Best Nikon General Purpose Lenses

Best Nikon General Purpose Lenses

Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art review

The Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art is without a doubt a very high quality standard lens with autofocus for Canon, Nikon, Leica L-mount or Sony full-frame cameras. You’d expect it to out-perform the cheaper Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM and Nikkor 50mm f1.4G lenses considering it’s roughly twice the price, but the big surprise is how it also delivers better performance in most aspects than the Canon EF 50mm f1.2L USM and the Nikkor 58mm f1.4 and is neck-and-neck with Sony's FE 50mm f1.4 ZA despite both these lenses coming-in at almost twice the price. And if you’re a Leica L-mount owner, it’s a bargain compared to the 50mm options from Panasonic and especially Leica itself. When you also consider Sigma offers a service (paid) to switch mounts should you swap camera systems in the future, there really isn’t any reason not to get the 50mm Art if you can afford it. The only downsides are greater longitudinal chromatic aberrations than the more expensive rivals and the fact the body isn’t weather-sealed. So the Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art is a very good lens, out-performing models costing even twice the price. It sets a very high bar for price / performance ratio of 50mm f1.4 lenses and easily keeps our Highly Recommended award even several years after its original release.

Check prices on the Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Nikon Z 24-70mm f4S review

The Nikon Z 24-70mm f4S is a no-brainer for owners of Z-series mirrorless bodies: optically it is as good as the renowned 24-70mm f2.8E VR with a one stop advantage in image stabilization and almost no loCA. It also delivers very usable close-up performance and retains its high contrast even in contra-light situations. Plus by being roughly half the size and weight it's much more portable and a perfect match for the compact Z-series bodies it's designed for. The new Z Nikkor also focuses as fast and reliably and is sealed as thoroughly as the 24-70mm f2.8E VR. The only drawback of the Z 24-70mm f4S is its relatively ordinary f4.0 focal ratio, but that's easily compensated for by the relatively low price - and did I mention the small size and weight?. So if you're getting a new Z body, be sure to bag yourself this excellent zoom in a kit bundle: Highly Recommended!

Check prices on the Nikon Z 24-70mm f4S at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC G2 review

The Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (model A032) is a stabilized standard 2.9x zoom available in mounts for Canon and Nikon DSLRs with full-frame sensors. It also works on their DSLRs with APS-C/DX sensor where the angle of view is equivalent to a 36-105mm zoom lens. Its optical performance is very good inside the APS-C/DX image circle, it has good image stabilization and a fast AF, shows only little longitudinal color aberrations, and can be easily customized via Tamron's TAP-in console on a computer. Its only major downside is the soft performance in the outer reaches of a high resolution full frame sensor.

Check prices on the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 G2 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 OS Art review

The Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 OS Art is a standard 2.9x zoom available in mounts for Canon, Nikon and Sigma DSLRs with full-frame sensors, and can also be used with Sony E-Mount bodies using Sigma's MC-11 mount converter. It has a very good image stabilization and is shorter, cheaper, produces less loCA, has a better Bokeh, and shows less vignetting than the reference in its class, the Nikon 24-70/2.8E VR. But its image quality at the short end and in the outer area of a high resolution full-frame senor is disappointing considering that this lens is a member of Sigma's well-renowned "Art"-line. But still the Sigma 24-70/2.8 OS Art earns a recommendation.

Check prices on the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Tamron 45mm f1.8 VC review

The new Tamron 45/1.8 VC is a very versatile and interesting lens: It offers a fast f/1.8 aperture combined with image-stabilization that is good for two stops in my tests. Both allow the lens to hold out longer in dimly lit situations. It produces very sharp images with very little coma right into the corner of a full-frame sensor. And it's relatively small and light. But it does not produce the same Bokeh as a 50/1.4 or 55/1.4 lens and it has color aberrations which show up although not as prominent as with Tamron's 35/1.8 VC. But with a sharpness / resolution that it is better than any other lens in this comparison apart from the Zeiss Otus the Tamron 45/1.8 VC clearly earns a Highly Recommended. Regarding this performance the price of the new Tamron seems OK.

Check prices on the Tamron 45mm f1.8 at Amazon, B&H, or Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Nikon 24-70mm f2.8E VR review

Having the most effective image stabilization and the best image quality across the FX-sensor in its class earns this lens a Highly Recommended. Be aware though that this performance comes at a price: literally and in an increase in size and weight. Good points: Good to very good quality across the full-frame area; weather sealing; quiet and fast AF operation; very good image stabilization. Bad points: Stronger vignetting and distortions than predecessor; large and heavy; very high price.

Check prices on the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 E at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Park Cameras. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Nikon 35mm f1.8G review

The Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G ED is a pretty versatile lens all-in-all: it is light and pretty small, produces images that are sharp and contrasty (unless you look into the extreme FX-corners) even wide open, is flare-resistant, delivers a maximum magnification of 1:4, and has a large f/1.8 aperture to collect more light under demanding situations and allows you to better isolate your subject from distracting background. Plus it offers coverage of the full-frame image-circle so you can keep this lens should you upgrade from a Nikon DX-body to an FX-body. Thus I can fully recommend this lens.

Check prices on the Nikon 35mm f1.8G ED at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Nikon 50mm f1.4G review

The Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.4G shows a very appealing optical performance that alone would earn it a Recommended. But factoring in its small size, light weight, weather sealing and price/performance ratio I'd upgrade this lens to Highly Recommended! Good points: The most affordable f1.4 prime from Nikon; great image quality on DX and FX bodies; quiet and reliable AF operation; small and light; weather sealing at the lens-mount. Bad points: Longitudinal CA can be outright nasty; coma shows in high-contrast situations; some nervousness in background Bokeh; no image stabilization.

Check prices on the Nikon 50mm f1.4 G at Amazon, B&H, or Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Nikon 24-85mm VR review

The Nikon 24-85/3.5-4.5G VR is a surprisingly good lens at a reasonable price. The performance is pretty good in the DX image-circle but you need to stop down to f5.6 or even f8 to get good performance in the corners of a full-frame 36MP D800. Overall it is a worthy compact kit-zoom for those who start into FX-land or want to keep their options open for a future upgrade to an FX-body. A Recommended rating is well earned.

Check prices on the Nikon 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 VR at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Nikkor AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR II review

If you own (or are buying) a DX-format body and convenience is your number-one priority, but you want it with the least compromise in quality and features, the Nikkor DX 18-200mm VR II should be top of your list. Highly Recommended. Good points: Very flexible and convenient 11.1x zoom range; optical stabilisation with four stops of compensation; quiet autofocusing on all Nikon bodies; decent build quality and zoom-lock switch. Bad points: The most expensive super-zoom for cropped bodies; suffers from zoom creep between 28 and 135mm; suffers from zoom-shrinkage at close range; beaten on price and quality by twin lens solutions. Check prices at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, eBay or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

Nikkor AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

The bottom line is if you’re looking for a quality general-purpose DX-format lens which zooms-out to an equivalent of 24mm, then the DX 16-85mm VR is the model to go for and easily comes Recommended. It misses out on our Highly Recommended award though due to a lack of really compelling advantages beyond existing models and the fact you can buy the DX 18-200mm VR for only a little extra. As such our advice is to think very carefully about what you really need from your general-purpose lens and how it might fit into a kit now and in the future.

Check prices on the Nikon 18-85mm f3.5-5.6 G at Amazon, B&H, or Adorama, or Wex. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!

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