16-85mm zoom stiffness

Joined
Dec 24, 2008
Messages
82
Location
Essex, UK.
I love my new 16-85mm but find the zoom ring very stiff. This seems to be "normal" and at least there's no chance of creep, but I was wondering if a) it gets better with wear and b) does it become noticeably worse in cold conditions? I doubt I would ever consider sending it away for adjustment - assuming such a thing is even possible - but I'd be interested to know if anyone has gone down that route.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
546
Location
Clovis, NM
Hmm. "Stiff", don't think I'd call mine "stiff". Compared to my other lenses, I think they're all about the same.

Is the zoom loose, no. It's very smooth - but there's a bit of resistence that really needs to be there. As long as there's no "stickyness" or sticky spots, I'd say it's normal. That said, if you encounter having to turn harder starting the zoom than you do once it starts moving, I'd consider that a problem.

My 16-85 and Bovineguy's 16-85 are the same - they offer resistence but don't stick or have a "stiff" feel to them.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2008
Messages
82
Location
Essex, UK.
Thanks for your comments Steve. I guess I haven't got used to it yet - it's much stiffer than the 18-200mm I used to own.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2008
Messages
3,086
Location
NJ
Nikon tends to do this with some of their zooms. Mine was pretty stiff when I had it and my 17-55 2.8 was very stiff as well.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
546
Location
Clovis, NM
Thanks for your comments Steve. I guess I haven't got used to it yet - it's much stiffer than the 18-200mm I used to own.

Ah. 18-200. That's not a good comparison. As great as the 18-200 is [to some, not my preference] as a walk-around lens, it really suffered from serious creep. That was the result of Nikon not tightening the zoom down to accomodate the weight of the front portion of lens. Tilt it down and you better be ready to hang on or your zoom - continues to zoom. It's certainly managable, and I kinda question all the negative comments about that lens, but the fact is, it was looser than it should have been to handle the weight. The 16-85 doesn't suffer that issue - so if you're making a comparision of the two - yep, the 16-85 may feel "stiffer". But that's not a bad thing.

I played with an 18-200 at the ONLY camera shop in Lubbock TX. It took me 5 minutes to bail on buying it. OTOH - I bought the 16-85 as soon as it was available. I haven't regretted that decision for a second. The 16-85 is a sharper lens as well. Our buddy Rockwell compared the two lenses here. I'm not completely on-board with him usually, but on this one - I am.

When you consider he's comparing apples to oranges and look at the similar results at similar ranges - it's not hard to see the sharper 16-85 is a winner, even though he notes the better optics of the 16-85, then retreats to the 18-200 when "you just want to get in and get out, get the 18-200mm VR." Personally, I prefer the right lens for the right shot. The 18-200 isn't all that - IMO.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2008
Messages
82
Location
Essex, UK.
Ah. 18-200. That's not a good comparison. As great as the 18-200 is [to some, not my preference] as a walk-around lens, it really suffered from serious creep. That was the result of Nikon not tightening the zoom down to accomodate the weight of the front portion of lens. Tilt it down and you better be ready to hang on or your zoom - continues to zoom. It's certainly managable, and I kinda question all the negative comments about that lens, but the fact is, it was looser than it should have been to handle the weight. The 16-85 doesn't suffer that issue - so if you're making a comparision of the two - yep, the 16-85 may feel "stiffer". But that's not a bad thing.

I played with an 18-200 at the ONLY camera shop in Lubbock TX. It took me 5 minutes to bail on buying it. OTOH - I bought the 16-85 as soon as it was available. I haven't regretted that decision for a second. The 16-85 is a sharper lens as well. Our buddy Rockwell compared the two lenses here. I'm not completely on-board with him usually, but on this one - I am.

When you consider he's comparing apples to oranges and look at the similar results at similar ranges - it's not hard to see the sharper 16-85 is a winner, even though he notes the better optics of the 16-85, then retreats to the 18-200 when "you just want to get in and get out, get the 18-200mm VR." Personally, I prefer the right lens for the right shot. The 18-200 isn't all that - IMO.
I had the two lenses together for a few days (whilst waiting for the 18-200mm to sell on eBay) and did a few brick wall shots to compare sharpness. The 16-85mm is much sharper in the corners, especially at wide angles.
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2009
Messages
1,094
Location
Australia
I would describe the zoom on the 16-85 as firm but definitely not stiff. To me the weighting on the zoom is about right, not too stiff and not loose at all. My version at least has not changed in feel since day one.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
1,600
Location
New Germany, N.S.
FWIW, my 16-85mm VR is not as stiff as it was when new, although it's not flopping around, either. Feels solid, although I have a teeny bit of play at the 16mm end in the front barrel. All zooms I have owned tend to get a tad wobbly, simply due to design and a lot of parts.......
 

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