Best Nikon Camera Lenses - Header - StudioBinder

Nikon has been a top camera and lens brand for years, and with the release of their latest cameras, we put together a list of the best Nikon compatible camera lenses for DSLR, mirrorless, and cinema cameras.

We break it down by Nikon format and mount so that you know exactly which lenses will get the best images with your particular Nikon camera body.

BEST NIKON CAMERA LENSES

Know Nikon mounts before you buy

Nikon has cameras with full-frame sensors, and others with APS-C, but the Nikon F mount is the standard for both Nikon DSLR format cameras. 

You can use an FX lens with both full-frame and APS-C format DSLR cameras, but when you use the FX lens with an APS-C format, you will have to shoot in crop mode and the mega-pixel count will drop dramatically.  

The Nikon APS-C sensor lenses are known as DX. You can put an DX lens on a full-frame Nikon DSLR, but that same crop and mega-pixel drop will occur.

Neither can be used with Nikon mirrorless cameras without an adapter.

The future of Nikon lens mounts

Some of the older Nikon DSLR cameras have compatibility issues with some of the newer lenses that feature the AF-P autofocus and Electromagnetic aperture control known as E type.

This is not limited to Nikon lenses, but also Tamron and Sigma lenses that would otherwise be compatible with new Nikon DSLR cameras.

There is also the new Z mount, which is full-frame, and deals specifically with the Nikon Z6/Z7 mirrorless cameras, but…

Nikon does provide an FTZ adapter which will allow you to take your F mount lenses and use them on the Nikon Z mirrorless camera bodies.

Sigma lenses | DC (APS-C) and DG (full-frame).

Tamron lenses | Di-II (APS-C) and Di (full-frame).

At the very bottom of this post, we will go over the best cine lenses that use the Nikon F mount, so that if you have a Nikon D850 for filmmaking, these would be a great option for your video lens choice.

The MSRP on a lot of these lenses may be too steep for your production.

But if you look into renting the kits, there is a chance you could rent Nikon cine lenses for $200 a day, or even for an entire weekend.

It is also important to note that while we provide you with links and price tags for a brand new version of the lens, you can oftentimes find used Nikon camera lenses that cut the price into ½ or even ⅓.

Now that we know a little more about these Nikon lens mounts, let’s get into some of the best Nikon camera lenses.

BEST NIKON FX DSLR CAMERA LENSES

Best Nikon FX Lenses

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens

Nikon Lens Price: $2200

  • F Mount
  • Full-frame
  • Max: f/1.4 
  • Portrait Test Shoot | Jared Polin

    This is a really great Nikon lens choice for portrait photography, and is also a prime which is commonly better for filmmakers.

    This short telephoto lens that producers a really sharp image. It has a nano crystal coat to reduce flare and ghosting, and the lens feature extra-low dispersion glass that limits chromatic aberration and color fringing.

    Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $2000

    • F Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: f/4 

    Independence Hall | Jared Polin

    The PF stands for ‘phase fresnel’ which basically means that you can have this huge focal length with a lens body that is pretty small in comparison to other 300mm lenses. This has the same non-crystal and coatings as many of the other Nikon lenses. A great lens for long range images.

    Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $2400

    • F Mount
    • Full-frame
    • f/2.8 

    Nikon Asia

    VR stands for ‘vibration reduction’ which is great for both photography and video. You get a nice range in the zoom from wide angle to short telephoto, and a pretty decent max aperture rating.

    Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens for Nikon F

    Nikon Lens Price: $1200 

    • F Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: f/2.8 

    Test Shoot | Christoper Frost Photography

    The last two lenses have the same focal length range, and the same max aperture rating, but there is a significant difference in the price. The auto focus and image quality lose to the Nikon version, hence the price difference. 

    Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $450

    • F Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: f/1.4

    Comparison Video | Digital Rev TV

    For the price, this is a really nice lens both for photography and video. The 1.4 aperture rating is really nice for such an inexpensive lens, and this will help in situations when using solely available light.

    Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $1900

    • F Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: f/2.8

    Nikon Asia

    This is the widest lens on the list so far, and it is the widest of all the Nikon zooms with a constant 2.8 rating. It’s bulky lens which can be a good thing for durability and general build. Good for landscapes and interiors.

    Nikon AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $1900

    • F Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: f/2.8 

    Nikon Europe

    This is the widest lens on the list so far, and it is the widest of all the Nikon zooms with a constant 2.8 rating. It’s bulky lens which can be a good thing for durability and general build. Good for landscapes and interiors. 

    BEST NIKON DX DSLR CAMERA LENSES

    Best Nikon DX Lenses

    Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $1500

    • F Mount
    • APS-C
    • Max: f/2.8 

    Comparison Video | Digital Rev TV

    This is the best DX lens on the list, and it is so good you can even use this lens with the full-frame sensor and still get really great images. The build is full metal, so it is really solid, and the auto-focus works really well.

    Nikon AF DX Fisheye-NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $770 

    • F Mount
    • APS-C
    • Max: f/2.8

    Comparison Video | Digital Rev TV

    This fisheye lens has a 180 degree angle of view. It has a 5.5” of minimum focusing distance. It has the same built in auto-focus, and coatings as many of the full-frame lenses and gives you really nice images.

    Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $190

    • F Mount
    • APS-c
    • Max: f/2.8

    Comparison Video | Digital Rev TV..

    This lens is super cheap and accessible to Nikon DX users, and while the build and image quality isn’t perfect, it is pretty good for a lens that, completely brand new, has a price tag below $200.

    Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $1200

    • EF-S Mount
    • APS-C
    • Max: f/4.5

    Test Footage | Gregg Wild

    This lens has a superior build and image quality when compared to the the 10-24mm, and is also better than the off brand options. You’ll get the sharpest images with aperture set anywhere between f5-6.8.

    BEST NIKON Z MIRRORLESS LENSES

    Best Nikon Z Lenses

    Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $2300

    • Z Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: f/2.8

    Test Footage | My Nikon Life

    The new Z series lenses from Nikon are great. They are also really expensive, and there is no chance of getting a used version, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth the investment.

    This lens is basically an upgraded version of the 24-70mm FX, but it is shorter, lighter, captures sharper images and is an overall improvement.

    Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $850 

    • Z Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: f/1.8

    Test Photos | Mathieu Gasquet

    This lens is nice and sharp and gets great results with color and contrast. The 35mm also give nice focus and very little motion blur when compared to earlier versions of the same lens. Really nice f/1.8 aperture rating.

    Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $1300

    • Z Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: f/4

    Test Shoot | Digital Rev TV

    This is a very small lens considering it is a 14-30mm lens, and one of the nice improvements is the ability to attach screw-on filters to the front of the lens, which you could not do in the past 14-30mm FX lenses.

    Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S Lens

    Nikon Lens Price: $600

    • Z Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: f/1.8

    Slow Motion Test | Bernini Photography

    Some have pointed out that the auto-focus with this lens is still slower than some of the F mount lenses, which is contrary to Nikon’s claims, but the image quality and the 1.8 rating for $600 (brand new) is really nice.

    Nikon Z Camera Lenses Road Map

    Here is a roadmap that Nikon released to show the rollout schedule for their new Z mount lenses for their mirrorless camera line. 

    nikon-Z-roadmap

    Nikon Z lens release roadmap

    These lenses will most likely be relatively expensive compared to the F mount lenses, which is why it may be wise to spend $200 on the FTZ adapter first. 

    BEST NIKON CINEMA CAMERA LENSES

    Best Nikon F Cine Lenses

    Rokinon 20, 35, 50, 85mm Cine DS Lens Bundle (Nikon F Mount)

    Nikon Lens Price: $1600

    • F Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: t/1.5

    Rokinon Test | Glasspixelstudios

    This Rokinon cine lens kit is a great option for indie filmmakers, because the lenses will capture motion really well, and give your shots a nice cinematic look for a pretty low price when compared to high end cine lenses.

    Rokinon Xeen 24, 50, 85mm T1.5 Lenses for Nikon F Mount

    Nikon Lens Price: $6000

    • F Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: t/1.5

    Rokinon Xeen | Samyang Lens

    This is the upgraded version of the lens kit shown above, but the 35mm is missing, and the price is about 3x as much. You will get better video quality, better housing, and better glass elements inside the lenses.

    ZEISS CP.3 5-Lens Set (Nikon F Mount)

    Nikon Lens Price: $21,000

    • F Mount
    • Full-frame
    • Max: t/2.9

    It is probably very unlikely that you will ever buy this set of lenses, but you can probably rent them for a reasonable price if you want to shoot with cine lenses. 

    Miscreants | Zeiss Lenses

    If you want to use your Nikon D850 for a film, commercial, or music video, this would be a really fun set of lenses to rent and use for nice image quality. 

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