I have compiled a list of the best Nikon DX Lenses which you should be interested in beyond your standard Nikon kit lens
There are a few great DSLR cameras in the Nikon D range which can be used with the DX lenses. With each camera, you have likely got a standard kit lens which comes with all cameras in the Nikon D range. I’ve put together 5 of my favourite DX range Nikon lenses below. Each of them have their own unique uses, and have varying price ranges. I’ve also included a lens which isn’t made by Nikon, to add some diversity. If you would like to read about the best beginner DSLR cameras, which include a few DX options, then click here.
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1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
The Nikon 35mm is a fantastically priced little lens. The fact that it is a prime lens removes any ability to zoom in on your object of focus. Therefore, this is unlikely to be the first lens you purchase after your kit lens, due to the fact that it is limited in its abilities. However, it is still an absolutely cracking lens.
The Nikkor 35mm produced vivid and sharp pictures with ease, and has the ability to create semi-macro effects.
It’s main strong point is to be used as a portrait lens. Many people in the industry who partake in street and fashion photography will use the Nikkor 35mm lens.
I cannot sing the praises of this little lens enough. It is built well, produces great results, and is an absolute bargain for the price in the Nikon lens market.
I would honestly say that everyone needs a prime lens in their collection as an option, and you can’t get much better of an option than the Nikon DX Nikkor 35mm. That is why I have put it at number one on the list of Best Nikon DX Lenses.
2. Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens
During testing, I used the Tamron 70-300mm Macro Zoom Lens with my Nikon D3400. The main purpose of purchasing this lens was because I wanted something to do a bit of wildlife photography with now and then, but I didn’t want to spend too much. This is the cheapest lens on this list. Tamron are renowned for bringing out great price point lenses.
The reason I chose this Tamron Macro Zoom lens was mostly based upon a mixture of the price and the reviews on Amazon. This would make a great additional lens in your collection if you only have the kit lens which came with your camera. It will add some diversity to the type of photos you will be able to take.
Now, there are some downsides to this lens, as was always going to be the case at this price point. Some have argued that the focus is a little slow. This wasn’t exactly an issue for me, as I wasn’t taking shots of anything which required me to quickly focus and shoot. However, I could imagine it may be a downside to those photographing quick moments which could be gone in a flash (no pun intended). In addition to this, it isn’t as heavy duty or solid as a Nikon made lens. It is far lighter than a comparable sized lens. Some may say this is a good thing, others may find that they want a more solid piece of kit in their hands. I’ll let you decide whether or not that downside is a deal breaker for you.
Based on the price and performance, I would say this is a must have lens to any budding Nikon photographer’s arsenal. It is so well priced that even if you only used it now and then, it would still be worth it. The results you can get from it are rather impressive considering a comparable Nikon made lens could set you back more than double the price of the Tamron.
3. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction
This is what I would deem as the direct improvement upon your kit lens which you received with your Nikon. It has a longer zoom capability, and is sharper and generally produces better images. In addition to producing higher quality images compared to the kit lens, the auto-focus is also quite superior.
I would say that if you quite like what the kit lens can do, but you just want a little bit more, and better result, then this would be an intelligent purchase.
The downside of the Nikkor 16-85mm lens is that it isn’t exactly cheap. It’s one of the more expensive options on this list. However, the price tag does bring with it, great results.
I know some people who never remove this lens from their camera. It is their go-to lens, and therefore the higher price tag is completely warranted, as the lens gets used so much. Therefore, I would mostly recommend this lens to people who will use it a lot. These people are going to be those who love their kit lens, but just want to upgrade.
4. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens
I’ve mentioned the Nikkor 35mm lens in this article already. The 50mm is also a prime lens, and is comparable to the 35mm in a sense.
This lens, like the 35mm, has the ability to create fantastic depth of field effects (or ‘Bokeh), and can even perform well in low lighting conditions. While the 35mm lens is marketed as a DX lens, this 50mm is technically from the FX range. However, it is fully compatible with your DX range DSLRs.
There are very few downsides to this lens in all honesty. Like the 35mm is has a plastic build, which some may dislike. However, that’s not to say that it is low quality. This lens and the 35mm is infinitely superior to your kit lens when it comes to taking portrait shots. You really could not go wrong choosing either of these lenses.
I personally feel as though the 50mm is better than the 35mm Nikon lens when it comes to creating that Bokeh effect. The Bokeh effect is far more evenly distributed and just produces are far more superior final image. If you would like to see side-by-side comparison shots of the two lenses, then you can see a run down here.
Both lenses are close to being the same size, and you would struggle to tell them apart looking at a distance, unless you were an expert.
Personally, the 35mm suits my needs slightly better. However, it is hard to deny that the Nikon FX Nikkor 50mm isn’t slightly better overall.
5. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200MM f/4-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction
If you’re looking for the best budget telephoto lens for your Nikon. This is the one.
As telephoto lenses go, this is very inexpensive, but it is still a quality piece of kit. There is also a DX lens which will extend the zoom range up to 300mm. However, it bumps the price up quite significantly, and unless you need that high zoom, I feel as though the 200mm capacity will be just fine.
As with many of the lenses on this list, the housing is made of plastic, which is understandable to keep the price down. Despite this, it is still well built and solid.
Saying this, if you plan to do wildlife photography (perhaps you’re going on a safari), then I would suggest stepping up to the 55-300mm Nikon lens. You can find this lens here.