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6 Best Nikon Prime Lenses [2022 Update!]

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Best Nikon Prime Lenses

 

Prime lenses offer the clearest images and some of the most reliable performance you can get from a lens, but you need to know what to look for when shopping for the best Nikon prime lenses.

The overall best Nikon prime lens has to be the Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S lens. This lens is flexible, reliable, and offers crisp images. While it’s great for most photographers, you definitely need to check out our other lenses to find the one that is right for your style.

Here Are the Top 6 Nikon Prime Lenses!

Let’s check out what the hype is for Nikon’s prime lenses.

1. Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S Lens

NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f 1.8 S Standard Fast Prime Lens for Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras
NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f 1.8 S Standard Fast Prime Lens for Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras

Overall Nikon’s Best Prime Lenses

Bottom Line:

This 50 mm lens is the best Nikon prime lens for travel photography, street photography, and even for weddings. It’s a jack of all trades that’s ready to be an essential part of your photography kit.

Pros

  • Bright f/1.8 aperture
  • Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings
  • Programmable Control Ring
  • Weather-sealed Body
  • Two ED and Two Aspherical Elements

Cons

  • Not the best for photographers that need wide-angle or telephoto coverage

Why We Picked It

This is one of the best Nikon prime lenses FX-format camera owners need.

What makes this the best Nikon prime lens 50mm fans enjoy? It all comes down to versatility and specifications.

We pick this lens because this is a fan favorite focal length when it comes to shooting prime. Almost every working photographer we know has a 50 mm prime lens and their photography kit. Having one of these in your photography bag is going to be one of the most rewarding decisions you make as a photographer.

50 mm is a great choice because it’s a natural focal length that is very close to what the human eye sees. You’ll be able to use this for everything from weddings to travel photography.

This lens has a weather-sealed body which means that you don’t have to worry about taking it out into tough conditions. It’s also got multiple coatings as well as optical elements that will help reduce distortion and improve the quality of your photographs.

Fans of high-tech gadgets are going to love the programmable control ring that can be customized to fit your needs.

Overall, this is an essential piece of equipment for any photographer looking to have something flexible that has great coverage.

Who It’s For

You don’t get to be the best Nikon z prime lens without being for almost every photographer.

This lens helps improve your overall photography by giving you more options. Photographers in a range of styles can all benefit from having a 50 mm prime lens whether you are doing portraits or you’re looking to have an all-purpose lens as a backup.

Working photographers are going to love this lens for its versatility. Wedding photographers, event photographers, and even specialists like product photographers will be able to get a lot of utility out of having this 50 mm prime.

This is also the best Nikon prime lens for street photography. It’s great for when you’re traveling or just taking street photography in your hometown. This lens helps you keep a low profile and gives you that organic, natural focal length that street photography is so famous for.

The only people who might want to hold off on this lens are photographers who know they want to focus on telephoto or what angle styles. Those styles require more specialized focal lengths that this lens just doesn’t cover.

2. Nikon NIKKOR Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S Lens

Nikon NIKKOR Z 600mm f 4 TC VR S Lens
Nikon NIKKOR Z 600mm f 4 TC VR S Lens

The Best Nikon Prime Telephoto Lens

Bottom Line:

This telephoto lens it’s a complete powerhouse, and we’ll deliver crystal-clear images no matter how far away from your subject you have to be. Wildlife photographers and specialized sports photographers alike are going to love this lens.

Pros

  • 5.5-Stop VR Image Stabilization
  • Meso Amorphous and ARNEO Coatings
  • Built-In 1.4x Teleconverter
  • Weather-sealed with Fluorine Coatings for Protection
  • Customizable Fn Button
  • Memory Set Buttons
  • Amazing 600 mm Super-telephoto Focal Length
  • VCM Autofocus System

Cons

  • Extremely Expensive
  • Very Specialized

Why We Picked It

The Nikon NIKKOR Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S lens is one of the most powerful prime lenses out there. This is not just the best Nikon prime lens for birding, but it’s also the best Nikon prime lens for wildlife photography in general.

This lens is so far ahead of the pack when it comes to super-telephoto photography that is hard to pick a place to start. Nikon has clearly pulled out all the stops when it comes to creating a 600-millimeter prime lens.

So, this is definitely a specialized piece of photography equipment. If you’re a dedicated birder or you looking to get extremely close and professional-quality pictures of wildlife, this is exactly the lens that you’ve been looking for. This lens is also going to be ideal for sports photographers who are looking to capture athletes in the heart of the action.

This lens is packed with features that are designed to assist photographers with this ultra-telephoto work. This lens has several customizable buttons as well as a high-end autofocus system that will stabilize these technically advanced shots.

This lens also comes with more than its fair share of optical elements, coatings, and weather-sealed features. It’s built to handle the tough outdoor climates that this type of super telephoto photography typically takes place in.

Who It’s For

The best Nikon prime telephoto lens is for photographers who are ready to jump into some of the most advanced telephoto work out there.

For starters, this is the best Nikon prime lens for sports photography. It’s great if you’re going to be court-side trying to capture an image that could be on the cover of your favorite sports magazine.

This is definitely a professional-level lens. Photographers with this kind of equipment are getting paid for their craft and capturing images that are going to show up in world-renowned magazines.

Then again, hobbyists and artists who are chasing the pinnacle of the craft will also be able to make great use out of the specialized piece of equipment.

The single biggest drawback to this lens is easily the cost. However, if you’ve got the cash and the desire to put this kind of investment in your photography, you can’t go wrong with this piece of equipment.

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3. Nikon AF NIKKOR 35mm f/2D Lens

Nikon 35mm f 2D AF Nikkor Lens
Nikon 35mm f 2D AF Nikkor Lens

The Best Budget Nikon Prime Lens

Bottom Line:

The Nikon AF NIKKOR 35mm f/2D lens is a solid choice for photographers who are on a budget and aren’t worried about the bells and whistles you find on lenses with higher price tags.

Pros

  • 52.5mm Equivalent Focal Length on DX Cameras
  • Bright f/2 Aperture
  • Very Affordable
  • F-Mount

Cons

  • Autofocus Only Supported When On Select Camera Models

Why We Picked It

Picking the best budget Nikon prime lens wasn’t an easy job. Nikon has many affordable prime lenses, but the Nikon AF NIKKOR 35mm f/2D lens balances cost and features better than the others.

This lens has all of the essential features that photographers are going to be looking for. If you want to get the absolute most value for your dollar, this is the lens you should go for.

First up we need to talk about the focal length. This is a 35-millimeter prime lens which is ideal for a general-purpose budget lens. It can handle landscapes, street photography, and even portraits.

If you are shooting on a DX-format, Crop sensor, Nikon camera, this lens also still has a solid option. It has a focal length that’s approximately 50 mm when you factor in the DX-format crop sensor. This makes it a great choice for getting about as close to 50 mm as you can get on crop sensors.

This lens also has a very bright aperture. While higher-budget lenses can definitely do better than f/2, that’s a fantastic aperture for a lens of this price. That means you’ll be able to get some excellent bokeh and your shots and be able to handle low-light shooting like events, weddings, and street photography at night.

Who It’s For

This is the best Nikon 35mm prime lens—if you have a tight budget.

We’re going to get the most obvious thing out of the way first. This lens is for photographers who are trying to get the most value for their photography dollars. If you want to minimize what you’re spending, but maximize what you’re getting, this is the right lens for you.

We should also talk about the fact that this lens just might be manual focus only depending on your camera. Many people would consider this to be a downside, but building up the ability to manually focus your lens is an important skill for photographers.

Autofocus isn’t always reliable and even photographers using the most expensive equipment still rely on manual focus when they need to get a shot just right.

This could even be the best prime lens for filmmaking if budget is a concern. Learning to do manual focus while filming is an important skill that will help develop your capabilities behind the camera. If you have a camera that can enable the autofocus features on this lens, then it becomes an even better decision for beginning videographers looking to build skills and save money.

4. Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Lens

Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f 2.8G Close-up Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f 2.8G Close-up Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras

One of the Best Nikon DX Prime Lenses

Bottom Line:

Crop sensor cameras also need a great prime lens and the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G lens is a solid choice for anyone looking to get into prime lenses.

Pros

  • 60mm Equivalent Focal Length
  • 1:1 Maximum Magnification
  • 6.4-inch Minimum Focusing Distance
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • Close Range Correction System

Cons

  • For DX Cameras Only

Why We Picked It

This is easily one of the best Nikon DX prime lenses.

The DX cameras are typically more affordable and use a crop sensor. This means that the sensor is slightly smaller than full size which magnifies the focal length of any lens attached to the camera. It gets a little tricky to find the best lens for DX cameras, but we just might have found it.

The Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G lens is going to be a great choice for anyone who is shooting on a Nikon DX camera and looking for a flexible prime lens.

This lens is able to provide a 60 mm equivalent focal length which is flexible enough to handle street photography and events, while also being tight enough to take on portraits. This makes a great lens for someone who might be buying their first DSLR setup.

This lens also has a 1:1 magnification, a 6.4-inch minimum focusing distance, and a Close Range Correction system. All of these factors come together to create a powerful DX macro photography lens.

This adds more layers and adds complexity to how useful this lens can get. If you’re shooting on a DX Nikon camera, pick up this lens, and you’ll be surprised at just how versatile it can be.

Who It’s For

If you shoot on a DX camera, this could be the best Nikon prime lens for wedding photography.

The Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G lens is going to be for anyone who is shooting on a Nikon DX camera and looking for a flexible prime lens.

This lens is great for people who are planning to take their camera to a wedding, event, or on their next vacation. It’s flexible enough to handle just about every situation you could come across.

This is also great for students who are using a DX camera. You’ll be able to get really creative with this lens and use its macrophotography ability to explore the breadth of photography as an art form.

5. Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S Lens

NIKON NIKKOR Z 85mm f 1.8 S Portrait Fast Prime Lens for Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras
NIKON NIKKOR Z 85mm f 1.8 S Portrait Fast Prime Lens for Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras

The Best Nikon Prime Portrait Lens

Bottom Line:

Portrait photographers rely on a specialized lens to nail absolutely flawless pictures of their subjects. The Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S lens is ideal for portrait photography on Nikon cameras.

Pros

  • Fantastic Aperture Range of f/1.8 to f/16
  • Multi-Focus Stepping Motor AF System
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Weather Sealed
  • Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings

Cons

Why We Picked It

What makes this the best Nikon prime lens for portraits?

Portrait photographers are always looking for a very specific prime lens. The 85 mm prime lens is far and away the single best choice for portrait photographers.

This lens stands on top of a large list of 85 mm prime lenses made for Nikon cameras. If you want to focus on portraits, this is absolutely the lens that you need to get.

The Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S lens has an incredibly bright f/1.8 aperture. It also has a rounded 9-blade diaphragm which means that you’ll be able to isolate your subjects from the background and create that rounded, smooth bokeh that every portrait photographer is chasing.

This lens is also weather-sealed which is an absolute must-have for any photographer who plans on taking portraits outdoors.

Nikon made this lens with several optical elements and coatings which are ideal for protecting the final quality of your photographs. Other styles might have more wiggle room when it comes to image quality, but every pixel counts when you’re a portrait photographer.

The multifocus stepping motor is going to make capturing clear eyes in your portraits a breeze even if you’re working with moving subjects or under difficult conditions like events and weddings.

Who It’s For

This lens is for photographers who want to focus on portraits. Whether you are a dedicated portrait photographer or you’re a corporate photographer who wants to add portraits as an additional service, this is going to make a great lens for your photography kit.

The Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S lens is also useful for everyone who wants to take more portraits. Photography students, wedding photographers, and even street photographers should consider adding this lens to their camera bag.

If you’re looking to travel with only a few lenses, why not throw a portrait lens in your travel bag? You will be able to capture candid portraits that look professional if you’re using this lens.

While this lens is definitely specialized for portrait photography, it has additional utility for a variety of styles. You can get creative and take some interesting street photography shots with this lens and use it to capture interesting angles other people might not get.

If you’re looking for the best Nikon prime portrait lens, you should try out the Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S lens.

6. Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED Lens

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 14mm f 2.8D ED Ultra Wide Angle Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 14mm f 2.8D ED Ultra Wide Angle Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Our Pick for the Best Nikon Prime Wide Angle Lens

Bottom Line:

Prime wide-angle lenses allow you to capture crystal-clear images in some of the most demanding conditions photography has to offer. Astrophotographers in particular is going to enjoy the Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED lens.

Pros

  • Super Integrated Coating
  • One ED Element
  • Two Aspherical Elements
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Rear Focusing System

Cons

  • Not as Many High Tech Features

Why We Picked It

If you want to get started with the best Nikon prime lens for landscape photography, the Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED lens is what you’ve been looking for.

The Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED lens has all of the features you could possibly want when it comes to a wide-angle Prime photography lens.

This lens has three optical elements that are going to help to reduce the types of distortion that wide-angle photography typically has to deal with in post-production. It’s also got a coating that’s going to lower internal reflections which is especially important if you’re doing long-term astrophotography exposures.

The flexible aperture for this lens is great for working in delicate conditions that involve longer exposures than other styles of photography like portraits in street photography.

The Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED lens also has a Rear Focusing System. This means that the physical size of the lens isn’t going to change when you focus it, which is perfect for working with landscapes and in other situations where precision really matters.

Who It’s For

This is a wide-angle prime lens that has utility for a wide range of photographers.

Astrophotographers who are shooting on Nikon cameras are going to love this lens. It’s responsive, it has great features for astrophotography, and will help with those long-term exposures that this style typically takes the most.

Landscape photographers are also going to enjoy this lens. The bright aperture and wide focal length allow for some unique landscapes to be captured without having to stitch them together as a panorama in post-production.

Architectural photographers are also going to love this lens for similar reasons. If you’ve been looking to capture a stunning cityscape, this lens is for you.

The Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED lens can also find a home for photographers who are looking for a unique way to approach their favorite styles.

The Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED lens is the best Nikon prime lens for astrophotography, landscape photography, and any other wide-angle style.

Conclusion – The Best Nikon Prime Lens

You’re bound to find the right lens for you in this list of the best Nikon prime lenses.

We picked the Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S lens as the best Nikon prime lens, but there are other options to consider. The Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED lens is ideal for wide-angle styles like astrophotography and the Nikon NIKKOR Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S lens is a powerful and specialized lens for wildlife and birders.

Which of our picks for the best Nikon z prime lenses were your favorites? If you want to find the best lenses around, make sure to check out our other articles.

Editor’s Choice
Best Overall
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S Lens
It’s a jack of all trades, It’s great for street and travel photography, weddings, events, and even for specialists like product photographers.
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AUTHOR
Hey there, my name is James and I am the creator and editor of this site. I have been photographing for the past 20 years and my mission is to simplify this misunderstood art of taking and processing photographs I love.

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