best nikon lenses

Best Nikon Lenses

In Gear, Nikon Lenses by Stefano CaioniLeave a Comment

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Are you looking for the best Nikon lenses for your camera?

If that is the case, then you have come to the right place.

Many photographers usually have a hard time figuring out the best lenses to buy for their Nikon cameras. This is especially true in the case of beginner photographers and others with little experience. While most people put greater emphasis on the camera, having a good lens can actually be much more beneficial to you, even if you have a basic inexpensive camera. 

Today, we are going to review some of the best Nikon camera lenses in the market. But before we begin, however, let us first go over some of the features of a good lens. 

Things to Consider When Shopping for a Nikon Camera Lens

best nikon lenses

Whether you are using an entry-level camera or an expensive high-end DSLR, having the right lens is crucial to taking good photographs. There are several factors you need to consider when purchasing a lens for your Nikon camera. These include:

Price

When you are a beginner, the first thing you need to factor when buying a new lens is the price. Camera lenses do not come cheap, so you need to decide how much you are willing to invest in a new lens for your camera.

While you might be able to find a relatively inexpensive camera lens, you will likely have to compromise a lot on quality and functionality.

When it comes to lenses, most of the time you get what you pay for.

Therefore you need to set aside a reasonable budget that can afford you a mid-range lens that is not too expensive, but also comes with quality optics and build. 

Focal Length

Focal length essentially refers to the distance between the optical center of your lens to the focal point on the camera’s center. The focal length of a lens usually determines how much magnification is required when photographing a subject.

It also guides you on the kind of angle you will get when shooting.

Ultimately, the focal length you require depends on the type of photography that you are doing as well as the subject matter that you are shooting.

Image Stabilization

Most modern Nikon lenses usually come with some form of image stabilization in order to deal with camera shake.

Image stabilization is very crucial when you are shooting without a tripod or shooting at low shutter speeds. This is because it cancels out any movement when the shutter is open, thus allowing you to shoot images with a lot of clarity and sharpness.

You should note, however, that image stabilization tends to increase the cost of a camera lens. Therefore, you need to consider whether the subjects you will be shooting require this feature. If you already have a tripod, you might be able to do it without this feature.

Quality and Build

Camera lenses usually differ a lot in terms of quality of construction. You only need to pick up two lenses at once and feel their weight to discover how different they are in terms of quality and build.

Most manufacturers typically produce different qualities of lenses in order to cater to a broader market. Even within the Nikon lens range, there are lightweight plastic lenses that are cheap and functional, but not very durable.

On the other hand, there are luxury lenses that are made out of high-quality glass and optics. These offer better performance, ease of use, and are highly durable. However, they also tend to be very pricey.

You should, therefore, consider your budget when shopping for a lens to find a good compromise between quality and price.

Now that we know some of the main features to look for in a lens, let us go over the best Nikon lenses currently in the market. All the products outlined in this review come equipped with a host of basic and unique features designed to give you maximum performance and quality whenever you are shooting your subjects. 

Best Nikon Lenses

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8

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Key Features 

  • Focal length 50mm
  • M/A focus mode switch 
  • Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor

The Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8 is a standard lens that works well with different types of cameras, including the larger 35mm Nikon DSLRs FX cameras as well as smaller DX formats. This masterfully designed lens comes equipped with a built-in autofocus motor that makes it possible to capture images with sharpness and clarity, even with a cheap Nikon camera. It also comes with a manual focus override which allows you to set your focus manually in low light situations where the autofocus feature may not work properly.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

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Key Features

  • Focal length 52.5mm
  • Manual focus override
  • Silent Wave Motor AF system
  • Compatible with all DX cameras and FX cameras which are in DX crop mode

Nikon’s AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm is designed for Nikon’s crop sensor camera system. It features an autofocus motor, which makes it suitable for use in any Nikon camera with AF-S lens capabilities. It addition to this, the lens comes with a manual override feature that comes in handy, especially when the autofocus is not working effectively. I would highly recommend the AF-S DX Nikkor for beginners due to its versatility and ease of use. 

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5 – 5.6G VR 

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Key Features

  • Near silent autofocus motor
  • Ultra wide-angle view
  • Lightweight and durable design

The DX Nikkor 10-20 mm f/4.5 -5.6G VR is one of the latest AF-P lenses in the market. As with most AF-Ps, this lens allows you to access certain lens features from inside the camera’s menu if you are using a modern Nikon DSLR such as D3400 or D3600. The lens has a focal length of 10-20mm along with an aperture size ranging from f/4.5 – 5.6. It also features image stabilization, which comes in handy when shooting without a tripod at slow shutter speeds. 

Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G

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Key Features

  • Focal length 40mm
  • Autofocus to 64 inches
  • Close-Range Correction (CRC) 
  • Silent Wave Motor

The AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor is suited for the smaller circle format of DX cameras. The most important feature of this standard prime is micro capability. To get the most out of this feature, you need to use the camera at its closest focusing distance of 6.4”. This allows you to capture life-sized images of any subject. 

Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D

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Key Features

  • Focal length 50mm
  • Maximum angle view 31 degrees 30”
  • Minimum Focus Distance – 1.5 ft

The AF Nikkor 50mm is designed specifically for full-frame Nikon DSLRs, which use the FX-format. However, this lens can also be mounted on smaller DX-format cameras. Unlike other lenses, the AF Nikkor 50mm does not have a built-in autofocus mechanism. It will therefore not autofocus with cameras that lack a built-in autofocus motor. On the upside, it has a built-in aperture ring that makes it easy to adjust the aperture when shooting in manual mode.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR II 

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Key Features

  • Focal length range: 18 -200 mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.6 ft.
  • Nikon Silent Wave Motor
  • Image Stabilization

This standard prime is designed for shooting both wide-angle and closely packed scenes. It comes equipped with image stabilization capabilities, which makes it easy to shoot with clarity and sharpness in hand-held situations. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 – 5.6 across the focal length of the lens, hence not ideal for shooting in low-light environments. However, as a beginner’s lens, it is certainly worth considering, especially due to its relatively low price.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR

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Key Features

  • Minimum focus distance 1.48 feet
  • Nikon Silent Wave Motor
  • Image Stabilization
  • Extra-Low Dispersion glass

This 18-140mm lens is particularly suited for the smaller circle frame of DX cameras. It has image stabilization capabilities, which makes it ideal for shooting images at slower shutter speeds.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6G VR

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Key Features

  • Focal length range 18-55mm
  • Maximum angle view 76 degrees
  • Minimum angle view 28 degrees
  • Image Stabilization

This is one of the most popular lenses for beginner photographers. It comes with an impressive focal length, which comes in handy when shooting all kinds of subjects, from outdoor landscapes to portraits. It also features built-in image stabilization that helps produce quality images in hand-held situations.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6 G VR

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Key Features

  • Angle 76 degrees to 28 degrees
  • AF-P autofocus motor
  • Compatible with DX cameras such as D7500, D5600, D5500, D5300, D3400, D3300, D500

This latest Nikon offering comes equipped with an AF-P autofocus motor, which provides more precision compared to silent wave motors. It also allows you to shoot in low light situations.

Nikon AF-S DX zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED

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Key Features:

  • Focal length range 12-24mm
  • 2 Extra-low Dispersion glass elements
  • Silent Wave Motor autofocus and manual focus override

This beginner-level lens is designed for the smaller circle of DX cameras. While it can also be mounted on larger FX cameras, I would highly recommend not doing so, as this will likely cause vignetting. The lens comes equipped with an autofocus motor and a manual focus override, both powered by SWM technology.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5 – 6.3G ED

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Key Features

  • VR Image Stabilization
  • Aperture range f/45-63 to F/32
  • Focal length range 70-300mm

The Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm is one of the cheapest lenses designed for the smaller circle of DX-format cameras. It features an autofocus motor powered by AF-P technology which provides higher quality focus compared to SWM autofocus lenses.

Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6G IF-ED

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Key Features

  • Focal length 70-300mm
  • Image stabilization
  • Autofocus motor powered by SWM

The Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6G IF-ED works well with the smaller circle of DX-format DSLR cameras. It features VR image stabilization which compensates for camera shakes as well as Silent Wave autofocus motor. 

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5 – 5.6 G ED VR

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Key Features

  • Focal Length Range: 16 -85 mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.3 ft. 
  • SWM autofocus motor

This entry-level lens offers a wider perspective compared with other products we have reviewed so far. It is particularly suited for the smaller circle of DX-format cameras and provides you with a maximum crop factor of 1.5X. It comes equipped with autofocus capabilities that employ silent wave motor technology.

AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5 – 5.6 G ED VR

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Key Features

  • Impressive focal length range of 18-105mm
  • VR image stabilization
  • SWM powered autofocus motor

Most beginner photographers prefer this lens due to its highly versatile focal length, which makes it suited for both wide-angle shots as well as subjects in close proximity. It comes equipped with VR image stabilization and vibration reduction of up to 3.5 stops.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-200mm f/4 – 5.6G ED VR

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Key Features

  • Compact telephoto zoom lens
  • Focal length range 55-200mm
  • Extra low dispersion glass
  • VR II image stabilization

This is one of the most popular telephoto lenses in the market today. It features VR image stabilization, which makes it easy to use in hand-held situations. In addition to this, it comes with a SWM powered autofocus motor, so that you can shoot with more clarity and precision.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5 – 5.6G ED VR

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Key Features

  • 5.5X Zoom lens
  • Focal length range 55-300mm
  • VR II image stabilization
  • Silent Wave Motor autofocus

If you are looking for a more extended focal length then the AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5 -5.6G is worth giving a shot (pun intended). This impressive wide-angle lens comes with vibration reduction and image reduction technology, which ensures your hand-held photos are clear and sharp.

Sigma 10–20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM

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Key Features

  • Focal length 10-20mm
  • Maximum magnification 0.15X
  • Minimum focus 0.28m

The sigma 10-20mm f3.5 EX DX is a wide-angle lens, which is ideal for shooting outdoor landscapes as well as indoor spaces. Moreover, it comes with a solid metal construction that protects the lens from damage. 

Sigma 35mm F/1.4 DG HSM

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Key Features

  • Focal length 35mm
  • Angle of view 63.4 degrees
  • Maximum magnification 5.2X

This lens is designed for shooting in conditions with low light, thanks to its large aperture of f/1.4. It features a 9 blade diaphragm, which creates a desirable out-of-focus effect on backgrounds. It also comes with solid construction that keeps the lens protected from shock and damage. 

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G

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Key Features

  • Focal length 85mm
  • SWM autofocus
  • Compatible with FX-format Cameras

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G is designed for the larger circles of FX-format DSLRs. It has a large aperture of f/1.8 which makes it ideal for shooting in low-light environments. It also comes with a silent wave motor autofocus feature that allows you to capture HD images easily.

Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR

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Key Features

  • Focal length 85mm
  • Maximum aperture size f/3.5G
  • Swm autofocus
  • Vibration reduction

This standard prime lens is highly versatile and can be used for close up photography, landscapes, portraits and more. It comes equipped with VR II image stabilization that allows you to shoot in hand-held situations. In addition to this, it features an autofocus motor powered by Silent Wave motor technology.

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A Final Word

Purchasing the best lenses for your Nikon camera can be a fairly effortless task if you know exactly what to look for. I hope that this review has given you helpful insights that you will put to use when shopping for the most ideal lens for your Nikon camera.

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