When it comes to travel photography, Nikon cameras are one of the best choices out there. But just having a Nikon camera isn’t going to magically make your travel pictures look good. Pairing up the camera with the perfect lens is what you need to do for the best results.
Getting the best Nikon lens for travel photography is all about maintaining the balance between travel and photography. The camera should have features suitable for traveling and outdoor photography. And finding it can be quite difficult.
That’s why, to make your life easier, we list the top 5 Nikon lenses you can get for travel photography. Let’s not waste a second and jump right into it.
What Does Dx Or Fx Mean For Nikon Lenses?
While looking for Nikon lenses, you will always come across the terms DX and FX. Knowing the terms is important to ensure the lenses are compatible with your camera.
The DX and FX are two variants of the Nikon F-mount lenses. These letters usually define the camera sensor size. DX refers to the APS-C sensor from Nikon, and the FX refers to a full-frame sensor.
DX lenses have an image circle that’s quite smaller. The DX lenses fit on the sensors of Nikon DX series cameras. For example, the Nikon D7500 or Nikon D3500. The benefit of having a DX lens is that they are usually smaller in size and have a lighter weight compared to a full-frame sensor.
On the other hand, FX or full-frame sensor lenses are more about the image quality. If you want the best photo quality, choose the FX series lenses. Also, they are the best options for low-light photography conditions. The drawback of FX is that they are more expensive, heavy, and larger.
What Type Of Lens Should You Get For Travel Photography?
Nikon comes out with 3 basic types of lenses in their product line. You can get a zoom lens, a wide lens, or a prime lens. Here’s the interesting part, all these lens types have a role to play in achieving the best travel photography results overall. Let’s check out how each of them affects travel photography.
Wide lenses will pay you great dividends when clicking landscapes or large-scale architectures. Any 8-35mm lens can be the perfect choice for capturing such images. With a wide lens, you can capture a lot with a single shot.
Pictures from a wide lens always have a prominent appeal compared to other lenses. The drawback of a wide lens for travel photography is that you are very limited in what you can do. While they can be perfect for cities, they aren’t the best option for wildlife.
Zoom lenses are also very effective for travel photography. First, you can click images from a distance, and they still look pretty good. The versatility of focal length is always beneficial. Also, if you have a zoom lens, you can click photos in various ranges, especially if you get something like 18-200mm.
Issues with such a zoom lens would be the weight and size of it. Usually, an 18-200mm zoom lens would be quite heavy and large to carry around wherever you go. So, a zoom lens would be a big no if you plan hiking or trekking.
Even though prime lenses might not be the lens you think of when it comes to travel photography, they are still worth considering. Because the sharpness and clarity you get from a prime lens are unmatched. If you can get close to the subject, the quality of the image will surely exceed any other type of lens.
They can also be perfect traveling partners because of their size and weight. A 35mm or 50mm lens can bring you excellent quality photos while being compact. And you can carry multiple of these without any trouble.
5 Best Nikon Lenses For Travel Photography
Let’s find some Nikon lenses that can be the perfect tool for your travel photography needs. You can find plenty of other choices, but these are the top 5 for sure.
These lenses all come with unique features suitable for specific travel scenarios. So, you can choose the one based on your traveling needs.
1. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens
Starting the list with this 50mm prime lens from Nikon. If you are traveling somewhere at night, taking this prime lens with you might be a great idea. The lens will be a perfect addition to capture some photos in low-light conditions.
First of all, this lens’s sharpness with an f/1.8G aperture is truly incredible. A 50mm focal length ensures you can be at a decent 1.48 feet distance while clicking those photos while traveling. And the Nikon silent wave motor just makes autofocusing much faster.
Also, combining the 50mm focal length and the f/1.8 aperture, you can get some great depth-of-field in your images. It works out perfectly when you have to click some portrait photos while traveling with your family and friends.
What makes it great for travel photography is the weight of the lens. The lens weighs around 185 grams which works out perfectly considering it’s an FX series lens. You can easily carry the camera lens whenever you are traveling. It’s perfect to take as a secondary and zoom lens.
Having the option to quickly switch between manual focus and autofocus makes this lens very convenient to use. Since it’s a prime lens, the feature can be handy for travel photography.
In addition, you can get a UV protection filter with the camera as well. It measures around 58mm and fits the lens perfectly. It can prevent issues like bluish cast in your pictures and protect the lens from dust, scratches, dirt, etc.
- Great value for money
- Perfect for low-light conditions
- Compact and lightweight
- Excellent picture quality
- Usable in the DX series as well
- Not good for landscapes
- Can have to vignette in larger apertures
2. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED – Best for versatility
Whether it’s capturing landscapes or an animal from a far distance, nothing can beat a telephoto lens. If traveling to a wildlife location or open spaces, the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300m can be your perfect companion. A single lens can get you through multiple travel spots.
Starting with the obvious 18-300mm focal length, you can never go wrong with this camera when it comes to zooming. Whether you are thinking of some wide-angle photos with 18mm or you want to go super telephoto with 300mm, you have all the options.
With a minimum focal length of 16 feet, you can get enough room for clicking those travel photos. It gives you enough space to work on your picture. Adding the maximum magnification of 0.32x makes it easy to click the pictures from a distance.
What makes it a perfect lens for travel photography is the fact that you can use it in every scenario. The lens suits architectural photography, cityscapes, landscapes, and even wildlife. So, no matter your trip, you can get some good-quality photos.
Coming to the sharpness and picture quality, it just impresses you thoroughly. The f/3.5 – f6.3 aperture range allows you to work with crisp, clear photos with perfect focus. And with Nikon’s vibration reduction feature, your camera will have no shakiness.
Topping things off comes the extra-low dispersion and three-aspherical glass. Combining these two features provides excellent contrast and the least lens flare in the pictures. Also, the 7-blade diaphragm makes sure you get high-end blur and perfect internal focusing.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Versatile to use at all distances
- Sharp and colorful images
- It comes with a solid build quality
- Great for videography as well
- Quality drops after 240mm
- It gets a bit stiff in the 200-300mm zoom range
3. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
Similar to the previous one, here’s another telephoto lens suitable for a Nikon FX series. And if you felt like the earlier one was a bit large for you, this might be a more suitable pick as it’s smaller than the 18-300mm.
What makes the camera amazing is its 28-300mm focal length versatility. One lens can be your solution to all your photography needs while you are traveling out in the woods. The 10.7x zoom range can capture an image from almost every distance you may have the vision to.
Edge-to-edge sharpness on the camera provides it with some great value in both the FX and DX series of Nikon. And when you add in the vibration reduction, elements of extra-low dispersion, and aspherical lens, the sharpness reaches another level of greatness.
If that’s not enough, then you can look into its f/5.6 max aperture that gives phenomenal sharpness to images even at a broad zoom range. Along with all that, the classic silent wave motor from Nikon gives it the fast auto-focus ability while keeping it accurate simultaneously.
Even in low-light conditions, you can rely on this lens a lot. Using the super integrated coating, Nikon provides great light transmission efficiency to maintain good exposure on images. It also has excellent consistency in color and reduces flare quite a lot.
A unique value of the camera comes from its rounded 9-blade diaphragm. Using this brings up a natural appearance in blurry or out-of-focus areas. This way, the bokeh effect doesn’t look artificial and has a natural appeal.
- Great stabilization abilities
- Comparatively lightweight and compact
- Quick switch between manual and auto-focus
- Versatility is perfect for travel photography
- Brings perfect color consistency
- A bit expensive
- Extends out a bit longer on full zoom
4. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED – Best for the money
While zoom lenses work great in wildlife, wide lenses bring you the best value for landscapes, architecture, interiors, and cityscapes. The 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G Nikon lens is another testament to that. If you are traveling to such places, pack in this one with your Nikon camera.
You can start capturing the drama from your surroundings with this lens thanks to its 2.4x ultra wide-angle zooming ability. With a 10-24mm zooming ability, you will never miss out on an expansive shot close to you.
Coming to picture quality, there is the silent wave motor enabling a quick auto-focus functionality with ultra-quietness paired with it. Also, using a super-integrated coating, Nikon ensures you don’t get any ghosting or flaring issues on this lens.
Something to boast about this camera lens is its video performance. With some top-quality images, the HD video quality is as good as it gets on such a lens. So, if you plan to make a travel documentary, this lens might suit your needs.
Another great aspect of the camera is the aperture. The aperture being f/3.5-4.5G truly takes it up a notch in terms of the sharpness of the photos. Even if you use the lens at its widest aperture, you won’t get any kind of lens aberration thanks to its aspherical lens elements.
One feature that sets it apart from the rest is its widest end which is 10mm and can cover a 109-degree viewing angle. It almost turns the camera lens into a fish-eye lens, allowing you to be more creative and click some nice pictures with it.
- It works great for wide-angle shots
- The video quality is quite impressive
- Excellent sharpness in photos
- It’s quite lightweight and compact
- Worth the money
- Build quality isn’t that great
- The light transmission could be better
5. NIKON NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR Ultra-Compact Zoom Lens – Best for portability
Finishing this list of amazing Nikon lenses with this perfect 16-50mm lens for travel photography. Its features and quality tick almost all the checkboxes for a perfect travel photography lens. It works great for landscapes and sometimes for portraits as well.
The big factor of this lens is that it’s a wide-angle lens with a zooming range of 16-50mm. It covers almost the perfect zooming range you would need for travel photography. While 16mm is wide enough for dramatic shots, 50mm works great for portraits.
Moving onto the next big thing is its focus quality. The preciseness of the auto-focus is unlike any other camera lens out there. It’s super-fast, uses a silent motor, and the focus stays where you want it. And if you have a camera with Eye AF focus, the lens becomes a thousand times better.
What elevates the camera lens is its video-capturing capability. Starting from the zoom range to its aperture of f/3.5-6.3 makes it suitable for dramatic videos. And pairing it up with focus breathing suppression and vibration reduction makes this the perfect tool for travel videos.
As for the picture quality, it’s utterly impressive through several factors. The colors, sharpness, clarity, contrast, almost everything is just perfect. And the credit for that goes to the extra-low dispersion glasses used in the lens.
Something that makes it the perfect lens for travel photography is its weight and size. The lens is one of the most compact lenses you can get for your camera, especially when it’s not used. And it just weighs about 0.48 ounces which is super lightweight.
- Quite versatile to use
- Lightweight and compact
- Great image quality
- Performs great for videography
- Fast and effective focus quality
- Not the best low-light
- It may have some barrel distortion
Keep in mind that these lenses are only perfect choices for Nikon cameras. While you can use them on other cameras, you won’t get to use all the features available on these lenses. As for the DX and FX compatibility, you can interchange the lenses with some resolution modifications.
Well, you can get any of the lenses based on your preferences. But we believe the best Nikon lens for travel photography is the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G for its versatility and quality.
You can also get a lens for your particular needs from the list, as they all have their particular use scenario. So, you have got all kinds of options available.