Best Nikon Lenses
Nikon D90 is the first digital SLR with HD movie mode and the successor of popular Nikon D80. If you bought Nikon D90 or Nikon D300, which lenses should you buy? For beginners, read this first to understand the Nikon lens:
Value standard lens:
Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR is a good value lens at $160.
The best value telephoto lens:
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR Zoom Nikkor Lens. This is a light, sharp lens with very useful VR (vibration reduction). Both Nikon 18-55mm and Nikon 55-200mm use 52mm filters.
If you prefer one lens, Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens is the one for you. This is a very popular lens. Nikon 18-200mm uses 72mm filters.
The best value walk around lens:
If you bought Nikon D90, or Nikon D5000, the most difficult decision is: which walk around lens to get? Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G is excellent, but it is very expensive at $1249. The kit lens is good but it is quite slow at f/3.5-5.6. You will not be able to get the bokeh (blurred background) with this lens. The best and value walk around is Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. This lens was rated as very good (3.49/5) in photozone.de’s lens performance survey. Tamron 17-50mm is very sharp with the constant aperture f/2.8. The distortions, CAs and vignetting are about average for lenses in this class. The only issue with this lens is the front focus problem with some bad copies. Please make sure to buy from a reputable dealer such as amazon and check for front focus problem after you get the lens. If there is a problem with focusing, exchange for another one. For how to test the lens focusing, read here. Tamron 17-50mm uses 67mm filters. A new version of this Tamron 17-50mm with VC (vibration compensation) is now available:
Best lenses for Nikon APS-C digital SLRs:
- Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 AT-X Pro DX (IF) .
Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4 is a very good wide angle lens with good image quality and great building quality. Tokina AF 12-24mm uses 77mm filters.
- Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G AF-S $1249
This is a professional grade lens with high building quality and image quality. The only problem is lack of vibration reduction. Please note: this is a DX format lens and only work on APS-C cameras such as D90 and D300, not on D700. Nikkor 17-55mm also uses 77mm filters.
- Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 G ED VR.
This is an exceptional lens with great building quality and image quality. Highly recommended! Nikkor 70-200mm uses 77mm filters.
Best lenses for Nikon full frame DSLRs such as D700, D3x:
The best wide angle lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Zoom Lens. The best standard lens or walk around lens: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S. The best telephoto lens: Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor Lens.
Best Macro lens
Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor Lens. This is an excellent lens with vibration reduction.
If you need to shoot small insets or more working distance, Nikon 200mm f/4.0D ED-IF AF Micro-Nikkor is a great choice.
Best sports lenses:
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 G ED VR is a good sports lens. If you can afford the high price tag ($4999 at amazon), AF-S VR NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens may be one of the best for serious sports photographers. It comes with an inbuilt Silent Wave Motor for fast AF. It is also compatible with Nikon TC-17EII (1.7x), TC-14EII (1.4x) and TC-20EII (2.0x) teleconverters. More details on sports lenses, read here.
If you want to have the large aperture but do not want to pay the high price on Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 or Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, the third party lenses might be an option: Best third party lenses for Nikon digital SLRs