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The best Nikon F-mount lenses to buy in 2022

June 8, 2022

If you’re looking for a great lens for your Nikon DSLR, then we’ve found some of the best F-mount lenses for you to look at. Amateur Photographer recently rounded up a list of the best Canon lenses to buy and now we’ve found the best Nikon lenses you can get your hands on.

If you’re looking for a lens for your Nikon DSLR, then have a look at lenses with VR – Vibration Reduction – Nikon’s term for optical image stabilisation, as this will help when you need to use slower shutter speeds, or when using telephoto zoom. Note that DX lenses are made for Nikon’s APS-C cameras.

Check out our list of the best Nikon F-mount lenses:

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 G ED VR

Best Nikon Lenses: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 G ED VR

Price: £1,299.99, website: www.nikon.com

If you want the versatility of a zoom combined with the sharpest possible results, then generally you’ll find yourself looking at premium constant-maximum-aperture options. But if you don’t want to lug around a 1.5kg 70-200mm f/2.8 all day, then you might find that this f/4 version is just the ticket. It’s impressively sharp, with fast autofocus, and the inclusion of third-generation VR technology promises the ability to shoot handheld at shutter speeds four stops slower than would otherwise be possible without. For added reach, the lens is also compatible with Nikon’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters. An optional RT-1 tripod collar ring is available, but it does cost £189.


Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

Best Nikon Lenses: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

Price: £1,719, website: www.nikon.com

Sometimes only the very best will do, and when it comes to standard zooms on a full-frame Nikon body, this is it. The latest version of Nikon’s pro workhorse lens adds optical image stabilisation and uses an electromagnetic diaphragm, which provides much-improved functionality when shooting in live view or for video work. With an array of exotic glasses and coatings, it’s designed for use on the latest high-resolution DSLRs such as the 45.7MP D850. It can also be used with DX-format cameras, giving a 36-105mm equivalent range. Super-fast autofocus and top-notch build quality round off a truly excellent package.

Read our Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR review.


Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

Best Nikon Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR (APS-C)

Price: £349 (renewed), website: www.nikon.com

If you’ve outgrown the 18-55mm kit zoom that came when you bought your camera, this might just be the perfect upgrade. It offers a usefully extended zoom range, from 24mm equivalent wideangle to 128mm telephoto, while providing a respectable optical performance that’s aided by a fast ultrasonic-type autofocus motor and built-in image stabilisation. It’s been on the market for almost a decade now, meaning good prices can often be had if you’re prepared to shop around. If you have another £300 to spare, then the AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR represents another step up again, with an even faster maximum aperture and stellar optics.


Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 G ED VR

Best Nikon Lenses: Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 G ED VR

Price: £349.99, website: www.nikon.com

Often the first lens DSLR users buy after the 18-55mm that came with their camera is a telephoto zoom. But there’s a huge number to choose from, with Nikon alone offering six for its DX-format SLRs, distinguished only by opaque combinations of letters in their names. The most up-to-date is the AF-P 70- 300mm f/4.5-6.3 VR: a compact, image-stabilised optic with a usefully long zoom range and the latest fast, silent AF-P motor for autofocus, that’s also suitable for video work. Being an AF-P lens, though, it’s not compatible with Nikon DSLRs that were released five years or more ago. So if you use an older model, you’ll need to buy the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR.


Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G

Best Nikon Lenses: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G

Price: £489, website: www.nikon.com

If you want to take people pictures to another level, then a large-aperture, short-telephoto prime is the way to go. Nikon’s AF-S 85mm f/1.8 is a good quality yet reasonably affordable choice, with fast autofocus and sharp optics. With a nine-bladed circular aperture, it can also provide very attractively blurred backgrounds. The lens is equally suitable for use on full-frame and DX format DSLRs, giving a 135mm view on the latter. To get even better results, you’d need to invest in an 85mm f/1.4, with Sigma’s 85mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM (£999) being a fine example.


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

Best Nikon Lenses: Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

Price: £349.99, website: www.nikon.com

Nikon users have long been crying out for a lightweight, inexpensive wideangle zoom, and finally it’s arrived in the shape of this 10-20mm lens. Optically it’s OK, if not outstanding, but crucially, its built-in optical stabilisation is extremely useful. Again, though, its AF-P designation means that it only works on relatively recent APS-C DSLRs, so check compatibility before you buy. Otherwise this is a great complement to a standard zoom for subjects such as landscapes, interiors and architecture, where you’d like to squeeze as much as possible in the frame.


Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

Best Nikon Lenses: Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

Price: £199.99, website: www.nikon.com

Large-aperture prime lenses allow you to shoot indoors without flash, or blur backgrounds for creative effect. Not only is this small 35mm prime the most affordable such option for Nikon DX users, it’s also very sharp. With a view roughly equivalent to a 50mm prime on full-frame, it’s suitable for subjects from street photography to portraits. If you want a lens that will also work on full-frame, you’ll need the similarly-named Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G, but this costs almost three times as much. Other important things to know about this lens are its 30cm minimum focus distance, it accepts filters and adapters via a 52mm thread and accepts Nikon’s HB-46 lens hood.


Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

Best Nikon Lenses: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

Price: £175, website: www.nikon.com

For many years, 50mm primes (or ‘nifty fifties’) were sold as general-purpose lenses with 35mm film cameras, but they fell out of favour for a few decades. Recently, however, there has been a resurgence in their popularity for use with APS-C format DSLRs. They tend to be small, light and relatively cheap, yet very sharp, and perfect for shooting portraits. Nikon’s AF-S 50mm f/1.8G is a classic example of the type, and will also work on full-frame cameras. Don’t confuse it with the cheaper AF 50mm f/1.8D, though, which won’t autofocus on Nikon’s entry-level D3000-series or D5000-series DSLRs. The lens has a 58mm filter thread and a construction of seven elements in six groups.

Read our Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f1.8G review


Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR

Best Nikon Telephoto lens: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR

Price: £3429, website: www.nikon.com

The Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR lens is the lightest 500mm full-frame telephoto prime lens, the lens weighs just 1.46kg, making it lighter than most 150-600mm zoom lenses. The lens is light enough to shoot with handheld, and the Vibration Reduction system gives 4-stops of stabilisation. The lens gives impressive image quality, as well as rapid focus performance, making it ideal for when you need a telephoto prime lens.

Read our Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR field test


Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR

Telephoto zoom: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR

Price: £10,999, website: www.nikon.com

If you have the budget, then Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens offers not only a 180-400mm telephoto zoom, but also features a built-in 1.4x teleconverter. With the price being over £10,000 it might be a lens you could look at hiring for special events. It’s worth noting that due to the weight, of 3.5kg, you might not want to carry it around for too long, and a monopod can help out here. It certainly delivers impressive image quality though with Vibration Reduction helping to keep shots steady, and for that it is to be commended.

Read our Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR field test


For more have a look at the latest newslens reviews, and buying guides, or have a look at the best Nikon DSLRs.


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