Full frame lenses nikon: 10 Great Nikon FX (Full Frame) Lenses

NIKKOR F-Mount DSLR Camera Lenses

  • AF-S FISHEYE NIKKOR 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED
  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm F3.5-4.5G ED
  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
  • AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm F2.8G ED
  • AF Nikkor 14mm f/2.8D ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D
  • AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED
  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR
  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR
  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G
  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  • AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II
  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
  • AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor ED 18-55mm F3. 5-5.6G
  • PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED
  • NIKKOR 20mm f/2.8
  • AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF Zoom-NIKKOR 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F2.8G ED
  • NIKKOR 24mm f/2.8
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.8G ED
  • AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED
  • NIKKOR 28mm f/2.8
  • AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D
  • AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.4E ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G
  • NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4
  • AF NIKKOR 35mm f/2D
  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED
  • AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G
  • PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED
  • NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4
  • NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2
  • AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
  • AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D
  • AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1. 8G Special Edition
  • AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.4G
  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
  • AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor ED 55-200mm F4-5.6G
  • AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED
  • Micro-NIKKOR 55mm f/2.8
  • AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G
  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR
  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED
  • AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR
  • AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR
  • AF Zoom-NIKKOR 80-200mm f/2.8D ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
  • PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D
  • AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm F3.5G ED VR
  • Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8
  • AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED
  • AF DC-NIKKOR 105mm f/2D
  • AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2. 8E FL ED SR VR
  • AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D
  • AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR
  • AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D IF-ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4E PF ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 300mm F2.8G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR
  • AF-S TELECONVERTER TC800-1.25E ED
  • Macro & Portrait 2 Lens Kit
  • Landscape & Macro 2 Lens Kit
  • AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II
  • AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III
  • AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-14E III

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Nikon DSLR camera lenses are interchangeable, making each of them the best compliment to your Nikon DSLR camera kit. From wide-angle to telephoto, our range of lenses delivers the perspective and focal length you need. Take your photos and videos to the next level with lens options built for travel and landscape, sports and action, portrait and event, nature and wildlife, astrophotography, video, close-up macros and more. Filter and compare NIKKOR lenses from Nikon with the DSLR lens finder. Use the filters to narrow your camera lens comparison list by price, usage/application, lens type, format, and more. Re-sort the list by price, focal length, and other attributes by clicking the column headings. Then click Compare to create a personalized side-by-side digital SLR lens comparison. While you’re here, don’t forget to shop DSLR Camera Accessories for camera bags and straps or DSLR Camera Lens Accessories for NIKKOR System lens hoods, cases, and more.

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Archived Lenses for DSLR Cameras

Nikon FX Lenses

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Nikon Lenses for FX and 35mm Cameras

DX   Normal   Tele   Wide   Midrange   Universal

Portrait   Macro    Fisheye    Manual    Inexpensive

Nikon D810 with 50mm f/1. 4D.

This all-content, junk-free website’s biggest source of support is when you use any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Nikon does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you’ll have no way of knowing if you’re missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

 

January 2016   Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses    All Reviews

 

See also:

The Nikon FX Dream Team (Nikon’s very best)

Nikon FX Lens Suggestions (includes older lenses)

Nikon Cheapskate FX Lenses (great performance, cheap)

The DX Dream Team (for DX cameras)

 

How Much to Spend?

It is far better to spend money on lenses than on digital camera bodies.

Whatever lenses you buy today will last you for many new cameras to come.

For instance, I bought my 17-35mm back for use on my F100 film camera in April 2000, and it’s still Nikon’s toughest and fastest ultrawide zoom today.

See Lens or Camera and Is It Worth It.

Unlike camera bodies, the best of these lenses actually appreciate in value over time.

The Nikon 17-35mm I bought in 2000 sells used today for exactly what I paid for it new.

The Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S I bought new in 1999 sells used today for more than I paid for it.

The Nikon 28mm f/1.4 sells used today for four times what I paid for it.

Buy the best and you’ll make money, and better, all these lenses are still Nikon’s state-of-the-art for Nikon FX cameras.

Be very careful about what you spend on camera bodies, but never deny yourself the lenses you deserve.

 

Forget DX Lenses      top

If you already own DX lenses, FX cameras will automatically degrade themselves only to use the center part of their sensors and viewfinders, but you’ll quickly tire of them and buy real FX lenses anyway.

Don’t buy DX lenses for FX cameras.

DX lenses use only the central DX portion of the FX sensor and viewfinder. That’s not why you bought an FX cameras.

See crop factor if this isn’t making sense.

If you have a DX camera, see The DX Dream Team.

 

Normal Lenses      top

Best

Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S.

For photos of family and friends in any light without flash, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S is unbeaten. It’s what on my D3 most of the time when I’m away from my studio.

If you want to make the most of your FX camera’s low-light ability, this $450 f/1.4 lens will smoke the $2,400 24-70mm f/2.8 VR you thought you wanted.

 

Cheaper

50mm f/1.4 AF-D (about $350)

The 50mm f/1.4 AF-D does the same thing as the AF-S version above.

The only differences are that the focus ring turns during AF, so you have to keep your fingers clear, and that you have to move a switch on the camera to switch between auto and manual focus.

This f/1.4 AF-D lens has slightly less distortion than the AF-S lens, but is not quite as sharp at f/1.4. Either are superbly sharp from f/2.8 on.

 

Cheapest

If you’re buying a $3,000 camera and want the cheapest possible lens, the 50mm f/1. 8D is also excellent.

In all but the crummiest light, few people will have any reason not to love the 50mm f/1.8D, which costs less than half as much.

For about $120, the 50mm f/1.8D is among Nikon’s sharpest and fastest focusing lenses, as well as their least expensive and lightest.

50mm f/1.8D (about $120)

Either of these 50mm lenses will give you the sharpness and low-light performance for which you’re buying a D700. The only reason not to get the f/1.8 is because the f/1.4 is even better in low light, and if you’re buying a $3,000 camera, you really ought to get the lens you really want.

Nikon no longer makes any good, reasonably priced midrange FX zooms. Nikon discontinued them all, whoops! I’ll cover this below.

 

Wide Zooms      top

See also Nikon Ultrawide Zooms Compared.

 

Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR AF-S

Nikon’s newest 16-35mm ultrawide zoom is also their best, for most applications and most people.

The 16-35mm is Nikon’s sharpest ultrawide zoom ever, and moderately priced.

 

Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S

The professional 17-35mm AFS from 1999 is heavier, faster, and tougher, but not quite as sharp if you count every pixel.

 

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 AFS (about $1,600)

The 14-24mm is a huge special purpose lens.

It is almost as sharp as the 16-35mm, but is much bigger and more expensive, has a more restricted zoom range, and there’s no way to attach filters to its front for protection or filtration.

Get it only if you really need 14mm instead of 16mm.

 

Cheaper Wide Zooms

It makes no sense to buy a $3,000 digital camera like the D700, which will be worth only $1,400 in three years, and cheap-out on lenses, which retain their value. Any lens you buy today ought to work great on your next camera, and the next. I bought my 17-35mm back in 2000 when it came out for use on film, and it’s still the best lens going for the D700. Money spent on lenses is a much better than spending it on cameras.

That said, you can pay less and get great ultrawide shots.

If you don’t have a grand, try the excellent fixed 20mm f/2.8AF for about $500 brand new. It’s your best deal for an ultrawide for the D700.

Nikon 20-35mm f/2.8D (about $600 used)

The 20-35mm was Nikon’s first ultra-wide zoom, made from 1993-2001 before the 17-35mm. It is an excellent. professional lens which sold for about $1,800 in 1993. Today, for about $600 used, it’s a steal. I sometimes use one when I don’t feel like lugging around the larger 17-35mm or behemoth 14-24mm. Of course the fixed 20mm f/2.8AF still weighs less and costs less, brand new, and is at least as good optically.

Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 (discontinued; was about $500 new, and now about $350 used.)

The plastic 18-35mm is a fine lens. It was discontinued in 2006. I’d skip it simply because it’s pretty plasticy compared to the others. It just doesn’t feel right on a solid camera like the 20-35mm does. The 18-35mm was intended for lightweight film cameras, and works swell on the D700.

Nikon 20mm f/2.8 AF-D.

Not a zoom, but fast, sharp, lightweight and reasonably priced is the 20mm f/2.8 AF.

 

Midrange Zooms      top

Nikon Pro Midrange Zooms Compared

Consider a midrange zoom if you only carry one lens, but never carry a midrange zoom if you’re also carrying a wide and a tele zoom.

 

Biggest and Best

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 VR (about $2,400)

This new (2015) VR lens is for DSLRs only; it doesn’t work on 35mm cameras. The best AF midrange zoom that does is the 24-70/2.8G, or 28-70/2.8 AF-S for even older 35mm AF cameras.

 

Lighter and Cheaper

For a good midrange zoom that won’t fall apart, try a used 24-85mm AFS or 28-105mm AF-D.

 

Cheapest

I use the cheap plastic 28-80 G if I want sharp results, great macro and instant autofocus.

I use the 28-200 G if I want to cover all focal lengths very sharply and have decent macro, but the AF of the 28-200 G isn’t that fast.

Neither of the 28-80 G and 28-200 G are made anymore, which is why Nikon isn’t pushing them. Each is a cheap plastic lens likely to break off a heavy FX camera if you grab it by the lens, but each has stellar performance.

 

Tele Zooms      top

Nikon 70-200mm VR II (about $2,200)

Nikon 70-300mm VR (About $500)

For a tele, pros use the 70-200mm VR II. Less sucessful pros use any of the older versions, all of which are also excellent.

Personally, I prefer the much lighter (and one-third as expensive) 70-300mm VR.

If I was shooting sports, it would be the 70-300 VR in daylight and the 70-200 VR in dim light.

The 80-400mm VR has a little extra reach, but its autofocus is too slow for action.

 

Universal      top

Nikon 28-300mm VR.

Nikon’s 28-300mm VR does just about everything well.

It’s very sharp and covers just about every focal length you’d need, and it focuses close enough to replace a macro lens.

 

Portrait      top

Nikon 135mm f/2 DC. enlarge.

Most people use their tele zoom for portraits.

If you want to get the best possible specialized portrait lens, this special 135mm f/2 DC is it.

DC means background defocus control. It is an extremely sharp lens. The background defocus control feature lets you control exactly how the out-of-focus areas behind your subject look.

Full time portrait pros usually use a 300mm f/2.8, especially for head shots.

 

Macro      top

55mm and 60mm

Forget 55mm and 60mm macro lenses for dedicated macro work. You have to get so close that you annoy your subject and get in the way of your own light. They were for copying documents and general use, but now that we have flatbed scanners, any $50 scanner does a better job.

 

105mm

For any serious macro work, you want at least a 105mm macro lens. Nikon calls these lenses “Micro,” but it’s all the same thing.

Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro. enlarge.

The Nikon 105mm VR is most people’s best bet.

 

200mm

Nikon 200mm f/4D AF Micro. enlarge.

For really serious macro work, the Nikon 200mm f/4D AF is the world’s best.

It’s big, expensive and good. It costs twice as much as the 105mm VR, but if you want it, don’t deny yourself. It costs a lot less than you’re throwing away on digital cameras, in fact, lenses like this only go up in value with time. Unlike a DSLR, buying a lens like this is an investment, not an expenditure.

I use this lens today for all my product photography.

The 200mm micro lets you stand far enough away so that you can render your subjects in the correct perspective, not annoy living specimens and not get in the way of your own lighting.

The earlier manual-focus 200mm f/4 ED-IF Micro is nowhere near as good optically.

 

Fisheye       top

Nikon 16mm f/2.8 AF Fisheye.

The 16mm f/2.8 autofocus fisheye has been out since the early 1990s.

It’s a full-frame fisheye that fills the entire rectangular frame.

 

Nikon 8mm f/2. 8 Circular Fisheye.

The 8mm fisheye makes a circle in the middle of the frame.

It is an exotic, rarely seen lens that was made from 1970 – 1997.

Circular fisheyes are silly; al you get is a circle in a sea of black.

The frame-filling 16mm fisheye is a lot more fun and a zillion times more practical.

 

Manual Focus Lenses      top

Any AI, AI-converted or AI-s lens works great on FX cameras, if you don’t mind focusing by hand and losing program and shutter-priority exposure modes. You still get full color Matrix metering, Aperture-priority automation and full EXIF data with old manual lenses if you enter the lens data via the menus.

Some manual lenses are sharper than their AF counterparts, for instance, the 80-200mm f/4.5n AI is the sharpest tele zoom I’ve tested, if you worry about lens sharpness. I paid $150 for mine used.

See Nikon Lens Compatibility for what does what on the D700.

 

Great Lenses Cheap      top

See Nikon Cheapskate Lenses for a set which works as well as the lenses above, but costs next to nothing.

 

© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

 

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The biggest help is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It costs you nothing, and is this site’s, and thus my family’s, biggest source of support. These places have the best prices and service, which is why I’ve used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.

If you find this
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If you’ve gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you’re family. It’s great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven’t helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

As this page is copyrighted and formally registered, it is unlawful to make copies, especially in the form of printouts for personal use. If you wish to make a printout for personal use, you are granted one-time permission only if you PayPal me $5.00 per printout or part thereof. Thank you!

 

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Nikon lenses, full frame: fixed focal length

Overall rating

4. 7

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 4.5

Lens quality 4.8

Equipment 4.7

9000 2 Autofocus 4.7

Overall score

4.6

excellent

Category scores

Pass 4.6

Lens quality 4.6

Equipment 4.5

Autofocus 4.6

Overall rating

4.6

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 4.3

Lens quality 5

Equipment 4.1

Auto focus 4.9

Overall score

4.6

excellent

Category scores

Pass 4.6

Lens quality 4.7

Equipment 4.5

Autofocus 4.4

Overall rating

4.5

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 3.7

Lens quality 4.9

Equipment 4.7

9000 2 Autofocus 4.5

Overall score

4. 5

excellent

Category scores

Pass 3.9

Lens quality 4.5

Equipment 4.5

Auto focus 4.9

Overall rating

4.5

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 4.1

Lens quality 4.4

Equipment 4.9

9000 2 Autofocus 4.6

Overall rating

4.5

excellent

Ratings in categories

Equipment 4.5

Auto focus 4.9

Resolution 4.1

Lens quality 4.6

Overall rating

4.4

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 4.4

Lens quality 4.6

Equipment 4.5

9000 2 Autofocus 4.2

Overall score

4.3

excellent

Category scores

Pass 4.4

Lens quality 3.5

Equipment 4.5

Autofocus 4.9

Overall rating

4. 3

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 3.9

Lens quality 4.4

Equipment 4.5

9000 2 Autofocus 4.2

Overall score

4.3

excellent

Category scores

Pass 3.7

Lens quality 4.4

Equipment 4.5

Auto focus 4.6

Overall rating

4.2

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 4.4

Lens quality 4.8

Equipment 3.2

9000 2 Autofocus 4.2

Overall rating

4.2

excellent

Category ratings

Auto focus 5

Resolution 3.4

Lens quality 4

Equipment 4.5

Overall rating

4.2

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 3.7

Lens quality 4.3

Equipment 4.5

9000 2 Autofocus 4.4

Overall score

4. 2

excellent

Category scores

Pass 4.1

Lens quality 4.5

Equipment 4.5

Autofocus 3.6

Overall rating

4.2

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 4.3

Lens quality 3.5

Equipment 4.5

9000 2 Autofocus 4.3

Overall rating

4.2

excellent

Ratings in categories

Equipment 4.5

Auto focus 3.8

Resolution 3.8

Lens quality 4.5

Overall rating

4.1

excellent

Category ratings

Resolution 4.6

Lens quality 3.6

Equipment 4.6

9000 2 Autofocus 3.6

Overall score

4.1

excellent

Category scores

Pass 3.9

Lens quality 3.4

Equipment 4.5

Auto focus 4.6

Overall rating

4

good

Category ratings

Resolution 3. 6

Lens quality 3.5

Equipment 4.2

Auto focus 4.6

Overall score

4

good

Category scores

Resolution 4.1

Lens quality 4.7

Equipment 3.2

Auto focus 4.1

Overall rating

3.9

good

Category ratings

Resolution 3.7

Lens quality 3.5

Equipment 4.5

9000 2 Autofocus 3.7

Overall score

3.8

good

Category scores

Resolution 4.5

Lens quality 4.6

Equipment 3.6

Autofocus 3

Name 3.11

Overall rating

3.8

good

Category ratings

Resolution 4.4

Lens quality 4.7

Equipment 4.3

9000 2 Autofocus 1.7

Overall rating

3.4

good

Grades in categories

Resolution 4. 7

Lens quality 4.4

Equipment 3.5

Autofocus 1

Overall rating

3.4

good

Category ratings

Resolution 4.7

Lens quality 4.8

Equipment 3

Auto focus 1

Overall rating

3.4

good

Grades in categories

Resolution 4.6

Lens quality 4.7

Equipment 3.2

Auto focus 1

Overall rating

3.4

good

Category ratings

Resolution 4.8

Lens quality 4.7

Equipment 3.2

9000 2 Autofocus 1

Overall rating

3.3

good

Grades in categories

Resolution 4.1

Lens quality 4.8

Equipment 3.4

Autofocus 1

Overall rating

3.3

good

Category ratings

Lens quality 4. 4

Equipment 3.4

Autofocus 1

Times solution 4.2

Overall rating

3.3

good

Grades in categories

Resolution 4.7

Lens quality 4.3

Equipment 3

Autofocus 1

Overall rating

3.2

good

Category ratings

Resolution 4.5

Lens quality 3.7

Equipment 3.5

9000 2 Auto focus 1

Overall score

3.2

good

Grades in categories

Equipment 3.5

Auto focus 1

Resolution 4.3

Lens quality 3.8

Overall rating

3.2

good

Category ratings

Resolution 4.4

Lens quality 4.1

Equipment 3.2

9000 2 Autofocus 1

Overall score

3.1

good

Grades in categories

Resolution 4. 8

Lens quality 3.3

Equipment 3.2

Autofocus 1

Overall rating

3.1

good

Category ratings

Resolution 4.6

Lens quality 3.9

Equipment 3

Auto focus 1

Overall score

3.1

good

Grades in categories

Resolution 4.5

Lens quality 4.5

Equipment 2.5

Auto focus 1

Overall rating

3

fair

Category ratings

Resolution 4.6

Lens quality 3.7

Equipment 2.5

Auto focus 1

Overall score

3

satisfactory

Grades in categories

Resolution 4.4

Lens quality 3.4

Equipment 3.2

Autofocus 1

Overall rating

3

fair

Category ratings

Resolution 3. 8

Lens quality 4.1

Equipment 3

Autofo kus 1

Overall score

3

satisfactory

Grades in categories

Resolution 3.7

Lens quality 4.2

Equipment 3.1

Autofocus 1

Overall rating

2.9

fair

Category ratings

Resolution 4.1

Lens quality 3.3

Equipment 3.2

900 02 Auto focus 1

Overall score

2.8

satisfactory

Grades in categories

Resolution 4.5

Lens quality 2.3

Equipment 3.2

Autofocus 1

Overall rating

2.7

fair

Category ratings

Resolution 3.9

Lens quality 3.8

Equipment 2

Auto focus 1

Overall score

2.5

satisfactory

Grades in categories

Resolution 3. 6

Lens quality 2.3

Equipment 3

Autofocus 1

Overall score

bad

Grades in categories

Nikon travel lenses review. The golden mean

Getting to know

In the optics lines of all leading photo manufacturers there are lenses for a wide variety of applications, with different levels of technical performance and capabilities. Among them, there are also affordable specimens with not the highest aperture ratios. We decided to find out whether it is worth always striving to get better top-end lenses or whether there are situations where “state employees” will be the best choice.

To do this, we provided a set of three zoom lenses and a Nikon D810 full-frame SLR camera to our author Safron Golikov , who is going on a long trip to India. He has had a lot of top-class cameras and lenses in his hands, which he usually uses in his work, so it was interesting to know his impressions of using more affordable and compact optics.

NIKON D810 / 70.0-200.0 mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 100, F5.6, 1/250 s, 200.0 mm equiv.

The zoom lenses included in our kit are Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Wide Angle Zoom, Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Universal Zoom and classic telezoom Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR. Together they cover the most commonly used focal lengths from 18mm to 200mm. And in general, the kit is balanced in terms of weight, size, price and capabilities.

The entire set of optics with the D810 camera fit in the author’s smallest photo backpack, and the total weight of the photo equipment turned out to be much less than the weight of the set of flagship “glasses” with similar focal lengths. Of course, I had to pay for this with the aperture ratio of each lens. Whether the lightweight backpack was worth her loss and whether the chosen lenses can be considered the golden mean in terms of price and features, Safron will tell us based on the results of his journey from the former Indian capital – the city of Mumbai – to the southernmost point of India.

NIKON D810 / 18.0-35.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 100, F8, 1/320s, 18.0mm equiv.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR 002 Construction and ergonomics

AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G lens ED VR has been in production since 2012 and is often bundled with Nikon D610, D750 and other models in the same class. When you take this glass in your hands for the first time, you immediately feel its lightness and compactness – after more expensive and massive zooms Nikon it makes some kind of unconvincing impression and raises questions: “So compact? Is he something serious or just a toy for fans?

NIKON D810 / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 160, F6.3, 1/400s, 85.0mm equiv.

Comparing its dimensions with my editorial lens 24-70 / 2.8, I can say the following: it is two times lighter (485 grams versus 900) and half the size. What I had to sacrifice and whether it was worth it – let’s look at the results, but looking ahead, I will say that this “whale” lens pleasantly surprised me more than once during the trip. I put it first, because it turned out to be the most requested during the trip.

NIKON D810 / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 160, F7.1, 1/400s, 26.0mm equiv.

It uses both an optical Image Stabilizer (VR in the name of the lens) and internal focusing, which keeps the front lens fixed, which allows you to use filters without problems. Despite the immobility of the front lens, under it, unfortunately, dust still accumulates over time (this was the case with my, far from new, test copy).

The lens has a retractable “trunk”, which in the extreme position protrudes from the body by about 5 cm, extending smoothly and without play.

The body of the AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3. 5-4.5G ED VR is made of high-quality matte plastic, the focus ring is also made of it, and the zoom ring is rubberized. The course of the latter is quite tight and smooth, which is convenient when using the camera for photography: the “trunk” does not leave arbitrarily. But for filming a video, such a move may seem unnecessarily tight.

The focus ring is narrower, but for a lens of this size, it’s forgivable, and it’s not used as often. Its movement is quite smooth, although it does not feel the same pleasant response as when zooming. The full rotation of the ring is about 80 degrees, which is pretty standard and allows you to focus without interception.

The bayonet side of the housing has a rubber seal for additional protection against external influences.

There are two switches on the side of this zoom: for the focus mode and for turning on the optical stabilizer (only one mode). The panel with switches, in terms of ease of access, is not very ergonomically located – too close to the camera, although this is not critical. The AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR is equipped with a built-in SWM (Silent Wave Motor) ultrasonic autofocus motor, which allows it to focus quickly and almost silently.

The filter thread diameter is 72 mm, which is attractive in light of the not very high price of these accessories. The lens comes with an HB-25 lens hood.

Overall build quality is good. The workmanship and fit of the parts are of a very high standard, and the zoom feels like a solid workhorse.

NIKON D810 / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 64, F6.3, 1/250s, 29.0 mm equiv.

Moreover, I got a far from new lens. Judging by the scuffs on the inscriptions and the serial number, he is already about three years old. This allows you to judge how much the design is affected by intensive operation for a long time. As you can see from the photos, the lens is in very good condition (apart from the gilded lettering).

Image Stabilization

The IS in this lens proved to be quite useful. In the entire range of focal lengths, it allowed me to achieve a predictable result – clear frames at shutter speeds up to ⅕ of a second, which for a focal length of 85 mm provides a gain of 4 EV stops.

NIKON D3S / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 400, F7.1, 1/5s, 85.0mm equiv.

At short focal lengths, this allows you to shoot interesting night landscapes without a tripod, which in my opinion is a very useful “hidden” option. For example, in the frame below, the tree is in focus, and the moving snow is blurred into pretty white stripes, which creates dynamics in the frame, enlivens it.

NIKON D3S / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 400, F5, 1/6s, 85.0mm equiv.

Image Quality

NIKON D810 / 24. 0-85.0 mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 560, F3.5, 1/250s, 24.0mm equiv.

The optical design of the AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR includes 16 elements in 11 groups, including 1 extra-low dispersion lens (ED as the name suggests) and 3 aspherical lenses for for sharper and more contrasting images.

24 mm

At the minimum focal length of 24 mm and at an open aperture, the sharpness across the entire field of the frame is uniform, but not ideal – there is a slight softness in the lines.

NIKON D810 / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 64, F3.5, 1/800s, 24.0mm equiv.

Starting at f/4, the center becomes sharp, while the edges of the frame still have softer lines. At f/8, the center of the frame reaches its maximum sharpness, the edges are pulled up, but they catch up only at f/11. At f/16, the effect of diffraction starts to show, although the picture doesn’t soften too much yet – it becomes noticeably more soapy closer to f/22. Chromatic aberrations are expressed at 24 mm average, their level is practically independent of the aperture. Vignetting, however, noticeable at f / 3.5 and f / 4, almost completely disappears when the aperture is closed to f / 5.6.

85 mm

The situation at the maximum focal length is a bit more pleasant. At f/4.5, we see slightly softened lines at the edges, but the center is already sharp.

NIKON D810 / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 200, F4.5, 1/2500s, 85.0mm equiv.

Excellent sharpness both in the center and at the edges of the frame appears earlier – already at f / 5.6. As well as at the wide end of the zoom, chromatic aberrations can be detected at 85 mm, but they are more modest than in the first case. There is also vignetting, which disappears at f/8.

NIKON D810 / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 200, F16, 1/200s, 85.0mm equiv. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

Construction and ergonomics

AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED is the wide angle zoom of the 2013 model. Like its predecessor, it has a variable aperture in the same range.

NIKON D810 / AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Settings: ISO 400, F9, 1/400s, 18.0mm equiv.

What distinguishes it, and for the worse, is the absence of a stabilizer. However, this is not critical at the focal lengths of this lens – it turns out to shoot without a stabilizer even at night.

NIKON D810 / AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Settings: ISO 1400, F3.5, 1/8s, 18.0mm eq c.

But its absence allowed to reduce the weight – this wide-angle is even lighter than the “staff” 24-85 mm – only 380 grams! Thanks to its small size (83×95 mm), it is practically not felt either on the camera or in a backpack. Thus, you can take with you on a trip either one 24-70 / 2.8 lens, or two – 18-35 and 24-85, and in the second case, even win in weight, practically not losing in the picture. But more on that later.

Wide-angle AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED is also built very well, there is no backlash or creaking. In addition, this lens is completely monolithic: only the front lens moves (without rotation), and without going beyond the dimensions of the body. Therefore, nothing prevents the use of filters.

The lens is made of high-quality plastic, equipped with a metal mount and a sealing ring on the end. The zoom ring is equipped with a rubber pad. Its movement is smooth and does not raise any questions: this zoom lens is suitable for photo and video shooting without any complaints.

Everything is modest on the side panel: only the focus mode switch and its distance scale. Simple, concise, and therefore reliable.

Summing up the review of the construction of AF-S Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED hands.

Image quality

NIKON D810 / 18.0-35.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 100, F3.5, 1/500s, 18.0mm equiv.

Lens construction with 12 elements in 8 groups, 2 extra-low dispersion (ED) lenses and 3 aspherical elements.

Sharpness in general can be said to be excellent for these focal lengths. Even the faster analogue 17-35 / 2.8 at the same aperture values ​​​​will be only slightly sharper than our hero, and in most shots this will be almost imperceptible.

18mm

Wide-angle at minimum f/3.5 already produces great shots with decent center sharpness and only a few nuances at the edges.

NIKON D810 / 18.0-35.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 400, F3.5, 1/8000s, 18.0mm equiv.

Lack of detail near the edges is preserved down to f/5. 6. Further, they gradually become clearer, and after closing the aperture to f / 7.1, uniform sharpness occurs across the entire field of the frame. This situation persists up to about f / 11, and then the sharpness gradually decreases due to diffraction.

At the wide end of the focal length range (18 mm) and at an open aperture, there is quite a strong vignetting, but after two stops it practically disappears, while the picture becomes uniform in brightness. Chromatic aberrations at 18 mm are very weak, the situation does not change even after closing the aperture: you need to look very carefully in order to notice barely visible green and purple contours at the very edges of the frame.

35mm

At the long zoom position, sharpness at wide aperture (f/4.5) is better than at wide angle – it’s so great that you have to look carefully for any change in sharpness by stopping the aperture.

NIKON D810 / 18. 0-35.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 160, F4.5, 1/640s, 35.0mm equiv.

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NIKON D810 / 18.0-35.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 500, F22, 1/80s, 35.0mm equiv.

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NIKON D810 / 18.0-35.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 72, F3.5, 1/160s, 18.0mm equiv.

I can say that this compact wide-angle really impressed me with the image quality – here it can compete with 16-35mm f/4 on equal terms, and given its size, it is unrivaled on any trip.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70–200mm f/4G ED VR

Design and ergonomics

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR telephoto lens fits perfectly into our travel kit thanks again to its light weight (relative to telephoto lenses) – 900 grams, which is 640 less than a similar model with f / 2.8 aperture.

NIKON D810 / 70. 0-200.0mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 100, F7.1, 1/250s, 150.0mm equiv.

The marking shows that the lens was assembled in Thailand. Body materials – metal alloy and plastic, metal bayonet, shank is equipped with a rubber seal.

Comfortable “tread” focus and zoom rings are rubber coated and wide enough for comfortable grip and control. The zoom ring travel is the most satisfying of all our lenses. It is uniform, the ring slides with the necessary effort throughout the entire range without jerks and any tangible interference. The focus ring travel is also smooth and pleasant, except that the effort is slightly less.

The lens is monolithic in design and has no rotating or retractable elements as all lens units move internally. This allows the use of polarizing filters and also prevents dust from getting inside.

There are four switches on the side of the housing. The first allows you to select the focus mode: manual or auto. The second switches the autofocus range – either full, or from 3 meters to infinity. The third one turns the image stabilizer on or off, and the last one sets its mode: Normal or Active. F/4 The rounded diaphragm uses 9petals. The minimum focusing distance of the lens is 1 meter, and the maximum available magnification is 1:3.65. The thread diameter for filters is 67 mm, which is not too ruinous.

Image quality

Moving on to the best part – the quality of images received by the telephoto Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR . The name of this lens (the only one of the three in our review) has the letter N, which means the use of Nano Crystal Coat, thanks to which the lens has more natural color reproduction and more reliable protection against glare, which I have repeatedly seen when shooting against the sun.

NIKON D810 Settings: ISO 320, F5, 1/320 s, 200.0 mm equiv.

The optical design includes 20 elements in 14 groups, including 3 low dispersion elements.

70mm

This lens outperforms many telephoto lenses in image detail and sharpness. At 70 mm, already at an open aperture (f / 4), the center of the image is well developed, and at the edges of the detail it is barely noticeably softer.

NIKON D810 / 70.0-200.0mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 64, F4, 1/800s, 70.0mm equiv.

Covering the hole down to f/5.6 (or more) we get real ringing sharpness. And at the same time get rid of vignetting. The picture remains sharp even at f/16 and noticeably blurs only closer to f/22.

NIKON D810 / 70.0-200.0mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 110, F11, 1/160s, 70.0mm equiv.

Chromatic aberrations are low and can only be seen at high magnification. Vignetting disappears when the aperture is closed one stop.

200mm

At 200mm at wide aperture, fine detail around the edges is very slightly blurred, and sharpness throughout the rest of the frame is excellent.

NIKON D810 / 70.0-200.0 mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 64, F4, 1/1000 s, 200.0 mm equiv.

The clarity of the lines across the entire field evens out already after closing up to f/5.6 and becomes absolute after another step (f/8). High sharpness across the field is maintained up to f/16 and even at the maximum value of f/22 it does not decrease slightly.

NIKON D810 / 70.0-200.0mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 100, F8, 1/400s, 200.0mm equiv.

Wide open at the “long end” of the zoom, vignetting is quite strong, but, unlike all other distortions, it can be easily corrected in the editor. When shooting, it is enough to cover the aperture by one stop. Chromatic aberration is even weaker than at the wide-angle zoom position.

NIKON D810 / AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR Nikkor Settings: ISO 500, F4, 1/320s, 200.0mm equiv.

Image Stabilization

Nikon’s third-generation Image Stabilizer made an exceptionally good impression. According to the manufacturer, it can compensate up to 5 exposure steps. In fact, he is really very cheerful and easily confirms the declared characteristics.

For example, from a slow-moving bus, I hand-held a plane on the runway at a focal length of 200 mm, while most of the shots taken at a shutter speed of ⅛ seconds turned out to be clear.

When shooting at the maximum 200 mm, very good results are obtained in general. For example, I enlarged pictures of animals and birds up to 200% (fortunately, the resolution allowed) and received images of quite decent quality.

NIKON D810 / 70.0-200.0 mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 250, F4, 1/8 sec, 200.0 mm equiv.

Shooting static shots not at the maximum zoom can achieve even more predictable results.

NIKON D810 / 70.0-200.0mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 64, F9, 1/15s, 130.0mm equiv.

Travel photography. Part 1

Let’s move on to the most interesting part – a story about a trip to India and working there with our trinity of lenses.

NIKON D810 / 70.0-200.0 mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 100, F4, 1/3200 s, 200.0 mm equiv.

Very often the journey begins with an airplane. Flying over the foothills of the world’s highest mountains, you can capture beautiful desert landscapes with a telephoto lens.

NIKON D810 / 70.0-200.0mm f/4.0 Settings: ISO 250, F7.1, 1/320s, 200.0mm equiv.

Once on Indian soil, you find yourself in the thick of things. In the large city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay, the capital of colonial British India), life is in full swing on the streets: tea peddlers compete in loudness with spice merchants, and taxi drivers, along with double-decker British buses and cyclists, jostling in traffic jams.

NIKON D810 / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 180, F3.5, 1/640s, 24.0mm equiv.

Here, the AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3. 5-4.5G ED VR zoom worked almost continuously on the camera. At a wide angle, it helps to shoot a general plan of the street, and at a telephoto position, it helps to snatch one person out of the stream or take a close-up photo of some beautiful detail, for example, the armrest of an old shop over 100 years old.

NIKON D810 / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 100, F3.5, 1/3200s, 24.0mm equiv.

This compact zoom is no problem in any situation. In addition, it is almost invisible to others, silent and very ergonomic.

NIKON D810 / 24.0-85.0mm f/3.5-4.5 Settings: ISO 160, F5.6, 1/400s, 40.0mm equiv.

It takes just a couple of seconds to get it ready for shooting: the zoom ring fits comfortably on the left hand, so the entire range of focal lengths is available without intercepting the ring, that is, without delay.

Let’s not forget about the other two heroes of our review.