The best Nikon lenses in 2022: it’s time to upgrade your camera gear!

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nikon lens

Choosing the best Nikon lenses entails answering one simple question and one slightly more difficult one! First, determine whether you have a Nikon Z mirrorless model or a Nikon DSLR. They have two different lens mounts and two sensor sizes – full frame (FX) and APS-C (DX), which affects the lenses available.

Some photographers have a strong sense of their preferred subject matter and can easily recommend lenses. Other photographers enjoy experimenting with a wide range of subjects; if this describes you, you may require more than one lens.

1) Ultra-wide zoom: Useful for getting more into the frame. Most people believe that a telephoto zoom is the most useful additional lens to have, but a wide-angle zoom can be even more useful, especially if you are interested in travel photography and capturing cramped interiors, large landmarks, or narrow city streets. 

2) Standard zoom: These provide a versatile focal range, allowing you to shoot anything from landscapes to portraits, and chances are you already have one because they come standard with Nikon cameras.

While these are good all-arounders that are designed to be compact and affordable first and foremost, you may find that you need a replacement that offers a longer focal range, a constant maximum aperture, or simply better overall picture quality in the future. 

3) Telephoto zoom: Most people choose one of these to supplement their camera’s standard zoom. They are an obvious choice for anyone interested in sports and wildlife photography, as well as any other situation in which you cannot get close enough to your subject.

4) Macro lens: For subjects that are so close to your face that they are right under your nose. Regular lenses can focus close enough to fill the frame with tiny insects and other close-up subjects, but not close enough to fill the frame with them. Macro lenses, on the other hand, are designed to get much closer and are optically optimized to provide crystal-clear close-ups.

5) Portrait lens: For enhancing features and blurring the background. The best portrait photographs combine a clear perspective with a soft background blur. A standard zoom lens may provide the necessary perspective, but only a dedicated portrait lens with a large maximum aperture can provide the atmospheric blurred backgrounds.

Nikon’s best lenses for 2022

ZOOMS WITH ULTRA-WIDE ANGLE

A standard zoom lens provides excellent versatility for everyday photography, but it rarely goes as ‘wide’ as you need for interior shots, tall buildings, and sweeping landscapes. You’ll need a wide-angle zoom lens for this, with a focal length of 10mm for DX-format lenses and 14mm for full-frame FX lenses. 

A wider viewing angle, of course, allows you to fit more into the frame. Wide-angle zooms must be selected in accordance with the sensor size of your camera. You CAN fit full-frame wide-angle lenses on a DX-format Nikon, but the 1.5x crop factor means you’re paying more for a more expensive lens while losing much of that wider angle of view, so it’s simply not worth it.

1. Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S zoom lens

Ultra-wide-angle zooms for full-frame cameras are typically large and heavy, with no attachment thread for easily fitting filters or filter holders. Thanks to a similar retractable design and modest f/4 aperture rating as its sibling Z 24-70mm f/4 S-line standard zoom, this Z-mount lens manages to shoehorn an epic maximum viewing angle into a relatively compact and lightweight build.

2. Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens

Own-brand Nikon lenses are frequently more expensive than third-party equivalents from Sigma and Tamron. That is certainly the case with this lens, which is significantly more expensive than the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art and the Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2.

3. AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Nikon

The Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED(opens in new tab)(shown above) may appear to be the most obvious candidate for an ultra-wide landscape zoom for Nikon’s FX-format DSLRs, but we prefer the equivalent Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art. In comparison to both of those, Nikon’s 16-35mm lens has a less generous maximum viewing angle and aperture rating, but it is less expensive to buy and has the benefits of a filter attachment thread and optical stabilization.

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

The Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED is a legendary pro-grade ultra-wide zoom for FX-format cameras, but the Sigma 14-24mm delivers equally impressive sharpness and contrast. Even better, it outperforms the Nikon in terms of color fringing and distortion control, both of which are incredibly well controlled for a zoom lens this wide. In fact, this is most likely the best Nikon lens for landscape and architecture photographers.

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