Reviews |Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR Review

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR
Review

Price when reviewed

£329

$296.95
Check current price

Our Verdict

The Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR complements Nikon’s APS-C format mirrorless cameras perfectly. As well as being the most affordable Nikon Z-mount lens currently available, it’s small, light and extremely capable. Its effective focal length of 24-75mm is ideal for a wide range of subjects, making the lens a great choice for travel, days out with your camera and day-to-day photography.

For

  • Good image quality
  • Light and compact

Against

  • No focus scale
  • Single control ring

What is the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR?

Nikon announced the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR at the same time as the Nikon Z50, its first APS-C (DX) format Z-series mirrorless camera. Then more recently, it introduced a silver version to accompany the Nikon Zfc, its retro-style APS-C format mirrorless camera.

The Nikon Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR has a collapsible design and is very compact. It’s effective focal length on APS-C format cameras is 24-75mm, which makes it an attractive all-rounder, suitable for a wide range of photography.

Specification

  • Product type: Wide-angle zoom lens
  • Announced: October 2019
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: APS-C (DX)
  • Focal length: 16-50mm (effectively 24-75mm on APS-C format)
  • Maximum aperture: f/3.5-6.3
  • Minimum aperture: f/22-40
  • Construction: 9 elements in 7 groups with 1 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) and 4 aspherical elements
  • Coatings:
  • Focusing system: Internal
  • Minimum focus distance: At 16mm: 25cm/0.82ft, 24mm: 20cm/0.66ft, 35mm: 23cm/0.76ft, 50mm: 30cm/0.99ft
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.2x
  • Stabilisation: Yes. Lens shift using voice coil motors (VCMs)
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 7
  • Filter size: 46mm
  • Weight: 135g / 4.8oz
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 70 x 32mm / 2.8 x 1.3-inches
Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR review

Features

Inside the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR’s collapsible barrel there are 9 elements arranged in 7 groups. Of those elements, 4 are aspherical while one is an Extra-low Dispersion (ED) element. The ED element helps keep chromatic aberrations under control while the aspherical elements enable the lens to be kept small while reducing coma and other aberrations.

Despite its small size, the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR has Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) technology built-in to compensate for the shake and wobble of hand-held shooting. It’s claimed to offer up to 4.5EV f shutter speed compensation.

Focusing is handled by a stepping motor.

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR review

Build and handling

When the lens barrel is collapsed, the Nikon Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR is tiny, just a ‘pancake’ lens. And as the image above shows, even when it’s extended for use, it’s still pretty short.

If you power up the camera when the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR is collapsed, you’ll see a message on the screen and in the viewfinder telling you to extend it ready for use. It’s just a case of rotating the zoom ring anti-clockwise (as you hold the camera for use) until the lens is full-size.

At 135g/4.8oz, the NikonZ DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR is very light, which makes it a very nice partner for the Z50 or Zfc. You won’t mind carrying either combination on a strap hanging from your shoulder for a day.

This impressively low weight has been achieved in part by the choice of materials used to make the lens. Its barrel, mount and front surround, are all made from plastic. While its not the most robust lens around, the Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR still feels nicely made and the zoom ring and control ring both move smoothly.

The control ring is traditionally used for focusing manually, but it can e set to adjust the aperture, sensitivity (ISO) or exposure compensation via the camera’s menu. On the Nikon Z50, I tend to use the control ring to adjust exposure compensation, but because the Zfc has traditional shutter speed and ISO dials as well as an exposure compensation dial it feels more appropriate to use it to set the aperture value on the Z fc.

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR review

Performance

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.

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR sample images

Follow the link to browse and download full-resolution images shot using the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR on the Nikon Z50 and Nikon Zfc.

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR sample image gallery

Verdict

The full-frame Nikon Z7 II and Z6 II are compact for their sensor size, but opting for the APS-C format Nikon Z50 or Zfc reduces the size and weight even further. The Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR makes a great partner to these smaller cameras, it feels balanced and responsive while the image quality is very good.

It would be nice if the lens extended automatically as soon as the camera is powered up, rather than the zoom ring needing to be turned, and it would be good to have the option for the control ring to click as it’s rotated, but both of these elements would add to the weight and cost.

 

guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments