I'm still using a D60 and will probably have it for at least another year. I have the kit lenses (18-55 and 55-200 VR) as well as the 70-300 VR, 35/1.8 prime, and Tokina 11-16. All DX lenses (I don't see myself migrating to FX in the foreseeable future). I'd like to replace those two kit lenses with a single zoom and I'm wavering between the 18-105 and the 16-85. I've toyed with the 18-105 briefly but have no experience with the 16-85. The 18-105 is about half the cost and a couple of ounces lighter. The lower cost would help me with either of my next two goals: a 105 micro or replacing the D60 with a D7000 (or, 7100 or 400, if they ever appear). Other than being a little beefier, is there any reason to consider the 16-85 over the 18-105?
I should add that I lean toward landscape and have dabbled in some shorebird photography (which I have very little opportunity for in my location). So, I've got the 11-16 for the former and the 70-300 for the latter. I am trying to lighten the travel bag as we'll be doing an Alaska cruise next summer.
I've owned both and while I give the edge to the 16-85 in image quality, that aspect of these lenses is actually pretty close. The 16-85 is of course wider and the 18-105 longer so which is better for you depends on your shooting habits.
The real difference between these, and a big part of what you pay for, is build/features. 16-85 has a metal lens mount, M/A focus mode, and focus distance scale (and the lack of the last one on the 18-105 makes it a really poor choice for all kinds of night photography).
Does that make the 16-85 worth the extra money? IMO yes but these differences may not matter as much to you.
Thanks so much! Unfortunately, I missed the earlier thread because I scanned instead of truly searching (I tend to do a rather poor job of structuring my searches).
Thanks for pointing out the M/A focus which I would love to have on what would be my main lens. And, I hadn't given a thought to the lack of a distance scale. I don't do a lot of night photography but it's a consideration. The 16-85 would also dovetail better with my Tokina 11-16. I had also missed that the 16-85 is VRII whereas the 18-105 is not. Another plus.
I have the 11-16 along with the 16-85, with the latter spending the most time on my camera. With the 18-200 which preceded the 16-85, I found myself switching to the 11-16 more often (or not, and not getting the shot I really wanted due to my laziness). But it all depends on your vision and whether you see wide or long ...
I never have shot with the 18-105, but I found the 16-85 noticeably sharper than the 18-200 at the same FL in good light.
On a DX camera, the 16-85 gives you the FOV equivalent of a 24mm film lens. That wide angle is indispensable if you will be shooting indoor, especially while photographing a group of people. Of my six Nikon film lenses, the 24 saw the 2nd most use, after the 50mm 'normal' lens.
At the other end of the range, you would have to weigh your typical subject matter against the two options of maximum telephoto. There's not a compelling advantage to 105mm vs 85, in my experience. Both will do portraits at 60mm. That's a kind of benchmark focal length for portraits.
I've got the 16-85, and also a 60mm ED Micro and 12-24. Both the 16-85 and 12-24 are handy at parties and small events.