You have picked Nikon D3000. A fantastic buy. Now you need to buy a lens.
Your Nikon already came with a kit lens. But that is never enough. The camera you own is capable of much more, and the kit lens will allow you to take reasonably good photos but not the best.
It has been provided so that you can get used to the camera and buy a specialized lens a few months later.
Nikon provides a variety of lenses, and we have tested all and narrowed it down to a few. These allow you to take pictures that are crisp and extremely detailed. Read on to find more.
1. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED Fixed Zoom Lens with Autofocus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G ED is a fixed lens for your FX-format DSLR cameras. It is a wide-angle lens for full-frame cameras. It is cheaper than Nikon’s own alternatives. You may consider it as a transition lens between DX and FX.
It is quite light and compact. This improves its portability. This is ideal for street photographers.
Its large aperture of f/1.8 captures sharp images in low light. It can capture images with the isolated subject at close shots. This is due to the f/1.8.
ED stands for ‘extra dispersion’ which is a lens element. This gives a boost to contrast and sharpness. It also has one aspherical lens which corrects image aberrations.
The body is made of hard textured plastic. It has a rubber gasket to prevent dust from entering the lens. It has a metal mount. The filter thread is plastic-made. It may wear out with repetitive mounting and dismounting.
Despite using plastic in some parts, the build is quite sturdy. Size is neither too small nor too heavy and long. The front element is easy to clean due to its frontal placement. The front part does not move in and out. Thus, Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G ED is stable to use.
The thick focus ring makes it easy to adjust with thumb and index finger. When the lens is in focus position, you will not need to re-adjust the filters. The coating helps reduce flare and retains color consistency.
The AF-S has a silent wave motor. This makes the autofocus nearly silent. The rear-focus offers fast autofocus without changes in length and barrel rotation. The accuracy is perfect. The speed is good enough to match it.
- Compact and portable for DSLR
- Nearly silent and fast autofocus
- Excellent bokeh and subject-isolation
- Reduced aberrations
- Zone focusing is difficult
- Not meant for portrait images
2. Nikon 70-300 mm f/4-5.6G Zoom Lens with Autofocus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
This telephoto zoom assures ease of handling. This lens delivers fantastic images; more so, if you are using it with a tripod – as our research showed.
This lens covers a focal length range of 70-300mm. This is the same as 105-450mm on a DX-format camera. We clicked several subjects, as diverse as portraiture and wildlife with this lens, and found that, when it comes to choosing daylight telephoto subjects, this one is superb. And we got the best results when we used this lens atop a Nikon DSLR with a built-in focusing motor.
This lens comes with a Super Integrated Lens Coating and provides both manual & autofocus facilities (depending on the type of camera you are using).
We got accurate distance information for both flash & ambient light exposure. This lens comes with a 9-blade circular diaphragm, which helps to introduce Bokeh (soft out-of-focus background effect) & background defocus effects.
The high maximum aperture value of this lens allows for higher shutter speeds – thus, it was a suitable choice for us to do some action sports photography. We used the lens in both dim and brightly lit conditions – and were happy to get some nicely coordinated colors and highlights, even when we shot in dim light conditions.
- Image stabilization
- Not unduly heavy
- The pricing is competitive
- The focus is fast and quiet
- Does not mount on old Nikons
- The sharpness is on the wane 250 mm onwards
3. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Autofocus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm is a prominent choice of photographers for clicking pictures of distant objects. This lens is versatile enough to give quality pictures; henceforth, it is widely used for wildlife photography.
The rounded 9 blade diaphragm enables it to produce perfect pictures with out of focus background.
The focal length of the lens is quite flexible between the range of 55mm to 300mm. In our research, we found that it has two extra-low dispersion glass elements with one high refractive index element.
The combination of two glass elements makes it different from other lenses used for similar purposes. With a 5.5x telephoto zoom lens, it becomes an ideal lens for clicking pictures of faraway subjects.
To reduce the effect of lens flare, the company has provided a super integrated coating, which results in improving the quality of pictures in direct sunlight or any other lightning as well as in low light conditions.
A major highlight includes the tripod detection mode that allows this lens to detect and correct micro shakes caused by the placement of the camera on a tripod stand. This doesn’t let the lens produce a blurred picture accidentally.
At this price, and with such specifications, Nikon has tried giving its customers a product that is worth the money and can speak for itself from its performance.
- Metal mounted
- Inexpensive to own
- Easy to carry for outdoor shoots
- Works great for beginners
- Works amazingly for portraits too
- Slow autofocus
- Not very suitable for low light and low contrast conditions
4. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Len [International Version, No Warranty]
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G is a prime lens for both FX and DX cameras. This standard prime lens is a great choice. It is versatile and cost-effective for any Nikon DSLR. It gives superior image quality in full-frame (FX) DSLRs. It can offer a 75mm focal length on DX (APS-C) cameras.
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8 can be your outdoor partner. It can capture the scene that your naked eye can see. Its f/1.8 wide aperture gives you sharp images in dim light, and the wide aperture allows fast shutter speed. You can lower the ISO settings too.
The background defocusing is good. Thus, you get an excellent ‘bokeh.’ The portraiture comes out with sharp contrast. It helps with the correct sense of depth too.
Nikon calls its multi-layered coating as SIC, super integrated coating. With this SIC, flare and ghosts are much reduced. Colour consistency is better due to clear light transmissions.
The aspherical element reduces distortions and aberrations. They keep adjusting the refractive index of the lens. The aspherical lens element also eliminates the need for a series of spherical parts. This makes the lens light-weight.
The lens has a unique AM mode. Due to this, jumping between automatic and manual focus is fast and easy. The autofocus is complemented with the silent wave motor. This is effective in achieving accurate focus quickly. And all this with minimal noise.
- Great bokeh
- Light and compact
- Attractive pricing
- AF may need fine-tuning
- Needs an accurate center alignment
5. NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II Lens – White Box (New)
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6 ED VR II is a multi-functional lens for Nikon DX cameras. It is quite an inexpensive lens. It is excellent to start serious photography.
It is a telephoto-type lens which has a smooth and clear zoom. Nikon uses a new retractable lens barrel design. The front element does not rotate, which makes it convenient when using filters and polarizers.
AF-S stands for autofocus with silent wave motor. This technology makes the lens near-silent when the autofocus adjusts itself.
The letter ‘G’ indicates that there is no aperture ring. Modern Nikon lenses do not need aperture rings.
Nikon’s super integrated coating counters any ghosting and flare. It gives improved color and precision. The 7-blade diaphragm delivers a natural effect to out-of-focus parts of the image, and the bokeh is quite pleasant.
The extra-low dispersion glass elevates the sharpness and contrast. It helps reduce distortions and aberrations. Also, the enter sharpness is good at the long end. It captures images as real as the eye perceives in bright light.
Vibration reduction helps image stabilization in hand-held photography. It improves video quality by reducing blur. Useful for slow speed shots. The high sensitivity of the focus ring may make adjusting manual focus difficult.
All these come in an amazingly small and light form. Even zoomed out, Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm is only 83mm long. Easy to attach and detach. Easy to clean.
- Small and compact
- Reasonably clear images
- Reduced blur and distortions
- Low cost
- Plastic mount
- AF inefficient in low-light
- Only for DX-type DSLRs
6. Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens with Built-in Motor for Nikon Digital SLR (Model A17NII)
Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens is an impressive alternative to heavy zoom lenses. It is fit for DSLR as well as APS-C type cameras. It works well with cameras of major companies – Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony.
The unique ‘macro’ function brings distant wildlife and sports closer. This function is available at the longer edge of the telephoto setting. So, it is easy to maintain an extended working distance for subject-to-lens. You can operate this function using a switch.
The macro function gives a magnification of 1:2. This is half the life-size of the subject.
The Di design is made specifically for DSLR cameras – this is the digitally integrated design. It includes internal surface coating and multiple-layer coatings on the elements which control reflections and reduces flares. And the LD glass element helps to minimize chromatic aberrations.
The diaphragm has 9 blades. 13 elements in 9 groups make up the optical design. A standard electric motor auto-focus extends the front elements. There is no internal focus.
Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens is light and compact, and the focus ring is quite smooth. Focus distance scales and macro magnification scales are all printed. It is incredibly cheap for the cameras it works with.
On the downside, resolution drops with an increase in depth of field. There is no image stabilization to capture hand-held. Chromatic aberrations are also noticeable near the edges.
- One of the cheapest lenses for full-frame cameras
- Good for outdoor photography
- Reasonably good contrast and sharpness
- No image stabilization
- Flimsy plastic body
7. 52MM 0.43x Altura Photo Professional HD Wide Angle Lens
The wide-angle lenses by Altura are a cheaper alternative to the expensive professional photographic lens that you find in the market. Measuring 52mm with a large aperture, these lenses can fit most camera models.
The autofocus feature and image stabilizer features were great for capturing landscape images and crisp portrait angles alike. Also, we were pleasantly surprised to find a detachable bottom half which allowed us to click some fantastic up-close shots of small objects.
With the Altura 52mm lens, you get the benefit of a wide-angle lens and a macro-lens in a single frame. You can separate these two functionalities or use them together, depending on the kind of shot you want.
The images captured are clearer even in dim or low lighting, and also the colour scheme is impressive. With a little practice, you can even add some special effects like blurring and super zoom to your pictures for an enhanced effect.
The Altura lenses are also very lightweight, compact, and easy to store, making it a convenient option for indoor and outdoor usage. The durable construction is weatherproof and comes with a lens covering and cap for extra protection.
- A combination of a wide-angle lens and macro lens for landscape images and close-up photography
- The macro lens can be used separately as well
- Very Inexpensive when compared to its peers
- Suitable for first-timers and professionals alike
- Comes with a lens cap and guard for better protection against dust and moisture
- We found some blurring at the sides of the image
- The wide-angled shots are not very satisfactory
8. Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus
The AF-S 85mm lens is made for the Nikon F(FX) DSLR cameras. The lens is very similar to the other f/1.8G models has a wider aperture of 85mm and hence offers the best photography techniques. Your images are clear, clean-cut, and have zero scopes for any discrepancies or aberrations.
The 85mm wide opening makes it easier for photographers to capture detailed and well-angled shots of smaller objects. The autofocus feature was very impressive as well, giving us the stability and lighting to click the perfect shot in dim lighting.
The 85mm lens is tailor-made for portrait shots, for wider landscape shots you can check out the f/1.4G models. The AF-S f/1.8G works well as an entry-level lens. It also works well for wedding photography and taking close-up shots.
We liked the sharpness and crispness that the AF-S lenses bring to the images, and the 85mm model doesn’t disappoint. The other special effects like bokeh allow for greater flexibility.
- Suitable for portrait photography
- Can be handled by amateurs and professionals alike
- Great picture quality, with the right color and contrast
- The bokeh effect is very impressive
- Sharp and crisp shots, with minimum abnormalities
- The lens is heavy and not very portable
- We noticed that the autofocus was slower
- You don’t get image stabilization option here
- Some users have complained that the packaging was clumsy
Nikon D3000 Lenses Buyer’s Guide
Max Aperture – The light from outside travels to the sensor through a hole known as aperture. It is expressed as f-number such as f/4, f/5.6. The smaller the number, the wider the opening which is useful for low light.
Lens Mount – Nikon D3000 uses the F mount. You may buy lenses from Zeiss, Sigma, Tokina, and Vivitar with F mount.
Image Stabilization – Nikon uses its patented VR stabilization. These lenses will have VR I or II marked on it.
Dustproof – The lens system is very sensitive and works with multiple motors. Dustproof lens systems have greater durability.
1. Why do I need a second lens?
A very valid question. The 18-55 mm lens that came with your D3000 is good but not suitable for close-ups and indoors.
You need at least a standard prime with a single focal length. Many will advise you to get a macro or close up lens as a second lens.
There is no fixed rule. You go where your instinct as a photographer takes you. If you find that you like outdoor photography you may choose a wide-angle or 70-300 mm telephoto lens.
2. What type of lens is best for portraits?
More or less everyone knows that the long barrel lenses are perfect for great wildlife photos. There is less said about indoor photography which is actually harder to tackle most of the time.
The Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8G is ideal for indoor photos with an f/1.8 aperture. You could also choose lenses with 50 or 85 mm focal length.
Ideally, the portrait lens should produce a shallow depth of field. Search the internet for sample images taken with the lens before investing.
3. Do I need a polarizing filter?
If you do a lot of daytime photography, it is a good idea to use a polarizing filter. They are not expensive and make the pictures look more vibrant.
The brilliance of sunlight tends to wash out the color. A polarizing filter enhances color saturation making blue skies look azure, and foliage appear verdant. It also increases the contrast.
4. Does the build quality of a lens matter?
To the same extent that a cheap pair of eyeglasses compared to an expensive pair. Gold Ring Nikkor is handcrafted, and that certainly makes it better than the mass-produced lenses.
5. Will more expensive always mean better?
In photography, the human element plays a significant role, and a more experienced photographer would be able to extract more from entry-level lenses.
The almost unanimous decision among us was that the Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro is the winner.
It is affordable, compact and rugged giving any budding photographer armed with a Nikon D3000 the chance to explore the world around him.
It is quite unsurpassed for its versatility from zoom to close-ups. The only drawback was that it has no lens-based stabilization, but at this price point, that is not expected.
The second place went to Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED Vibration. With 5.5 X magnification, two ED elements, and one HRI it put up quite a startling performance. An ideal lens for bright light photography if there ever was one.