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Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 16-80 mm f/2.8-4E ED VR

7 November 2015
Szymon Starczewski

10. Autofocus

The Nikkor AF-S DX 16–80 mm f/2.8–4E ED VR seems to be a lens aimed at advanced amateurs of photography who use DX reflex cameras. Its price suggests you should get the best available mechanisms inside. Unfortunately it is only a suggestion and the autofocus SWM motor of the tested lens is a prime example. It seems its quiet work is its only asset. The motor is so slow that at shorter focal end of the spectrum, even in good lighting conditions, running through the whole scale and finding the focus takes significantly more than one second. It is at least two-three times longer than a time you would expect from such an instrument.

The accuracy doesn’t impress us either. At the shorter focal lengths the lens constantly improves and changes its own settings. We kept the same distance from the testing chart and aimed at the same point even without changing the focus but still the sharpness was set every time differently. It is true the differences were slight but still.

What’s more, the lens didn’t avoid back focus problems in their worst possible form so depending on the focal length value. The autofocus fared well only after applying 15-16 units of microcalibration at the shortest focal length, 6-7 units in the middle of the range and 3-4 units at the longer focal length.

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All those problems meant that even in good lighting conditions we didn’t have any fun with using the lens and the number of misfocused shots (especially at the 16 mm focal length) was high.

D7000, 16 mm, f/2.8
Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 16-80 mm f/2.8-4E ED VR - Autofocus
D7000, 50 mm, f/3.5
Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 16-80 mm f/2.8-4E ED VR - Autofocus
D7000, 80 mm, f/4.0
Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 16-80 mm f/2.8-4E ED VR - Autofocus