Top 10 List of Nikon Must Have Lenses
Owing to the extensive technological advancements, it has become fairly difficult to point out the best among the lenses. Good optical performance alone cannot determine whether a lens can be categorized as the best. Cost, weight/size, versatility of usage and of course, technical attributes all need to be considered in unison for an idea about the caliber of our lens. Here is a Top 10 List of Nikon Must Have Lenses I’ve used and enjoyed using. I hope it will help you with your photography endeavors.
1. Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D AF (first seen in 1978)
This lens is the cheapest among Nikon’s lenses and yet the sharpest image producer with no distortion and very fast focus speed. It is very small and in turn feather-light. It can’t be employed for anti-focusing with D40, D40x and D60 but otherwise, I think you got to have one of those babies in your collection.
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2. Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 AF-SG (2010 release)
This for me is undoubtedly the king of all 24mm lenses and better than those 24mm lenses that cost thrice as much as this one. Works like a charm in low light. If you have this lens, there is a possibility that it is the only wide-angle lens you’ll ever need. At any aperture its performance cannot be matched. Compared with a 50mm f/1 lens, it has far more depth of field which contributes to hand-held sharp photos taken at night.
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3. Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX (2009 edition)
At number three this super-sharp, instant focus, fast, metal mount durable lens costs about $200. That says it all. It is one of my personal favorite DX lenses.
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4. Nikkor 18-55mm DX (2006)
This economically sound lens is sharp, focuses very very close (just like a dedicated macro lens) and only covers DX digital, does not function with film or FX format.
5. Nikkor 18-200mm VR DX (2005)
At number five we have this handy portable modern walk-about lens that can be used alone as a replacement for many other lenses except ultra-wide (12-24mm DX, for example) that allow us to shoot sports in low light.
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6. Nikkor 135mm f/2 DC AF (1990)
This DC or defocus lens is the ultimate tool for Bokeh optimization. You must be aware of what the Bokeh is. This lens enables you to keep the subject ultra-sharp while defocusing the back or foreground to create very dramatic dream-like effects in photographs. I rate it as the best hand-held portrait lens by Nikon.
7. Nikkor 14-25mm f/2.8 AF-S (2007)
This is a massive ultra-wide angle lens which is very sharp and has provoked people to buy special adapters for use on Canon cameras. It can be used on amateur cameras like the DX D300 but is best used with film or full-frame FX Digital cameras.
8. Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 AL-S (1981-2006)
This is a manual focus aged lens but to my surprise, its newer and supposedly improved version 85mm f/1.4 D autofocus could not outperform its optics. Both were almost the same price but this Al-S lens was so good that Nikon kept manufacturing these for ten years more. Quite an achievement, I’d say, it works best with a tripod and is capable of producing bokeh of much higher quality than the other Nikon lenses.
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9. Nikkor 28mm f/1.4 AF (1994-2006)
This is a master piece lens and costs accordingly. At first, market did not show interest in the lens but now, collectors are selling used ones for double their true price. The lens has become obsolete but it is, in my opinion, better and sharper than today’s 35mm f/1.4 or 28mm f/2 manual focus lenses. You could shoot things hand-held on ISO 50 film with this amazing gadget.
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10. Nikkor 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6 D Micro (1997-2004)
Unfortunately, this lens also did not get as much appreciation as it deserved. It is only true micro (macro) 300 mm lenses by Nikon. Now, it is being sold at prices more than its original price. This is very useful for shooting macro and moving subjects like lizards or snakes, etc. I use it for product shots and believe me when I say these are irreplaceable, I’m not lying.
That completes my top ten lens countdown. Hope it helps. Down to come are the 13mm f/5.6 AL-S (1976-1998), 20-80mm G and 28-200mm G (2003-2006), 80-200mm f/4.5n AL (1977-1981) and finally the 300,mm f/ 2.8 ED-IF (1977-1982, reborn today).