There can be a lot of snobbery around kit lenses, but the Nikon Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR delivers good-quality images that mean you won’t regret opting for a small, light and convenient lens.
At the widest focal length and maximum aperture, there is slight fall-off towards the corners of the frame, but it’s well within acceptable limits, and even with the in-camera Vignette control turned off, there’s just a suggestion of corner shading. As you zoom in, the fall-off in sharpness becomes even less of an issue and there’s effectively no vignetting.
At the other end of the aperture range, I recommend opening the aperture by a stop from the smallest setting to avoid the worst of the impact of diffraction. At the 50mm end of the lens, I wouldn’t go above f/22.
While it’s not completely silent, the Nikon Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR’s focusing is very quiet. It’s also fast and, other than to test the mechanism, I didn’t felt the need to switch to manual focusing. As the focusing is by wire, there are no end points to the manual focusing and there’s no distance scale on the barrel but a scale appears in the viewfinder or on the camera’s screen when the focus ring is rotated.
There’s further good news as the Nikon Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR isn’t troubled by excessive flare, chromatic aberrations or curvilinear distortion, everything is kept in check very well.
With a maximum aperture range of f/3.5-6.3, the Nikon Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR is quite slow, however the image stabilisation works well and I found I could get around 4 stops of shutter speed compensation.
Out of focus areas look pleasant and even towards the corners of the frame, specular highlights look round throughout the focal length range. However, in some cases the bokeh balls have texture within them.