I sold my jewel of the 1980’s and 90’s a 35-70 AF 2.8 metal nikkor. With the DX format, the old 35-70 just did not have a desirable range. So i moved on to the 18-135 DX mm and then the 24-85 AF and then on to the 16-85 DX mm. The construction of the 16-85 is tight, has a substantial metal barrel, and no play as the lense extends. As i mentioned, this is my fourth lense in this range, and while not constructed on the level of the 35-70 2.8, it is much superior to the other mentioned lenses. Sharpness is very good, and between the four lenses, it is the best. When you have the camera pointed at an object, focus just snaps in there – and you can see the clarity right on the viewfinder. No hunting around for focus with this lense! Color is great! We are really making some headway in the medium cost lenses today. I have seen none of the problems of chroma with like the 18-135 exhibits. Distortion is also only noticable at the 16 mm to 20 mm or so area. But, not near like the 18-135 mm. This lense is not cheap, but it takes as as good a photo on a D80 as the 35-70 2.8, and shoots as good a photo on the same subjects. Two different eras, but if you are going DX, and there is no reason not to, the lense if probably the best of Nikons offerings.
I suppose I just had bad luck, and due to the fact that I just bought it when it arrived at the market, the lense probably had a deffect. Despite this, I really recommend this lense. I really love the sharpness and the colours. It is suitable at almost all situations. I love it in portraits. I’ve really notice the diference between 18mm to 16mm.