The 10 Best Prime Lenses For Nikon Cameras
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in March of 2018. At first glance, prime lenses might seem less capable than zooms, which can cover a range of focal lengths with the flick of a wrist. But since manufacturers only have to optimize a fixed lens for one length, that allows them to create sharper images than any other configuration. We've ranked the best models for Nikon cameras here by their sharpness, low-light performance, and durability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 15, 2019:
It's no secret that a handful of Nikon's best primes are getting a little long in the tooth. But without any complaints in performance or issues with compatibility as they upgrade their DSLR lineup to speak of, there's not much of an incentive to mess with perfection. That's why something like the 28mm f/1.4 could retain its place at the top of our list. It's good enough that nothing coming out since could compete.
That said, Nikon has come out with a lineup of full-frame mirrorless cameras to compete with the likes of Sony's a-series and Canon's EOS R cameras, and this new design has brought forth a new lens mount, and thus, new lenses. One of the things that caused Nikon and Canon to sit uncomfortably by as Sony took an enormous share of the mirrorless market was the fact that they wouldn't release a competitive mirrorless body unless they could do so in conjunction with spectacular lenses. If you look back to the early days of Sony's a-series cameras, the big complaint was the lack of top-tier available glass, and most shooters — myself included — merely bought an adapter and reached for pieces from Nikon, Canon, or Leica to fill the void.
The Z-mount lenses for Nikon's full-frame mirrorlss cannot be ignored, and they necessitated the removal of some glass from this list. Now, one perspective might have preferred that we just get rid of whatever was oldest, but we ultimately decided to use this as an opportunity to keep our list within the confines of the Nikon/Nikkor brand, and we decided to remove the offerings from Sigma that had previously graced our list. You're more than welcome to grab one of these to save yourself some money, as their quality has undeniably shot up in the last seven years or so, but there's never going to be a true substitute for in-brand glass.