Unofficial Review – Nikon 16-35mm f/4N VR

** Update ** new post with much better comparison images here.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The lens is light and somewhat slender, but long. The rear element moves in and out quite a long distance with the zoom. The front element moves in a similar fashion to the 17-35, with a middle slider moving in and out.

I made some images at home with a D700 on Aperture Priority @ f/8, ISO 200, WB Auto, mounted on a very sturdy tripod. Sharpness is good, colors are good, barrel distortion @ 16mm is fairly strong, overall brightness is a bit less than the f/2.8 lenses I compared to. No surprises as far as I’m concerned.

The MTF chart for this lens indicates some improvements in sharpness and contrast vs. the venerable 14-24mm f/2.8N, except in the corners. I really wanted to get a feeling of whether that is true or not.

SHARPNESS

I compared 16mm, 20mm, and 24mm vs. the Nikon 14-24/2.8N at same focal lengths. The 16-35 might be a bit softer in the corners and a bit softer in the center but a bit sharper 1/2 way from center to corner. Very tough to tell. I bet this lens is razor sharp corner-to-corner on a crop-sensor (DX) camera body, but I don’t have one to tell for sure.

I compared 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm vs. the Nikon 24-70/2.8N at same focal lengths. The 16-35 was sharper @ 24 and 28, a bit softer @ 35.

See the photos below for some examples from this lens.
VIGNETTE

Light falloff (vignette) seems pretty well controlled, didn’t notice much until I mounted a fairly thick filter. I can’t say I noticed any when no filters were installed, and very little when just a basic circular polarizer was installed.

PHOTOS

These are RAW (NEF) images, zero adjustments except for spot removals from sensor spots, exported from Lightroom 3 Beta. You can click through to slightly higher resolution versions.

(Not great images, I know. I just got the lens and haven’t had a chance to go out for some “real photography”. 🙂

 

16mm, f/4.0, 1/4000th

 

35mm, f/11, 1/500th

 

16mm, f/16, 1/250th

 

16mm, f/22, 1/125th

 

28mm, f/11, 1/200th

 

28mm, f/11, 1/250th

SUMMARY

The construction durability is yet to be proven out, but the IQ is very, very, very good. My simple tests tell me this lens might be just about as good as the 14-24 for sharpness, and I love that it can mount filters. This lens is quite a match for the older 17-35/2.8D AFS, which is faster but more expensive and an older design.

This is not an official review, this is just my observations and very limited experiences with this copy of this lens.

Studying Richard Avedon

It’s good to study the work of the masters, for many reasons.

I viewed Richard Avedon’s website tonight. I can’t yet express what I’m thinking and feeling, except to say YOU GOTTA CHECK THIS OUT!

Some images are disturbing and Not Safe For Work/Kids.

Canon G11

This is not an official or thorough review, just a note to say how much I enjoy the Canon G11 as a companion compact camera.

It’s not very pocketable, and its lens isn’t super wide or fast. The zoom/shutter button feels a bit small and fragile.

 

On the positive side, the controls are great, the flexibility and RAW shooting is great, and the image quality is great.

 

I’ve added a ReallyRightStuff L-Plate and a Lensmate lens hood/filter adapter, making this G11 compact a very good landscape camera.

 

Visual Poetry is such an awesome book!

Quote From “Visual Poetry” by Chris Orwig:

A few years ago, I was having lunch with Rodney [Smith]. At one point in the conversation, Rodney said something that stopped me in my tracks. He said, “Stillness of hand cannot make up for emptiness of heart.” The rest of the lunch was a blur. Afterward, I went back and wrote down those words in my journal.

This book is a MUST READ for anyone wishing to express themselves through a camera.

Cherry Creek State Park

Some co-workers and I put together a little photowalk last fall, in Cherry Creek State Park. There’s quite a bit of land to hike around, and the reservoir has a good view of the city skyline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Town USA

I went for a walk, to practice some of David DuChemin’s tips. I especially like the one about learning lens perspectives.

Here’s a few images from that walk. Yeah, nothing fancy here, just thought I would share.