps so the range isn't that much of an advantage. I've never been impressed with the image quality of my 16-85 and I'd take a faster lens over VR any day.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2009
Messages
281
Location
U.S.
I have a 16-85 but no 17-55 (I more frequently shoot telephoto or wide angle more than the mid range), and I'm very impressed with my 16-85...much sharper than I expected, and the color rendition seems excellent as well. Good build quality, VR...not a fast lens, but a really useful range (the extra bit of wide angle is nice compared to the 18-XX lenses) and surprisingly good IQ IMHO. I tend to put my 35mm on for low-light shooting, and since both the 17-55 and 16-85 are a bit pricey (I got mine used), probably the average person may not have both. But if you want something lighter than the 17-55, don't want to sacrifice build or image quality, and don't mind the cost, it doesn't strike me as odd at all to have both. :smile: The 16-85mm combines with the 70-300mm to make a really excellent light travel kit too.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
3,551
Location
Redmond, WA
For quite some time I owned both the 17-55 and 16-85VR and found reasons to have both available to me. 17-55 for any serious shooting, events, anything low-light, flash+ambient, etc. 16-85VR for casual photography and the lightweight kit (with a 35/1.8 in the bag for anything needing a fast lens). While the 16-85VR is an excellent lens, is much lighter and smaller, has VR for stationary subjects, and is quite sharp, I didn't think its colors/contrast quite matched up to the 17-55, and then there's the f/2.8 and faster AF.

This combo worked well and I never felt one lens was hardly getting any use. Walkaround? Don't feel like taking out a heavy bag? 16-85VR, possibly with the 35/1.8. Birthday party? School concert? 17-55.

However, last July I replaced the 17-55 with the 24-70. IMHO the 24-70 is even better than the 17-55 -- sharper wide open and with some more "punch." While 24mm obviously isn't particularly wide on DX, at 70mm @ f/2.8 it's great for portraits. The fact that I'm not a landscaper (and have a 12-24 for anything really needing wide) helps too.

Ultimately the answer comes down to how you see yourself shooting and what your budget will allow. I view most lens ownership as long-term rentals. I bought my 16-85VR for under $450 used and if I were to sell it at $400 after another couple of years, that'd be several years for $50. If you buy a used 17-55 for $750-$800 and use it for a few years and keep it in good condition, you're likely to end up paying $100-$150 for a few years rental of an excellent lens.
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
44,480
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
I could see owning both
the 16-85 pros: size, weight, range and most importanty VR\
17-55 has IQ

i don't own either lens, i used to own the 16-85 and i liked it alot
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2010
Messages
49
Location
Arizona
I could see owning both
the 16-85 pros: size, weight, range and most importanty VR\
17-55 has IQ

i don't own either lens, i used to own the 16-85 and i liked it alot

Randy thank you for your thoughts. I have not purchased a lens for about 3 years and NAS is starting to drive me mad. If you by chance have seen my other active thread, "Do I need another lens", you'll see that I'm bouncing all over the spectrum.
I'm also considering the Nikon 12-24 f4. Do you think that this would go well with my 17-55? Especially for my up coming trip to Canyon de Chelly. Or is that to much overlap. Most of my shots have been, in recent years, using longer glass, high school baseball. I know that I can save alot of money by just using my 17-55 but I what to be prepared and like I said NAS..... I use a D300.
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
44,480
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
Randy thank you for your thoughts. I have not purchased a lens for about 3 years and NAS is starting to drive me mad. If you by chance have seen my other active thread, "Do I need another lens", you'll see that I'm bouncing all over the spectrum.
I'm also considering the Nikon 12-24 f4. Do you think that this would go well with my 17-55? Especially for my up coming trip to Canyon de Chelly. Or is that to much overlap. Most of my shots have been, in recent years, using longer glass, high school baseball. I know that I can save alot of money by just using my 17-55 but I what to be prepared and like I said NAS..... I use a D300.

17mm on dx would not be wide enough for me especially for any place that had Canyon in it's name:smile:

i used to own a sigma 10-20 and it was a very good lens and a pretty good deal used and i don't recall seeing any of the usual sigma problems with it....i think there is a var aperture version and an f/4 version, i would get the var aperture version used to save some money since you will usually be stopping down for landscape shots anyway

and 10-20 is not much overlap anyway

and as fas as overlap, forget it, there are good reasons for overlap, i own 3 300mm lens, the 70-300vr,300/4 and 300vr and i shoot them all at diff times for diff reasons
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2009
Messages
25
Location
Toulouse, France
I love my 16-85. Its the lens that's on my D90 80% of the time. I am finding more and more that I'd like a larger aperture to isolate my subject (kids) or for low light shooting. While I don't mind flash (especially bounced), I feel that for my shooting a faster lens would be better. I was tempted by a 17-50/55 at f/2.8 but have decided that I'd miss the 85mm end so have opted for the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 (sorry, yet another thread that I've thrown that in). I have a 35mm f/1.8 as well. We'll see if I miss the wide end.

Matt
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
1,462
Location
Boston, MA
16-85 + 17-55 is like $1500 worth of lenses right? Not sure I'd want that much money tied up in mid-range zooms. I do like the lightness and consistency of my 16-85, but at $620 now I don't know if I'd buy it again.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
3,129
Location
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.
Bill, you and I always seem to think alike :smile:

I've also had the 16-85 VR & 17-55 for a couple of years, and see no problem owning both lenses together - the 16-85 is my landscape/walkaround/vacation lens, the 17-55 is for events & people.

And just last week I ended up getting the 24-70 with the D7000 to take advantage of the Nikon rebate - so now I'll have to sell my excellent 17-55... I'm sure I'll miss the 17-23mm range at times with the 24-70, and I'll have to carry my 16-85 or 10-24 whenever I take the 24-70 along - but for people shots, I think the 24-70 is a tiny bit better than the 17-55...

Cheers

Mike
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
2,303
Location
Cambria, CA
+1 for definitely owning both. As many have noted, the 16-85VR is an excellent walk-around, and indeed is my favorite DX lens. For more serious shooting (obviously) you need fast glass and either the 17-55 or the 24-70 is the go-to lens....or the 24-120 f/4, or some 1.4 or 1.8 primes, i.e., 35, 50, 85 etc. ...many choices, considerable cost etc. If one does it for a living, it's simply a cost of doing business. If you are a hobbyist as I am, it's a severe case of NAS and beyond. This site has cost me a lot of $$$$$ since joining a few years ago, but I do not regret it one bit.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2010
Messages
121
Location
SoCal
-1 to owning both. I don't really need a fast normal zoom in the first place so two of them would be rather pointless. I use my 16-85 for daylight and walk around and for everything else I prefer faster (2.8 isn't fast enough for most situations) and smaller primes.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
75
Location
Cali
^ -1 to both from the other direction.

The rendering of the 1755 is so nice I've personally had no interest in any other zoom in the same general range.

I also have the 1024 and 70200vrii to extend the range in either direction and the 35 1.8 and 50 1.4 for fast and compact use.
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
1,699
Location
BC
Real Name
Paul
What body do you have that it would go on? I have the 16-85VR on a D300 and if it's a static scene I can get some pretty slow shutter speeds with the VR on. If you have a D7000 then I would get the 16-85 and not the 17-55. Having said that, I do lust after a 17-55! :biggrin: I'm no help at all!
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
302
Location
hawaii
As stated by others, 17-55 and 16-85 have different strengths. You have to look at what/how you're going to shoot.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
6,535
Location
Alaska
Real Name
Dan
The subjective aspect of IQ aside, the biggest difference in the two lenses being discussed is VR. What shutter speeds do you find yourself shooting most of the time, and do you use a tripod a lot? I can't speak to the 17-55 but I do have a 16-85 used on DX format bodies. I don't have particularly steady hands and have successfully shot sharp moving water images handheld down to 1/8 to 1/6 ss in the 20-35mm range. To a large degree the VR can provide freedom from lugging a tripod around unless you're getting into some pretty serious landscape shooting at really long shutter speeds or need multiple identical comps for HDR etc. The 16-85 pretty much lives on my camera unless I'm shooting something requiring tele.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2006
Messages
6,886
Location
On a Big Island Down Under...
I haven't read all the replies, but the 16-85 is a superb lens an it does produce excellent IQ and has VR that works a treat...
If your reasoning for getting the 16-85vr as a lighter walk around, travel or just as a general purpose lens, it will give you everything you want from it as an alternative to the heavier 17-55...

But if you feel as if your over capitalizing on the 16-85, why not get the Nikon 18-70 f3.5-4.5 as these can be found at very reasonable prices, and they are on par in IQ with the 16-85, or even the 18-105vr is worth looking at, just a suggestion...
BTW, I do own and use all of three of these lenses...
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,184
Location
Glens Falls, NY
Last year, I asked myself the very same question that you're posing.

I owned the 17-55 (still do), and used it a lot for shooting landscapes. But I was a bit frustrated with it's limited focal range. Then a number of threads here on the Cafe indicated that perhaps the 16-85VR was a better landscape lens than the 17-55, so I decided to try one via a one-week rental.

I know that I'll be in the minority with this, but I was not impressed with the 16-85VR - at all. Perhaps it was a bad copy but I thought that the IQ didn't compare to the 17-55 and the build-quality was certainly inferior to the 17-55. Plus the focal range between the two does have quite a bit of overlap.

That said, I was still searching for something with a longer reach than the 17-55. (I had a 15mm gap between it and the 70-300VR.) Therefore, I decided on the 24-120/f4 and have been quite pleased with it. Great IQ, VR, and excellent build quality, and more reach than the 16-85. Drawbacks are that it's substantially more pricey, and I lose a bit on the wide end. But overall, I find that now I use my 17-55 much less than before and the 24-120 stays on the camera most of the time (even though it's an FX lens on a DX body).
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
7,704
Location
Houston, as little as possible.
When I shot DX I started with a 16-85 thinking the 16 mm end would be wide enough. I wound up buying a Sigma 10-20 anyway. If I had a 17-55, I would skip the 16-85 and get an ultra wide angle zoom.

Right now on FX, I have a 20mm and a 28-75 Zoom. I don't seem to be missing 24mm (the FX equivalent of 16mm on DX) very much, and I use the 20mm regularly. When I had the 10-20, I did not like it that much wider than 12mm.
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom