Person using Nikon DSLR
Por Pratya/
Update, 01/25/2023: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best Nikon DSLR lenses you can buy.

Why We Chose These Nikon DSLR Lenses

Whatever brand you buy, you’ll probably hold onto your lens (or glass) far longer than whatever camera body you’re using. It’s smart to invest in high-quality glass that will hold up over time.

While it’s true that the lenses we’ve chosen are a significant investment, they’ll pay dividends in quality for years to come.

Nikon has a reputation for being popular among wildlife photographers. However, they’ve got a lot more than telephotos to offer. Weather sealing, rugged build quality, and brilliant optics are par for any of these professional lens offerings. Some, like the 70-200mm f/2.8, are praised even by Canon and Sony shooters.

Nikon put decades of development into their flagship lenses. Professionals regularly rely on Nikon lenses for their vibration reduction (VR), autofocus motors, and build quality. While there’s a crop of high-performing third-party options to choose from, the lenses on this list will be Nikon-manufactured.

Read on for some of the best glass Nikon has for sale. Odds are you’ll find something to add to your wish list.

Best Nikon DSLR Wide-Angle Lens: Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED

Nikon 24mm on green and blue background


  • Wide angle captures cityscapes, interiors, or wide environmental portraits
  • Very sharp images
  • Compatible with full frame and crop sensor camera bodies
  • Very fast max aperture of f/1.4


  • Still expensive if you buy new
  • Not as multipurpose as a 35mm or 50mm lens

Touted as “the best wide-angle lens in the world” for a reason, Nikon’s NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4 lens is sharp to the corners, even wide open at f/1.4. Low barrel distortion also means less correction time in post.

Designed for Nikon’s full-frame FX mount, this lens also works with crop-sensor Nikon cameras to provide a roughly 35mm focal length equivalent. If you’re currently shooting a crop sensor Nikon and plan to upgrade to a full-frame DSLR, this might be a smart investment.

This lens is excellent for real estate and architectural photographers who typically need a wide angle of view. But wedding and portrait photographers looking for more creative angles or who want to get more of each scene will enjoy this lens too.

It’s big and has a pretty hefty price tag, but the image quality is more than worth it. This lens has been around long enough that you can probably find a sweet deal on a used option in good shape.

Best Nikon DSLR Wide-Angle Lens

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED

A high-end wide-angle prime from Nikon that's perfect for architectural shots and environmental portraits.

Best Nikon DSLR Ultra-Wide-Angle Lens: NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

Nikon 14-24mm on purple background


  • Wide aperture for this focal range
  • Excellent optical quality
  • Weather sealing


  • No vibration reduction

Nikon’s NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G pairs quality glass with a wide aperture and angle of view, which is great for astrophotography, buildings, interiors, wide group shots, and creative portraits. Even at f/2.8, this lens is sharp across the frame and has minimal barrel distortion at even the widest angle of 14mm.

One reviewer was so impressed with the image quality on this ultra-wide-angle zoom that they wrote, “God doesn’t have eyeballs. He has two of these things.” That pretty much says it all.

This lens doesn’t have built-in vibration reduction, but the wide aperture lets in enough light that shooting handheld shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, if you’re using this to shoot interiors or architecture, chances are you’ve got it on a tripod anyway.

Best Nikon DSLR Ultra-Wide-Angle Lens

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

A high-quality Nikon ultrawide zoom that combines a fast large aperture with a stunningly wide angle of view.

Best Nikon DSLR Telephoto Lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

Nikon 70-200mm on purple background


  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Multipurpose focal length range
  • Design improvements over previous models


  • Expensive
  • Won't work with older Nikon DSLR bodies

Nikon’s modern NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is considered one of the best lenses in this zoom range by any manufacturer. A multipurpose workhorse, this lens is perfect for sports, events, and portraits.

Built-in vibration reduction and lightweight construction mean you can use this lens handheld without sacrificing image quality. New fluorite elements and an electronic diaphragm improve image quality and autofocus.

This lens offers the best multipurpose zoom you can get on a Nikon DSLR. However, there’s one caveat—the electronic diaphragm means this lens won’t work with Nikon camera bodies made before 2007.

Best Nikon DSLR Telephoto Lens

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

The latest iteration of a legendary lens, Nikon's 70-200mm zoom is great for a variety of shooting tasks.

Best Nikon DSLR for Street Photography: Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

Nikon 35mm on orange background


  • Relatively compact
  • Large max aperture
  • High-quality construction
  • Wider field of view without distortion


  • High price tag

The 35mm focal length is largely agreed upon as one of the best for street photographers, and Nikon’s 35mm f/1.4G is considered one of the best 35mm lenses out there.

Fast autofocus on full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies, sharp images, and a wide max aperture make this a very versatile and relatively compact lens to take to the street.

The f/1.4 aperture allows for handheld shooting in dimmer light, which is essential for changing situations on the street. And a 35mm field of view can capture more of the environment, resulting in some pretty cinematic street scenes or portraits when used creatively.

While older, this lens is still very expensive. If you don’t have the cash for this particular 35mm, the Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 is a good alternative at around half the price.

Best Nikon DSLR Lens for Street Photography

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

One of Nikon's best, this 35mm lens produces great images on the street or anywhere else.

Best Nikon DSLR Portrait Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G

Nikon 85mm on grey background


  • Great focal length for portraiture
  • Wide f/1.4 aperture
  • Pro-grade glass and build


  • Pricey
  • No VR

While portraits can be shot on a variety of focal lengths, the combination of compression and bokeh (blurred background) you get from a wide-aperture 85mm means a lot of portrait shooters prefer it. The NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G excels as a portrait lens due to the buttery smooth bokeh effect it creates while keeping the subject tack sharp, even at f/1.4.

There’s no VR here, but the wide aperture means hand-holding shouldn’t be an issue. Nor are there many other bells and whistles on this lens—just great glass.

Best Nikon DSLR Portrait Lens

AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G

Nikon’s 85mm lens produces beautifully blurred backgrounds and sharp subjects, an ideal choice for portraits.

Best Nikon DSLR Macro Lens: Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED

Nikon 105mm on pink and yellow background


  • Very wide aperture for this focal length
  • Super sharp images, even wide open
  • Great for flattering portraits


  • Expensive
  • No VR

An update to the f/2.8 macro of the same focal length, the NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E  has a super wide f/1.4 aperture and is sharper than the popular f/2.8 version. With beautiful background blur and compression, it’s an incredible lens for close-up macro shots and flattering portraits.

There’s no VR here, though you probably won’t miss it with the wide aperture.

This focal length is a bit of a specialty, as it’s not quite as versatile as, say, a 50mm or 35mm. However, it does perform very well in the areas it’s made for. If you’ve got the money, especially if you’re a studio portrait photographer, this could make a great addition to your bag.

Best Nikon DSLR Macro Lens

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

With tack sharp images even at f/1.4, this professional macro lens from Nikon is great for portraits or detail work.

The Best DSLR Cameras of 2023

Nikon D850
Best DSLR Camera Overall
Nikon D850
Canon 6D MKII
Best Budget DSLR Camera
Canon 6D MKII
Nikon D3500
Best Beginner DSLR
Nikon D3500
Nikon D780
Best DSLR Camera for Video
Nikon D780
Canon 6D MKII
Best DSLR Camera for Travel
Canon 6D MKII
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John is a freelance writer and photographer based in Houston, Texas. His ten-year background spans topics from tech to culture and includes work for the Seattle Times, the Houston Press, Medium's OneZero, WebMD, and MailChimp. Before moving to The Bayou City, John earned a B.A. in Journalism from CSU Long Beach.
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