Nikon Lens Reviews

Note that this section is a work in progress on the dslrbodies site. I've been wanting to rework my lens reviews for some time, and have slowly begun the process of doing so. This section will expand on regular basis as I get any older reviews brought up to the standards required by 24mp DX and 36mp FX bodies.

Here are the redone or new reviews of Nikon F-mount lenses for DSLRs (old reviews not yet updated can be accessed further down this page):

The following older lenses have “quick” reviews in the Lens Database (ratings in table below):

FX Lens Ratings

Ratings of many current FX lenses:

Terrible; definitely not recommended; almost all competitive products are better

Below average or below current expectations; make sure you are comfortable with this before proceeding

✭✭ Average; as expected; you’re getting a product that meets current expectations; matches current competitive products

✭✭✭ Above average; better than you’d expect; this product goes beyond that of the average product it would compete against

✭✭✭✭ Phenomenal or exceptional; virtually no competitive product matches this one

Remember, average should be just that when considering all the products it is up against. Most products should be in the average category, few in the extreme categories.

(Check the modification date at the bottom of the page to see when these were last updated, but I do try to update this page regularly as state-of-the-art changes):

Features: 

  • 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 16-35mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 17-35mm f/2.8D AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 18-35mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 20mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 24mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 24-70mm f/2.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 24-70mm f/2.8E AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 24-120mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 28mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 35mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 50mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 58mm f/1.4G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 85mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 105mm f/1.4E AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 105mm f/2.8G AF-S Micro-Nikkor ✭✭✭✭
  • 70-200mm f/2.8E FL AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭✭
  • 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR II ✭✭✭✭
  • 70-200mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 200-400mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 200-500mm f/5.6 AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 300mm f/4E AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭

Performance:

  • 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S ✭✭✭✭✭ (with minor reservations)
  • 16-35mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭ (with minor reservations)
  • 17-35mm f/2.8D AF-S VR ✭✭ (almost makes three)
  • 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S ✭✭✭✭
  • 20mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭✭
  • 24mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭✭
  • 24-70mm f/2.8G AF-S ✭✭✭ (downgraded w/ new version)
  • 24-70mm f/2.8E AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 24-120mm f/4 AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 28mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 35mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 50mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭ (barely)
  • 58mm f/1.4G AF-S ✭✭✭✭
  • 85mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 105mm f/1.4E AF-S ✭✭✭✭✭
  • 105mm f/2.8G AF-S Micro-Nikkor ✭✭✭✭
  • 70-200mm f/2.8E FL AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭ (almost makes five)
  • 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR II ✭✭✭✭
  • 70-200mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭ 
  • 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭ 
  • 200-400mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭ (reservations at distance)
  • 200-500mm f/5.6E AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 300mm f/4E AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭

Value:

  • 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 16-35mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 17-35mm f/2.8D AF-S VR ✭✭
  • 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S ✭✭✭✭
  • 20mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 24mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 24-70mm f/2.8G AF-S ✭✭ (maybe ✭✭✭ for some people at new price)
  • 24-70mm f/2.8E AF-S VR ✭✭ (maybe ✭✭✭ for a few people)
  • 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 24-120mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 28mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 35mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 50mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭✭
  • 58mm f/1.4G AF-S ✭✭
  • 85mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 105mm f/1.4E AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 105mm f/2.8G AF-S Micro-Nikkor ✭✭✭
  • 70-200mm f/2.8E FL AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR II ✭✭✭
  • 70-200mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 200-400mm f/4G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 200-500mm f/5.6E AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭✭
  • 300mm f/4E AF-S VR ✭✭✭


DX Lens Ratings

Features: 

  • 10.5mm f/2.8G fisheye ✭✭
  • 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 12-24mm f/4G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 16-80mm f/2.8-4E AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 17-55mm f/2.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 35mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 40mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor AF-S ✭✭
  • 55-200mm f/4-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 85mm f/3.5G Micro-Nikkor AF-S VR ✭✭✭

Performance:

  • 10.5mm f/2.8G fisheye ✭✭✭
  • 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S ✭✭✭ (downgraded due to 24mp cameras)
  • 12-24mm f/4G AF-S ✭✭✭ (downgraded due to 24mp cameras)
  • 16-80mm f/2.8-4E AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭
  • 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭ 
  • 17-55mm f/2.8G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭ (downgraded due to 24mp cameras)
  • 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭ (downgraded due to 24mp cameras)
  • 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭ (barely)
  • 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭ (downgraded due to 24mp cameras)
  • 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭ (barely)
  • 35mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭✭
  • 40mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor AF-S ✭✭✭✭
  • 55-200mm f/4-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭ (downgraded due to 24mp cameras)
  • 85mm f/3.5G Micro-Nikkor AF-S VR ✭✭✭✭

Value:

  • 10.5mm f/2.8G fisheye ✭✭
  • 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 12-24mm f/4G AF-S ✭✭✭
  • 16-80mm f/2.8-4E AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 17-55mm f/2.8G AF-S ✭✭
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭
  • 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 35mm f/1.8G AF-S ✭✭✭✭✭
  • 40mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor AF-S ✭✭ (not an overly useful lens)
  • 55-200mm f/4-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR ✭✭✭
  • 85mm f/3.5G Micro-Nikkor AF-S VR ✭✭✭


Older Reviews

Meanwhile, what follows are links to my older reviews that have not yet been redone in the new format or added as Quick Reviews to this site’s database pages. Please note that most of the performance comments for the following reviews need to be brought up to date. For example, when I reviewed the 18-200mm DX lens, the standard in Nikon DSLRs was 6mp sensors. On those sensors, many of the performance characteristics were masked. As we went to 8mp, then 12mp, then 16mp, and now 24mp without an AA filter, it became clearer that this lens had some sharpness and other issues. So read those old reviews with care. If you have questions, ask. 

Nikon DX

* lower spec AF-S motor

Nikon FX

Third Party DX

Third Party FX


Why are some older lens reviews now missing in action? Because I can no longer vouch for the reviews' accuracy on modern DSLR bodies, and the lens itself may only be available on the used market. Some of those older reviews were made in the era of 3-6mp DSLRs. What we could see with those older cameras isn't what we can see with the 24-36mp DSLRs we're using these days. In many cases I sold the lens in question and thus can no longer do verification tests on new bodies with it. 

Basically, if it's on the dslrbodies site or linked to from this site, then the review still has some merit (though always look at the ratings on this page to verify performance comments). 

text and images © 2017 Thom Hogan
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