Best Nikon FX Lenses (Full Frame) Today

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Are you looking for the best Nikon FX lenses (Full Frame) to go with your newly acquired full-frame Nikon DSLR? Your search ends right here.

Best Nikon FX Lenses (Full Frame)

Nikon’s full-frame DSLRs are a joy to shoot pictures with. But only if you pair it with the right lens. The right lens, so to say, is a combination of parameters.

  • Optical quality is just one of those parameters.
  • Second is the coatings that the lens has been treated with. These coatings improve contrast, color accuracy, and sharpness.
  • The third parameter is the list of elements used to build the lens which suppresses various aberrations and distortions.
  • Finally, it is about build quality and pricing. In this discussion, we have selected the best Nikon full frame lenses based on all these parameters.

The search for the best Nikon full frame lenses can quickly become a tiring and confusing journey. Thankfully you don’t have to do that all over again. As we have already taken care of the hard part. The list shared below includes the best Nikon FX lenses. Go ahead and pick the one that best suits your working style.

Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
BEST BUDGET PRIME LENS

Nikon FX, Filter Diameter: 77mm, Weight: 440g/15.5oz, Size: 83.6 x 84mm (3.3 x 3.3″)

Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G
BEST PORTRAIT LENS

Nikon FX, Filter Diameter: 77mm, Weight: 440g/15.5oz, Size: 83.6 x 84mm (3.3 x 3.3″)

Nikon AF-S FX 24-70mm f/2.8E VR
BEST ALL AROUND LENS

Nikon FX, Filter Diameter: 77mm, Weight: 440g/15.5oz, Size: 83.6 x 84mm (3.3 x 3.3″)

Nikon AF-S FX 16-35mm f/4G
BEST WIDE ANGLE LENS

Nikon FX, Filter Diameter: 77mm, Weight: 440g/15.5oz, Size: 83.6 x 84mm (3.3 x 3.3″)

Nikon FX 24-120mm f/4G
BEST TRAVEL LENS

Nikon FX, Filter Diameter: 77mm, Weight: 440g/15.5oz, Size: 83.6 x 84mm (3.3 x 3.3″)

Sigma 105mm F2.8 Macro
BEST MACRO LENS

Nikon FX, Filter Diameter: 77mm, Weight: 440g/15.5oz, Size: 83.6 x 84mm (3.3 x 3.3″)

Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3
BEST SUPERZOOM LENS

Nikon FX, Filter Diameter: 77mm, Weight: 440g/15.5oz, Size: 83.6 x 84mm (3.3 x 3.3″)

Nikon 70-200mm f/4G
BEST TELEPHOTO LENS

Nikon FX, Filter Diameter: 77mm, Weight: 440g/15.5oz, Size: 83.6 x 84mm (3.3 x 3.3″)

Best Nikon FX Lenses (Full Frame)

Best Budget Prime Lens

1. Nikon 50mm f/1.8

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Filter Diameter: 58mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5″ / 45cm
  • Weight: 185g / 6.5oz
  • Size: 72 x 52mm (2.8 x 2″)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

Probably the one lens that Nikon sells more than any other that they manufacture.

The 500mm f/1.8 is inexpensive but very capable standard prime is a real workhorse in everyday shooting situations. Many photographers don’t like the 50mm because they feel they have to work harder to make useful images with it. It may surprise you that the father of Street Photography and a pioneer of the journalistic styled photographic approach Henry Cartier-Bresson shot with a 50mm prime almost all his life.

This being a G lens works with all recent digital SLR cameras released by Nikon including the cheapest entry-level units like the D3100 and the D5500. The effective focal length on an APS-C camera becomes 75mm (35mm format equivalent). That makes it suitable for portrait photography.

What I Like:

  • Low cost
  • Good optical quality
  • Compact
  • Suitable for pretty much all types of photography from landscapes to street and family portraits

What I Don’t Like:

  • There is no image stabilization on the lens.
  • There is no physical aperture ring on the lens.

See the Nikon 50mm f/1.8


Best Lens for Portraits

2. Nikon 85mm f/1.8

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Filter Diameter: 58mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5″ / 45cm
  • Weight: 185g / 6.5oz
  • Size: 72 x 52mm (2.8 x 2″)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

The epitome of portrait lenses. The 85mm has traditionally been the sweetest focal length for shooting portrait photos. It produces the perfect portrait perspective provided you are shooting from the right distance.

This FX mount lens is one of the best Nikon FX lenses in the business and definitely is one of the best Nikon full frame lenses for portrait photography. Of course, there are other 85mm full-frame models from Nikon and other third party manufactures (Sigma, Tamron…), but most of them are offered at a much higher price. I mean the f/1.4 lenses made by Sigma and of course Nikon themselves.

But the 85mm f/1.8 does the job and at a fraction of a price compared to more expensive models.

What I Like:

  • A fast aperture of f/1.8
  • This is a G lens. It comes with a built-in autofocus motor and works with all digital SLRs made by Nikon.
  • Lightweight unlike some of the other options that we have.
  • Has been treated with a Super Integrated Coating. Color contrast is great.

What I Don’t Like:

  • No image stabilization built-in
  • Bokeh quality is good but not exceptional.

See the Nikon 85mm f/1.8


Best All Purpose Zoom Lens

3. Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Filter Diameter: 58mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5″ / 45cm
  • Weight: 185g / 6.5oz
  • Size: 72 x 52mm (2.8 x 2″)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

If I had to choose the three best Nikon FX lenses this one would definitely be on that list. The quintessential everyday walk-around lens for a full-frame camera owner, the 24-70mm is a great lens for almost every kind of photography moment you can think of. Except for maybe capture a Rosy Starling perched atop a tree at 50 yards or capture a wedding ring from a distance of 2 inches. It pretty much is capable of doing everything else.

One more thing, if you are the sort of individual who loves to sometimes dabble at video work, then the 24-70mm is a great lens for that purpose.

What I Like:

  • Good for any type of photography
  • Good for video work as well
  • It comes with Vibration Reduction for stability during shooting.
  • Treated with Nanocrystal coating for greater color accuracy and contrast.
  • Stable f/2.8 aperture across the focal length.

What I Don’t Like:

  • Some issues with sharpness towards the edges of the frames
  • Heavier than the non-VR version.
  • Price is definitely on the higher side.

See the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8


Best Wide Angle Lens

4. Nikon FX 16-35mm f/4G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Filter Diameter: 58mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5″ / 45cm
  • Weight: 185g / 6.5oz
  • Size: 72 x 52mm (2.8 x 2″)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

Probably my favorite wide-angle zoom lens if I am looking for one for predominantly shooting landscapes with a full-frame DSLR. If I am looking for the best Nikon FX lenses for landscape photography this one would definitely be at the top. Higher than the overpriced and somewhat impractical 14-24mm f/2.8 G ED.

See also: Nikon D5300 vs D5600

The 16-35mm offers the sweetest focal length coverage without breaking into the fish-eye barrier. Well, really, if you cannot do a composition with a 16mm focal length you cannot even do that with a 14mm.

What I Like:

  • Sweetest focal length range for landscape photographers.
  • It comes with Vibration Reduction, unlike the 14-24mm.
  • Has been treated with a Nanocrystal coating for higher contrast and color accuracy.
  • Constant f/4 aperture throughout.

What I Don’t Like:

  • You will notice some distortion in your images straight out of the camera.
  • The lens also suffers from some amount of light fall-off at the corners. Both these are however not major deal-breakers.

See the Nikon FX 16-35mm f/4


Best Travel Lens

5. Nikon FX 24-120mm f/4G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Filter Diameter: 58mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5″ / 45cm
  • Weight: 185g / 6.5oz
  • Size: 72 x 52mm (2.8 x 2″)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

Usually, when you are traveling you will want to have a lens that does it all. I already discussed one such lens in the Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3. Here is the second option.

The Nikon 24-120mm f/4 is ideally a travel zoom lens. Why? because it can zoom out all the way to 24mm which is great for landscapes, architecture and capturing your extended family in one frame. And when you zoom in it becomes a decent lens to capture something at 20 yards. Maybe even more.

See also: Best Value Nikon d5600 Bundle Deals

And if that is not enough this lens is great for shooting portraits too. Because it covers two great focal lengths for portrait photography – the 85mm, the 105mm, and the 120mm.

What I Like:

  • Great focal length for travel photographers.
  • Fixed f/4 aperture across the zoom range.
  • Effective weather sealing.
  • Has optical image stabilization built-in.

What I Don’t Like:

  • Not cheap.
  • Vignette is present, needs to stop down to f/8.
  • You will also notice some barrel distortions. Which are evident towards the edge of the frame.

See the Nikon 24-120mm f/4


Best Macro Lens

6. Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 Macro

Sigma 258306 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Filter Diameter: 58mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5″ / 45cm
  • Weight: 185g / 6.5oz
  • Size: 72 x 52mm (2.8 x 2″)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

I have a particular love affair with macro lenses. Macro lenses are great tools to give you enough reasons to shoot images all through the year. And the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 is a neat little tool you can pick up to sustain the fire inside your heart.

The Sigma 105mm is a versatile lens. On a full-frame camera the one for which it has been designed you can use it to double-shift as a portrait shooter. But the primary purpose of the lens is to shoot small subjects.

The lens produces 1:1 or life-size reproduction of a subject on to the sensor. That too from a minimum focusing distance of just 1 inch.

What I Like:

  • True macro lens. Produces 1:1 reproduction of a subject.
  • Doubles up as a portrait lens.
  • Works on both full-frame and APS-C DSLRs
  • A fast wide aperture of f/2.8

What I Don’t Like:

  • There is some vignette at the corners at a wide aperture. Interestingly it is not present when you use the lens with APS-C cameras.
  • Autofocus is not the fastest in the business and there are some chromatic aberrations in some images. But these are not deal-breakers.

See the Nikon 24-120mm f/4


Best Super Zoom Lens

7. Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3

Tamron AFA010N700 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD IS Zoom Lens for Nikon (FX) Cameras
  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Filter Diameter: 58mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5″ / 45cm
  • Weight: 185g / 6.5oz
  • Size: 72 x 52mm (2.8 x 2″)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

The Tamron 28-300mm is an all-in-one lens designed for the purpose of Nikon full-frame DSLRs. The thing that excites me about this lens is the huge focal length range that the lens covers.

Right from a wide-angle 28mm all the way to telephoto 300mm. That means when fully zoomed out you can use this lens for shooting landscapes and architecture as well as groups.

When fully zoomed in you can use the same lens for photographing wildlife and other subjects. Having said that, the maximum aperture you get at the tele-end is only f/6.3. That means this lens will be unsuitable for shooting fast action or sports photography. These genres are best shot using a fast wide prime telephoto lens.

What I Like:

  • Large focal length range.
  • It comes with built-in vibration compensation.
  • Designed for full-frame cameras but will work with APS-C cameras as well.
  • Comes with Nikon’s Broad Band Anti-reflection coating to help improve color and contrast.

What I Don’t Like:

  • The maximum aperture at the tele-end is only f/6.3.
  • There is only moisture resistance provided, no proper weather sealing.
  • Optical quality at the corners is not the best in the business. Stopping down the lens helps.

See the Tamron 28-300mm


Best Value Tele Photo Lens

8. Nikon 70-200mm f/4

Sigma 258306 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
  • Mount: Nikon DX
  • Filter Diameter: 58mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.5″ / 45cm
  • Weight: 185g / 6.5oz
  • Size: 72 x 52mm (2.8 x 2″)
  • Price: Check the latest price here

The Nikon 70-200mm f/4 is a supremely useful all-round zoom lens designed for the full-frame Nikon DSLRs. The lens will also work on any other DX cameras launched in the last few years. There is a built-in AF motor, which means the lens doesn’t have to depend on a body-based AF motor.

There are multiple versions of this very popular focal length. Nikon alone makes more than one. And this one is one of the cheaper ones available. Which makes it one of the best Nikon full frame lenses overall. Of course, you can choose to splurge and get the f/2.8 lens. But then the f/4 does everything and at a lower price compared to the f/2.8. So why pay more?

What I Like:

  • Excellent walk-around focal length range.
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Fixed f/4 aperture across the zoom range.
  • Little vignette.
  • Decent sharpness at the corners even wide open.

What I Don’t Like:

  • Bokeh quality could have been a bit better.
  • Lack of weather sealing makes it impossible to use outdoors in inclement weather.

See the Tamron 28-300mm


Photo of waterfall in Iceland shot with Nikon 16-35mm f4 wide angle lens
Photo was shot with Nikon 16-35mm f4 wide angle lens

Understanding FX and DX Lenses

The acronyms FX and DX refers to Nikon’s digital sensor sizes.

FX sensors are the digital equivalent of 35mm film SLR cameras. In other words, they have a sensor size that is roughly the same as that of a 35mm film. The dimension of the sensor is 36mm x 24mm.

The acronym APS-C is used for any sensor that is smaller than these digital 35mm camera sensors. Actually there are several other sizes (like APS-H), but APS-C is the most popular and still in production today.

DX is the acronym used specifically for Nikon’s APS-C cameras. Nikon DX cameras have a sensor size that has a dimension of approximately 24mm x 16mm.

  • FX lenses denote lenses that have an image circle that utilizes the full sensor size of FX cameras.
  • DX lenses refer to lenses that have been made exclusively to conform to the smaller DX sensor size.

FX vs DX Compatibility

Nikon uses the same F-mount for both its FX and DX DSLRs. That means all lenses also conform to the same lens mount.

You can use both DX and FX lenses on either of the camera systems. When you mount an FX lens on a DX camera only the central part of the image coming through the lens is utilized. The rest of the image is actually discarded. This is why it appears as if the image is slightly zoomed in and happens due to a phenomenon known as ‘crop factor’.

Nikon DX cameras have a crop factor of 1.5x. When you mount a DX lens on an FX camera the camera automatically switches to DX mode. That means it uses only a portion of the sensor to record an image. In both situations, there is a loss of detail in the image.

Zoom vs Prime Lenses

Zoom lenses refer to lenses that have a variable focal length. These lenses come with a focal length selector ring. Turning the ring makes the lens zoom in or out depending on which direction you are turning the zoom ring. Prime lenses don’t have such a zoom ring. They have a fixed focal length.

Prime lenses tend to be smaller, cheaper, and very impressive optically. But zoom lenses are far more convenient and can save you from having to purchase a series of prime lenses. Plus, you can use a good zoom for all your landscape photography needs – you won’t have to carry multiple lenses into the field.

Native vs Third Party Lenses

Native lenses are lenses designed by the same manufacturer who designed the camera system in question. To give you an example, if we consider native lenses for the Nikon D6, then it would signify lenses that are made by Nikon.

Third-party lenses, on the other hand, signify lenses that are made by a manufacturer other than the one who designed the camera in question. So, third party lens options for the Nikon D6 would signify compatible lenses made by any manufacturer (Sigma, Tamron, Tokina…) but Nikon.

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