Best Wildlife Lens For Nikon Cameras

You just got yourself a high-quality Nikon DSLR and are into wildlife photography; what next? Well, you'll need some good lenses that help you truly capture the essence of wildlife. Now I'm sure you know and us that there is a wide range of options for you to choose from. Choosing the best wildlife lens for Nikon can get confusing.

BEST WILDLIFE LENS FOR NIKON

Apart from ensuring that you get a Nikon lens since no other lens is going to fit your mount, there are other things to look into. The thing about wildlife photography is that you're aiming to capture nature that is untouched by human interference. So you'll need to take pictures from a distance; this means you'll need to look for silent lenses with a good zoom. Well, you're in luck. After looking into such factors, I have compiled a list of the best wildlife lens for Nikon.

LIST OF BEST WILDLIFE LENS FOR NIKON 

IMAGE

BRAND

DETAILS


NIKON AF-S FX - best wildlife lens for Nikon
  • Focal Length: 105mm
  • Compatible Mountings:  Nikon F
  • Lens Type: Prime
NIKON AF FX - best wildlife lens for Nikon
  • Focal Length: 105mm
  • Compatible Mountings:   Nikon FX
  • Lens Type: Telephoto
Nikon - best wildlife lens for Nikon
  • Focal Length: 18-135mm
  • Compatible Mountings:   Nikon DX
  • Lens Type: Telephoto
NIKON AF-S DX -  best wildlife lens for Nikon
  • Focal Length: 55-200mm
  • Compatible Mountings:   Nikon DX
  • Lens Type: Telephoto
NIKON AF-P DX - best wildlife lens for Nikon
  • Focal Length: 70-300mm
  • Compatible Mountings: Nikon F-Bayonet
  • Lens Type: Telephoto

8 BEST WILDLIFE LENS FOR NIKON REVIEW

1. NIKON AF-S FX - BEST LOW LIGHT LENS FOR NIKON

NIKON AF-S FX - best wildlife lens for Nikon

Let's start off with the world's first autofocus lens with a focal length of 105mm and an aperture of f/1.4. The AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED lens uses the FX-format. It  brings innovation to advance the boundaries of wildlife photography.

With the AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED's you get superior optical performance. It ensures that you get high resolution across the entire frame. This means your wildlife pictures will be sharp and rich in detail. 

The 105mm focal length*2 and fast f/1.4 maximum aperture are designed to give you evenly lit and high-contrast images even from a distance. This makes it ideal for wildlife photography since you can take great pictures without getting too close.

The extra-low Dispersion glass elements and nano crystal coat give you the best possible sharpness and contrast. Additionally, there is a fluorine coating that ensures easy maintenance and lens durability. With an inbuilt design to produce natural and clear bokeh, it is the best wildlife lens for Nikon.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Has a manual focus override technology
  • Uses the FX-format
  • Comes with an F- mount compatible lens
  • Inbuilt rounded 9-blade diaphragm
  • There is protective fluorine coating on the lens
  • Comes with wireless lighting
  • You get a full-frame of 105mm shots

Pros

  • High-quality pictures from a distance
  • No need for extra lighting
  • Easy to maintain
  • Great contrast in the colours

Cons

  • Some pictures have a flare

2. NIKON AF FX - BEST WILDLIFE LENS FOR BEGINNERS

NIKON AF FX 105MM - best wildlife lens for Nikon

The Nikon 105mm ƒ/2 DC is a specially designed lens that has defocus control. This technology helps the photographer to polish and alter the appearance and nature of out-of-focus elements. This is great for taking pictures on the fly. With this lens, you can take pictures in risky situations without spending too much of your time. 

The lens was designed for maximum compatibility, making it easy to use with both DX- and FX- sensor-based digital SLR cameras.

If your camera uses a DX-format (APS-C) sensor, then this lens will have a working field of view of 158mm. The best part of this lens is that it comes with a fifth interactive graph. This graph is specifically made for a test scene where you can check the effect of each defocus control setting.

This graph is resource-rich and contains a lot of data compared to all the other ones. The focus on this lens is rapid, and it takes less than a second to shift. With features like this, it is the best wildlife lens for Nikon.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Comes with exclusive Defocus Control
  • Inbuilt rear focusing
  • Rounded diaphragm
  • Compatible with DX- and FX formats
  • Has an additional 5th graph

Pros

  • Great for fast pictures
  • Gives you great information
  • You get natural-looking elements
  • Fine-tune any part of the image

Cons

  • Slightly bulkily built

3. NIKON 18-135MM

NIKON 18-135MM - best wildlife lens for Nikon

The Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor is a state-of-the-art wide-angle telephoto zoom lens. It comes loaded with features like the Nikon ED glass, aspherical lens elements, and SWM (Silent Wave Motor). This enhances and optimizes your performance.


This lens has a wide focal length range of 18-135mm. This makes it suitable for a wide variety of shooting situations; however, the best possible way to use it would be for wildlife photography.


You get a picture angle that is equivalent to a 27-202.5mm lens in a 35mm format which truly makes it worth the buy. It has an optical design that features one ED glass element and two hybrid aspherical lens elements. This ensures you high-resolution, high-contrast images.


The Nikon AF-S DX also minimizes chromatic aberration, astigmatism, and any other form of image distortion. There is a compact SWM built into the lens. You can get the smooth and quiet autofocus performance that Nikon is known for providing in all their lenses. This is a great contender for the tag of the best wildlife lens for Nikon.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Gives you a 7.5x Zoom
  • Inbuilt extra-low dispersion glass
  • It uses a non-rotating front
  • There is an internal focus
  • It has a compact silent wave motor

Pros

  • Superior optical performance
  • Minimal chromatic aberrations
  • You get superb contrast
  • Fast and quiet autofocusing

Cons

  • They don't come with lens covers

4. NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200MM

NIKON AF-S DX - best wildlife lens for Nikon

This lens is specifically made for Nikon's compact DX-format DSLRs. The AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II comes with a retracting design. It is designed to be small and lightweight. This makes it ideal for travel and taking it on hikes.

It has a wide zoom range that goes from 55mm to 200mm. You will no longer have to worry about blurry photos and shaky videos with this lens. Thanks to the vibration reduction technology that keeps your photos sharp and your videos steady.

Overall the AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II is a great lens for wildlife photography.

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II is a state-of-the-art lens that complements Nikon's new high-resolution DSLRs to deliver peak performance. The super integrated coating delivers superior color quality and reduces ghosting along with lens flare.

The Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass almost eliminates optical distortion. The inbuilt rounded seven-blade diaphragm makes the out-of-focus elements seem more natural. These are just some of the reasons that make it the best wildlife lens for Nikon.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • It has ED glass
  • Comes with internal focus
  • Multilayer coating on the optical elements
  • Inbuilt silent wave motor
  • Built-in vibration reduction technology
  • Gives continuous coverage across the entire focal length range
  • Designed to be retractable

Pros

  • Minimal optical distortion
  • Easy to transport
  • Works noiselessly
  • Get clearer photos

Cons

  • Has trouble focusing on moving objects

5. NIKON AF-P DX - BEST WILDLIFE TELEPHOTO LENS FOR NIKON

NIKON AF-P DX

The Nikon 70-300mm VR AF-P is a lightweight, compact, and easy to carry tele-zoom lens. They are designed to feel great in your hands and work well with all crop sensor DSLRs (DX-format). They are easy to hold and carry thanks to the lack of weight. This lens uses a solid plastic mount that has the advantage of durability and resistance to degradation, rust, and rot. 

The lens comes with 14 elements in total that are divided into ten groups with one extra-low dispersion element. You get a wide range of 4.3x zoom with this 70-300mm lens which helps shoot far-off wildlife better.

 

This lens offers a long reach on DX bodies (the working value of 450mm in field of view on a full-frame camera). The zoom ring is designed ergonomically to be big. This means that it fits easily between your fingers and will be easy to operate.

You also get a constant manual override option with this lens. With advantages like this, it is arguably the best wildlife lens for Nikon.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Has the option of using autofocus
  • Inbuilt high-resolution sensor
  • Uses a pulse motor
  • The lens can be set up in the camera menu
  • Uses Nikon VR image stabilization
  • Zoom of up to 4.3x.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Wide range of settings

Cons

  • Chromatic aberrations are very noticeable

6. TAMRON AUTO FOCUS 70-300MM  

Tamron

This Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm is compatible with a digital APS-C sized or full-frame camera. It comes with 'Macro Switchover' technology that allows a minimum focus distance of 0.95m within the focal length range of 180-300mm.

The entire frame can be filled with subjects of apx. 5 x 7cm size, at a magnification ratio of up to 1:2. This makes it ideal for capturing images of flowers, insects, and such small wildlife pictures. 

The Low dispersion (LD) glass elements in this lens help reduce the amount of chromatic aberration. This means various colors can clearly coexist on the same plane to give a sharp image. The most notable characteristic of this lens that I could feel was that even wide-angle zoom pictures came out sharp and clear.

With such a great design, it is undoubtedly a great choice for anyone who wants the best wildlife lens for Nikon.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • It comes in nine groups
  • Uses rotation zooming
  • Inbuilt with a 9 Diaphragm Blade
  • 13 elements are used in the lens construction
  • Has low dispersion glass
  • Digitally integrated design

Pros

  • Best in class minimum focus distance
  • Unparalleled clarity on small subjects

Cons

  • The autofocus is slow

7. SIGMA 100-400MM

Sigma

While designing a lens like this Sigma intended to see how compact a lens can be while producing high image quality. This lens comes with four SLD glass lens elements and an optimized power distribution system. This is made to help in minimizing optical aberrations.

There are also features that help in minimizing transverse chromatic aberration. which cannot be corrected via aperture control. All throughout the zoom range, you are guaranteed to get outstanding image quality.

Wildlife photographers around the world prefer this lens for its exceptional performance and exceptional image quality. The new lens manages to squeeze out such great performance from a compact 400mm ultra-telephoto zoom package.

You also get a filter that is just ⌀67mm and weighs only 1,160g. Despite the compact size, you get features like an optical stabilizer (OS), hypersonic motor (HSM) an updated algorithm for fast autofocus, focus limiter, and more. With so many advantages to buying it, you can be assured that it is the best wildlife lens for Nikon.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Comes with an optical stabilizer unit
  • A Hyper Sonic motor is inbuilt
  • Dustproof mount
  • 9-blade rounded diaphragm
  • Uses a push/ pull zoom mechanism
  • lens hood is included

Pros

  • Easy to customize
  • Protected by a durable lens hood
  • High-quality images
  • Minimizes reflectivity

Cons

  • Slow-moving
  • Requires an additional dock to function

8. NIKON 500MM - BEST SUPER TELEPHOTO LENS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY

Nikon - best wildlife lens for Nikon

If you're getting into wildlife photography then this lens is for you. It is remarkably compact and lightweight. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm is designed to deliver high-level precision and accuracy. You get the best of technology, including Phase Fresnel lens design, Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements, and Nano Crystal Coat.  

To ensure you get great shots on the fly, there is an electromagnetic aperture mechanism that allows for stable exposure control. To keep your lens protected a fluorine coat that effectively repels dust, water, grease, and dirt is applied.

You can also get really stable images and videos thanks to the cutting edge Reduction (VR) that has a Sport Mode. What I love about this lens is how all of these features are so efficiently loaded onto such a compact build. All in all, you can term this as the best wildlife lens for Nikon.

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Comes with a specially designed Phase Fresnel
  • It has advanced weather sealing
  • The vibration reduction has a sports mode
  • Protected by Nikon nonstick fluorine coating

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Durable and long-lasting build
  • State of the art image stabilization
  • Immune to the natural elements found in the wild

Cons

  • The focus is soft
  • Poor color contrast

CONCLUSION

The requirements for a lens that you need for wildlife photography is different from an ordinary lens. You will need to make sure that the lens you buy is not just silent but takes good pictures on the fly as well. Since hunting for the right kind of lens that meets all the requirements mentioned above, I decided to help out.


I picked out the best available lens that meets all of these requirements. Apart from just listing the best wildlife lens for Nikon, I also mentioned their features, pros, and cons so you can make an informed choice. Good luck with choosing the model that's right for you.

Sara
 

Hi I am Sara. I am a cinematographer and a passionate blogger. My genre of interest is all about filmmaking gadgets. Well, I review all kinds of gadgets for filmmaking from the market. So I am here to help you choose the best filmmaking gadgets for you to get started.

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