Please note, these lenses are intended for use with Nikon FX DSLRs. Therefore, if you own a DX DSLR such as the Nikon D3500, D5600, or D7500, take a look at the best lenses for Nikon DX DSLRs.
Table of Contents
- Which Nikon Lens should you buy first
- Best Nikon FX lenses for everyday use
- Best Nikon FX lenses for Portraits
- Best Nikon FX Lens for Weddings
- Best Nikon FX Lens for Landscape Photography
- Best Nikon Lens for Sports
- Best Nikon Lens for Wildlife
- Best Nikon FX Lens money can buy
Which Nikon Lens should you buy first
The Nikon AF-S 50mm F1.8G is the best cheap Nikon FX lens. Not only is it cheap, but it is also one of the smallest and lightest FX lenses you can buy for your Nikon FX DSLR. In fact, every Nikon full-frame DSLR owner should have one of these in their bag.
Furthermore, the Nikon AF-S 50mm F1.8G is razor-sharp. And thanks to its maximum F1.8 aperture, it shoots well in low light and blurs backgrounds into oblivion. Read the ultimate guide to Aperture
Being a 50mm, the AF-S 50mm F1.8G renders a versatile 47-degree angle-of-view making it an ideal choice for everyday photography. As a result, the AF-S 50mm is a fine choice if you are looking to get the best out of your Nikon FX DSLR on a daily basis. Read best 50mm lens for Nikon DSLR
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 50mm F1.8G
Best Nikon FX lenses for everyday use
Thanks to its absurdly versatile focal range, inbuilt image stabilization, and weather-resistant body, the best Nikon FX lens for everyday photography is the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4.
With its large, bright, and constant F4 aperture, the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm is a great option for shooting in poorly lit spaces whilst its nano-coated optics provide glare resistance in strong light.
In fact, the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4 began life as a kit lens for the Nikon D600 and is often priced well below other lenses with similar feature sets.
For this reason, the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4 is a highly capable and extremely good-value all-in-one lens and the best Nikon FX DSLR lens for everyday photography.
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4 VR
Best Nikon FX lenses for Portraits
For fantastic sharpness and beautiful background blur, the Nikon AF-S 85mm F1.4G is the best Nikon FX lens for portraits.
Known as the ‘Cream Machine’, the Nikon AF-S 85mm’s large F1.4 aperture produces outstanding bokeh. And its nano-coated front-lens element boosts contrast whilst dramatically reducing lens flare and ghosting. Like most Nikon lenses in this class, the AF-S 85mm F1.4 is weather resistant.
However, if you find the price a little difficult to swallow, Nikon also makes the AF-S 85mm F1.8G. For one-third the price, you get a smaller, lighter lens that is at least as sharp as the more expensive AF-S 85mm F1.4G. On the other hand, the AF-S 85mm F1.8 loses half-a-stop of brightness and features no nano-coating or weatherproofing.
Overall, the Nikon AF-S 85mm F1.8G is the best cheap Nikon FX lens for portraiture. But if you can tolerate its weight and price, the Nikon AF-S 85mm F1.4G is one of the best Nikon FX lenses of all time.
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 85mm F1.8G
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 85mm F1.4G
Best Nikon FX Lens for Weddings
The Nikon AF-S 24-70mm F2.8 VR is the best Nikon FX lens for wedding photography. With a focal length of 24-70mm, the Nikon switch between wide group shots and classic portraiture with a twist of a wrist. And thanks to its large, bright F2.8 aperture, the 24-70mm works well for those interior shots.
As with most premium Nikon lenses, the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm features nano-coating and weather-proofing making the 24-70mm a robust option when working outdoors.
Although Nikon has released an optically stabilized (VR) version of this lens, VR is of limited value if your subjects are in motion. Therefore, the cheaper, sharper, non-VR version of this lens is worth a look.
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 24-70mm F2.8G VR
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 24-70mm F2.8G (non-VR)
Best Nikon FX Lens for Landscape Photography
The best Nikon FX lens for landscape photography is the Nikon AF-S 16-35mm F4 VR. But what about the legendary AF-S 14-24mm F2.8?
Although the AF-S 14-24mm F2.8 provides an extra stop of light, is sharper, and can render a wider field of view, it has some major drawbacks.
First of all, you can’t screw a filter on it, so you’ll have to leave your ND filters at home or buy an adapter. And even though 14mm is very wide indeed, 24mm is a little short for an all-in-one landscape lens. Read How to use ND filters for Landscape Photography.
Furthermore, since the AF-S 14-24mm F2.8 does not feature image stabilization, you will have to carry this 1KG behemoth of a lens and a tripod.
On the other hand, the cheaper, lighter, and smaller AF-S 16-35mm F4 VR has a 77mm filter ring for your ND filters and more reach.
And while the more expensive lens has a 1-stop faster F2.8 aperture, the AF-S 16-35mm compensates with up to 2.5 stops of image stabilization. Read Whats a Stop in Photography.
Not only does this assist low-light shooting, but you can also use it to support slow blur-inducing shutter speeds for waterfalls and such.
Although the cheaper lens is a more versatile landscape lens, don’t discount the AF-S 14-24mm. It is optically superb and has that 14mm, 114-degree field of view. Furthermore, the AF-S 14-24mm is a damn good lens for astrophotography thanks to its optical quality, fast F2.8 aperture, and 14mm wide-angle. Read Beginners Guide to Astrophotography.
However, this category is for the best Nikon FX lens for Landscapes and the cheaper, lighter Nikon AF-S 16-35mm F4 VR presents a better all-round option for your Nikon FX DSLR.
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 16-35mm F4G VR
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 14-24mm F2.8G
Best Nikon Lens for Sports
The Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 VR FL is one of the best Nikon FX lenses ever made. With its practical 70-200mm focal range, fast F2.8 aperture, and turbo-charged auto-focus motors – the Nikon is ready to follow the action.
Like many premium Nikon lenses, the 70-200mm features image stabilization and performs well outdoors thanks to nano-coating and weatherproofing.
But if you take issue with the Nikon’s price, you could take a look at the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F4 or its even cheaper rival, the Tamron 70-210mm F4. Read Tamron 70-210mm F4 Review.
Both are cheaper, smaller, and optically superb. However, due to the smaller F4 aperture, both lenses have half as much light to focus with and therefore struggle to follow the action in poor light.
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8G VR
Shop for a Nikon AF-S 70-200 F4G VR
Tamron 70-210MM F4 for Nikon FX
Best Nikon Lens for Wildlife
The Nikon AF-S 200-500mm F5.6 VR delivers amazing value. With its relatively fast F5.6 aperture, image stabilization, and hugely versatile 200-500mm focal length, this Nikon could be all you ever need to capture distant, elusive subjects.
After the 200-500mm, costs escalate quickly. However, if you need better image quality and weatherproofing, the compact AF-S 500mm F5.6 PF is smaller and features nano-coating. If you prefer the flexibility of a zoom, the Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 VR Lens offers a decent range, a fast F4 aperture, and the convenience of an in-built 1.4x teleconverter.
Finally, you have the lightweight, affordable AF-P 70-300mm F4-5.6. Although 300mm is a little short for applications such as birds in flight, it’s sufficient for larger animals (I took a 300mm on Safari).
- Buy a Nikon AF-S 200-500mm F5.6 VR from Amazon | Adorama
- Buy a Nikon AF-S 500mm F5.6 VR from Amazon | Adorama
- Get a Nikon AF-S 180-400mm F4 from Amazon | Adorama
Best Nikon FX Lens money can buy
Of course, it depends on what you need it for. But just for fun, the most impressive Nikon FX lenses today are the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f4E TC1.4 FL ED VR and the Nikon AF-S 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR Lens.
Not only do these lenses feature dyslexia-inducing designations, but they also represent the absolute technological pinnacle of the 60-year-old F-Mount. They may stretch your budget and break your back, but for absolute performance – you can’t do better.
- Buy a Nikon AF-S 180-400mm F4 from Amazon | Adorama
- Buy a Nikon AF-S 120-300mm F2.8E FL VR from Amazon | Adorama
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