Top 5 Best Nikon Zoom Lens

If you’re relatively new to photography or not at the professional level, when you begin to shop around for your first additional lens it’ll likely be a zoom, or telephoto, lens. Zoom lenses have the ability to hone in on images, making it possible to snap great shots from a distance. This allows not only for flexibility in the type of images you can take, but also for you to learn the trade without feeling self-conscious, especially when it comes to intimate shots like portraits. Here are our favorite telephoto lenses compatible with Nikon cameras.

Nikkor 55–200mm f/4–5.6G IF–ED

This is a great starter zoom lens if you’re just beginning DSLR photography. It’s only compatible with DX (usually crop-sensor) models, which means if you’re working with a full-frame body this is not the lens for you.

• Vibration Reduction image stabilization
• Silent Wave Motor for ultra quiet autofocusing
• Less expensive end of telephoto spectrum

• Focus is a bit slow—not great for sports photography
• Doesn’t always perform well in low light situations

Buy it here

Sigma 50–200mm f/4.5–5.6 DC OS HSM

This Sigma was released in 2009, upgrading its budget telephoto lens with image stabilization. It’s another lower-end telephoto lens, but performs well for its price point.

• Special Low Dispersion glass in front
• Internal focusing function allows for smooth focusing
• Hyper Sonic Motor allows for ultra quiet autofocusing
• Image stabilization

• Images not as sharp as competitor telephoto lenses
• Plastic construction not very durable
• Not weather-proofed

Buy it here

Nikkor 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6G AF-S IF–ED

This lens is at the more expensive end of the amateur zoom lens spectrum, but you get what you pay for. It performs well on any Nikon body, and it’s ultra-fast and quiet autofocus is usually spot on.

• Silent Wave Motor for ultra quiet autofocusing
• Autofocus works on any Nikon body
• Compatible with both FX and DX bodies
• Super high-end optics and imaging capability

• More expensive than other amateur telephoto lenses
• Hood doesn’t always stay put
• Images not always sharp

Buy it here

Tamron 70–300mm f/4–5.6 Di VC USD

Released in 2010, this Tamron lens was the first Tamron brand to feature its Ultrasonic Silent Drive mode, allowing for ultra-quiet autofocus. As a third-party lens, it’s significantly cheaper than comparable models.

• Compatible with both full-frame and crop sensor cameras
• Vibration Compensation image stabilization allows for crisp imaging even in low light situations
• Layered glass mitigates lens flare
• Full-time manual focus override function

• Zoom ring isn’t smooth and positioned close to focus ring
• Images taken at 300mm not always sharp
• Slow autofocus function

Buy it here

Nikkor 80–400mm f/4.5–5.6D AF ED

At the higher end of Nikkor’s telephoto line, this professional lens is on the higher end of the price spectrum as well. With three extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements, however, you’re guaranteed performance for price.

• Compatible with both FX and DX bodies
• Long reach (up to 600mm on an FX mount)
• Vibration Reduction image stabilization
• Very sharp images, especially in daylight

• No autofocus option (need camera with built-in AF motor to autofocus)
• Focus can be slow when shooting very fast-moving objects
• Significantly heavier than 75–300mm lens

Buy it here

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