The Best Nikon lenses Review 2021

The history of Nikon's lenses started in the year 1933. Almost 90 years have passed, and even today, we see that Nikon is one of the toughest competitors in the camera gear market.

If you search for a Nikon lens on any e-commerce website, you will land up with a huge list. Do you think finding the best one from that list is easy? Well, that's a hectic job.

I say this because Nikon has got a wide variety of lenses for both its DSLR and mirrorless cameras. That's how the brand is!

lenses for nikon

So what is this article up to? Well, I have taken a list of the top Nikon lenses under each category and have compiled them in this list. All the lenses mentioned here are well-trusted amongst professionals and are always in demand in the Lens market.

Read the article carefully and pick the one that will best suit your purpose and budget. So, are you ready to peep into the content?

BEST NIKON LENSES BASED ON LENS TYPE

PORTRAIT LENS

NIKON AF-S FX NIKKOR 85MM F/1.4G LENS

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Sensor format: Full-Frame/FX
  • Mounts on Nikon-F bayonet cameras.
  • Aperture range: f/1.4-16
  • Front filter thread measures 77mm.
  • Weighs 595 grams.
  • Nano crystal coating and Super integrated coating to reduce lens flare.
  • Weather sealed construction.
  • Has a minimum focusing distance of 85cm.
  • Comes with a HB-55 lens hood.

FEATURES:

Your portrait shots are going to stand out from the crowd when you have this lens paired with your Nikon DSLR. Apart from having the two best qualities of a portrait lens: 85mm and wide-aperture f/1.4,  it  is loaded with several surprising features, which is why it is always in demand.

If you wish to pair this lens with your Nikon DX camera, you have to consider the 1.5x crop factor. This will give you a full-frame equivalent view of 127.5mm.

DESIGN:

This 85mm, f/1.4G model was developed in 2010 as an improvised version of the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G lens. What makes this 1.4G lens costlier than the previous is the provision of an even wider aperture and a faster AF. The build quality of this lens is solid, being fully made of metal. It is neither too heavy nor lightweight. It weighs around 590g which is a pretty decent weight for a short-telephoto lens.

There are no complicated controls on the lens. It has a single AF/MF switch on the lens barrel. That's it! 

STM (Stepper motor technology) is what this lens uses for its autofocus. This motor is what is responsible for the lens's accurate and less noisy autofocus performance. For giving a breath-taking bokeh, there are 9 rounded blades included in the lens's design.

PERFORMANCE:

Why do I call this Nikon 85mm a top-rated Nikon portrait lens? Have any ideas? Well, the main reason is the focal length. "85mm" is the sweetest focal length you could use for portraits. It gives you a good shallow depth of field and flattering portraits. By this, I mean the features of the subject will not look disproportionate.

Secondly, as said above, the bokeh quality of this lens is incredible. You can get that perfect subject sharpness and an absolutely blurred background. The feel of the images will blow your mind! 

I'm not going to stress more on the AF speed because that will not affect our portrait photography. But only understand that this lens's AF speed is not the fastest, like a 70-200mm Nikon lens. However, it is moderately fast and gives accurate subject focusing. For starters, who are after good bokeh, take a look at these 
Nikon bokeh lenses to get shallow depth of field.

What I liked about this lens:

  • The color reproduction is awesome.
  • Great for taking indoor shots and other low-light scenarios.
  • Delivers sharp and good contrast images.
  • Durable build.
  • Out-of-focus blur effects are supreme with this lens.

WIDE-ANGLE LENS

AF-S DX NIKKOR 35MM F/1.8 LENS

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Full-frame field of view: 52.5mm
  • Aperture range: f/1.8-22
  • Has a minimum focusing distance of 30cm.
  • Front filter thread measures 52mm.
  • Optical construction consists of 8 elements in 6 groups.

FEATURE:

Is street photography your passion? Then gear it up by using this wide-angle lens from Nikon. As mentioned in the title, it is a DX lens, so that you can use it only with APS-C sensor Nikon cameras. If you wish to pair it with a Nikon mirrorless camera, you can do it by using an adapter.

DESIGN:

The lens is made of high-quality plastic and comes with a metal lens mount. You can use it for travel photography as it is lightweight (200g) and of a compact size. The focusing is completely internal with this lens, meaning the front element doesn’t move while focusing. The weather sealing gasket at the back of the lens prevents dust and water from entering the camera.

PERFORMANCE:

D3000 Nikon cameras are famous among beginner-level photographers. Two years back, I had a Nikon D3200, and as I was looking for a good lens to pair it with found
this lens compatible with D3200.

So I decided to test it on my Nikon D3200 camera. And, I was surprised by the results it gave me. I could get the full view of a busy road in New York in a single frame.

The sharpness is good; I get extreme sharpness levels when I stoop down the aperture to f/5.6-f/11.

Not only street photography, but you can also make excellent family group pictures with  this lens. The f/1.8 aperture lets in a lot of light and allows you to enjoy faster shutter speeds while shooting indoors. Focus breathing, which creates so much nuisance in most lenses, is very minimal here. I would say it is almost negligible!

Overall, it did work well with my D3200 camera, and I’m sure it is
the best lens for Nikon d3400 as well.

What I liked about this lens:

  • Focus breathing is minimal.
  • Great for taking landscape shots with a good background blur.
  • Very lightweight and affordable.
  • Also an excellent lens for d3100 entry-level camera.

STANDARD ZOOM LENS

NIKKOR Z 24-70MM F/2.8 S

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Aperture range: f/2.8-22
  • Front filter thread measures 82mm.
  • Comes with a HB-87 Bayonet lens Hood
  • LED display
  • Has a minimum focusing distance of 38cm
  • 9 rounded blades
  • Image stabilization: No

FEATURES:

If you are looking for some latest Nikon zoom lenses for your mirrorless cameras, then here is one for you. The standard focal range of 24mm to 70mm allows you to capture good-quality portrait and landscape shots with a nice background blur.

To mention further, it is one of the recommended lenses for Nikon d5300.

DESIGN:

The lens weighs around 800g but is not very big. It has a durable build as it is fully made of metal, including the lens mount. There is a customizable ring on the lens barrel. This is a nice feature. You can go to the camera settings and use this ring to adjust the aperture, exposure, and ISO values. As the lens has a weather sealing gasket, you can use the lens amidst harsh conditions. No dust or water will enter your camera. Overall, the build quality is top-notch. Let’s see how it performs.

PERFORMANCE:

I used this lens on my 45MP Nikon Z7 camera, and I’ll tell you my honest review about its performance. First image quality, at wider focal lengths, the center sharpness is excellent. If you wish to get good contrast in the corners as well, you have to stoop down to f/5.6.

At 70mm, the corners tend to lose a bit of sharpness, but it is not worse. Considering this focal length, most branded lenses do have the same issue.

In terms of autofocus. I’m happy it is extremely fast and is less noisy. Professionals use this
Nikon lens for video shooting works like live interviews, vlogging, and also for making short films. As the lens’ internal glasses are given a Nano crystal and Super integrated coating, lens flaring and chromatic aberrations are very minimal with this lens.

What I liked about this lens:

  • Delivers crisp, sharp and contrast images.
  • Quality of bokeh is good.
  • Provides better handling as it has a durable build.
  • The customizable control ring is useful.

TELEPHOTO LENS

NIKON AF-P 70-300MM F/4.5-5.6E ED VR

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Sensor format: FX (Full-Frame)
  • Aperture range: f/4.5 to 5.6 | f/32 to 40
  • Front filter thread measures 67mm.
  • Has got a 4.5 stops Vibration Reduction.
  • Weighs 680g
  • electromagnetic aperture mechanism
  • 9 diaphragm blades

FEATURE:

If you are Be it your home garden or a zoo. This lens is just perfect for capturing high-quality pictures of animals. With the focal range of 70-300mm, you could even capture a beautiful shot of a monkey even without getting close to it. That is the specialty of a telephoto lens! You could use this full-frame on a DX camera where you could get a full-frame equivalent view of 140-450mm.

DESIGN:

I already own a Sigma 100-400mm lens, and when I compare the size of this Nikon 70-300mm lens with Sigma, it is very lightweight. You won’t believe the Sigma lens weighs almost 1160g, whereas this Nikon telephoto lens is only 680g. Not only that, as the lens is weather-sealed, you can use the lens in changing climatic conditions like rain, snow, or any dusty environment. Great, right, so for travelers, this is an important factor you need to consider.

As this is an AF-P lens, meaning it has a Pulsing stepper motor Phase detection system, the autofocus is super fast and also accurate. The internal optics consists of an Extra-Low dispersion element to tackle chromatic aberrations. Additionally, there is a Super Integrated coating given to the lens’ internal elements to reduce lens flare.


PERFORMANCE:

The fast autofocus and versatile zoom range makes this
Nikon lens ideal for wildlife photography. But there is one more field that can make the most from this lens. Yes, you guessed it right: Sports photography. I tested this lens on my 45.7MP Nikon d850 camera to test the image quality of this lens. And I noticed that as this lens doesn’t have a bright aperture, it is not advisable to use it for indoor sports events. Overall, it is one of the best lenses for Nikon D850 camera.

However, for outdoor mid and long-range sports, there could be no better
Nikon outdoor sports lens than this! The corner-to-corner sharpness of this lens is excellent, the color rendition is great. And mainly, it has got an image stabilization feature, so it is very useful for getting smooth videos of a moving tiger or a sprinter in the running field.

What I liked about this lens:

  • Great for portraiture as well
  • The autofocus is very silent
  • Provides 2 VR modes: Normal and Sports

MACRO LENS

NIKON AF-S VR MICRO-NIKKOR 105MM F/2.8G IF-ED LENS

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Mounts on both FX and DX cameras
  • Aperture range is Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • 1:1 Magnification
  • Gives a full-frame equivalent focal length of 157.5mm on a DX camera.
  • Has a minimum focus distance of 2.54cm.

FEATURE:

Though there are various Nikon macro lenses, I consider this the most powerful one because apart from having a 1:1 magnification, it also provides: Vibration Reduction, a Silent wave AF Motor system, a good level of contrast, and importantly a beautiful bokeh.

DESIGN:

The body of the lens is made of metal, including its lens mount. There is a weather sealing gasket at the lens’s attachment to prevent dust and splash from entering the camera. Nice!

The focus ring is large and provides easy rotation. Apart from that, there are switches on the lens barrel for controlling the VR, AF, and focus.

PERFORMANCE:

I’ve tested this on my full-frame 21MP Nikon D7500 and a 21 MP Nikon d5500 camera, and I’ll tell you my honest review. I felt the image quality is more amazing in a crop-sensor camera. I get sharp images both in the centers and corners. In a full-frame camera, the center sharpness is excellent at wider apertures; however, there is a fall of contrast at the corners. For taking sharp macro shots, you have to stoop down the aperture between f/5.6-f/11. You will get the expected results. Also remember that, you can find a limited number of F mount DX
lenses for Nikon D5500 and Nikon D7500.

What I liked about this lens:

  • The build quality of this lens is good.
  • Bokeh is impressive
  • Delivers tack sharp close-up shots and portraits.
  • Has image stabilization.

COMPATIBILITY OF NIKON LENSES

The selection is delivered across all categories, Nikon aps-c (DX) or full frame (FX), wide angle, macro, landscape or portrait lenses. If you are interested to know more about Nikon lenses, you can check this camera lens guide and advice that accompany you to help you the best.

FX

If your Nikon lens has an FX tag on it, it means it is designed for Nikon’s full-frame (35mm) cameras. You could also use the lens on a DX (APS-C ) camera but have to consider the crop factor of 1.5x. So a 50mm Full Frame lens would give an equivalent field of view of 75mm in a DX camera.

DX

If your Nikon lens has a DX tag on it, it means it is designed for Nikon’s crop sensor camera that has a sensor size of 24x16mm. If you ask me whether you can use a DX lens on a full-frame camera, the answer is Yes.

Using the camera's crop mode, you could mount a DX lens on a full-frame body FX DSLR. This is a plus in Nikon because Canion doesn’t allow you to use an EF-S (APS-C lens) on an EF (Full-Frame) camera. 

Z

The Z tag on a Nikon lens means it is compatible with Nikon’s mirrorless cameras. However, you can use Nikon- F mount FX and DX lenses on a Z camera using an FTZ adapter. Also, the equivalent field of view will change when using a DX lens on a Z camera.

CONCLUSION

Well, that’s about my list on the top Nikon lenses. I hope I have made your task easier by helping you choose the right lens. If you have any doubts regarding this topic, please feel free to drop your queries in the comment section below. I hope to see you in my next article. Thank you for reading.