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Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR Assessment


Introduction

The Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR is a standard zoom lens for Nikon DX APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras, where it provides a 24-75mm equivalent focal length in 35mm full-frame terms.

The Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR for Nikon was first announced in October 2019. This lens is made in Thailand.

It features 9 elements in 7 groups, including four aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion element to help limit spherical aberrations and distortion, while the Super Integrated Coating suppresses flare and ghosting.

The Nikkor Z 28mm has a minimum focusing distance of 20cm / 0.66 ft with a maximum magnification of 0.2x.

It features a rounded 7-blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to out-of-focus areas of the image and an internal focusing mechanism which means the lens barrel doesn’t move.

This lens uses a stepping motor for fast, quiet and precise auto-focusing and full-time manual focus override is also possible.

The Vibration Reduction image stabilization system reduces camera shake by up to 4.5 stops for sharper handheld shooting.

The Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR lens is priced at £329 / $299 in the UK and USA, respectively.

Ease of Use

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Weighing in at just 135g / 4.8 oz, the plastic bodied Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR is incredibly light for a standard zoom lens.

Its overall size and weight is very well-suited to a camera like the Nikon Z fc that we tested it with, as shown in the product photos.

It measures 70mm x 43mm / 2.8 in. x 32mm / 1.3in., making it one of the smallest lenses currently available for Nikon’s Z-series mirrorless cameras.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

This lens has a button-free retractable design – all you have to do is rotate the zoom ring to extend the lens before you can press the shutter button to take a picture.

When the lens is retracted, it’s locked into place so it won’t extend unexpectedly.

The lens is longest when extended to 16mm, where it adds another 3cm to the overall length.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Build quality is fine, exceeding what you might expect from such an affordable zoom lens, although the all-plastic construction may prove less durable in the long-term.

It incorporates a plastic mount, rather than metal, and a plastic lens barrel with just a single control, the generously sized focusing ring.

If you’re somebody who rarely uses manual focusing, then another option is to set the focusing ring to control a different function, such as aperture, ISO speed or exposure compensation. This is something you can set via the camera’s main menu and can be quite handy in certain circumstances.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Perhaps understandably given the modest asking price, this lens does not have a dust- and moisture-sealed design to support shooting in more inclement conditions.

The Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR lens accepts economical 46mm filters via plastic threads on the front of the lens.

The lens features built-in optical image stabilisation which offers 4.5 stops of compensation, rather than relying instead on the camera body’s stabilisation system.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

The Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR lens has a rather narrow, ridged motor-assisted focus ring that is quite nicely damped. Manual focusing is possible by selecting it on the camera body or full-time manual focus override is also possible when in AF mode.

As the the focus ring is not mechanically coupled, there are no hard stops at either end of the range, making it a little more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 48mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus.

The Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR lens utilises a stepping AF motor that produces almost silent, smooth and quite snappy auto-focusing, making it well-suited to shooting both stills and video, with the overall lens length remaining constant during focusing.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

When it comes to auto-focusing, it proved to be a fairly quick performer on the Nikon Z fc camera that we tested it with.

We didn’t experience very much”hunting”, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing most of the time.

This lens only ships with front and rear lens caps – there is no lens hood or any kind of case included in the box.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Focal Range

The 16-50mm focal length range provides an angle of view of 83° to 31° 30′ on a DX-format APS-C camera, which is equivalent to a 24-75mm focal length in 35mm full-frame terms.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

16mm

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

50mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not really apparent in our test shots, only appearing in very high contrast areas.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Vignetting

With the Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR lens set to its maximum aperture, there is obvious light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

16mm

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

50mm

Distortion

Commendably there’s hardly any barrel or pin-cushion distortion evident in either the JPEG or RAW files.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

16mm

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

50mm

Sunstars and Flare

The Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR doesn’t produce very nice sunstars even when stopped-down to f/22 or greater, as shown below, and it is also quite prone to flare when shooting directly into the sun.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Macro

The Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR is not a macro lens, offering a close minimum focusing distance of 0.2m / 0.66 ft at the 24mm focal length and a maximum magnification of 0.2x. The following examples demonstrate how close you can get to your subject.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.

In the Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR lens, Nikon have employed an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades, which has resulted in quite appealing bokeh.

We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we’ve included several examples below for your perusal, all shot wide-open.

Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Nikon Z DX 16-50mm F3.5-6.3 VR lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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