The Best Nikon Lenses Right Now

When it comes to buying The Best Nikon lenses for your Nikon camera, there is an overwhelming amount of choice out the re. Both Nikon itself and a number of independent companies make a huge selection of lenses, which means that when you want to expand your collection, it can be difficult to know where to start. Almost anything and everything is available, from ultra wide-angle Nikon camera lenses to huge telephoto zooms, plus specialized optics such as fisheye and ‘perspective correction’ lenses. So if you are looking for an upgrade to your collection, what are The Best Nikon lenses for your camera?

Which lenses you need depends on what you like to photograph. The most popular choices include a telephoto zoom for sport and wildlife; and an ultra wide-angle zoom for landscapes, tight interiors and the wow factor of exaggerated perspective. Another popular add-on is a ‘fast’ prime lens with a large aperture – ideal for blurring the background in the portrait shot.

Below we have selected 10 categories of best Nikon lenses for your Nikon camera that are firm favorites, with a real appeal to the mass market. In any case, we choose an eye-catching lens that delivers superior all-around performance, excellent control and superb image quality – and The Best budget alternative in every category. If independent manufacturers such as Sigma and Tamron make a better or more affordable lens than an own-brand Nikon, this is our most important recommendation.

Here are the Best Nikon Lenses

Nikon AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR

It’s Nikon’s latest and all-time greatest DX format standard zoom

  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Elements/groups: 17/13
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
  • Stabilizer: 4-stops
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.35m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.22x
  • Filter thread: 72mm
  • Dimensions (WxL): 80x86mm
  • Weight: 480g

With a leading wide-angle cover and a generous zoom range, the Nikon AF-S DX 16-80 mm f/2.8-4E ED VR corresponds to the use of a 24-120 mm zoom lens on an FX body. The widest available aperture shrinks from f/2.8 to f/4 at longer zoom settings, but the advantage is that the lens is smaller and lighter than constant-aperture f / 2.8 zoom lenses. High-tech attractions include an electromagnetically controlled diaphragm, ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, a focus distance scale under a viewing window, four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements and Nano Crystal Coat. Clean-clean fluorine coatings are also applied to the front and rear elements. Nikon’s unstabilized 17-55 mm f/2.8 zoom lens used to control the DX grid, but this newer lens has become the most appealing choice for general shooting requirements. Overall, this is one for the Best Nikon lenses that you can buy right now.

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Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | A

A top-class standard zoom for full-frame cameras

  • Mount: Nikon FX
  • Elements/groups: 19/14
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
  • Stabilizer: 4-stops
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.37m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.21x
  • Filter thread: 82mm
  • Dimensions (WxL): 88x108mm
  • Weight: 1,020g

Nikon’s latest AF-S 24-70 mm f/2.8 E ED VR is a beast with a standard zoom of 155 mm long and 1,070 g. The robust construction, the high performance, and the excellent image quality make it the choice of many professional photographers around the world – but it is enormously expensive to buy. The Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | A lens is not as weather resistant as the Nikon version, but it is still perfectly built.

It is physically shorter and slightly lighter but corresponds to the Nikon for all-round performance and image quality. Sharpness and contrast are incredible, while bokeh is amazingly smooth. Color fringes, distortions and vignetting are checked very well. Autofocus is super fast and quiet, while the 4-stop stabilizer is just as effective as the VR system of the Nikon lens. With around half the price of the Nikon lens, the Sigma is one for the Best Nikon lenses to buy.

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Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD

The Best DX format ultra-wide zoom for APS-C cameras

  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Elements/groups: 15/12
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Autofocus: HLD (High/Low toque-modulated Drive)
  • Stabilizer: 4-stops
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.24m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.19x
  • Filter thread: 77mm
  • Dimensions (WxL): 84x85mm
  • Weight: 440g

The Tamron 10-24 mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD represents a significant upgrade over Tamron’s original 10-24 mm ultra-wide zoom lens for APS-C cameras. It features improved optics, 4-stop VC (vibration compensation) stabilization and a new HLD (High/Low-toque-modulated Drive) autofocus system. The operation has been improved because the focus ring no longer rotates during autofocus and allows a full manual override. There are also weather seals, plus a fluorine coating on the front element to repel moisture and help with cleaning.

And luckily the image quality is very good. All in all, this is The Best choice for an ultra-wide-angle zoom of the DX format. The lens surpasses Nikon’s long-standing AF-S DX 10-24 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens for performance and image quality and is much cheaper to purchase. And the Sigma 8-16 mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM offers an even wider maximum viewing angle – but has a built-in hood without filter thread. Overall, this is one for the Best Nikon lenses on the market.

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Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM | A

A virtually distortion-free ultra-wide zoom for full-frame cameras

  • Mount: Nikon FX
  • Elements/groups: /
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
  • Stabilizer: None
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.26m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.19x
  • Filter thread: None
  • Dimensions (WxL): 96x135mm
  • Weight: 1,150g

Of course, Nikon’s own AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8 G ED is somewhat legendary as a pro-grade ultra-wide zoom lens for FX-format cameras. But as a relative newcomer on site, the Sigma 14-24 mm delivers equally stellar image quality in terms of sharpness and contrast. In fact, it’s better than the Nikon for control over color edges and distortions, both aberrations are incredibly minimal for an ultra wide angle zoom. The high-quality optic is packaged in a beautifully well-designed and fully weather-dependent cylinder. The maximum viewing angle is not as extreme as in Sigma’s 12-24 mm artificial lens, but the new 14-24 mm certainly surpasses the equivalent Nikon lens and is less expensive to buy. And overall, this is one for the Best Nikon lenses that you can buy right now.

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Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

Money no object? This is The Best Nikon-fit 70-200mm telephoto zoom on the planet

  • Mount: Nikon FX
  • Elements/groups: 22/17
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
  • Stabilizer: 4-stops
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.1m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.21x
  • Filter thread: 77mm
  • Dimensions (WxL): 89x203mm
  • Weight: 1,430g

This latest edition of Nikon’s world-class 70-200 mm lens adds electromagnetic aperture control for better exposure consistency with fast continuous shooting and a new VR mode for ‘Sport’, making it easier to track erratic moving objects in the viewfinder. Optical highlights are a fluorite glass element for optimum image quality and a lightweight reduction, together with six ED elements, one HRI element (High Refractive Index) and nanocrystal coatings.

The operational benefits from the addition of switchable, dual-mode autofocus on/lock buttons. The new lens rules the sharpness and the 4-stop stabilizer is half a stop more effective than the older 70 – 200 mm f/2.8 VR. It is The Best lens of its kind on the market, but the competing Tamron G2, below, is almost as good in all respects and costs only half the price. This is certainly one for the Best Nikon lenses that you can buy.

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Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR

A cut above the usual 70-300mm telephoto zoom

  • Mount: Nikon FX
  • Elements/groups: 16/11
  • Diaphragm blades: 8
  • Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
  • Stabilizer: 4-stops
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.2m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.21x
  • Filter thread: 67mm
  • Dimensions (WxL): 89x143mm
  • Weight: 1.050g

Nikon’s previous 70-300 mm VR lens gained the reputation of being one for the Best ‘budget telephoto’ zoom lenses in the world. The new edition, the Nikon AF-P 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR, costs about twice as much to buy but is a major upgrade. It has an AF-P (Pulse motor) autofocus system that is super fast and in fact inaudible during use, along with an electromagnetically controlled aperture. New generation VR (vibration reduction) offers improved 4.5-stop performance and adds a ‘Sports VR’ mode.

This makes it easier to track irregularly moving objects in the viewfinder and to prevent delays in fast continuous shooting. The lens has a strong, weather-resistant construction although one drawback is that there is no focus distance scale. As with all-around performance, the image quality is excellent in all respects. Overall, it is one for the Best Nikon lenses that you can buy on the market.

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Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S

A fantastic super-telephoto zoom for your Nikon camera

  • Mount: Nikon FX
  • Elements/groups: 24/16
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
  • Stabilizer: 4-stops
  • Minimum focus distance: 2.6m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.2x
  • Filter thread: 105mm
  • Dimensions (WxL): 121x290mm
  • Weight: 2,860g

Although Sigma and Tamron both produce 150 – 600 mm super telephoto lenses – which, when mounted on DX-format cameras, give you a fantastic maximum effective focal length of 900 mm – the Sigma ‘Sport’ line lens takes first place in terms of image quality, with excellent sharpness over the entire zoom range. The Sigma 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | The S-lens gives fast and accurate autofocus and the dual-mode stabilizer is very effective for both static and panoramic photos.

The build quality is of a professional quality, with a weather-resistant metal cylinder and even a sturdy metal cap. The only drawback is that it is a fairly gigantic lens and with almost 3 kilos heavy it is cumbersome for handheld shots. Overall, this is certainly one for the Best Nikon lenses on the market right now.

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Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro

This superzoom lens is perfect for travel or walkabout shooting

  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Elements/groups: 16/12
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Autofocus: Ultrasonic (motor)
  • Stabilizer: 4-stops
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.39m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.34x
  • Filter thread: 67mm
  • Dimensions (WxL): 75x100mm
  • Weight: 540g

Tamron is known for its pioneering superzoom lenses. The company’s latest offering is an 18-400 mm lens that pushes the boundaries of the long end of the zoom range – but the previously released Tamron 16-300 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro is The Best in wide-angle coverage. It reduces the minimum focal length to just 16 mm, and the extra wide maximum viewing angle can often be more useful than a larger telephoto range. As you would expect for super zoom lenses, color fringes and distortions can be noticeable, but the sharpness is better than normal and the handling is good. The stabilizer is also very effective, which is handy because the ‘effective’ maximum focal length of this lens in DX format is 450 mm.

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Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A

The Best portrait lens for your Nikon camera

  • Mount: Nikon FX
  • Elements/groups: 14/12
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
  • Stabilizer: None
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.85m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.12x
  • Filter thread: 86mm
  • Dimensions (WxL): 95x126mm
  • Weight: 1,130g

The combination of a focal length of 85 mm and f/1.4 aperture is perfect for portraits on a full-frame camera. It allows a comfortable shooting distance and a small depth of field so that you can really make the main subject stand out against a blurred background. Typical of Sigma’s ‘Art’ line of prime lenses, the Sigma 85 mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A has a relatively large build with a complex optical design. Indeed, it is about 50 percent longer than the competing Nikon lens and almost doubles the weight.

The pro-grade construction includes weather seals and the overall finish is impeccable. Sharpness is exceptional over the entire image frame, even at the largest aperture of f/1.4. It outperforms the more expensive Nikon 85 mm f/1.4G lens in this respect, while it also beats for minimizing color frills and distortion. It is The Best portrait lens for full-frame portraits on Nikon DSLRs if you can live with the weight. Overall, this is one for the Best Nikon lenses that you can buy.

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Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro

More advanced than Nikon’s 105mm VR macro lens – and cheaper

  • Mount: Nikon FX
  • Elements/groups: 14/11
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
  • Stabilizer: 4-stops
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
  • Maximum magnification: 1.0x
  • Filter thread: 62mm
  • Dimensions (WxL): 79x117mm
  • Weight: 610g

The Tamron SP 90 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro is the second generation of the company’s 90 mm VC USD macro lens and involves a number of upgrades – from improved optical performance, nanostructured coatings and weather seals to fluorine coating on the front element. There is also a new ‘hybrid’ image stabilizer that counteracts horizontal and vertical shifts, as well as the more common angle vibration or ‘wiggle’. As a result, stabilization is much more effective with close-up photography, especially when compared to the regular stabilizer in Nikon’s competing 105 mm VR macro lens. It also corresponds to Nikon quality and image quality, making the Tamron better priced.

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