A Quick Preview
Our Review of the Best Nikon Lens for Video
Best Overall - Editor’s Choice - NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
First on our list is the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens, one of the best zoom lenses for Nikon. It is a sharp and fast lens with exceptional qualities suitable for making videos. One of the standout features is the constant f/2.8 max aperture through the zoom range, which indicates that you won’t lose picture quality while zooming out, a common challenge with zoom lenses.
This lens’s max aperture also allows for working in different lighting conditions, and the superb range of image depth of field provides due to the aperture range. Furthermore, this lens uses an electromagnetic aperture system to help drive the aperture anytime you need very fast shutter speeds.
As one of the best Nikon full-frame lenses, it uses two Stepping Motor focus mechanisms for driving focus to achieve quiet, accurate, and fast focus. The focus is internal. In addition, there is a manual override on the AF. The MFD of this lens is 38cm, while the mag stands at 0.22x.
The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 has a quality build and is a bit weighty. Considering the number of specialized lens elements designed to aid better image quality and the number of optical elements in general, the weight is understandable. This lens also comes with a customizable control ring and an OLED display for confirming settings.
Best Nikon Prime Lens - NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S
Many lenses can get the tag of the best prime lens for Nikon, but only a few can truly beat the value this lens offers for the cost of acquisition. Like every standard lens, this lens is also known for its versatility, but being a prime lens, it is quite fast and can produce amazing video.
Focusing with this lens is done via an STM focusing tech which guarantees a silent, fast, and accurate focus. Close-ups on the subject are quite good, with an MFD of 40cm and a mag of 0.15x. Furthermore, it uses an internal focusing system for faster focus and electromagnetic aperture control for fast shutter speeds. Also, a full-time manual focus overrides the autofocus.
The construction of this lens includes two aspherical elements, two ED elements, and different lens coatings to help eliminate optical aberrations. Weighing 415g, it may not be the lightest prime lens around, but it’s quite handy and good for handheld videography, and hence one of the best Nikon 50mm lenses available.
Best Nikon Zoom Lens - NIKON NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S
For our pick of the Best Zoom lens for Nikon, the Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8S lens comes out on top compared with other top zoom lenses for Nikon. While this may be a contestable pick, it is hard to argue against the features this lens is packing.
One such feature is the constant f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. This max aperture is unusually wide for zoom lenses with this zoom range. The max f/2.8 aperture signifies creativity with the depth of field in videos and the ability to function well in different lighting conditions.
The focus on this lens is internally driven by two Stepping motor mechanisms, which result in a fast, silent, and accurate autofocus. Also, there is a full manual override over the autofocus should it be needed. As for the MFD, you can get as close as 50cm before losing focus while enjoying a magnification of 0.2x.
The impact of optical elements on a lens’s image quality can not be overstated. It makes the output easier to work with during post-production.
This lens weighs about 1.3kg, which is not a surprise for people familiar with some of the best zoom lenses for Nikon. It has a control ring that can be assigned functions for easy settings and an OLED display to monitor the lens’s settings easily. In addition, this lens construction includes six ED elements, two aspherical elements, and different lens coatings aimed at producing quality videos.
Best Nikon Macro Lens - Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
Yes, this is a third-party lens, and its inclusion in the best Nikon lens for video is merited as one of the best macro lenses for Nikon. Interestingly, it can also pass as one of the best Nikon lenses for portraits. Unlike our previous picks, this lens is meant for the Nikon F mount (DSLR).
This lens is a macro lens with a magnification of 1x, and also being a short-telephoto lens operating at the 105mm focal length with a 23.3 degrees field of view alongside an MFD of 31.2cm makes doing close-up videos quite interesting. Even with the good max aperture, this lens also has the Optical Stabilization (OS) feature for handheld shoots. The amount of details of a subject captured with this lens is impressive.
The focus on this lens is achieved with the quiet and fast Hypersonic Motor. The focus is internal, and users can activate the manual focus on demand because of the full manual override.
The construction of this lens involves two SLD elements and a super multi-layer coating to all the lens elements, features common to the best prime lenses for Nikon. The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM weighs 623 grams, a bit weighty for a prime lens, but quite handy.
Best Budget Nikon Lens - Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
This lens is not only our best budget Nikon lens pick but also one of the best wide-angle lenses for Nikon. It is a wide-angle zoom lens meant for Nikon crop sensor DSLR cameras, meaning its focal length will increase by 1.5x or 1.6x when attached to a full-frame sensor camera. Even when attached to a full-frame sensor camera, the focal length of operation is still in the wide-angle category.
Although this lens is a budget pick, it packs some interesting qualities like the Vibration Reduction (VR) feature for slow shutter speeds. The VR is especially helpful when shooting handheld in low lights. While the max aperture is not the largest, it is wide enough to produce clarity in videos and images.
The MFD stands at an impressive 22cm, and you get a 0.17x magnification for subject detailing.
This lens contains three aspherical elements and one super integrated coating that aids in producing brilliant videos. Being a wide-angle lens, it is better utilized in cramped spaces, and it can capture up to 109 degrees of field view. These lens qualities for the cost it attracts gives it a deserved tag as one of the best wide-angle lenses for Nikon.
How to Choose the Best Nikon Lenses for Video in 2022
The Nikon brand has quite a rich history, and they have even pioneered some features in lens and camera production. This rich pedigree automatically bestows an understandably high demand for their products and those of third-party producers associated with them. For example, people inquire about the best macro lens for Nikon.
While having this many options in lens choices for their cameras is an awesome thing, it creates a challenge for customers, especially hobbyists and newbies, because they have to sort through a lot before arriving at a decision. To reduce the time for making a decision, we provide a checklist of the most important features to watch out for in a Nikon camera lens before acquisition.
There are many terminologies associated with Nikon lenses, but I will be sharing the ones associated with their lens mounts for this article.
- Z-Mount: This mount is designed to be compatible with full-frame mirrorless cameras. They are more recent and are now the major mounts because they are designed to be compatible with both Z mounts and F mount cameras, albeit through an adapter.
- F-Mount: It is the older lens mount for Nikon cameras. Lenses with these mounts are compatible with full-frame DSLR cameras and can’t be used with a Z mount camera irrespective of an adapter.
- Dx-Mount: This is the mount designation for Nikon’s crop sensor camera lenses. While these mounts can be compatible with full-frame sensor cameras, only the Dx Z mount is workable with other mounts, with the aid of an adapter when necessary.
It is important to note that Nikon is working towards unifying their lens mounts, so the Z mounts are designed to be workable with the previous lens mount options. In addition, while using an adapter is guaranteed to make a lens with a type of mount(1) work with a camera with another type of mount, it may not be able to transfer the top features of the lens. It is advised to read up on the adapter before purchasing.
Also read: Best Lens for Nikon D3100
Intended Lens Use
If you are a hobbyist unsatisfied with your kit lens and not looking to go into a particular type of videography, then the best lens for you is a standard prime lens. For instance, the best Nikon 50mm lenses are known for their versatility and brilliant video image quality. On the other hand, if you intend to take it up a notch by dwelling in a particular aspect of videography, choosing your lenses boils down to the following.
- Focal Length: This is the operating range of your lens. It separates the best Nikon lens for portraits from the best one for filming. On a general note, if you need lenses for making interview videos, youtube videos, recording sessions, and filmmaking, your best option is prime lenses with focal lengths between wide-angle and short telephoto.
- If you are more interested in sports videography or documentaries, events, news, or any other scenario that puts you at a distance from the subject, then zoom lenses with a nice focal length range are advised. Standard to telephoto preferably.
- Aperture: an opening in front of the lens that allows light to pass through the lens to the camera’s sensor. Its significance lies in the quality of the image, qualities like depth of field, noise, and clarity, especially in low light conditions, e.t.c.
Lenses with larger max aperture, usually the best prime lenses for Nikon, produce clearer videos, are more noticeable in low-light scenes, and offer better control over image field depth but, at the same time, usually more expensive. Lenses with smaller apertures can also work in low-light conditions with the aid of the VR feature or a tripod because of the reduced shutter speeds.
Important lens focus characteristics include speed, accuracy, the sound of the driving mechanism, internal or external focusing, and minimum focusing distance. These five features determine how well a lens can focus. While the MFD does not impact much of the video quality apart from the ability to focus at small distances, the others are very important to producing a quality video. You want a focusing mechanism that is fast, accurate, silent, and preferably internal.
Lenses are made up of different lens elements responsible for key features like focal length in a lens. Unfortunately, the combination of these lenses most times leads to optical aberrations that can only be corrected by adding special lens elements. Characteristics like Extra-low Dispersion (ED), Aspherical elements, and different coatings are some of the special lens elements that make the best Nikon Lens for video truly special.
F. A. Q
Nikon standard zoom lenses are recommended for events. You don’t have to switch lenses when you need to capture from afar with zoom lenses.
Yes. You need a suitable adapter to help you connect the different mounts, although you may only enjoy some of the lens’s features.
In conclusion of our write-up for the best Nikon lens for video, we encourage you to know the criteria that make a Nikon lens for video stand out. And if picking one for yourself is impossible for one reason or another, you can go through our list of the best Nikon full-frame lenses and the best Nikon APS-C lens.
While the best Nikon lens for video is subjective, I prefer the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens for its wider usage in different types of videography. It won’t necessarily perform better than other lenses in this article, but it is good for general videography.
What are your thoughts on our best Nikon lenses for video? Which one will you replace? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
- Bjorn P. (2019 August). Introduction to Lens Mounts and Adapters. Retrieved from https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/introduction-lens-mounts-and-lens-adapters