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Travel lens 24-85 vs. 16-85

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by jac0224, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Well I know it may be a little apple to oranges here, but wanted to know if anyone had any direct experience with both of these lenses. I am doing alot of traveling lately and am a little tired of lugging my 24-70, Sigma 10-20, 85 1.4 and Sigma 150. Looking at "downsizing" the 24-70 not only for weight while traveling but also for a little piece of mind when doing street shooting. I have tried the 17-55, but am still looking for something that doesn't scream $1000. Mostly it'll be used for pix of my kids doing kid things, casual street shots and ????? I've been spoiled by the 24-70 and my 18-200 is just continually disappointing me (misfocuses, drab color, etc.). BTW, I'm shooting a D300. Any thoughts?
  2. well there are 2 recent Nikon 24-85s

    The older AF-D 2.8-4.0 model is still in production, the newer but discontinued AF-S 3.5-4.5 is generally available used for 1/10th the cost of the 24-70G -- and I think is terrific.

    Check out what Bjorn Rorslett, Thom Hogan and even Ken Rockwell have to say about it.


    Of course the new 16-85DX is wider, has VR and is more expensive.
  3. beastie


    May 2, 2008
    I am also looking for a lighter mid-range zoom, since the 24/28-70 are so expensive and heavy. however, I wasn´t able to find dealers that sell the 24-85 AFS 3.5-xx since it is dicontinued. any ideas where to get this lens?
  4. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    The 24-85 f2.8-4 D Macro (1:2) - quite a mouth full - is an old design that works really well. I've seen quite a few posts by D3 owners who are using it and like it. I've had one for a while (in fact there was a long thread just recently on this lens).

    It's not cheap, it's not that wide on Dx cameras, but it has good quality (Bjorn rates it a 4) and mine is my "normal lens". The Macro facility is very useful. Couple of things. Focus throw is very short and the lens is 72mm filter size.

    Do a search here and I think you see many of the folks who have this lens really like it. Price is $550 at B&H.
  5. rich_h


    Oct 9, 2007
    On a DX body, I think the 16-85 is the best all around travel lens. 24 is not wide enough for a lot of things. I have been very happy with the 16-85, especially outdoors.
  6. beastie


    May 2, 2008
    a lot of reviews honor the 16-85. since I would like to upgrade to FX sometime, I don´t want to buy more DX lenses. that´s a problem...
  7. Gnarl


    Jun 25, 2008
    Fairfax, VA
    I agree with Rich for DX use the 16-85 VR is the one-lens travel solution. The equivalent FX lens is the 24-120 VR.
  8. Focal length wise the 24-120 VR on FX is equivalent to 16-85 VR on DX - but otherwise the 16-85 is clearly the better lens! It's sharper (especially wide open), has more contrast, and its VR is 2nd generation so it gives you an extra stop.

    The 16-85 can't be beaten for lightweight travel. Just add a fast prime like the 35/2 for low light people shots, and you're set!


  9. Norman Camera has the 24-85 AF-S on their web site
    at $349.95. Seems to be a good company. I've dealt with them several times and all were great transactions.

  10. Frankly, the 18-135 beats them all...see the recent threads here. I picked up a used 24-85 afs recently with the idea of the d700 in mind, but tested against the 18-135 it loses badly on sharpness. The 18-135 is sharp at every focal length and every aperture. I stopped using my early Sigma 18-200, a nice lens in its own right, in favor of the 18-135....frankly if it had a metal body it could sell for $900 and be considered one of Nikon's greatest values, but few take it seriously because of its price.
  11. Harry,

    I agree with you that the 18-135 scores highly for sharpness. Our copy is sharper than my old 18-70 and the 18-200 VR that I owned for a short while. But our new 16-85 VR is a tad sharper than the 18-135, in particular at wider apertures in the corners, but also by a hair in the center.

    While sharpness is important, it isn't everything though - the 18-135 has quite horrible distortion, extreme barrel at 18mm and strong pincushion from 24mm up! It also has large amounts of light fall-off. In both these categories it is definitely worse than the 16-85 VR, 18-70, 24-85, and even the 18-55 kit lens.

    So, if you can live with the bad build quality, distortion, and vignetting, the 18-135 is quite a bargain. Personally I prefer the 16-85 over it, and the 18-70, too.


  12. Toby D

    Toby D

    Mar 7, 2006

    I have used the 24-85 3.5, sold it long ago and don't miss it. I have the 16-85 now and consider it my travel lens.

    16 is the wide end i need, 24 isn't wide enough. I don't need much tele. And its light, but so was the 24-85. No contest on IQ, the 16-85 is better.
  13. Personally, I think the 24-85 is a top lens, espicially for the $$$..
    The 16-85 has a more usable range, but is 2-3 times the price.
    As for some saying this lens is soft, all I can say is that they must have had a poor sample of it.
    I am really pleased with the sharpness and performance from this lens. For me, this lens is a keeper...

    Here a few sample from the 24-85G f/3.5-4.5....
    I posted the shots slightly larger to allow a better view of them..
    Click on Photo to see correct size...

    62mm - 1/250 sec - F/8
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    24mm - 1/125 sec - F/8
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    85mm - 1/80 sec - F/8
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    24mm - 1/30 sec - F/8
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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