Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S Sample Image #1
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Which Nikon Lens to Get First?

A large number of other people marvel what to purchase as their first Nikon lens. Most of the people who’re new to virtual images finally end up buying a package lens that they use for a 12 months or two, simplest to notice that they would like one thing higher. Sure, package lenses are a excellent deal, however are there higher choices on your first lens? Whilst it is sensible for some Nikon photographers to purchase package lenses to start with, I for my part want a forged all-purpose high lens as an alternative. Learn on to to find out extra about my non-public suggestions, aimed toward any individual who is simply coming into images.

Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S Sample Image #1
Nikon Z6 + Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S @ 50mm, ISO 100, 1/200, f/5.6 © Nasim Mansurov

After I purchased my first DSLR, it got here with an 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 package lens. Anything else regarded higher in comparison to my Sony Cybershot level and shoot, so I used to be more than happy for approximately 6 months. Then I began coming into images increasingly more. I used to be studying books and spending a large number of time trying out the camera in several prerequisites. I truly liked the images in sunlight out of 18-135mm when there used to be sufficient mild, however low-light prerequisites saved on irritating me, and indoor images with out a flash used to be rather difficult.

I stopped up promoting the lens for lots lower than I paid, and purchased a dearer lens. The brand new lens used to be higher (the Nikon 18-200mm VR) due to symbol stabilization, and I used to be rather glad for some time, however I began encountering different issues comparable to sub-par symbol high quality at other focal lengths. And the f/3.5-5.6 most aperture used to be nonetheless a proscribing issue, similar to at the 18-135mm lens.

As I learn and researched extra, I sought after to be ready to shoot in low mild, have higher background rendering capacity (or “bokeh“) and sharper symbol high quality, so I were given a 50mm f/1.4 high lens subsequent. This little high lens taught me a large number of issues and made me a greater photographer, as a result of I may just now not depend on zooming out and in anymore – the lens pressured me to transfer and take into accounts composing photographs.

I’m positive a large number of photographers undergo a an identical stories, now and again kind of painful. After trying out such a lot of Nikon lenses through the years for our critiques at Photography Lifestyles, I created my very own elementary checklist of “first lenses” that Nikon shooters will have to imagine. Any time that any individual emails me asking in regards to the lens they will have to purchase first, I at all times referred again to this checklist. So, I made up our minds to put up my suggestions in order that any Nikon photographers can reference them. However at all times keep in mind – cameras and lenses are simplest equipment, and it’s the particular person in the back of the camera that issues!

Nikon Z Lenses

I’ve separated the lists beneath into 4 classes: Nikon FX mirrorless cameras, Nikon DX mirrorless cameras, Nikon FX DSLRs, and Nikon DX DSLRs. (You’ll be able to learn extra in our articles on Nikon DX as opposed to FX, and mirrorless vs DSLR.)

Lenses for Complete-Body Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras (FX):

  1. Nikon Z 40mm f/2 – An excessively light-weight, rather reasonably priced high lens that has nice symbol high quality. It’s the easiest “first lens” for a Nikon Z photographer, and at $300, it allows you to check the waters of high lenses with out spending extra money on one among Nikon’s S-line lenses. Two possible choices if you need most symbol high quality at the next worth (and weight) are the Z 35mm f/1.8 S and Z 50mm f/1.8 S, which can be two of Nikon’s absolute best lenses. Every other choice, if you need a wider-angle lens on the cheap, is the 28mm f/2.8, which has similarities to the 40mm f/2 in weight, worth, and symbol high quality.
  2. Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S – The most common Nikon Z package lens. Even supposing it “simplest” is going to 70mm, it’s a perfect lens in each and every opposite direction, and it’s typically to be had at a steep bargain in case you package it along with your Nikon Z camera or purchase it used. One of the most sharpest package lenses we’ve ever examined. (See our evaluate.)
  3. Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S – That is indisputably a higher-end lens and dearer at $1100, then again, it fixes the largest factor with the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 by way of going all of the approach to 120mm. It’s most definitely Nikon’s absolute best do-it-all lens nowadays.
  4. Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR – Because it’s a superzoom, this lens loses some symbol high quality, particularly on the longer focal lengths. It’s additionally very dim at 200mm with a most aperture of f/6.3. Then again, it outperforms nearly each and every different superzoom and is in fact lovely sharp. If you want the succeed in of 200mm, this could be a perfect lens to pair with the 40mm f/2 as your first two Nikon lenses. (See our evaluate.)
Nikon Z9 Landscape Photo of Hallet Peak Dream Lake RMNP
NIKON Z9 + NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S @ 32mm, ISO 64, 1/3, f/9.0 © Spencer Cox

Lenses for Crop-Sensor Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras (DX):

  1. Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 – One of the most absolute best lenses for Nikon Z customers with a DX camera. As an advantage, it additionally works with Nikon’s mirrorless FX cameras and gifts a really nice focal duration for panorama images. One factor is that f/2.8 doesn’t assist you to blur the background an excessive amount of, so it’s possible you’ll want the 40mm f/2 as an alternative. Additionally, this lens doesn’t have vibration aid (VR). This implies you want to be extra cautious along with your shutter velocity on Nikon DX cameras which don’t have in-body symbol stabilization.
  2. Nikon Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR – A really perfect first lens if you need a zoom as an alternative of a first-rate. It’s sharper than I anticipated, and it covers a perfect vary of focal lengths, however doesn’t let in a lot mild. Pair it with both the 28mm f/2.8 or the 40mm f/2, and also you’ll be ready to {photograph} nearly anything else in sight.
  3. Nikon Z 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR – The usual package lens for Nikon Z DX cameras. It’s lovely sharp and small, however it doesn’t let in a lot mild and doesn’t quilt the longer focal lengths. If in case you have this lens and wish anything else past 50mm, I like to recommend getting the Nikon Z 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 DX as smartly.
Nikon Z50 Sample Image #47
NIKON Z 50 + NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR @ 16mm, ISO 100, 8 seconds, f/5.6 © Nasim Mansurov

Lenses for Complete-Body Nikon DSLRs (FX):

  1. Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G – An invaluable on a regular basis lens with excellent sharpness, nice low-light features, and lovely matter isolation at f/1.8. It’s sharper than the dearer Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, as proven in my 50mm f/1.4G vs f/1.8G comparability article. And at simply $220, you merely can’t beat the worth! Take a look at my evaluate of this lens for more info.
  2. Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G VR – A pointy, skilled lens for photographing topics at wider or longer focal lengths than the 50mm f/1.8G. It’s one among my favourite zooms in Nikon’s DSLR lineup, although Nikon’s mirrorless zooms are sharper. Flexible focal lengths, symbol stabilization, and nano coating ship excellent effects. For extra main points, take a look at my 24-120mm lens evaluate.
Nikon 50mm f/1.8G Image Sample #3
NIKON Df + 50mm f/1.8 @ 50mm, ISO 200, 1/160, f/2.0 © Nasim Mansurov

Lenses for Crop-Sensor Nikon DSLRs (DX):

  1. Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX – Believe this lens identical to the 50mm f/1.8G indexed above, because it provides a an identical perspective of view when used on a DX crop-sensor camera. Easiest as an ordinary lens, low-light images, or for blurring backgrounds.
  2. Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4E DX VR – A really perfect and flexible zoom lens for scenarios the place you want to move wider or longer than 35mm. Superb sharpness during the variability and vibration aid (VR) for low-light scenarios. The f/2.8 thru f/4 most aperture we could in additional mild in comparison to a package lens.
  3. Any of the 18-XX package lenses – Nikon has made such a lot of of those lenses, starting from 18-55mm package lenses to 18-300mm superzooms. I’m now not as inspired with the picture high quality of the 18-200mm and 18-300mm lenses. The others on this lineup are reasonably priced, forged performers. They do undergo in low mild, then again, and will’t blur backgrounds really well. You’ll most definitely need to pair them with the 35mm f/1.8G DX.
AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Sample 1
AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G DX © Nasim Mansurov


On this article, I haven’t taken under consideration particular form of images (comparable to macro or tremendous telephoto) however the above lenses are excellent for many sorts of images. I additionally didn’t come with uncommon / unique lenses, for the reason that article is focused at freshmen. If you need to get started out the usage of your Nikon camera with a excellent lens that offers you room to develop, the choices I indexed above will fulfill maximum of your wishes.

If you’ll simplest have the funds for one lens, I’d get started out with a first-rate lens. For Nikon Z mirrorless cameras, this might be the 28mm f/2.8 or 40mm f/2. For Nikon DSLRs, I’d pick out the 35mm f/1.8G DX for crop-sensor cameras or the 50mm f/1.8G for FX cameras.

If in case you have been taking pictures simplest with zoom lenses thus far, give high lenses a take a look at – I promise that you’re going to now not be apologetic about it, and your footage can have an absolutely other appear and feel! Zoom lenses are nice for some scenarios, however they regularly make us lazy, and so they typically can’t fit the efficiency of high lenses.

I am hoping you discovered this text helpful, and let me know within the feedback beneath when you’ve got any questions whilst in search of your first Nikon lens.

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