A Guide to Nikon Lenses for Niche Photography

Nikon is a top rated DSLR manufacturer due to their high-quality cameras and wide selection of interchangeable lenses. Since their creation of the F-mount in 1959, Nikon has continued to use variations of this mount on its DSLR cameras. This is great for Nikon users because it means that your camera is likely compatible with a huge selection of lenses. If you are shopping on a budget, you may be able to find older lenses at affordable rates which will still work with your device. On the other hand, Nikon is constantly innovating and creating new lenses for its users to experiment with.

If your photography passion fits into a certain niche, buying the right lens to maximise your creativity is essential. For this reason, we have created a basic guide to the best Nikon lenses for niche photographers.

Portrait and Wedding

Wedding and portrait photography is characterised by romantic diffused light, creamy bokeh effects, and bright colours. Standard and telephoto lenses are popular choices for portrait and wedding photography because they allow you to achieve close crops of your subject or shoot from a distance. Whether you are doing a photoshoot or capturing a wedding, the following lenses will allow you to achieve stunning effects.

  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G

Nikkor 85mm

Nikkor AF S 85mm 4G

This is a favourite amongst professional wedding photographers because of its well-known ability to create the perfect bokeh effect. Its rounded 9-blade aperture of f/1.4 allows you to focus on your subject and achieve a soft and romantic blurred background, perfect for portraits of weddings. This product offers outstanding optical performance and is one of Nikon’s sharpest lenses.

  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

Nikkor AF 50mm

Nikkor 50mm AF S

This standard lens is a great quality and affordable option (retailing at £400) which achieves a similar perspective to the human eye. This being said, this lens has the ability to achieve an outstanding bokeh effect, perfect for wedding or portrait photography. Compared to its older models, which produced hexagonal-shaped bokeh effects, this newer version achieves the perfect natural blur. The wide aperture of 1.4 also makes this a great camera for shooting in low-light settings, as is often the case during evening weddings. Another great advantage of this lens is its lightweight and compact size.

  • Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II

Nikkor Telephoto

Nikkor 70-200 MM

This telephoto lens is great for taking candid shots and capturing large scenes. Because this lens offers so much focal length, you can stand far enough away from your subjects to capture them acting naturally and without interfering. This is a convenient feature when doing wedding photography because you can capture natural moments without having to interrupt or get too close to your subjects and make them feel uncomfortable. Read more about this lens under the landscape section.

Landscape and Travel

Selecting the best landscape and travel lens can be difficult because you want a lens powerful enough to capture the beauty of epic and vast landscape scenes, but you also want a camera that you can travel with comfortably when on the go. In general, the best lenses for landscape photography are wide angle or ultra-wide angle. Nikon has many options to choose from, but the following are top of the line picks that you can’t go wrong with.

  • Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens

Nikkor AF S 14-24

Nikkor AF S 14-24mm

This award winning ultra-wide angle lens possibly captures the sharpest images of any Nikon product. Designed for professionals, this high-quality lens delivers superb optics, beautiful colours, and sharp contrasts from centre frame to corners. The quick autofocus function makes this lens easy to use and the focal range makes it perfect for landscape photography. Further, its durable build, moisture resistance, and lens hood prepare this product for even the harshest shooting conditions.

Though this lens produces top quality images, its main downside is its bulkiness and weight, which can make it somewhat inconvenient to travel with. In addition, if you often utilise hand held filters, this may not be the best lens for you, as the build in hood and round front element require you to purchase additional adaptors and filters in order to use them with this lens. This camera is also rather pricey, and can, therefore, be out of budget for some users; however, the top quality, sharp images make this lens a great investment.

Overall, if you are looking for a top of the line Nikon lens for professional grade landscape photography, and weight, filters, and budget are not a concern, this lens is probably your best option.

  • AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Nikkor af 16-35mm

Nikkor Zoom

This ultra-wide angle lens has an advanced vibrations reduction system that produces beautiful and stabilised images—a valuable feature when trying to capture landscape photography, night scenes, or timelapse shots. Unlike the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, this lens is compatible with filters and is not terribly heavy. Another advantage is that, while this lens was designed for a full frame sensor body, it can also fit onto an APS-C sensor camera (with a DX equivalent of 24-52mm). With this camera, you still get professional quality and a durable weather-resistant build, without sacrificing ease of travel. Though this lens is quite expensive as well, it is still a great value considering its outstanding quality and versatility.

Wildlife & Sports

Though both occur outdoors, shooting landscape and wildlife photography are very different in nature and could require the photographer switch out lenses. When you shoot wildlife, you often need a camera with a long focal length and quality zoom. In addition, since your subjects are often in motion, you need to purchase a camera with high quality and fast aperture capabilities.

For sports photography, you are shooting under similar conditions to wildlife photography. Your subjects are often in motion, requiring a fast shutter speed, and you often need high-quality zoom capabilities when you are photographing from the side lines. Whether you are hoping to photograph your kids little league game, or document a professional sports event, we have picked zoom lenses that will allow you to capture the moment.

The best type of lenses for wildlife or sports photography are super telephoto lenses, which offer long focal lengths. These lenses usually range from 300-600mm FX format or 200-600mm DX format. Telephoto lenses can often be very expensive, but we have outlined some of the best options on the market for photographers from most affordable to most expensive.

  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR

Nikkor DX

Nikkor 70 – 300 mm

Compared to the average price of a telephoto lens, The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED seems like a steal for under £400. This professional quality lens features Nikon’s advanced vibration reduction stabiliser system, which enables you to take clear and sharp still images even from a handheld position. Further, the versatile zoom gives you the flexibility to shoot various scenes, from small perched birds, all the way to large animals and flocks. In addition, this lens is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry when travelling.

As for the downsides, this lens is unfortunately not compatible with any Nikon teleconverters, which means you are restricted to a 300mm range, and quality does drop some at that level. Another thing to keep in mind is that this camera is not intended for low-light situations.

Overall this is a very affordable lens, perfect for wildlife or sports photography, which offers impressive optics and a versatile zoom for an outstanding value.

  • Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Nikkor 70 – 200mm

Nikkor 70-200mm

A fairly middle ground option, which is a step up from the 70-300mmG ED VR, is the 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. This lens features a second-generation vibration reduction system which offers improved stability features. Though this lens is significantly more expensive than the 70-300mm, the quality is consistent all the way to 200mm.  Plus, unlike the 70-300mm, this lens is compatible with almost all Nikon teleconverters, providing you with the ability to achieve a greater focal length range. This lens should still be used with good lighting conditions to achieve the best results.

  • Nikon 600mm f/4G VR or 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR

Nikkor 800mm lens

Nikkor 800mm

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have the Nikon 600mm f/4G with vibration reduction. This lens offers state of the art optical precision and power and was specifically designed for professional grade sports photography, wildlife, and other distant action shots. You should check out some photography blogs in order to compare your kit also.

This monster lens is second in zoom quality, length, bulk, and price, only to the 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR, which comes with a teleconverter that can extend the focal length to an unbelievable 1000mm. Both of these lenses require heavy duty and expensive support gear in addition to their very expensive base price of about £10-12 thousand. While these lenses may not be the most practical choice for the average photographer, they are definitely top of the line options for those searching for elite professional gear.

 

If all of these lenses are way to expensive for you, you could always go back to your iphone 5s.

This was just a basic overview of some of the best lenses for niche photography needs, but there are so many other outstanding Nikon lenses to choose from. In order to achieve the best quality image every time, you should consider investing in a couple different lenses that can be changed out according to the situation.

 

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