Best Nikon Lenses for Your DSLR – APS-C and Full-Frame DSLR Lenses

11/25/2019     Author: Billy Gray

If you’re looking for a way to up your photography game, then a new bit of glass is the best way to do it. This is more important than the body of your camera.


Camera bodies can be expensive, especially if you’ve got a full-frame DSLR. But then, you get what you pay for, and the best cameras do have a full-frame sensor. This doesn’t come cheap. That being said, a sturdy 24MP DSLR with an APS-C sensor will still take some stunning photos… you might not be able to switch to professional with such a system, but you’ll certainly be able to amass thousands of followers on Instagram with your work.

These cameras are much cheaper than full-frame DSLRs – but there’s still a catch. You know what’s coming… lenses. There really isn’t any way to get around buying some lenses if you’re planning to get serious about photography. The problem with lenses is that they often cost more than the camera itself. But there really isn’t any way to get around making such an investment if you want to capture the best photos possible in a variety of settings.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best APS-C lenses, which are often better for beginners and tend to be a bit cheaper. Then, we’ll dive into the best lenses for full-frame DSLRs. Note that some can be used for both, but they tend to be purpose built for a particular sensor build.

Best lenses for APS-C Nikon DLSR

You’ll generally get a kit lens when you purchase your camera, and sometimes you’ll get a bundle with a zoom lens as well. These are great for starting out, but once you start to develop your photography skills you’ll want something more specialized. This makes sense, as greatness tends to shine in limitation: the more you specialize, the better you’ll get at your specialty.

Tamron 10-24mm  f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD (wide-angle zoom)

This lens is great for taking wide-angle shots landscape shots. It has optical stabilization, as well as an autofocus system to help beginners along their path. What’s really great about this lens is the solid build and weather-proof sealing. You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a lens only to have it get beaten by a bit of light rain.

The photos that you shoot with this lens will be very sharp and you’ll get some great contrast. In short, this is a great lens for someone looking to hone their skills in landscape shooting. It comes in at around $600.

Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro (Wide angle / super zoom)

If you’re looking to get some serious zoom on, then this lens is a great place to start. The other side of the coin is that it can also be used as a competent macro lens. In short, it’s an all-round winner. The downside is that your photos will lose sharpness once you’ve zoomed right the way in – although, this is normal for just about any zoom lens.

Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD (Prime Portrait Lens)

If you’re looking to cross over into portrait shooting, then this would be a great lens to start with. This lens does cost a fair bit – around $450 – but the build quality is brilliant and the bokeh affect is creamy and smooth. You also get optical stabilization, which makes your photos look all the better. You can get some Nikon lenses that are similar for around a third of the price, so don’t feel like you really have to splash. But, if you want the best results, then you’ll have to part with a bit more cash.

Best lenses for full-frame DSLRs

If you’ve already splashed out on a full-frame DSLR, then you’ll want something with a bit more of a kick to it that is purpose-built for your sensor. Here are some of the best on the market right now.

Sigma 12/24mm f/4 DG HSM | A (Wide-angle zoom)

If you’re looking for an incredible wide-angle lens, then this is probably the best option to go for. That being said, it will cost you something around the $1,400 mark. If you want excellent pictures, though, then you’ve got to shell out on the glass. This lens is built to give you the sharpest images possible, hence the meaty price tag. It’s also a sturdy build with weather sealing and a great autofocus. In short, this is the best of its class.

Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR (standard zoom)

This is a leading standard zoom lens that far surpasses its unassuming name. The image quality is second to none and the build quality is on the same level. The lens doesn’t move when you zoom in and out, which comes in handy with regard to camera stabilization. It comes with Vibration Reduction to ensure that you’re always getting a sturdy picture – unless you have a Vitamin D deficiency…

At around $1,800, this certainly isn’t a budget option, but it’s one of the best on the market for Nikon and it’ll keep you going through the elements and beyond. Solid buy.

Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD (Prime portrait lens)

If you want a capable portrait lens for your full-frame DSLR, then this is it. This lens comes in at a more reasonable $750 or thereabouts. It’s cheaper than other lenses in the same category, and unlike the competition, it provides optical stabilization to ensure you get a steadier photo, which comes in handy once you start attaching a flash to your camera and so on.

The aperture is slightly narrow, but it still produces a wonderful bokeh effect, and keeps the subject sharp. Overall, this is a great portrait lens for the professional or enthusiast photographer. Considering the price, this is definitely a good deal and much cheaper than some of the other portrait lenses that Nikon has to offer.

The wrap-up

Lenses don’t come cheap, but if you really want to get the best pictures, then they’re an essential investment. Once you’ve got a couple of good ones, you can start thinking about making some money from your photography. Try to buy lenses that are appropriate to your photography skills – you wouldn’t try to lift a 100kg weight if you’d just started lifting, so don’t buy a $2,000 lens if you’re a beginner. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *