Videography is no longer just for professionals. As technology enables more people to capture incredible footage using their DSLR or point-and-shoot cameras, anyone can become a videographer.
If you are wanting to record small-scale video productions or live events you will need the best Nikon lenses for videography.
There are many aspects of videography that are difficult to replicate using certain cameras. To implement complex, sophisticated videography techniques, you need a DSLR camera with professional-grade lenses.
In our review, we have compiled a list of the best Nikon lenses for videography that will help take your videos to the next level by empowering you to capture footage like a professional. When you finish reading our list, you will find the ideal camera lens for professional-quality videography that can capture footage in a quality you don’t get with smartphones or point-and-shoot cameras.
Whether you want to shoot home videos, capture sports and wildlife, or make a feature-length film, these professional lenses can help you reach your goals. The best part is that many of these options are budget-friendly and won’t require you to break the bank.
Continue reading to see our entire list of the best Nikon lenses for videography, followed by a short recap of what makes them special. Or you can jump straight to our number one pick here.
Table of Contents
- What Should You Look For in the Best Nikon Lenses for Videography?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Nikon Lenses for Videography
- #1: Nikon 50mm Lens for Videography (Best Classic Normal-Length Prime)
- #2: Nikon 18-140mm Lens for Videography (Best All-In-One Zoom)
- #3: Nikon 80-200mm Lens for Videography (Best Autofocus)
- #4: Tokina 11-16mm Pro Lens (Best Wide Angle Zoom)
- #5: Nikon 105mm f/2.8G Lens (Best Premium Lens)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Conclusion: Your Best Nikon Lenses for Videography
What Should You Look For in the Best Nikon Lenses for Videography?
The good thing about Nikon lenses for videography is that you do not need to have a professional education in the field or know much about Nikon lenses to begin your creative work. Still, this doesn’t mean you should ignore the technical aspects completely.
Learning the basics will help you determine which lens is best for your videography needs. With that in mind, we have considered easy-to-understand criteria, highlighting the features you need to look for when selecting your lens. They will help you spot the right lens that can cater to your creative vision.
Criteria #1: Focal Length
The focal length range of each of our Nikon lenses for videography will help you determine their angle of view and magnification capabilities. It will allow you to understand how much of the scene will get captured in the frame and how far you will be able to zoom in for close-ups.
We have included all the important focal lengths in our list, ranging from 11mm wide-angle lens to 200mm telephoto lens. Hence, whether you want to capture landscapes, interiors, or far-off wildlife and sporting action, we’ve got you covered.
There are also lenses with varied focal length ranges to allow greater control over your scenes and subjects. Just remember to pick a lens that meets your shooting demands in terms of focal length before you decide to purchase one.
Criteria #2: Aperture
Aperture is perhaps one of the most important aspects of any camera lens. When purchasing camera lenses, many professionals first look at the aperture of a camera lens before looking at other aspects.
They give aperture so much importance because of the control it gives them. We have included a wide range of apertures in our list of the best Nikon lenses for videography, and they will surely meet all your video demands. Whether you want to capture low-light footage or gain greater control over the depth of field, the aperture will help you decide which lens best suits the lighting conditions you will be shooting in and how you want to focus on subjects.
Criteria #3: Extra Features
Small improvements can go a long way in videography lenses, and sometimes, the extra features are worth more than they appear. Even if you buy a budget lens, you may still want to enjoy all the perks of professional optical design and modern technologies.
Several Nikon lenses offer incredible extra features like vibration reduction for stabilization, focal clutch mechanisms, constant aperture, silent wave motors for smooth and silent focus performance, and optical design features like single or multiple aspherical and low dispersion lens elements to suppress different irregularities for improved sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy.
They also carry optical design features like Super Integrated and Nano Crystal coatings that limit internal lens reflection, flare, and ghosting in harsh lighting conditions. While these extra features typically come with premium pricing, we have ensured to find camera lenses that include them at affordable prices as well.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Nikon Lenses for Videography
We measured the specs and features of the top lenses on the market and compared them to our criteria to see how they performed and if they were worth buying. Then, we read customer reviews, blog posts, and the “best Nikon lenses for videography” articles to check if the lenses on our list performed as advertised.
We’ve also ensured to include a wide variety of lenses that cover different niches and price points. This way, everyone can find the perfect lenses that satisfy their videography needs and their budget.
Here is our list of the best 5 Nikon lenses for videography tailored to your specific needs.
#1: Nikon 50mm Lens for Videography (Best Classic Normal-Length Prime)
This 50mm lens from Nikon is considered one of the essential lenses for videography.
It has a lightweight design and a classic normal-length prime that features a bright maximum aperture of f/1.8. Its 50mm focal length corresponds to the natural field of view and is suitable for various scenes, from landscape to portraiture.
The f/1.8 to f/1.6 aperture range works great in difficult lighting conditions and allows you to control the focus position to use shallow depth of field techniques. Its optical design features one aspherical element to minimize spherical lens aberrations and distortions, which means you get superior sharpness and accurate rendering.
This lens also has a Super Integrated Coating to suppress flare and ghosting in your captured footage, allowing for improved contrast and color accuracy in harsh lighting conditions. Moreover, the Silent Wave Motor gives fast, near-silent, and precise autofocus performance with full-time manual focus override.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: Captures a Wide Variety of Scenes
The Nikon 50mm is designed for FX-format Nikon F-mount cameras, but content creators can also use it with DX models, resulting in a 75mm equivalent focal length. Its bright f/1.8 maximum aperture offers great low-light performance and better control over the depth of field for isolating subjects.
With optical design features like One aspherical element and the Super Integrated Coating, you can achieve high sharpness, clarity, and accurate rendering without unneeded lens flare and ghosting. You also get precision autofocus and a manual focus override switch for more control over camera focus.
The lens even features a rounded seven-blade diaphragm, giving you quality background blur when needed. All of these features and specifications make this a well-rounded lens that can capture a wide variety of scenes, affording it the top spot on our list of the best Nikon lenses for videography.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Great Value
It is rare to get a lens for videography that offers such a wide selection of quality video capturing in an affordable package. There is no doubt that the Nikon AF-S 50mm can meet the majority of your video demands and more.
Whether filming for a movie or capturing footage for documentation, this is a trusty lens you can shoot without thinking twice. Despite the lack of excessive zoom and wide-angle capabilities, this 50mm lens is perhaps the only lens worthy of being called essential for videography.
#2: Nikon 18-140mm Lens for Videography (Best All-In-One Zoom)
The 18-140mm lens from Nikon is developed for their range of high-resolution DX-format F-mount cameras. It is a versatile, 27-210mm-equivalent, all-in-one zoom lens covering a wide-angle to mid-telephoto range.
This lens can capture footage in remarkable quality, thanks to the One ED (extra-low dispersion) element in the optical design. The lens can limit spherical, color fringing, and chromatic aberrations with this feature to capture immense sharpness and color accuracy.
The optical design also employs One aspherical element to further its sharpness, clarity, and accurate rendering. Individual elements also feature Super Integrated Coating to reduce internal reflections, flare, and ghosting, improving contrast and color accuracy in strong lighting conditions.
It also features Vibration Reduction (VR) to minimize the camera shakes that come with handheld shooting by up to four stops. Therefore, you can produce sharper images with this lens, even in difficult lighting conditions. Moreover, its Silent Wave Motor allows quick, quiet, and precise autofocus performance with full-time manual focus override.
It even uses an internal focusing design that allows only the internal lens groups to move during focusing, maintaining the overall length of the lens and promoting faster focus speeds. The rounded seven-blade diaphragm supports a pleasant out-of-focus quality that allows for shallow depth of field and selective focus techniques.
If you prefer telephoto lenses, the 18-140mm lens is one of the best Nikon lenses for videography with excellent all-in-one zoom capabilities.
#3: Nikon 80-200mm Lens for Videography (Best Autofocus)
The 80-200mm lens with Auto Focus from Nikon is an excellent example of superior optical design. It is a high-performance, constant aperture, 2.5x telephoto zoom lens capable of producing brilliant videos across its entire 80-200mm focal length range.
Its quick f/2.8 aperture delivers maximum light to your camera sensor, allowing for exceptional footage in low-light conditions. The fact that you can open the aperture to f/2.8 throughout the entire 2.5x telephoto zoom range also means you can achieve consistent light exposure from any distance.
It is one of the best 5 Nikon lenses for videography because of its incredible autofocus capabilities throughout the zoom range. Hence, it is considered a great choice for sports, wildlife, and portrait videos.
The ED element offers extra-low dispersion to capture sharp, color-accurate footage with improved contrast, even when the lens is set at maximum aperture. The lens allows a superior depth of field control to give your videos a soft, natural background blur for implementing selective focus techniques like isolating subjects.
It also features Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating to ensure exceptional performance by reducing internal reflections, flare, and ghosting.
#4: Tokina 11-16mm Pro Lens (Best Wide Angle Zoom)
The 11-16mm pro lens from Tokina for Nikon cameras is a versatile wide-angle zoom lens great for landscape, architecture, and interior shooting. It has a bright f/2.8 constant maximum aperture that allows for consistent brightness throughout the zoom range.
This lens aperture helps produce some quality wide-angle footage, even in low-light conditions. The wide-angle prime is designed for DX-format Nikon F-mount cameras with APS-C Sensors and provides a 16.5-24mm equivalent focal length range.
The optical design incorporates two aspherical and super-low (SD) dispersion lens elements, which suppress various aberrations for improved sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy throughout the zoom range.
Individual elements also feature improved multi-coating to prevent flare and ghosting for superior color accuracy and contrast in bright or backlit conditions. The One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism allows quick switching between autofocus and manual focus settings by pushing or pulling the focus ring.
The focus response is particularly smooth in the manual setting due to the hard stops at the ends of the focusing range. The autofocus uses an internal focusing design for responsive focusing performance.
With an aperture range from f/2.8 to f/22, superior optical design, and excellent focus response, this wide-angle zoom lens from Tokina is one of the best Nikon lenses for videography when you need to capture more from your scenes.
The Nikon 105mm, f/2.8G lens is a modern take on the classic short telephoto macro lens. This premium lens offers superior performance at close-range shots with its life-size 1:1 maximum magnification and a minimum focusing distance of one foot to capture incredible close-ups.
The telephoto prime is designed for FX-format Nikon F-mount cameras. It can also be used with cameras from the DX range, providing a 157.5mm equivalent focal length. The bright f/2.8 maximum aperture allows increased control over the depth of field and captures footage in different lighting conditions.
Its advanced optical design is the primary driver behind its success. It includes one extra-low dispersion element that minimizes chromatic aberrations to achieve greater clarity and color accuracy for macro shots.
The lens elements feature Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings to reduce flare and ghosting for improved contrast in harsh, bright, and backlit conditions. Like most of the Nikon lenses on our list, it features a Silent Wave Motor autofocus system that offers fast, quiet, and precise focusing performance excellent for movie recording.
You can instantly switch to manual override by simply turning the manual focus ring. Moreover, the Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization helps reduce the effects of camera shake by up to three shutter speed steps, allowing you to produce sharper handheld footage, even in difficult lighting conditions.
When it comes to close-range filming, there aren’t many lenses that perform as well as the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G, making it one of the best lenses for videography when you need to shoot action, emotion, or subject detail from short distances.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most people who enjoy movies, wildlife, sports, or TV have considered filming something at some point in their lives. You may have likely even tried it once or twice. However, this may not qualify you as an expert. Hence, it is completely understandable to have plenty of lens-related questions.
Therefore, we have added this FAQ section in our article to make sure you leave our list with some key information regarding your next lens purchases.
What Is Focal Length?
Focal length is usually represented in millimeters (mm), and it is the most basic description of a camera lens. Focal length measurement is not the actual length of a lens but a calculation of the distance from the optical center of the lens to the camera’s sensor or film plane. The focal length of a lens is determined when the lens is focused at infinity.
In simple terms, the focal length of a lens tells us how much of the scene will be captured (angle of view) and how large individual elements will be (magnification). The longer the focal length, the narrower the angle of view and the higher the magnification. The shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view, and the lower the magnification.
Hence, wide-angle lenses have smaller focal lengths (less than 35mm), whereas telephoto lenses have larger focal lengths (more than 85mm). Some camera lenses have a range of focal lengths, like 11-16mm and 80-200mm, indicating that a lens can operate at various focal lengths between that range.
What Is Aperture?
Aperture is the opening of a lens through which light passes to enter the camera. Understanding what an aperture does becomes easy when you understand how your eyes work. When you are in a dark or bright environment, your pupils dilate or contract to control the amount of light entering your eyes.
In a camera, the “pupil” of your lens is called the aperture. You can increase or reduce the size of the aperture to allow more or less light to reach your camera sensor. You can physically see a lens’ aperture when you hold it up against a white background. The circular hole you see at the center of the lens is its aperture.
By controlling how much it opens, you can control elements of your footage like its brightness and depth of field. At one extreme, a large aperture can give you bright footage or beautiful background blur. On the other extreme, a small aperture can give you dull footage or sharp focus from the foreground to the distant horizon.
What Is Depth of Field?
Depth of field is the distance between the closest and farthest elements in a photo or frame that appear acceptably sharp. The transition of sharpness is gradual. Due to this reason, a lens will give acceptably sharp image quality in most scenes where elements are at various distances, even though your camera can only focus sharply at one point.
Lenses may offer various depths of field control, and it all depends on what you want to capture. A shallow or narrow depth of field means that only a small range of distance will have acceptable sharpness. A deep or wide depth of field means that a large range of distance will have acceptable sharpness.
A narrow depth of field allows a narrow range of focus that enables you to implement selective focus techniques like background blur (bokeh) to isolate subjects. A wide depth of field allows a wider range of focus for landscape filming or photography, where you want to capture subjects both near and far clearly.
Conclusion: Your Best Nikon Lenses for Videography
As we reach the end of our review, we provide a verdict on the best Nikon lenses for videography. We understand the importance of a good lens and how it can change the way you capture footage, which is why we want you to pick one that’s best for your use.
For this reason, we will go over the best Nikon lenses from our list to give you a short recap of which ones will best meet your individual needs.
If you want the best value for your money, go with the Nikon 50mm. This lens is not as professional as the other top 4, however, it’s a great price.
With a natural field of view, this classic lens offers a good focal range for low-light conditions, great optical design, and excellent Nikon features like One aspherical element, Super Integrated Coating, and Silent Wave Motor in a very affordable package.
It is the closest thing to an essential Nikon lens for videography because it allows you to capture a wide range of scenes, making it a great choice for beginners and professionals alike. It is a well-rounded lens that allows you to meet your artistic vision easily and appreciate videography.
This lens is also quite lightweight, and carrying it around and shooting videos with it is a breeze. You get a lot more than your money’s worth from this lens, which is why it is our “best value” pick.
If you need the best zoom for your videography filming, get the Nikon 18-140mm.
Zoom is a somewhat unique aspect of filming. It allows you to capture the entire scene and give your subjects a close-up without ever moving an inch; the artistic advantage and convenience of this are incredible.
With the 18-140mm focal length of this Nikon lens, you can easily capture the scene and the details of each subject. The bright f/3.5-5.6 aperture range is excellent in low-light conditions and ideal for isolating subjects with background blur.
The real advantage of the 18-140mm lens is the fact that it is an all-in-one zoom lens that lets you capture everything from wide-angle to mid-telephoto range. Things only get sharper, more color-accurate, and more flare-free in harsh lighting conditions, thanks to optical design features like One SD element, One aspherical element, and Super Integrated Coating.
You can trust the Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G Lens to capture brilliant indoor and outdoor footage in low light conditions and give you all-in-one wide-angle and zoom benefits, making it one of the best Nikon lenses for videography, especially if you are into telephoto lenses.
If you’re looking for the best, most reliable autofocus, go with the Nikon 80-200mm.
This Nikon 2.5x telephoto lens is a champion for autofocus, thanks to its fast f/2.8 aperture with superior depth of field control and extra-low dispersion element. If you want to shoot wildlife, sports, or portrait videos, this is one of the best 5 Nikon lenses for videography of that type.
The 200mm maximum focal length will bring the action closer to you instead of requiring you to get closer to the action. Its superior optical design and constant aperture throughout the zoom range provide exceptional video quality from any distance.
This is truly an incredible lens that will compel you to include some long-range portrait scenes in your footage, simply because the autofocus makes it so easy to shoot. One thing’s for sure; you won’t be missing any of the action if you have this lens on you.
There you have it, our list of the best Nikon lenses for videography. We want to make buying a lens for videography easier with this list by selecting lenses with one or two standout features that make them special.
If you focus on those features, it will make your decision much easier. Sure, you may want a few other features important to you, but you can easily work your way backward from the main standout features to help make your final decision.