Sam Kacey

Sam's expertise is in Landscape, Portrait, and Travel photography. He and his team also review the best Cameras and Lenses on the market in 2022 for B&H Photo.

If you’re searching for the best Nikon D90 lenses from All-In-One-Zoom, Wide Angle, or the best Premium Versatile lens and want to know what you should look for when choosing a lens for your Nikon D90 DSLR camera, you have come to the right place.

Choosing the best Nikon D90 lens that offers you the best performance within a specific budget isn’t as easy as it sounds. (Also see video reviews further down)

Nikon D90 lenses

The lens market is saturated, and with so many great choices out there, it becomes harder to find a lens that’s right for you and your photography type or style. To make matters worse, there aren’t enough helpful guides online where you can learn specific information to help you make an informed decision. Nikon D90 lenses can also be quite expensive, especially if you want a high-performance lens that will last for several years.

This guide will show you our top 5 picks for most lens categories. We hope by the end of this article, you will have the necessary knowledge to make an independent and informed decision for buying the best Nikon D90 lens for all purposes in 2022.

So, without further ado, let’s dive straight into what you should consider when choosing the best lenses for the Nikon D90 camera. Or if you’re in a hurry see our number #1 pick here.

What Should You Look for in Nikon D90 Lenses?

Purchasing a new lens for your Nikon D90 camera may appear to be straightforward, but once you start shopping you learn about the scale of the task. It’s not a piece of cake by any stretch of the imagination and you must know the specifics of a lens to be able to purchase one that is worth your money. Even professional photographers spend hours examining and debating the finer parts of various Nikon D90 lenses before they buy one.

You shouldn’t be any different because the best Nikon D90 lenses of 2022 can make a world of difference to your photography. A good photographer always needs good quality lenses, so they can get the perfect shot for their artistic vision. If you’re feeling a bit lost in your search for the best lenses for your Nikon D90 camera, here’s what you should look for:

Criteria #1: Aperture

Every lens has a different maximum aperture, which determines how much light enters the camera. More light passing through the sensor will result in sharper imagery that you can capture from the camera, especially when shooting in low-light environments. Aperture is given the number f, and you will notice them on the side of lenses, written like f/1.8. However, they can be written like 1:1:8 as well. Keep in mind that a lower f-number shows that more light will be passing through the sensor.

image taken using Nikon 50mm lens for D90 camera

The best aperture, in theory, is 1 but practically, the maximum aperture of the brightest lenses is only f/1.2. Generally, high aperture lenses are more affordable than low aperture lenses. For example, the most affordable lenses on the market are telephoto, but they also have the largest maximum apertures.

Zoom lenses tend to have two numbers for aperture, like f/2.4 to f/5.4, and the small number shows you the biggest opening for that lens using wide-angle. The large number shows how much light will be passing through the sensor when you’re not using maximum zoom during shooting.

Criteria #2: Faster Shutter Speed

A faster shutter speed allows you to take pictures even in low lighting environments without blurring or raising the ISO values of the image. The subject can be highlighted with a background that is out-of-focus, which is known as the “Bokeh Effect,” and lets you control the DOF (the image’s sharpest area).

Wide aperture lenses are called “fast” or “bright.” If the aperture is wider, the optics will be more expensive and bulkier as a result, but that won’t be a concern because large aperture lenses produce superior quality images. You can select lenses with fixed apertures such as f/1.8 or variable apertures like f/3 to f/4.8. For example, if the focal length of your lens is constant, like a 35mm f/1.2, the maximum aperture of the lens will be fixed permanently as well.

Zoom lenses tend to have either variable or constant maximum apertures. Lenses with fixed maximum apertures will produce similar maximum apertures, irrespective of the changes in focal length (like 50-210mm f2.4). Even though zoom lenses with fixed apertures are more expensive and have higher quality, they let you explore your artistic vision and cross your creative boundaries.

Criteria #3: Zoom Lenses or Prime Lenses

Zoom lenses are considered to be more convenient by photographers because you can change the ratio of the focal length, which you can’t do with prime lenses since they have a fixed range for focal lengths. Zoom lenses come in various ranges, which start from 3x zoom and go all the way up to 7x, and 12x zoom, which is also called a superzoom lens.

There are two focal lengths for zoom lenses, which maybe 18 to 200mm and 28mm to 300mm. If you want to test the full capabilities of a zoom lens you should opt for the 55 to 210mm zoom lenses. You should also know that zoom lenses are different than telephoto lenses. However, the biggest concern with zoom lenses, particularly long-range zoom lenses, is that they don’t compare to prime lenses in terms of brightness and sharpness.

D90 Nikon lenses

Even though professional zoom lenses offer exceptional results, they tend to be more expensive than prime lenses and don’t have more than 3x magnification. Nevertheless, you have a massive variety of zoom lenses and you can buy one easily by checking the features of a lens and choosing one that works best for you. If you’re looking for an affordable zoom lens with a long-range to shoot distant objects, lenses with a 55 to 200mm or 70 to 300mm focal length range would be best.

However, it also depends on your skill as a photographer because even with the best Nikon D90 lenses there isn’t any guarantee that you’ll manage to take stunning photos if you’re not experienced enough.

Here’s How We Determined the Best Nikon D90 Lenses

You can’t take quality pictures if you’re not using the best Nikon D90 lenses for your camera. Photography is an art, but every artist needs the right tools at their disposal to bring their artistic vision to life. A lens is vital for any photographer to successfully take great images. However, buying the best lens in the market can be harder than it looks.

The extensive range of options available in the market, along with the technical jargon that comes with lens capabilities and features is enough to confuse anyone. However, you don’t have to worry as we have done the hard work and have reviewed the best Nikon D90 lenses of 2022.

#1: Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens for Nikon D90 Camera (Best All-In-One Zoom)

The Nikon DX 18-200mm lens spans from telephoto to wide-angle, and has a cutting-edge design for optical capabilities, with a compact profile and excellent image stabilization system. There are three dispersion elements that are extra-low and two elements for aspherical errors that help in controlling chromatic and spherical aberrations and produce higher clarity and sharpness.

See Today’s Best Price for the Nikon 18-200mm Lens at B&H Photo

The Super Integrated Coating helps in minimizing ghosting and lens flare effects for higher color accuracy and contrast. The VR II system for image stabilization supports the optics and compensates for camera shake till 3.5 stops. That allows you to obtain sharper images during handheld shooting. You also get precise and fast performance during autofocus thanks to the Silent Wave Motor, and full-time override during manual focus.

Reason #1 to choose this Lens: Silent Wave Motor

This all-in-one zoom lens is versatile enough to be used for telephoto and wide-angle focal lengths. It has been designed for Nikon DX-format and F-mount cameras, where you will be given a focal length range of 27 to 300mm. The seven-blade rounded diaphragm helps in producing exceptional quality for out-of-focus images and allows you to use selective focus and shallow depth of field techniques.

photo shot with Nikon 24-120mm lens for D90 camera

The Silent Wave Motor affords precise, quick, and quiet autofocus performance along with a full-time manual focus override. An internal focusing design is also used, where only the internal lens groups are moved during focusing on maintaining the overall length of the lens during use, which promotes faster-focusing speeds.

Reason #2 to choose this Lens: Rounded Seven-Blade Diaphragm

The rounded seven-blade diaphragm promotes a pleasing out-of-focus quality that benefits the use of shallow depth of field and selective autofocus techniques.

#2: Nikon 50mm f/1.4 Lens for D90 Camera (Best Versatile Prime Lens)

The Nikon 50mm lens combines a brilliant design with an exceptional field of view. It has an f/1.4 fast maximum aperture that makes it an excellent lens for use in low-light environments. You won’t have any problems when you want to use shallow and selective techniques to isolate subjects while controlling focus and depth of field.

Get the Nikon 50mm at B&H Photo

The color accuracy and contrast are improved by the Super Integrated Coating, which also reduces ghosting and flare effects. The nine-blade rounded diaphragm also helps provide an excellent quality bokeh effect. In addition, the Silent Wave Motor offers silent, accurate, and fast performance during autofocus and full-time override during manual focus.

This prime lens of normal length has been designed for Nikon F-mount FX-format cameras, but you can also them with DX cameras, where you will get a focal length range of 75mm.

#3: Nikon 16-35mm f/4 Lens for D90 Camera (Best Wide-Angle Zoom)

The Nikon 16-35mm lens covers an array of versatile focal lengths for wide angles. The lens has flexible zoom angles for interior, landscape, and cityscape photography. It has an f/4 constant maximum aperture that ensures you get consistent illumination when zooming in or out and in any lighting environment.

There are two elements with extra-low dispersion and three elements for aspherical errors, which help in reducing aberrations and distortions for higher clarity, sharpness, and accurate rendering. The application of the Nano Crystal Coat controls ghosting and flare effects for greater color accuracy and contrast in difficult lighting environments.

Go here for the Nikon 16-35mm Lens at B&H Photo

In addition, there is a Silent Wave Motor for accurate and fast autofocus and camera shake is minimized by 2.5 stops with the VR II image stabilization system. This wide-angle 16-35mm zoom lens is designed for sensors in FX-format but can be used with DX camera models, where it offers a focal length range of 24.5mm to 52.5mm.

The lens design has internal focusing, which means internal groups move in the lens when you focus and will maintain the lens’s overall length, while also offering faster speeds for focusing. The nine-blade rounded diaphragm also ensures that you get fantastic quality for out-of-focus shots, and can use shallow techniques for depth of field.

photo shot of trees using Nikon lens

#4: Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Lens (Best Telephoto Zoom)

Tamron lens for Nikon cameras

The Tamron 17-50mm is a wide-to-moderate, telephoto, high-speed zoom lens designed small sensor Nikon DSLR cameras. The lens covers the trendy focal length range of 17-50mm (equal to 26-78mm in the 35mm full-frame format), which makes it highly versatile.

The Vibration Compensation system by Tamron reduces camera shake effect by 4 stops for handheld shooting and provides excellent low-light shooting. The lens offers striking contrast and impressive sharpness in its aperture and focal length range. The f/2.8 maximum aperture ensures images are enhanced by smooth and shallow depth of field, and in the image’s areas that are out-of-focus, you get natural transitions.

In addition, the lens comes with a 6-year limited warranty from Tamron but is only valid for users in the USA. The Tamron 17-50mm Aspherical lens has been exclusively designed for use on small-size imager digital cameras. It’s not meant to be paired with digital or conventional cameras that have large image sensors.

#5: Nikon 24-120mm f/4 Lens for D90 Camera (Best Premium Versatile Lens)

Nikon lens for a variety of photography

The Nikon 24-120mm lens spans an excellent short-telephoto to wide-angle range, it has an f/4 constant maximum aperture that performs consistently in any zoom range. There are two elements for extra-low dispersion and three elements for aspherical features, which help in reducing chromatic and spherical aberrations and producing higher clarity and sharpness.

The Nano Crystal Coat and a Super Integrated Coating applied to lens elements help in controlling ghosting and flare effects for improved color accuracy and contrast. The VR II image stabilization system compensates camera shake and ensures sharper imagery during handheld shooting. The Silent Wave Motor system also helps in offering precise and fast performance during autofocus, and full-time override during manual focus.

Sunset photo snapped using Nikon D90 lens

The zoom lens should be used with F-mount FX-format cameras but can be used with DX cameras, where you will get a focal length range of 36mm to 180mm. The lens has internal focusing, where the internal groups in the lens move when you focus, which maintains the lens’s overall length and helps in producing faster speeds for focusing. A nine-blade rounded diaphragm also offers fantastic quality for out-of-focus images and benefits shallow techniques for depth of field.

Frequently Asked Questions

It doesn’t matter how much experience you have as a photographer when you’re shopping for lenses because even the pros can get it wrong. There are so many aspects that go into purchasing Nikon D90 lenses and hundreds of questions that must be answered. We have shared some frequently asked questions by people who were buying lenses for their Nikon D90 camera.

Here they are:

Do All Nikon Lenses Fit with the Nikon D90 Camera?

The simple answer to this question is no, all Nikon lenses do not fit the Nikon D90 camera. There are three levels of lens compatibility with cameras you should be aware of. These are known as:

  • Fully compatible
  • Partially compatible
  • Not compatible

They also differ in their capacity to serve as both a lens and a camera. Therefore, “full” means both are working, while “partial” means the lens can fit, but the autofocus won’t work, meaning you will be required to use manual focusing.

Alternatively, it can also imply that light metering won’t work correctly, so you must manually adjust your exposure. The latter indicates that the lens will not be compatible with the camera at all. There are only two kinds of compatible lenses for the Nikon D90 camera. These are the AF-D (Auto Focus with Distance) and the AF-S (Auto Focus Silent Wave) lenses.

How to Read a Nikon Lens?

Before you begin your search for the best Nikon D90 lenses in the market, it’s essential to understand what all the letters in the lens name mean. They can be quite a mouthful, and you need to know what they stand for to make an informed decision and purchase the right lens for your Nikon D90. We have shared a breakdown of all the confusing abbreviations you will see on Nikon D90 lenses. These are:

  • VR – Vibration Reduction to allow the use of slow shutter speeds while shooting handheld.
  • II – A second-generation lens.
  • f/2.8 – The maximum aperture.
  • ED – Extra-low Dispersion of the light as it enters the lens, leading to better image quality.
  • AF-S – Auto-Focus with built-in Silent Wave Motor. These lenses even work on cameras without built-in motors.
  • 80-200mm – Focal range.

Other standard abbreviations you will notice on Nikon D90 lenses are:

  • DX – Lens designed for a crop sensor cameras (APS-C) camera sensor.
  • FL – Fluorite Lens elements, also improving image quality.
  • FX – A lens designed for a full-frame (35mm equivalent) camera sensor.
  • G – Does not include an aperture ring. Most modern lenses are ‘G’ lenses.
  • IF – Internal Focusing, which allows the lens to focus quicker.
  • N – Nano Crystal Coating, usually displayed on the side of a lens as a gold badge.

You will notice some of these abbreviations and superfluous lettering after the main elements of each lens we have reviewed above. Now you know what they mean.

What is the Most Versatile and Useful Lens Size?

Choosing the right Nikon D90 lenses is key to capturing appealing images and effectively conveying your artistic vision. Despite a sea of options at your disposal, you won’t always have the right lens for the job. You may be new to the craft and can only afford one lens to start. You may be going on a trip and don’t have room for more than a couple of lenses, or you may be backpacking through the wilderness and can’t afford to carry extra weight.

In such cases, you may need to pick gear based on versatility. The natural choice is a zoom lens, but in our opinion, adding the Nikon 18-200mm prime lens to your kit is a fantastic option. This focal length range closely mirrors the naked eye’s field of view, and the lens is also compact with minimal distortion, sharper optics, and faster apertures.

The 18-200mm is the most versatile focal length for prime lenses because it’s perfect for almost every photography genre. From event and street photography to travel, landscapes, and portraits, the Nikon 18-200mm prime lens can do almost everything, making it the most helpful lens size to carry with you.

Verdict: Your Best Nikon D90 Lenses

Buying lenses for any camera can be a complicated task but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to be the most educated person in the world or the most familiar with camera gear to purchase a quality Nikon D90 lens. However, having a little help along the way can only help you. That’s the reason why we are sharing our top picks for the best Nikon D90 lenses.

Here are our contenders:

If you’re looking for the best all-in-one zoom lens for your D90 camera, go with the Nikon 18-200m Lens.

It’s the best all-purpose lens you can purchase for any Nikon camera because it features an advanced design that benefits the optics, and has a compact profile. The excellent image stabilization system ensures that you will always get excellent still photos. You won’t have any problem with the clarity and sharpness of your images thanks to the two dispersion elements that are extra-low and three elements for aspherical errors.

If you want a versatile prime lens for the D90, get the Nikon 50mm.

This lens has a brilliant design and offers a brilliant field of view, which is why it is suitable for an extensive range of photography. The f/1.4 fast maximum aperture ensures that you will get great photos even in low-light environments. The lens can isolate subjects easily and allow you to employ selective and shallow techniques for focus and depth of field.

If you’re searching for the best wide-angle zoom lens for your Nikon D90, go with the Nikon 16-35mm Lens.

The flexible zoom lens is the favorite for photographers who are interested in various types of photography. You will struggle to find a better lens in the market for the Nikon D90 because it offers consistent illumination from its f/4 constant maximum aperture. That means if you’re always shooting outdoors and in low light, it’s the best lens you can buy.

The Nikon D90 is one of the best DSLR cameras you can buy today but it won’t make you a better photographer or help you take great photos if you’re not using the best Nikon D90 lenses. The reviews shared above are meant to provide you with insight into the best lenses for Nikon D90 so that you don’t waste your time or money in the market.

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