The 10 Best Telephoto Lenses For Nikon Cameras

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This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in March of 2018. If you want to see sharp details on subjects that are significantly far away, you'll need something with a little extra reach. These telephoto lenses for Nikon cameras are designed to get you up-close and personal with everything from professional athletes to wild animals. We've included zooms and primes alike, and ranked them here by reach, versatility, image quality, and weight. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL

2. Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E

3. Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E

Editor's Notes

April 10, 2020:

Most of Nikon's lens output over the past few years has been targeted at their new lineup of mirrorless full-frame bodies, of which there have been precious few teles, and the 70-200mm zoom for that system was supposed to be released in February of 2020, but production was delayed for unknown reasons and the date has been pushed back. That left us with the Nikkor Z 85mm F/1.8 S as the only viable addition for Z format shooters, which is a phenomenal lens, but that just barely crosses over into the telephoto range.

For something a little more versatile, you can still reach for the Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8E FL (and use an adapter if you're shooting on the Z system), which offers a nice range for shooting in a lot of event environments like weddings, and I've even captured some of my favorite street scenes with it while shooting around Europe a few years back, admittedly almost all close to the 70mm end.

Then, there are the monsters — 400mm, 600mm, 800mm — coming in at almost comical focal lengths and even more comical price points if you are anything but a well-paid professional or an independently wealthy hobbyist. Still, they are the best of the best, and they deserve their spots on the list. If you need that kind of reach on a reasonable budget, however, the Sigma 150-600mm f/3.5-6.3 and Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG are actually both excellent pieces. They don't get the credit they deserve due to their third-party status, and you're either going to love or hate what they do for skin tones, but they boast an undeniably high degree of functionality for a fraction of what Nikon is asking.

4. AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL

5. Nikkor 600mm f/4E

6. AF-S FX Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL

7. Nikkor Z 85mm F/1.8 S

8. Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF

9. Sigma 150-600mm f/3.5-6.3

10. Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG

Daniel Imperiale
Last updated by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel Imperiale holds a bachelor’s degree in writing, and proudly fled his graduate program in poetry to pursue a quiet life at a remote Alaskan fishery. After returning to the contiguous states, he took up a position as an editor and photographer of the prestigious geek culture magazine “Unwinnable” before turning his attention to the field of health and wellness. In recent years, he has worked extensively in film and music production, making him something of a know-it-all when it comes to camera equipment, musical instruments, recording devices, and other audio-visual hardware. Daniel’s recent obsessions include horology (making him a pro when it comes to all things timekeeping) and Uranium mining and enrichment (which hasn’t proven useful just yet).

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