Review: Nikon 17-35 vs 16-35 Comparison

Nikon 17-35mm is well known for its performance in low-light situations. Nikon 16-35mm is typically known as the best for cropping. All photographers, it does not matter wannabes, newbies or oldies, are going crazy of these 2 infamous lenses. What else can you know about them? In this article, we are going to walk through the 2 reviews of NIKON 17-35mm f/2.8 IF-ED and AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR. Most importantly, we will see the differences in their looking, on-hand feeling and image quality. The comparison will assist you in choosing which one you may want to buy or to use in the future.

Review Nikon 17-35 vs 16-35

Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8G IF-ED Review

This lens is probably the most popular full frame wide-angle zoom in Nikon’s lineup. Advanced enthusiasts, semi pro’s or professional photographers who shoot landscapes, architecture and interiors will love the quality of this lens.

So let’s look at the specifications; it has the Silent Wave autofocus motor, so it’s fast, accurate and virtually silent. The extra low dispersion aspherical glass elements control chromatic aberrations. The internal focusing system helps weatherproof this lens for use in harsh weather conditions. The rugged metal build quality makes this a lens professionals can rely on.

On a DX body, the range equates to roughly 25-50mm making it a fast wide to normal zoom, perfect for street photography. Of Nikon’s three wide angle zooms the 17-35mm f/2.8 is probably the best all-rounder. It’s quick so event photographers can use it hand-held in low-light without a flash. It’s solid so fast-working pros can depend on it to get a shot on challenging assignments. The sophisticated glass elements control distortion and chromatic aberrations to professional standards. The range covers the perspectives that used to fill a camera bag with thick glass; 17, 20, 24, 28 and 35 millimeters all in one lens.

AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Review


It was geared towards professional photographers as much as amateur users. The lens barrel is made of magnesium alloy. The focus and zoom rings, and bottom of the lens itself, are sealed against dust and moisture adding to its pro credential. Rings are grooved, and their rubbery surface makes it reassuring to work with. It’s worth mentioning that both of them are nicely dampened which will also be appreciated by video shooters.

There are two switches on the barrel: one for autofocus and one for turning on and off the VR. This Nikkor Lens has all the systems that needed for uninterrupted workflow. VR II technology allows you to shoot up to 4 stops slower, than it would be normally possible and I was able to constantly get sharp results at speeds of half a second, which is amazing stuff. This second incarnation of VR also detects panning automatically so no need to turn it off when you shoot moving action.

Another feature is the Silent Wave Motor focusing mechanism allowing for quiet and unobtrusive work. Photographers can switch to manual focus mode at any by simply turning the focus ring. Even though the inner tube of the lens retracts around a centimeter while zooming, the length of the lens itself remains constant. Glass on this ultra wide angle zoom is from the highest shelf and its description includes abbreviations covering three of the most desired types of glass: N, ED, and AS.

Nano Crystal Coating reduces ghost and flares caused by light entering the lens and you can always use the remaining small amount of it to your creative advantage. Two Extra-Low Dispersion glass elements towards the mount of this lens are responsible for correction of chromatic aberrations, and they do a great job.

Last but not least is AS which stands for Aspherical lens elements. They have non-spherical surfaces to eliminate certain types of lens aberration, in this case, barreling which occurs towards the wider end. All of the 17 glass elements of this lens create one of the sharpest outputs you will ever see.


Comparison: Nikon 17-35 vs. 16-35

The feeling and looking

The 17-35mm does not feel as quite slick and consistent as the 16-35 mm, which makes the 16-35mm look more professional. The 16-35mm is also taller and a little bit lighter, more plasticky.



Nikkor 16 35

Nikkor 16 35

Even though the 17-35mm looks a little bit clutter, it seems to be more robust and endurable. It may be able to take more hits when put in the bag. However, the built quality of the two is quite similar.

Image quality

The 16-35mm has VR, which can make it more useful in the low light situation or when you have to hold it in hand. But most of the time, people can still use the tripod instead to reduce the vibration.

The 16-35mm also gives you a better quality picture. Photos taken by the 17-35mm are still sharp in the center, but get softer toward the edges. Meanwhile, the 16-35mm gives you the sharp picture throughout the entire frame with very little or no distortion. In the close distance, the difference is not considerable. But when It comes to further distance, you can see that 16-35 does actually give a much crisper photo, a huge dramatic difference in sharpness.

The 16-35 is a better performer especially concerning corner and around the edges. It is the improvement that Nikon has made to their lenses. And that alone can easily rule out the images for any landscape photography.

What should you choose?

Even though 16-35mm is proved to be a better performer for most of the situation, you are still advised to consider having a 17-35mm for night time photography. Or if you do not take the best quality picture really seriously, or you want the more fast working and more easy to use camera, 17-35mm is definitely a perfect choice.


Whether it is a 16-35mm or a 17-35mm that you want, make sure that your desires match with the strong points of the camera. Hopefully, this review and comparison can help you in your purchasing or using decision. Thank you for reading!