Must-have Nikon Landscape Lenses (Updated for 2018)

Nikon Landscape Lenses Landscape photography is a challenging but often rewarding style of photography. It requires patience, understanding of how a camera works, and the right equipment. Digital cameras are often bundled with a kit lens. Although these are versatile and suitable for general photography, they may not always be the best choice for landscape photography. To accurately capture a stunning vista, a wide-angle lens is often used, thanks to their wide angle of view. We’ll take a look at some of the best Nikon landscape lenses available and the features that make them so well suited to this style of photography.

Nikon Landscape Lenses: Standard

Although wide-angle lenses are often the lens of choice for landscape photography, that’s not to say that there aren’t standard lenses that can do the job. The benefit of a standard lens is that they often have the same field of view as the human eye. Here’s our recommendation:

1.  Nikon 50mm f/1.8G

Why it’s great:

  • Fixed 50mm prime lens with maximum aperture of f/1.8.
  • Excellent optical performance and sharpness throughout.
  • Sturdy build that’s lightweight.

50mm primes lenses are found in almost all photographers’ kit bags. They’re incredibly versatile and perfect for a range of photography styles. The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is no exception to this, and has built on the success of previous generations of 50mm lenses. 50mm lenses are good at capturing what the eye naturally sees. This is great for landscapes as you can get an accurate sense of what your shot will look like. The quality of this Nikon lens is in the sharpness of the images it captures, throughout the entire frame and at all apertures. It’s lightweight enough to take just about anywhere, and is a good all-rounder for photography.

Buying considerations:

  • There is some barrel distortion that is noticeable.

2. Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX NIKKOR Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Affordable lens that produces good results.
  • Lightweight yet sturdy build quality.
  • Shallow depth of field.

One of the more affordable lenses on our list is the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, a budget lens that performs very well. The 35mm focal length gives a natural-feeling field of vision, and the f/1.8 maximum aperture means it performs excellently well in low lighting. It’s a compact little lens that is still robust enough to take with you on your travels.

Buying considerations:

  • Manual focusing can be tricky due to the lack of distance markings.

Nikon Landscape Lenses: Ultra Wide-Angle and Wide-Angle

As we mentioned in our introduction, wide and ultra wide-angle lenses are usually the top choice for landscape photographers. Their field of vision is unrivalled and performance is often excellent. Here are some good options to consider from Nikon:

1. Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8

Why it’s great:

  • Ultra wide-angle zoom lens with a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture.
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM) autofocusing is fast and quiet.
  • Excellent sharpness and image quality.

This is one of the sharpest lenses that Nikon has ever produced. Its ultra wide-angle 14-24mm zoom gives plenty of options for all kinds of photographers, particularly coupled with a maximum f/2.8 aperture. The Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 14-24mm is excellent for landscapes, producing clear images with excellent color reproduction. The SWM autofocusing is also fantastic, providing quick and accurate focusing. Overall this is our favorite of the Nikon landscape lenses in this category.

Buying considerations:

  • This lens is expensive, bulky, and heavy. It may not be for everyone, but if you can afford the price and don’t mind the size, it’s an excellent lens for landscapes.

2.  Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Why it’s great:

  • Versatile 16-35mm zoom range.
  • Vibration Reduction for increased stability when shooting.
  • Nano Crystal Coating reduces flare and image defects.

The versatile range and constant aperture of the Nikon AF-S 16-35mm makes it a favorite amongst enthusiasts and professionals. It’s the kind of lens a photojournalist would use on a regular basis. Performance is very good throughout its zoom and aperture ranges, with images coming out clear and sharp. Features such as VR II vibration reduction, SWM autofocusing, and Nano Crystal Coating make this a high performing lens that’s capable of capturing stunning landscape vistas.

Buying considerations:

  • This lens does show signs of barrel distortion and vignetting at the lower end of its zoom range.

3. Nikon 24mm f/1.4G

Why it’s great:

  • Flawless optical performance.
  • Wide f/1.4 aperture.
  • Excellent low-light performance.

This is another of Nikon’s very best lenses that’s perfect for landscape photography. The 24mm fixed focal length is ideal for both landscapes and portraits, and the maximum aperture of f/1.4 makes it an excellent performer in low light conditions. Sharpness, contrast and colors are all flawless, making it a very strong lens in all areas. Two aspherical lens elements and a Nano Crystal Coating virtually illuminate unwanted lens distortions such as chromatic aberration, lens flare and ghosting. Overall this is a great option for landscape photography.

Buying considerations:

  • The excellent performance and features of this lens come at a very high cost. This is likely out of the price range of all but professional photographers.

Nikon Landscape Lenses: Telephoto

Although wide-angle lenses are usually the lens of choice, telephoto lenses can definitely create very pleasing results when it comes to landscape photography. Their ability to hone in on a subject far off in a landscape, whilst still capturing a high level of detail makes them particularly useful. Here are some top considerations:

1.  Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S NIKKOR Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Fantastic zoom range covering wide-angle and telephoto lengths.
  • Excellent image sharpness.
  • Internal Focusing (IF) delivers fast and quiet autofocusing.

The great thing about this lens is that it pretty much covers you for both wide angle and telephoto ranges. Although the telephoto end isn’t as big as some, it’s certainly capable of capturing some excellent landscape features. What’s more, it’s light enough and well enough equipped to shoot from the hand. Image sharpness and general performance is excellent, and a maximum aperture of f/2.8 makes it great at shooting in low light. All of these reasons make it our top choice of Nikon landscape lenses in the telephoto category.

Buying considerations:

  • Image quality in the corners is not quite as good as it could be.

2. Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR

Why it’s great:

  • Long 70-200mm telephoto range with constant f/4 aperture.
  • Compact size and lightweight for its size.
  • Vibration Reduction increases stabilization when shooting.

Despite the huge range of the Nikon 70-200mm lens, it’s surprisingly lightweight and compact. It’s a great travel companion lens that you can use for a wide range of shots, including landscapes. The f/4 aperture is constant throughout the focal length range, and the Vibration Reduction technology means you can get stable shots even in low lighting. It’s quick and quiet to focus thanks to its SWM technology, and has a manual override on the focus ring for finer focusing without having to look away from your framed shot.

Buying considerations:

  • This lens isn’t weather sealed which means you have to be extra cautious when taking it out in adverse conditions. This isn’t ideal if you’re trying to capture the rawness of nature in a landscape shot.

Nikon Landscape Lenses: Choosing the Right One

We’ve covered a range of different lenses so far, but which one is the right one for you? We’ll now recap the different types and find out what each type of lens is best suited for:

Wide-angle Lenses

  • Wide angle lenses are useful for expanding the perspective of your shot as they can fit so much in. They’re great at accentuating foreground details to create a sense of depth.
  • If you’re shooting stunning, wide vistas, this is the type of lens you want. They fit so much in the frame that they can also make a smaller landscape appear much bigger than it is.

 Medium Lenses

  • Medium lenses often capture roughly the same perspective as the human eye, particularly at 50mm. They’re good for natural looking landscapes, as well as dynamic weather effects.


Long Lenses

  • A long or telephoto lens is great for bringing distant details closer, making them appear to stack with foreground details.
  • Unlike a wide-angle lens, the perspective is relatively narrow which makes them a good choice for picking out particular elements of a landscape.


Super Telephoto Lenses

  • A super telephoto lens goes beyond what a regular telephoto can do. Again they can isolate small areas of a landscape and get really close to the details. They’re also great at bringing the far off details closer and stacking them.

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