Best Nikon Lenses of 2017


Following up on a busy year for optics, 2017 has been a mellower year of lens releases for Nikon. This isn’t to say Nikon has been quiet this year, especially with the releases of the D850, D7500, and D5600 DSLRs and the company’s 100th anniversary, but 2017 has proved to be a more contemplative year for optical developments.

Beginning in the middle of the year, Nikon had its large lens release, with three wide-angle options for FX and DX shooters. Looking at the standout from that launch, Nikon introduced the AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED, a long-awaited wide-angle prime. This high-performance lens rounds out the range of f/1.4 primes in Nikon’s lineup, and does so with an all-new optical design that makes use of aspherical and extra-low dispersion glass to produce well-corrected imagery. Common to many of Nikon’s new Gold Line lenses, this wide also features a trio of coatings, including the legendary Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings, that help suppress flare and ghosting, as well as a protective fluorine coating on the front and rear elements. For fast performance, the lens uses a rear focusing design in conjunction with a Silent Wave Motor for smooth and silent autofocus along with full-time manual focus override. Additionally, also now a common trait to high-end Nikon lenses, this lens sees the inclusion of an electromagnetic aperture mechanism for greater exposure stability to benefit shooting at fast continuous rates.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED Lens

The other FX option announced alongside the 28mm f/1.4 is an even wider lens—the AF-S Fisheye NIKKOR 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED. This specialist optic is designed for pure creativity with its distinctly exaggerated perspective and ability to distort lines in unique ways. As a zoom lens, it produces two distinct options for FX shooters: at the wide, 8mm end of the range a circular image is the result and, when zoomed in to the 15mm position, full-frame coverage is possible with a 175° angle of view. If used on a DX-format body, full-frame coverage is possible at all zoom positions.

Nikon AF-S Fisheye NIKKOR 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED Lens

More than just a fisheye look, this lens is no slouch when it comes to its construction, and uses aspherical and extra-low dispersion class to reduce a variety of aberrations throughout the zoom range. Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings are seen here—again, as well as a fluorine coating that is especially useful, considering the bulbous front element of the lens. Additionally, the 8-15mm also sees the inclusion of a Silent Wave Motor, an internal focusing design, and an electromagnetic aperture mechanism.

The last lens from this trio of announcements is the sole DX-specific lens, as well as the first AF-P lens outside of the initial two kit lenses from 2016, and it is the AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR. This wide-angle zoom offers a 15-30mm equivalent focal-length range and features a relatively compact profile, thanks to its modest maximum aperture, to make it an ideal walkaround lens. Three aspherical elements are featured in this lens’s design, along with a Super Integrated Coating to boost contrast and improve color fidelity when working in strong lighting. Also, despite the wide-angle focal-length range, Vibration Reduction is featured to help minimize the appearance of camera shake when shooting handheld. The most notable trait of this lens, besides its appealing size and focal length range, is the inclusion of the burgeoning AF-P pulse stepping motor AF system, which is markedly smoother and quieter than previous AF systems, and benefits filmmakers and photographers.

Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens

Speaking of Nikon’s 100th Anniversary, the company also released a pair of commemorative lens options to celebrate its history. The AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR 100th Anniversary Edition is based on the standard version of this workhorse telephoto zoom. It is available in a limited edition metallic-gray finish, is adorned with a 100th Anniversary logo, and comes packaged with a unique collection of the 22 individual lens elements that make up this lens on a custom display stand that has also been engraved with the lens’s unique serial number.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens 100th Anniversary Edition

If one collector’s edition lens isn’t enough for you, Nikon also released the 100th Anniversary NIKKOR Triple f/2.8 Zoom Lens Set, which comprises the trio of high-performance zooms in the NIKKOR line: the AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR, and 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lenses. Each of these special edition lenses has the unique metallic-gray finish and anniversary logos on the barrel, and comes packaged in a custom metal travel case along with a plate that has been engraved with the matching serial number all three lenses share.

Nikon 100th Anniversary NIKKOR Triple f/2.8 Zoom Lens Set

Closing out this year’s lens announcements is the first FX-format lens featuring the aforementioned AF-P designation, the AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR. This versatile telephoto zoom spans from portrait length to super telephoto and uses a single extra-low dispersion element to counter color fringing and chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range. A Super Integrated Coating is featured, too, to suppress lens flare and ghosting. Vibration Reduction minimizes the appearance of up to 4.5 stops of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting and an electromagnetic aperture mechanism maintains consistent exposure stability when shooting at high speeds. And of course, the key upgrade to this lens is its inclusion of the pulse stepping motor AF system for quick, smooth, and near-silent performance to greatly benefit video applications.

Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Lens

With an exciting year for Nikon coming to a close, including announcements ranging from some serious DSLRs to the 100th Anniversary, and obviously, these impressive lenses, which Nikon products have your attention from 2017? Which of these lenses are finding their way into your bag?



The overview says the 10-20mm has only limited function with the Nikon D7200. What does that mean exactly?


According to Nikon's website, there is limited compatibility when using the older Nikon D7200 DSLR camera with the newer Nikon AF-P lenses with their new Pulse stepping autofocus motor.  The camera requires a firmware update for compatibility, which compatible firmware version is indicated as Firmware v1.03 or later.  Earlier firmware versions may not offer any compatibility with the AF-P lenses.  The most recent firmware update from Nikon for use with the Nikon D7200 DSLR Camera is Firmware v1.04, which was released in February 2018 and which is downloadable from their website at the link I've included below.  Indicated issues they state that are still present after the firmware update are the AF-P lens built-in vibration reduction function cannot be disabled (the lens does not have a VR switch on the body, and requires VR to be turned off in the camera menu; not currently available in the D7200 camera menu), and the camera does not offer the "Manual focus ring in AF mode" custom setting for enabling/disabling focus ring operation in autofocus mode.  As such, at this moment, the lens is mostly compatible with the new firmware update, but not fully compatible.