Choosing Nikon lenses guide 2013

by Enche Tjin on February 11, 2013

This article is a mini guide for whom looking for the most appropiate Nikkor/Nikon lenses. There are several dozens Nikkor lenses that are available.

I won’t list all available lenses here, especially specialized lenses such as (macro, tilt-shift, etc), but most of zoom and fixed lenses listed here. Old/legacy lenses will not be discussed here because most of them are already discontinued.

There are two type of Nikkor lenses based on its diameter and compatibility: DX dan FX. DX lenses (has smaller diameter) so DX lens only cover APS-C sensor. Most of Nikon DSLR camera has DX sensor (APS-C ). Lensa FX has bigger diameter so that it can cover both DX or FX cameras.

All lenses mentioned have built-in autofocus motor (except lens with “AF” in it). So that they are full compatible with Nikon DSLR cameras. For price, it is based on the time of writing and can change over time. Check out your favorite store like Amazon for updated price and availability.

Lensa zoom standar (DX)

  • Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR : Usually bundled with entry level camera such as Nikon D3200 or D5200. $125
  • Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR : Usually bundled with mid-range camera Nikon D90/D7000. It is more practical because it has longer focal length, good as walk-around lens. $399
  • Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR : Wider, but shorter than 18-105mm. 16mm is quite good to create dramatic wide landscape. Picture quality is one level above the 18-105mm. Built quality is also better. $625
  • Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 : Best DX zoom lens. Build like tank, fast autofocus, but unfortunately, no VR yet. $1400

Recommendation: Nikkor 16-85mm VR is great for walk-around lens. great value for money. 17-55mm is good for semi-pro or professional use. The problem with 17-55mm does not have vibration reduction to aid in low light shooting, and asking price is quite high for a DX lens. Alternatives are Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS, $600 and Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC $500.

Lensa zoom standar (FX)

  • Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR : Usually bundled with Nikon entry level full frame camera, Nikon D600. It is quite compact for a full frame lens. Standard quality, $600
  • Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VR : Great walkaround lens for full frame camera. Its angle of view is similar to 16-85mm in DX camera. $699
  • Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 : Very high quality standard zoom lens, sturdy and fast. One of professionals workhorse. $1889

Recommendation : 24-105mm f/4 is great if you don’t need bright f/2.8 aperture, but if you do, 24-70mm is still the best money can buy right now.

Superzoom lens (DX dan FX)

  • Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II DX : Popular superzoom lens. Practical for people who doesn’t want to switch wide and telephoto lens back and forth while in vacation. Standard quality and could be very long when extended to 200mm. This version (II) has lock mechanism to prevent lens from extending when facing down. $849
  • Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR DX : The longest superzoom lens for DSLR in the market right now. Standard quality, but it is bulky, and quite expensive $999
  • Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR FX : Ideal with full frame camera, but can be used in DX. However, it is not very versatile in DX camera because 28mm is not very wide. Standar quality. $1050

Recommendation : I am not a fans of superzoom lens because its quality is standard, but if you really don’t like switching wide and telephoto lens, I recommend 18-200mm VR II for DX camera and 28-300mm for FX camera.

Wide zoom lens (DX & FX)

  • Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 VR DX : Super wide lens is usually for landscape or photojournalism. Standar quality $925
  • Nikkor 12-24mm f/4 VR DX : A better lens than 10-24mm, but built quality is still poor and not as wide. $1180
  • Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR FX : This is my favorite wide angle lens for full frame camera. Very practical f/4 with VR, plus it use 77mm pro filter. $1400
  • Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 FX : The best superwide lens for full frame camera. It’s sharpness equal or surpasses many prime lenses. Because it is so wide, you can’t screw in filters. $2000

Recommendation:  Nikon super wide lens for DX is not very good, but its price is quite high. There are better alternative such as Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 or Tokina 12-28mm f/4. Both has better built quality and performance. For full frame user, I wholeheartily recommend 16-35mm f/4 VR. It’s my workhorse lens for travel and landscape photography

Lensa zoom telefoto (DX)

Recommendation: Nikkor 55-200mm is lighweight, inexpensive and its photo quality is quite good considering its price and size.  55-300mm is a bit long, and bulky, performance in 200-300mm is not quite sharp. And max. aperture is a bit smaller compared to Nikkor 55-200mm  (f/4.5 vs f/4). The difference between angle of view of 200-300mm is not massive.

Lensa zoom telefoto (FX)

  • Nikkor AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 – The good new is this lens is lightweight and  cheap, but it does not has autofocus motor (means you can’t autofocus it with entry level Nikon cameras. Picture quality is standard, and no VR. $150
  • Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR – Has AF motor and its performance is very good, photo quality is also higher than standard. $589
  • Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 VR – Very good photo quality and its size is not as heavy as f/2.8. VR technology is the best so far. Can handle up to 5 stops (usually only 3-4 stops). $1400
  • Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR – The highest quality Nikon telephoto lens. Giving excellent built-quality, photo quality and fast autofocus speed. $2400

Recommendation: For telephoto lens, my recommendation falls to 70-200mm f/4 or f/2.8 because the quality of picture produced are astounding. Very sharp and contrasty. Autofocus is also very swift. If you are in tight budget but need fast autofocus telephoto lens, 70-300mm VR is quite good.

Lensa fixed/prime (can’t zoom, except on feet)

  • Nikkor 28mm f/1.8 – Usually for street photography or landscae. $699
  • Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX – Usually for street photography, environmental portrait, product. $199
  • Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D – The most inexpensive Nikon prime lens, but autofocus won’t work in entry level DSLR cameras. Built quality is quite poor since most of the casing is made by plastic. $160
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G – Not very different from 35mm DX or 50mm f/1.8D. This lens is primarily use for environmental portrait. $220
  • Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 – Usually for close-up portrait or candid. $500
  • Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 – Same as above, but have bigger aperture. $1600
  • Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro VR – To capture tiny detail or subject, for example insect, flower. $1500
  • Nikkor 200mm f/2G VR – For field sports photography or fashion show. $5300
  • Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 VR – Specialized telephoto lens for field sports and wildlife. $5900

Recommended: Most of Nikon fixed lens that has AF-S code in produce better quality photos and faster in autofocus speed. So buying anyone will not a problem, just adjust it to your need and budget.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Pao February 14, 2013 at 9:43 am

Canon still has more Lens… But Nikon is catching up…

Ressa February 18, 2013 at 6:34 am

I noted that you used “sapujagat” word instead of superzoom lens ….

Enche Tjin February 18, 2013 at 9:56 pm

nice find! thanks. I’ve corrected it he he he

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