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BEST Nikon Lenses

Updated on January 2, 2015

Get The Best Nikon Lenses To Suit Your Camera

Having a really good digital SLR camera is one thing, but it's the lens that is going to make all the difference to the quality of the final image. Lenses for Nikon cameras are made by Nikkor.

Avoid using the wrong lens for the wrong shoot. You will find plenty of information to enable you to make informed decisions on the right lens or lenses for your camera bag.

If you are keen on macro photography for portraiture or just going in close, read on and you will find out the pros and cons of specific Nikkor lenses that are able to get up close and personal without losing image detail and quality.

Want to take pictures of landscapes, then make sure you can get a good wide angled lens that has the facility to zoom in on detail when required.

The reputation of Nikon lenses for build quality and reliability is second to none

normal zoom lens
normal zoom lens

AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II

I can't say enough about this Nikkor lens. It has produced so many beautiful shots on my D90. The quality is solid and photos are sharp.

This is a lens with such a large zoom range that does not seem to vignette at the extreme end of the telephoto range. It is fast enough for most casual photo work while the VR feature is ideal for those long range hand-held shots.

Compact 11.1x ultra-high ratio zoom lens

with Zoom Lock Switch

AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Specifications:

  • Focal Length - 18-200mm
  • Max aperture - f/3.5-5.6
  • Min aperture - f/22-36
  • Closest focusing distance - 0.5 m/1.6 ft.
  • Lens Construction - 16 elements in 12 groups (with two ED glass and three aspherical lens elements)
  • Filter/attachment size - 72mm
  • Weight - 565 g/19.9 oz.

Key Features

  • A zoom lens offering a high zoom ratio with magnification of 11.1x
  • E quipped with a zoom lock switch
  • E quipped with a compact Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Built-in Vibration Reduction (VR II)
  • Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) adopted
  • Two focus modes available - M/A (manual-priority autofocus) and M (manual focus)


This has the full range needed and the versatility demanded from a lens. It's fast and easy to use so perfect for those new to photography as well as the pros.

It has the VR feature which does help avoid those blurred images at full zoom if not using a tripod. I like it because I can get so many candid shots of people from far away with this crazy super zoom. Great build quality too.

AF-S DX Nkr 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
AF-S DX Nkr 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
One-lens solution adept in a wide variety of situations.

Nikon Lens Accessories from Amazon

Macro Lens
Macro Lens

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED

Nikon have raised a few eyebrows with the introduction of this lens as it is the first true Macro (Micro with Nikon) lens to carry stabilisation, Nikon's VRII vibration reduction. Winner of the prestigious TIPA award for the best professional lens, so let's see how it performs.

The world's first macro lens equipped

with SWM and VR systems

Nikon AF-S Micro Nikkor 105mm g/2.8 G ED VR Specifications:

  • Focal Length 105mm
  • Max aperture f/2.8 (reads f/3)
  • Min aperture f/32
  • Min focus 0.31m (working distance 0.15m)
  • Construction 14/12 elements/groups
  • Filter size 62mm
  • Hood HB-38 (Supplied)
  • Dimensions 83x116mm
  • Weight 0.72kg

Key Features

  • The VRII function minimizes camera shake by offering the equivalent of a shutter speed 4 stops faster at near infinity to 3m (1/30x reproduction ratio) shooting
  • The SWM enables fast and quiet autofocusing, and quick switching between autofocus and manual operation
  • ED glass element
  • Nano Crystal Coat ensures superior optical performance by virtually eliminating internal lens element reflections
  • The IF design provides a constant lens length and eliminates rotation of the front lens element, facilitating the use of circular polarizing filters and the Nikon Close-up Speedlight Commander Kit R1C1 and Nikon Close-up Speedlight Remote Kit R1
  • 1:1 of maximum reproduction ratio and up to 31cm closest focusing distance
  • Up to 154mm working distance (at near 1:1)
  • Two focus modes are available - M/A and M
  • Nine-blade rounded diaphragm opening


The idea of introducing Nikon's newest version of VR to a Macro lens, especially at the focal length that is most popular with photographers is a good one, taken the number of extreme close-up shots that are ruined by camera shake. Does it work? Yes it certainly does.

The AF-S autofocus system is a joy to use given that it is silent and very quick for a dedicated macro lens. The focus limiter, which only stops the focus going shorter than 0.5m, improves this speed even further in normal use.

A well thought out and put together lens, there is no distortion that can be seen with the naked eye and chromatic aberration is so well controlled throughout the aperture range which a massive 8 stops.

Internal focussing keeps the lens a constant length and Nikon are honest enough to provide a working distance as well as the more common closest focus distance. This lens gives a working distance of around six inches (150mm) depending on the camera body whereas, by tradition, the closest focus distance of 31cm, which is measured from the film/sensor plane is around twice that!

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
For close-ups and portrait photography - one of the best macro lenses on the market.
wide angle lens
wide angle lens

AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

This is a fantastic new lens from Nikon that allows you much creative freedom on a FX body (I use mine on a D90). It's sharp corner to corner, and images are rich and well saturated. It's not quite a carry-around lens because of the limited focal length, but it is a great wide-angle lens. The constant f4 aperture together with the VR make for a great all-around lens.

Ultra wide-angle 16-35mm FX-format-compatible zoom lens with built-in

vibration reduction

AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Specifications:

  • Focal Length - 16-35mm
  • Max aperture - f/4
  • Min aperture - f/22
  • Lens construction - 17 elements in 12 groups (with two ED glass and three aspherical lens elements, and Nano Crystal Coat)
  • Angle of view - 107° - 63° (83° - 44° with Nikon DX format)
  • Closest focusing distance - 0.29 m (1.0 ft.) at a focal length of 16mm or 35mm, 0.28 m (0.9 ft.) at a focal length between 20mm and 28mm
  • Maximum reproduction ratio - 0.25x
  • Filter/attachment size - 77mm
  • Weight - Approximately 680 g/24.0 oz.

Key Features

  • Ultra wide-angle zoom lens that covers focal lengths from 16mm to 35mm
  • Vibration Reduction (VR II) enables sharper pictures while shooting at shutter speeds up to four stops* slower than would otherwise be possible

    * As determined in Nikon performance tests.

  • The adoption of Nano Crystal Coat effectively reduces ghost and flare
  • An ultra wide-angle zoom lens that, while offering a wide angle view of 107°, is compatible with 77mm screw-on filters
  • Fixed maximum aperture of f/4
  • ED glass and aspherical lens elements are utilized for a new optical design that achieves high resolution
  • Quiet focusing with built-in Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Two focus modes selectable - M/A and M

This lens becomes the obvious choice among Nikon's wide-angle lens options for the vast majority of amateur FX shooters. Pros will undoubtedly be able to use this lens as well, although the particular subject matter will determine whether the f/2.8 max aperture or better distortion control of some of the other lenses will necessitate their use instead.

For event photography, the 17-35 may remain the better choice. The 14-24 is the obvious choice when its particular abilities are needed, but not without serious compromises (size, weight, cost, vulnerability of front element, incompatibility with filters). For everything else, this 16-35mm adds VR, gives surpassingly excellent image quality including outstanding, snappy color rendition, and is sized much more appropriately for any type of casual use.

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Telephoto zoom lens
Telephoto zoom lens

AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR (5.5x)

This is a fantastic new lens from Nikon that allows you much creative freedom on a FX body (I use mine on a D90). It's sharp corner to corner, and images are rich and well saturated. It's not quite a carry-around lens because of the limited focal length, but it is a great wide-angle lens. The constant f4 aperture together with the VR make for a great all-around lens.

Super-telephoto 5.5x zoom lens with

Vibration Reduction II

AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Specifications:

  • Focal Length - 55-300mm
  • Max aperture - f/4.5-5.6
  • Min aperture - f/22-29
  • Lens construction - 17 elements in 11 groups (with two ED glass elements, and one HRI element)
  • Angle of view - 28°50' - 5°20'
  • Minimum focusing distance - 1.4 m/4.59 ft.(throughout the entire zoom range)
  • Maximum reproduction ratio - 0.28x
  • Filter/attachment size - 58mm
  • Weight - Approximately 530 g/18.7 oz.

Key Features

  • Super-telephoto 5.5x zoom lens covering 55-300mm focal range (angle of view is equivalent to a focal length of 82.5 to 450mm in FX/35mm format)
  • Vibration Reduction (VR II) enables sharper pictures while shooting at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would otherwise be possible
  • Two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements minimize chromatic aberration for superior picture quality
  • High Refractive Index (HRI) lens achieves high specifications and optical performance

Optically this lens is sharp with excellent color and contrast. I would rate it on par with the 70-300. It is lighter and smaller than the 70-300 and fits in the camera bag better.

With the VR facility, it is easy to take handheld shots, however when on full zoom at 300mm it is highly recommended to use a tripod as any camera shake will be enhanced.

This is a typical work-horse Nikon lens, it is solid and very well built on par with most other Nikkor lenses and is a must for any camera bag.

Single-Focal Length lens
Single-Focal Length lens

AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

The big plus with this lens over the older 35mm lens is the AF-S feature which is auto focus system that is internal to the lens, very fast and very silent. DSLR owners of D40, D40x, D60, and D5000 can now benefit from this.

Fast, wide-angle lens with SWM

and Nano Crystal Coat

AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G Specifications:

  • Focal Length - 35mm
  • Max aperture - f/1.4
  • Min aperture - f/16
  • Lens construction - 0 elements in 7 groups (with one aspherical lens element)
  • Angle of view - 63° (44° with Nikon DX format)
  • Minimum focusing distance - 0.3 m/0.98 ft.
  • Maximum reproduction ratio - 0.2x
  • Filter/attachment size - 67mm
  • Weight - Approximately 600 g/21.2 oz.

Key Features

  • Fast 35mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4
  • Superior optical performance achieves high-resolution images with natural picture blur
  • Nano Crystal Coat virtually eliminates internal lens element reflections to effectively reduce ghost and flare
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM) ensures quiet AF operation with superior subject-tracking ability
  • Refined MF driving mechanism reduces focus time lag and improves operational ease in M/A mode

This Nikon DX lens produces sharp pictures and great color and contrast. It is also perfect for portrait and other general purpose photography (semi-macro etc). Producing a nice bokeh, the overall quality is comparable to other Nikon prime lenses (50mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4 AF-S etc) lens which are famous for being sharp.

The important thing to bear in mind with this lens is that it is a relatively fast prime lens. This enables one to take photographs using a large aperture which performs almost as well at a wide-open f/1.8 setting as at an optimal f/5.6 or f/8 aperture.

A very versatile lens.

Nikon Accessories on Amazon

Nikon Lens Group Test on YouTube


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