A great photographer with a grasp of these fundamentals can produce quality work with any tools, but a big camera can make all the difference. But one of those components that lots of new photographers neglect is the effect that a high-quality lens can have on their job. Even though more advanced photographers normally carry a small catalogue of Best Nikon lenses wherever they go, a good functional lens can get you a long way.
Our top ten lens list concentrates mostly on the fundamentals: quality Best Nikon lenses which may serve double duty and deserve a place in any photographer’s tool kit. Further complicating matters is the fact that lenses are not universally appropriate, but some of the Best Nikon lenses with this list will fit you nicely if you have a Nikon camera.
10 The Best Nikon Lenses
1. Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
While many of the lenses on this list can serve as great all-around choices for novice photographers, the AF-S 70-200mm is not that. With a price tag roughly ten times the AF-S DX 35mm, this is a lens reserved for professionals and serious hobbyists. But those looking for a top of the line lens will fall in love. Its zoom range allows it to capture photos ranging from 70mm to 200mm with crystal clarity, while its VR stabilization allows for significantly less motion blur even when trying to capture subjects at high speed. The Sports Mode is built for action pans, and it’s well regarded as one of the better professional action lenses around. That’s in large part due to how sturdy this lens is. Weather sealing allows it to be used in practically any condition, and all nine parts of the lens barrel are sealed against dust and water.
- One of the best Nikon lenses available for sports and action photographers
- Incredible amount of zoom range with little in the way of unnecessary noise
- Specialized modes for shooting sports and for tripod mounting
- Incredibly resilient in the face of extreme weather conditions
2. Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G Lens
Novice photographers looking for a lens they can take anywhere and depend on for reliable shots should look to the AF-S DX NIKKOR. Optimized for DX-format cameras, this Nikon lens provides a fast maximum aperture that offers exceptional low light results and can be used to achieve a soft blurred background. The classic “normal” angle replicates the human range of sight, making it less unwieldy than 50mm options. And once you start adding new lenses to your standard gear, you’ll appreciate how compact and lightweight this lens is. The AF-S DX NIKKOR is powered by a Nikon Silent Wave Motor, a proprietary form of tech that promises quiet, accurate, and nimble autofocus in any condition. The lens is also treated with Nikon Super Integrated Coating to create color consistency and minimize the amount of flare in your photos.
- Weighs in at a mere seven ounces
- Backed by a full five year manufacturer warranty
- Quick switching between manual and manual automatic override autofocus modes
- Runs remarkably quietly when operating in autofocus
3. Nikon AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED
When you’re looking for a lens that will work with your traditional DSLR still camera and you need best Nikon lenses for videography, the AF-S DS NIKKOR can pull double duty. This lens is ideal for everything from photo blogging to shooting vacation footage, and it’s one of the best Nikon lenses for portraits due to the very high level of detail it can bring to wide angled shots. This is the first lens of its type to offer a VR mode for tripods, but that’s just one of four VR image stabilization stops that it brings to the table. The presence of nonstick fluorine coating allows it to perform exceptionally even when it’s exposed to water, dirt, or smudges. The presence of a 5X zoom lets you get a wider range of different shots than many of the other, less expensive, lenses on this list.
- Sports the lightest 5X zoom available through a Nikon lens today
- Utilizes an electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism that syncs incredibly well with the shutter
- A flexible variety of different vibration reduction modes for greater stability
- Image quality comfortably suits the demands of professional photographers and videographers
4. Nikon AF FX 50mm f/1.8D
The Nikon AF FX NIKKOR may not come with zoom functionality, but it’s a great and sturdy starter lens that can cover all the basics in your kit. The f/1.8 aperture provides beautiful results even with a shallow depth of field, and it works well even in low light settings. And at the widest aperture setting, it offers a quality Bokeh blur. That makes it ideal when you’re looking to produce naturalistic results with your camera. This lens makes use of Super Integrated Coating to offer quality color consistency and lens flare on all of your shots, while the Silent Wave Motor built in makes for an autofocus system that’s as quiet as it is accurate. Just keep in mind that this lens only offers autofocus functionality on DSLR cameras with an autofocus motor.
- Offers great utility despite being a cheap Nikon lenses
- A strong, affordable choice for portraits and natural lighting photography
- Comes with Nikon Super Integrated Coating
- Quick and easy transition between manual and automatic focus
5. Tamron 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD
One of the biggest advantages of Tamron best Nikon lenses is that they can be picked up for a fraction of the price of equivalent Nikkor lenses, but that doesn’t mean that you’re sacrificing quality for the sake of a good deal. Tamron offers some of the best 10-24mm focal length range of any lens manufacturers, and it makes up for the lack of Nikon brand VR with the presence of Tamron’s proprietary vibrational compensation. This lens also comes with a high/low torque modulated drive and fluorine coating to provide cleaner images with every shot. It’s refreshingly free of the distortion that’s often found in other wide-angle lenses. And you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues just because this is a third party lens. It works perfectly well with a variety of different Nikon cameras.
- A cheaper alternative to Nikon brand lenses that doesn’t skimp on quality or features
- Compatible with a huge selection of Nikon cameras
- Vibration compensation allows for steady photos even in rugged conditions
- Packed with an electromagnetic diaphragm system
6. Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G ED
As an F-mount lens, this Nikon camera lens can be used with every model of Nikon DSLR camera. Whether you carry multiple cameras with you or you’re looking to potentially upgrade to a new device in the future, that’s a great advantage to have. The ultrasonic-type autofocus motor runs smoothly and quietly and offers full-time manual focusing. This lens combines the natural perspective you’ll get with a 35mm lens with a solid f/1.8 so it will work well in low lights and provide crisp results regardless of the environment in which you’re shooting. Its lightweight design allows it to be added to your existing kit without having to make any major adjustments, but it can work very well as your primary Nikon lens as well.
- Partners very well with the other three f/1.8 FX-format prime lenses produced by Nikon
- Comes backed by a full five year warranty from Nikon
- Weighs in at less than 11 inches
- Uses a SWM for improved autofocus performance
7. Nikon AF-P DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
Professional and amateur photographers who want to get creative with their compositions without having to switch out lenses should check out this Nikon DX lens. Its ultra wide angle allows you to do more with your compositions, while its lightweight design makes it a highly portable choice. These two aspects combine to make it a stellar choice for more adventurous photographers. The exceedingly quiet autofocus stepping motor, meanwhile, allows it to function incredibly well as a lens for shooting video on DX cameras. Then there’s the VR capabilities which allow it to produce sharp results and keep photos and videos looking good even in the lowest light conditions. The close focusing allows you to get in tight on your subject even when you’re shooting from afar.
- Great range allows you to get perfect shots from exceedingly close or very far away
- Lightweight and durable design suits the demands of nature photographers with aplomb
- Comes with Super Integrated Coating to minimize ghosting and lens flare
- Autofocus stepping motor is nearly silent
8. Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR
The price tag on this AF-P lens is respectable, and that’s especially remarkable given how much if packed in to this lens. Its tele zoom can provide you with high-quality results at ranges from 70 to 300 mm, and you don’t have to sacrifice quality for the range of zoom. It’s an incredibly balanced lens that works just as well for video as it does for stills and can excel at both action shots and still shots like wedding photos and portraiture. This lens works with both FX and DX cameras, and it offers fast and quiet focusing so you don’t have to worry about disturbing your subjects or missing out on the perfect shot.
- Creates beautiful bokeh blurs regardless of the zoom level
- Vibration reduction means you can focus less on your environment and more on your subject
- A very compact and lightweight choice for action photographers
- Sealed to protect you against dust, water, and mud
9. Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED
This Nikon brand lens doesn’t occupy the upper range of costs, and there’s a reason for that. This is a specialized lens designed to meet your needs when you need a lens that works with zoom. While it probably won’t be your first choice when it comes to shooting wedding photographs or portraiture, it can provide you with the versatility you need to portray action shots or capture animals in their natural habitat. This is a lens designed for photographers on the go – those that aren’t interested in capturing the ordinary. More expensive lenses in this category will cost you more and weigh more with little substantive results. VR is built in to ensure that you get the results you want even if there are vibrations present.
- A strong lens for photographers shooting live and dynamic subjects
- Impressive range of zoom
- Lets you slow down your shutter speed without reducing the vibrancy of your photos
- Works with both stills and video
10. Nikon AF-S FX 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Need a dedicated telephoto lens that can provide you with superb zoom without a loss of clarity? This lens has you covered. The AF-S has long been a recognized favorite of professionals, and that looks unlikely to change anytime soon. The fixed aperture of f/2.8 allows for more natural results and a respectable zoom range without a loss of quality in your images. The internal focus allows you to change the auto focus quickly and quietly without having to change your lens at all. If you’re working in challenging environments and you need a lens that can adjust with your needs on the fly, this is one of the best Nikon lenses on the market.
- Works incredibly well in low-light environments
- Strong focal length range
- Incredibly durable and built for extenuating conditions
- Provides high-quality results in both stills and videos