Photozone Tests the 16-85/VR
Photozone just published their lens test on the 16-85/VR.
Optical performance looks excellent -- quite comparable to the 17-55/2.8. Very sharp, no serious flaws.
Sharpness: Very sharp in the center at all focal lengths and apertures (MTFs approach the D200 sensor's limit from f/3.5-5.6 at 16-35 mm). Corners are very good except at 16 mm wide-open. (To put this in context, the 16-85/VR is sharper than the 17-55/2.8 at every equivalent aperture and focal length)
Distortion: Similar to most zooms in its class. Comparable to the 17-55/2.8, but slightly more distortion at the wide end (2.5% vs 2.2%)... understandable as it's a bit harder to keep things straight in a compact design at 16 mm with a 5.3x zoom range.
Vignetting: About a stop darker in the corners at 16 mm wide-open but otherwise good performance typical of its class.
CA: Exceeds 1 pixel at both ends of the zoom (16 and 85 mm), but relatively mild everywhere else.
Bokeh: Probably the worst aspect of this lens. At medium focal lengths and slower apertures, it's not pretty. But then again, neither are most slow consumer zooms -- especially those with 3 aspherical elements!
SLRGear.com 16-85VR review
SLRGear.com gave the lens a very good review too.
but I have to agree with Rooz & K1W1 that, in Australia at least, it is still overpriced.
D-D Photographics, a parallel importer/discount online/store, sell the lens for AUD765.00 & that's probably the cheapest price available in Oz. :(