Nikon’s latest DX-format lens is its most interesting and promising yet. Covering a 24-120mm full-frame-equivalent focal length, the lightweight 16-80mm f/2.8-4E features relatively fast apertures, an incredibly useful and dynamic focal length range (already proven with the popular full-frame 24-120mm f/4G ED VR), and professional treatments such as nano coating, an electromagnetic diaphragm, and even a fluorine coating on the front element.
While the electromagnetic diaphragm (a first for the DX format) helps give accurate and effective auto-exposure during high-speed exposure sequences (i.e. on “Continuous High” for action shots), full-fledged vibration reduction helps keep shots steady in the potentially shaky hands of any photographer.
The fluorine coat repels water, dirt, and oils on the front element and is a happy trickle-down addition that I didn’t expect would make it quite so soon to lenses for the mid-sized sensor format.
Finally, Nikon’s “Nano Crystal Coat” is the first of its kind in a DX lens as well and comes from a heritage of providing world-class ghost and flare control on Nikon’s most prestigious line of professional, full-frame lenses (for those without experience with such a lens, it’s actually difficult to get lens flare even when pointed directly into the sun thanks to the nano coat).
What may at first sound like a mess of features turns out to be the recipe for what will likely and easily become Nikon’s most versatile and impressive DX lens. While it won’t come cheap, the 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR is, in fact, a bit of a bargain considering it could easily replace three lenses in any kit.