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Selling 17-55 because of 16-85???

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by nht800, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. nht800


    Aug 26, 2008
    Missouri, USA
    Recently, I have noticed there are many copies of Nikon 17-55 2.8 sold and being sold on eBay. Did they sell the lenses because they moved to FX or because 16-85 VR is sharper and lighter?
    What would you think? Thanks
  2. onemorelens


    Jul 3, 2007
    I'm sure the 16-85 is a fine lens but they're not in the same class. The 17-55 is a f/2.8fixed aperture, metal, pro-grade lens and one of the best zooms Nikon makes.
    I'm speculating but my guess is the new D700/D3 buyers are selling their 17-55 to finance FX lenses such as the 24-70/2.8 (which is in the same league as the 17-55/2.8).
  3. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    I think John is spot on, other wise I can't really see why someone using the 17-55 would "downgrade" to the plasticy 16-85 :confused: 

    I surely would never switch let alone even think about it. The 17-55 is a marvelous lens that I couldn't live without now !
  4. rgordin


    Jun 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    In this thread https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=182916 intrepid24 says he did just that - only he does not call it "downgrading." The 16-85 has a greater focal range, comes with VR, is far less expensive and is lighter. On the other hand, the 17-55 gives you greater speed. I have seen raves about the IQ of each.

    I have not compared reviews and comments on the distortion issues for each lens. I guess in order to compare the lenses beyond their obvious features, you either have to have tried each of them yourself or rely on trusted third-parties who have done so.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  5. as has been said above
    the 17-55 is PRO GLASS
    the 16-85 is NOT
  6. I'm selling mine to finance the 24-70 for FX, otherwise I would keep it. I love this lens!
  7. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    What he said :wink:

    To each his own I guess, but I don't need VR on such small focal lenghts, nor is weight a factor (seeing that I at least carry 2 bodies and 2 lenses at minimum so what are a few more grams if put to good use) nor does it open at 2.8 which is a minimum for the type of shooting I do. Not to mention the construction that is much better on the 17-55 and that's a big selling point knowing the pain I'll put my lenses to. Price is higher yes (though with all these used lenses on the market it's buyers heaven) but you definitely get what you pay for and this lens helps pay itself afterwards :wink:
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  8. rgordin


    Jun 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    I am trying to decide between the two and do not have a position at this point on which is "better" - for me. I was pointing out that each has its attributes.

    It seems that once you decide which features - prime/zoom, focal length, speed, etc. - are critical for your use, you need to evaluate a lens by its photos - its performance - and not how it is engineered on paper or what parts are used.

    Build quality is certainly a factor by which to evaluate a lens. However, for those who do not operate the lens under conditions that really stress the limits of its construction, each of these lenses may well operate without problems. This is not to ignore how the lens feels on the camera when you are operating it.
  9. Pro glass is a bit of a meaningless term - what does this actually mean?

    I compared my 16-85 VR to the "Pro" 24-70 f/2.8 (two copies) and...well...the results are interesting...:biggrin: - the 16-85 VR is better at 24mm (sharper edges even on DX) than the 24-70, and it beats the Nikkor 17-55 as well for edge sharpness wider in the 17mm to 24mm zone too. So thats two "Pro" lens seen off under certain circumstances :) 

    You can probably assume that anyone selling a 17-55 for a 16-85 isn't a "Pro" anyway.

    Optically I can see certain advantages to the 16-85 VR over the 17-55. The 17-55 is probably a "better" lens, but well...trust me , if you get a chance do a comparison yourself, I recommend it - you can sometimes find that a "Pro" lens may not be as good as you think, and while you can apply a label to anything, this doesn't automatically mean what you might think :) 
  10. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    That's true. One thing to consider as well is the fact that the 17-55 is a much bigger lens and that can be cumbersome for some; though personnaly I like the feel of a robust lens.
  11. Pro lenses are built better than consumer lenses, no doubt about this one. They're built to withstand more abuse and deal better with the elements. Optic wise they're supposed to be better. But the difference in IQ compared to some consumer lenses can be rather small but it depends on the lenses you are comparing.

    I love my 16-85VR lens. I used my neighbors 17-55 lens for about 2 weeks while he was on vacation, he wanted to travel light, Compared to my 16-85VR lens I really couldn't see any big diffrences in IQ. But if I was a Pro out in the field every day i would buy the 17-55 without any doubt.
  12. 17-55:

    Optical construction 14 elements in 10 groups inc. 3 ED and 3 aspherical glass elements
    Number of aperture blades 9 (rounded)
    min. focus distance 0.36m @ 35mm (max. magnification ratio 1:5)
    Dimensions 86x111mm
    Weight 755g


    Optical construction 17 elements in 11 groups inc. 3x aspherical and 2x ED elements
    Number of aperture blades 7 (rounded)
    min. focus distance 0.38m (max. magnification ratio 1:4.6)
    Dimensions 72x85mm
    Weight 485g

    What it all boils down to really is, if you want fast glass or not.
    Personally I would rather get a Sigma or Tamron in the same range as the 16-85 but at 2.8
    But I don't use DX glass at all.
  13. Yes, having owned the 17-55mm, the 16-85mm VR is a better lens choice For Me.
    Everyone's mileage will vary, of course.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  14. Actually, the 17-55mm is pro Build.
    The quality of the glass is another issue.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2008
  15. BINGO.
    I couldn't have said it better. :smile:
  16. Paulesko


    Jul 23, 2008
    I can´t agree more. My tamron 17-50 is also better than nikkor 24mm f 2.8 .... These are things that happens, pro glass is not only better IQ, and what´s more, I think IQ is not the more important thing about pro glass but fast and precise AF, toughness.. things like that.
  17. Mr.Bill

    Mr.Bill Guest

  18. I'm sure the 16-85 is a great lens (as evidenced by the many that really like it here), but for me, the simple fact is, when I need more light racked all the way out on the long end of the lens, f/5.6 just won't do it for me... f/2.8 is much better! :smile: (Esp. b/c of the poor high ISO performance of my D70s) For me this alone makes the 17-55 a better choice. I would love to be able to afford the 16-85 as a travel lens, however!
  19. To the original poster's question, I think the higher volume of 17-55 resale is due to the D700 and D3, and not the 16-85VR. The 16-85VR has been out for some months, but you didn't see a fairly substantial spike in 17-55 sales until the D700's recent introduction.

    The 16-85VR is a very good lens from all appearances, but it's fairly pricey for a consumer lens and may end up being a "tweener" in Nikon's line-up. On the higher end, it's simply not fast, constant f/2.8 glass like the 17-55. On the lower-end, the new 18-105VR, while more cheaply built and VR I, has somewhat longer reach and is cheaper. The 18-200VR also confuses things too.

    There'll also be a lot of used 18-105VR's on the market due to D90 kit buyers going for different glass. That'll drive down the 18-105VR price even lower.

    If the 18-105VR proves to be as optically good as early tests show, there'll be fewer new 16-85VR owners.
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