Recommended lenses for Nikon D90, D80

by Enche Tjin on September 15, 2009

Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 DX VR is an excellent lens for the Nikon D90. It has the right size and weight and most importantly the image quality is excellent. But if you only have D90 or D80 body, then you might be confuse to choose ideal lenses for those cameras.

Here are my suggestion on some best lenses for Nikon D90 or D80.

nikon-18-200mm-vrNikon 18-200mm AF-S f/3.5-5.6 DX VR II Price: $780

This multipurpose lens is great for any circumstances, you can shoot wide or shoot telephoto for far away subjects. The problem is the weight (565 g) and relatively high price tag. But if you only want to carry one lens, then this is the one.

nikon-70-300mm-vrNikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4-5.6G VR Price: $550

This telephoto zoom lens is great for wildlife or outdoor sports. It is quite long and big (143mm / 745 g), but it is still very balanced when mounted in Nikon D90. The lens is very sharp at 70-135mm range and it has VR (Vibration Reduction) to combat camera shake. VR is very helpful in long telephoto zoom like this lens. Great for outdoor sports and portrait.

nikon-10-24mmNikon AF-S 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 VR DX Price: $800

This is the newest Nikon ultra wide angle zoom lens. It is great for landscape photography, architecture or photojournalism. It is relatively small (830 mm / 460 g) and lightweight. It fits D90 very well.

nikon-35mm-afs-dxNikon 35mm AF-S f/1.8 DX Price: $199

This is great for low light or to create a shallow depth of field (blur / soften background). The focal length is equivalent to 52.5mm, so it is very close to our eyes viewpoint. The lens is very small and light.  The original price (MSRP) is $200, but this lens is very popular and Nikon can’t keep up with market demand. As a result, the price is a bit higher than MSRP most of the time.

nikon-85mm-f18Nikon 85mm AF f/1.8D Price: $435

This lens a superb head and shoulder portrait, candids or night scene lens. It is very sharp in the center even wide open, and the bokeh (out of focus blur) is smooth and creamy. It focus very fast and the size fits Nikon D90 very well. Furthermore, it is much cheaper than the f/1.4 version.

nikon-60mm-micro-afsNikon 60mm AF-S f/2.8 Micro Price: $550

If you like to shoot small subjects like insects, then this macro lens is for you. It is quite expensive, but you will have  a lot of fun with it. The other application for this lens is portrait. Although it might be too sharp for girls.

Also check out Recommended lenses for Nikon entry level / beginner DSLR camera or Recommended Sigma lenses for Nikon.

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{ 112 comments… read them below or add one }

Enche Tjin November 11, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Good, it is basically the best telephoto zoom lens Nikon has right now. It is great for crop frame sensor like D90 or full frame Nikon cameras like D700 when you are ready to upgrade later.

However, you will find the lens is abit bulky and it might not balance very well with the light, and small D90.

Mike November 16, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Essentially, there’s a one good lens you’ve recommended (35mm f/1.8) and yet it’s not the best in it’s class, because in equivalent of classic 50mm (35 for DX) bigger aperture, up to 1.0, is desired.

Rest of them is just dark as hell itself. Within this same price range you can get pretty decent Sigma lenses with constant light of f/2.8 (for all focal lenght 24-70 & 70-200).

Talat Saeed January 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I need your help regarding lens. i have D90 body, and i want to buy a single lens, actually i want a lens which will work as normal, wide angle (to capture landscapes) and telephoto as well. kindly advise me.

Enche Tjin January 18, 2011 at 8:03 am

It will be the superzoom lens, Nikon 18-200mm VR II

Sonia March 28, 2011 at 12:37 am

Hi Enche,
You’ve provided very good info here. I’m into food blogging and willing to upgrade my p&s camera to Nikon D90 (body only) with 1 or 2 good lens.

Could you please suggest any good & fast lens for food photography (with nice bokeh/soften background) alongwith I can play wide angle shoots. I also want to purchase a good (but not expensive) lens for general photography or everyday photography a zoom lens with a wide range.

Apart from Nikkor I don’t mind to go with Tamron, Sigma or any other sturdy lens if they are cheaper than nikkor but yet providing quality pics.

Your help will really be appreciated. Thanks so much!

Enche Tjin March 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Hi Sonia, I will recommend Nikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8 Micro for food photography work.

For general walkaround lens, I recommend Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR. The range is wide and long enough, picture quality is very sharp. :)

I hop this info help.

Eldridge Playtime Labrador April 8, 2011 at 11:14 pm

What about the new Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AF-S Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR?
Will there be a review? Thanks!

Enche Tjin April 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Nikon 85mm f/1.4G is an awesome lens, but the problem is the price tag is very high.

For budget conscious people, I think Sigma 85mm f/1.4 HSM will be a better choice.

terry rouse June 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm

i have the 18-270 lens and it is too big. i would like something a little less bulky

Jack July 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I have a Nikon d90 which I use to take website photos – I’m using an old ad nikkor 35-70 3.3-4.5 and not pleased with the results and wonder if the new 35 prime 1.8 would improve my pictures?

Enche Tjin July 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm

yes, definitely, you will see increase in sharpness, and more pleasing out of focus blur.

komolafe olasunkanmi July 28, 2011 at 12:54 am


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