Best of 2016: Nikon Lenses


After 2015’s veritable onslaught of high-quality lens releases, Nikon had a slower–paced 2016. However, even with fewer releases, Nikon did not disappoint with its marquee announcement of the 105mm f/1.4 lens, a new ultra-wide tilt-shift, an updated 70-200mm f/2.8, and a refresh of the common DX kit zoom pair.

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

Easily one of the most exciting lens announcements of the year, Nikon introduced a truly fast short telephoto prime, the AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED. The combination of the portrait-appropriate focal length and bright f/1.4 maximum aperture make this lens especially suitable for producing shallow depth of field, selective focus imagery; the aperture also complements working in low and difficult lighting conditions. Low dispersion glass is featured in the lens, too, to control aberrations and color fringing, and a Nano Crystal Coat has been applied to suppress flare and ghosting.

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

Like many of Nikon’s lens releases over the past few years, the 105mm f/1.4 uses an electromagnetic aperture mechanism for exposure consistency at faster continuous shooting speeds. A Silent Wave Motor also contributes to fast performance and delivers quiet and precise autofocus along with full-time manual focus control. Additionally, suiting this lens’s use outdoors, the weather-resistant design and fluorine-coated front element protect the lens from dust, moisture, smudging, and smearing.

PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED

A long-awaited addition to Nikon’s series of tilt-shift optics, the PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED is the widest of these specialized lenses, which are well suited to architectural and interior photography applications. Besides being the widest, this new lens also distinguishes itself among Nikon’s other perspective-control lenses by allowing for independent adjustment of both tilt and shift, along with the ability to apply shift movements without having to lock or unlock the lens, and PC rotation lets you rotate movements by up to 90°.

Nikon PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED Tilt-Shift Lens

Besides the enhanced control over tilt and shift, this new lens also features the most sophisticated optical design of any of the PC lenses, and includes three extra-low dispersion elements and a pair of aspherical elements to reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations. Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings are featured, too, along with a Fluorine Coating on the front and rear elements for protection against fingerprints, smudges, and dust.

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

Another highly anticipated update to a classic lens, Nikon’s popular fast telephoto zoom has been updated with the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR. Similar to last year’s update to the 24-70mm f/2.8, this year’s 70-200mm f/2.8 has been refined with a new optical design, added coatings, improved VR, and updated handling to benefit an immensely versatile range of photographic applications. In addition to the now-expected slew of low-dispersion elements in this optical design, this new version has been fitted with fluorite and high refractive index elements more common to exotic, super telephoto designs. These more specialized elements further help to eliminate chromatic aberrations and color fringing for improved image clarity.

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

Balancing the updated optics is an improved Vibration Reduction system that compensates for up to four stops of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting. A robust Silent Wave Motor AF system is also featured, for quick and quiet focusing performance, and four focus buttons are placed on the lens barrel for easily activating AF Lock while shooting. Unique from the previous 70-200mm f/2.8, this new version has also reversed the placement of the focus and zoom rings, with the focusing ring now closer to the bayonet mount, for more intuitive and stable handling.

AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G (VR) and 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED (VR) Lenses

On the other end of the Nikon lens spectrum, the company also released a thorough update of its popular 18-55mm and 70-300mm kit lenses. Now available in VR and non-VR flavors, these lenses feature Nikon’s new Pulse Stepping Motor AF system, which delivers noticeably faster, smoother, and quieter focusing performance to benefit stills capture and video recording. Both of these lenses received a bit of a physical design tweak, which has removed the switches from the lens barrel for a more streamlined appearance, allowing focusing mode and VR adjustments to be made through select cameras’ menus.

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens
Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Lens


Hi! I have a Nikon D5300! I'm looking for a good lens for portrait pictures for exterior shoots. 

Hello Victor,

The Nikon Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Lens B&H # NI8518G would be an excellent portrait lens when shooting outdoors, which will give you a very shallow depth of field.

I just started shooting real estate, and need advice on a lens for interior shoots, would like 10 mm up to 35 mm so I can capture as much of the smaller rooms as possilbe. Also, would 10 mm be going too wide? 

Hi Richard,

Assuming you have an APS-C or DX format camera, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens would be the closest match.  The options for the different mounts can be found in the following link.


Looking for an all round lens for nightclub shoots, ideally a lens with wide angle and a bit zoom. and needs to be fast.

Camera NikonD600


I have D600., What is the best lens for Potrait photography?

Hi OLR - 

    Consider the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens from Nikon . It is a short telephoto prime lens designed for FX-format DSLR cameras, but when used with cameras with a DX-format sensor it has a 127.5mm equivalent focal length. It provides an effective focal length for distortion free portraiture as well as other telephoto applications. Its ultra fast f/1.4 maximum aperture is very effective in low light and along with the rounded 9-blade diaphragm will create natural out-of-focus backgrounds that will isolate your main subject for an impressive professional look.

The M/A focus mode switch allows you to quickly change between manual and autofocus and the Silent Wave Motor and internal focusing system enable fast and quiet autofocus, ideal for recording video. Nano Crystal and Super Integrated lens coating enhance light transmission, reducing ghosting and flare. 

I have a d3300 Nikon

What would be a moderatly priced lens for travel--wide angle, zoom?

If you are looking for All-In-One type options you can find compatible options here. 

I have a Nikon d750 and looking for a good macro lens.  I use my camera for both personal use as well as professional doing zaps at events and parties.  Any recommendations would be helpful.  Thank you!

Hi Melissa-

I would recommend Nikon's 105mm f/2.8 macro lens; it's an ideal focal length for many macro applications, and is also suitable as a portrait-length lens. Since it has VR image stabilization, it's a good option for handheld shooting, too. If you prefer something wider, Nikon's 60mm f/2.8 macro would be my second recommendation. It might be more suitable for general event photography, but the wider focal length can be a bit trickier to use than the 105mm for close-up macro shooting.

Hi, I have a D5300 with kit lenses.  I am very much an amateur photographer, but would like to have a couple/few good lenes in my collection.  I shoot my kids spoting events, do some landscape/wildlife and everyday type shots.  I'm thinking I would like a good zoom len and wide angle, but truly not sure.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Dan,

Considering you have the kit lenses, I'd maybe look at a prime or two, and then maybe something along the lines of a wide-angle zoom lens. The first recommendation I could make, though, would be to decide if you are happy with and plan to stick with the DX (APS-C) format of your camera, or if you could see yourself moving to FX (full-frame) in the future. Lenses for FX cameras can be used on DX-format cameras, however they tend to be larger, heavier, and it can be trickier finding dedicated wide-angle lenses for the smaller sensor size. DX lenses, on the other hand, are sized more proportionately to the physical size of your camera and are available in more convenient focal lengths on the wide end, but these lenses will not be fully compatible with an FX-format camera in the future.

With this in mind, in terms of a DX lens, I think the simple DX 35mm f/1.8G from Nikon could be considered an essential. It's faster than your kit lenses, smaller and lighter than the FX 35mm f/1.8, and will provide you with a very versatile single focal length for everyday shooting, portraiture, and more.

In terms of a wide-angle zoom, I would recommend the 11-16mm f/2.8 from Tokina. This is a well-known, well-liked option for DX shooters and it covers a useful range of wide-angle focal lengths and has a fast f/2.8 constant maximum aperture.


You need a lens that will take a teleconverter first. 70-200 mm f/4 will. Camera will do fine. Very few lenses will work. In my experience tc is not worth the trouble.

Hi Cynthia -

     The AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED Lens from Nikon is a versatile, lightweight telephoto zoom lens that has been designed to meet the demands of both digital and 35mm format SLR users. It offers a 4.3x zoom with a focal length range of 70-300mm and a 35mm equivalency of 105-450mm when used on DX-format DSLRs. With two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements to reduce chromatic aberrations and Super Integrated Lens Coating to minimize ghosting and flare, the optical performance of this wide-ranging telephoto zoom is up to the task of wildlife, travel, well-lit sports and general photography applications.

I have a Nikon D7200 and a 70-300MM lens, do they make an extension for this lens and do you have one?


If you are referring to a teleconverter, there aren’t any options from Nikon for their 70-300mm lens.  You would need to look at a teleconverter from another manufacturer designed for use with Nikon.  Though, you will likely lose autofocus using a teleconverter with that lens.

 need help i have a nikon d40 with the kit lens want to get some better lens can you recommend something for indoor and outdoor midrange price 

I would consider the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Lens for Nikon. This lens is designed for use with APS-C sized sensor cameras like your D40. This is versatile mid-range zoom which will be shaper, and brighter than your kit lens. 


Olá, não conseguimos entender o que voce necessita. Por favor explique melhor para podrmos lhe ajudar enviando um email para

I have a 5100 and need a good, fast lens for shooting indoor volleyball.  Could you give me a high and a medium priced lens and links?

Thank you,


Easy answer is...Call the store.  They are great.

See the links below for recommended lenses for use for indoor sports and low light work to consider.

I've shot quite a few martial arts events with my 50/1.4G on my D300.  This is really a fantastic lens with tons of light and tons of sharp.  No, it's not a zoom, but when you figure out how to position yourself, you'll be getting some stunning shots.

Oops... meant to say 1.4D, not G.  G is a good lens but you can get the D for half the price and I'm not sure there's any difference in quality.

I have the 24-70mm lens. Really nice lens. I'm thinking of the 70-200 to add to the collection.

The 200-500 mm lens is remarkable. It shoots amazingly clean & sharp. For a reasonably priced lens it  gives you a lot of reach for the money.

Amazin price point. As a Canon shooter, I wish I had this option. The new Canon 100-400 was disapointing. Plus this 200-500 FL would work well partnering a 70-200.

The new 24-70 f2.8 VR is fantastic! The edge to edge sharpness even shooting wide open is incredible and the VR makes a huge difference in low-light situations...loved the old 24-70 f2.8 and thought it couldn't be better; however, thanks to the engineering crew at Nikon they have really produced a lens no professional should be without.

Really would like to have the new 24-70 with vr. I really believe vr is important to have for this lens. Also I'd like to have the new 200-500 great deal for this lens. Wish it was weather sealed. And I have the old afs-d 300 mm it's soooo nice. Didn't like it when I first go it thought it was soft or just missing focus. After some in camera focus adjustments it's now one of my favorite lens. It's so tack sharp and the color are phenomenal. Oh and it doesn't miss focus to often. Love it for insects, flowers and portraits.

Sory Perry, but the new 24-70 2.8 VR isn't as great step up from the older 24-70 2.8 as you seem to lead the masses to believe. I have both.

It depends on the shooter and subjects. Neither yours nor Perry's statement fits everyone.

The "items discussed in this article" section leaves out the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

Great article though!

Where's the link to the 24-70mm Zoom?

You can find the new Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 VR lens on our site if you Click Here

only 64% of reviewers on B&H recommend the 300mm lens

While an OK lens, it's not exactly a stellar performer, unfortunatelly.