Which Nikon Prime Lens to Buy First?

When you purchase a DSLR camera, you often need to buy a number of accessories to go along with it, including lenses. The fact that there are so many options available at such a wide range of prices might make it very difficult for someone who is just starting out in photography to locate a lens that is suited to their particular requirements because there are so many of them.

In this post, I will cover many affordable Nikon fast prime lenses that are best ideal as a first step into the realm of fixed focal length photography. These lenses all have a focal length of around 50 millimeters. What Nikon prime lens should you get initially if you decide to buy one? Which of these options seems to make the most sense? You require a lens that will remain attached to your camera for many years to come, one that is suitable for taking family portraits as well as the occasional snapshot. Or perhaps even for the future of your photographic company – who knows?


Continue reading and I’ll break down the benefits of each reasonably priced fast prime lens that Nikon has to offer. I really hope that this post will assist you make the difficult decision that most of us have been forced to face at some time in our lives.

1. Why Buy a New Lens?

You just treated yourself to a beautiful new DSLR camera, and now you want to take better shots with it. Where do you even begin? When our photographs do not turn out well, we frequently point the finger at the camera, despite the fact that we have neither the patience nor the time to learn how to properly utilize it.

Do you never deviate from shooting in the automatic setting when you use the camera? If this is the case, then why don’t you first educate yourself and find out what the purpose of those other “PASM” modes is? On this website, you’ll find a wide variety of beginner courses, and the page devoted to photography advice for novices is an excellent place to begin.

Read some good books before you start thinking about whether or not you need a new lens. This will help you make an informed decision. You will, after some time has passed, become aware of the things that you are lacking, at which point you will be able to begin your search for new lenses to supplement your DSLR camera.

Why would one want to go out and get a brand new lens? If you purchased a DSLR camera along with a kit lens, you may already be aware that while the kit lens is a good all-around lens, it does have some significant limitations. The maximum aperture of the lens is one of the camera’s many flaws. Kit lenses, such as the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, have a variable aperture, which means that the size of the opening in the lens changes when the focal length is increased. The bad news is that they begin at a very tiny aperture of f/3.5, which can already be too sluggish for capturing objects in locations with low levels of available light.

We receive a lot of questions from our audience members asking for advice on how they can take better images indoors without the use of a flash. Rather than boosting the ISO to a high value, which might lead to a lot of noise in the image, our normal response is to recommend purchasing a faster prime lens. Why? Because the gap in shutter speed capabilities between a fast prime lens and a zoom lens included in a kit can be rather significant. Consider it in this light: if you are photographing your child with a 35mm lens at an aperture of f/5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second while using an 18-55mm lens, you can boost the shutter speed to 1/80 of a second simply by switching to a lens such as the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G.

Read the articles on understanding aperture, shutter speed, and ISO (and don’t forget to read this article that covers all of those topics) if you find that this does not make sense to you. Because of this, a lens has the potential to have a significant impact in settings like these. And that’s not even it — there are a great many different explanations for this. If you want to learn more about the benefits of both prime and zoom lenses, you can do so by reading the article that we have comparing the two types of lenses.

The selection of lenses available to us in DSLR systems offers the greatest degree of versatility. Some function effectively in dim conditions, while others provide variable zoom range. A number of lenses are prized for the lightness or reliability of their construction. As is the case in reality, there is no such thing as a perfect deal; you will always have to settle for anything less than ideal. Because of this, it is often a good idea to have a few different lenses available to pick from, depending on the circumstances.

2. Choosing a Fixed Focal Length Lens

In contrast to what one may have anticipated, the inflexibility of prime lenses has not resulted in a decline in either their popularity or their desirability. There are some very great zoom lenses on the market today; some of them even compete with prime lenses in terms of clarity, bokeh, and sharpness. Despite this, you should be able to locate a quick fixed focal length lens in the bag of every photographer. Like me, there are a great number of people who feel quite strongly that they are superior than zooms.

What gives? To put it simply, I don’t think you can beat the aesthetic quality of a prime lens with the ease of a zoom lens. Some of them are also quite affordable, making them wonderful options for initial lenses to add to your kit zoom. And with some practice, accelerating using your feet rather than your hands can even begin to feel faster.

It is only natural that people who are fresh to the field of photography want to test them out so much since it is something novel and fascinating to do. Keep in mind, though, that if you purchase one of these, you should still use the zoom that came with your kit. Although it is highly improbable that you would ever wish to remove the primary lens from your camera, it is possible that you will one day want a lens with a wider range of view. Having a zoom, in whatever form it may take, is frequently a decision that can save a person’s life.

Let’s have a look at what Nikon has to offer those beginning photographers who are searching for an affordable prime lens.

a) Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX Lens


This small jewel is an ideal companion for the DX sensor bodies of any Nikon camera, ranging from the D3100 to the D300s. Since its inception, it has been quite popular because to its portability, low cost, speed at focusing, and exceptional sharpness. And not without good cause either. The focal length of the lens is where the magic happens; when mounted on a camera with a crop sensor, it performs very similarly to how a traditional 50mm lens would on a film or Full Frame camera like the Nikon D800. To put it another way, it is a focal length that offers a great deal of versatility and works pretty well for portraits as well as bigger images, such as landscapes, group photos, and family portraits.

It is also effective indoors, where its wide aperture of f/1.8 helps gather sufficient light to produce photographs with minimal levels of noise. This lens is an excellent option for DX users who are looking for a prime lens that is versatile and suitable for everyday photography, particularly if you find that you take more pictures indoors than outside. It works quite well on a full-frame camera, which is really surprising given that it is not intended to perform well on such a camera.

There is just a very slight degree of corner shading, and it is possible to crop it off without suffering a significant reduction in field of vision. If you ever decide to upgrade to full-frame cameras, you might want to keep this lens in your bag for some time until you find an option that is entirely compatible with your new equipment.

In the comparison essay that Nasim has written between the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX and the AF-S 50mm f/1.4G lens, you will discover tests evaluating the sharpness of both lenses. If you think the lens is worthwhile, B&H will sell it to you for the low, low price of $196.95; this is a steal!

b) Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Lens


This lens is one of the least expensive options available from Nikon right now. It is a recently updated version of the AF-D 50mm f/1.8, which has been highly successful but is getting on in years. As things stand, inexpensive is in no way synonymous with low quality in this scenario. On the contrary, this marvelously compact lens boasts the highest price-to-performance ratio of any Nikkor product now available. When attached to a DX body, it transforms into an excellent portrait lens and shines most brightly in natural light. Because you won’t have to worry about compatibility concerns, it also makes a lot of sense if you want to upgrade to Full Frame at some point in the future.

It is compatible with all recent Nikon DSLR cameras, including cheaper models like the D3200 that do not have a motor. It is crisp from center to edge, and the areas that are out of focus seem amazing. Some people have even given up their more costly f/1.4G lenses in favor of this one since it has a lesser price and focuses more quickly. It does make a lot of sense, provided that you do not truly require the aesthetics of an aperture of f/1.4. The construction quality is identical, however, there is a noticeable reduction in weight. You may learn more by reading this review, which has a wealth of facts for your perusal.

If you believe that this lens is the one for you – and I’m sure it’s one that you wouldn’t want to take off your camera – you can get it via B&H right now for just $216.95, which is a fantastic value for the lens. If you are interested in saving even more money, the AF-D 50mm f/1.8 from an earlier generation may be found by following this link. It is a perfectly acceptable lens with a bit harsher and more vibrant bokeh, but you should be aware that its extraordinarily quick autofocus will not operate with Nikon cameras that are in the entry-level price range.

c) Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G Lens


The AF-S 85mm f/1.8G is the older sibling of the AF-S 50mm f/1.8G. Despite the fact that the latter is an incredible performer that is up to the standards of any professional photographer, the older f/1.4G has one advantage: a bigger aperture by two-thirds of a stop. Even while this lens is not as crisp wide open as its brother, nor does it focus as quickly, some photographers believe that the price difference is well worth it. You may think that the difference between f/1.8 and f/1.4 isn’t all that significant; nevertheless, for some photographers, the price difference is well worth it.

Despite this, I had previously purchased an AF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G DX lens kit. Therefore, this was the first lens I ever purchased on its own. I don’t think there was ever a single moment in my life when I didn’t feel remorse. I used it both for indoor photography, where I found that it was a little bit too narrow or “long,” as well as for portraiture that was more up close and personal. My own abilities were the only thing that constrained my photography.

Although I maintained my zoom lens for use in an unexpected situation or in case I required a wide-angle lens to pair with my D80 at the time, I used the 50mm lens on my camera very little, if at all. It was beautiful, and when viewed on the D300, the quality was much higher. But then, the AF-S 50mm f/1.4G is an entirely different animal when mounted on a Full Frame body, regardless of how well it performed on any DX-format camera that I tried it with. It simply sprang to life as a slender, agile, and dangerous beast.

Even today, at this very moment, after almost four years of having this lens, it is mounted on my D700, always ready to operate. This is the case, even though it has been in my possession for this whole time. Since I first started getting into photography, this is the one piece of equipment that I’ve kept the same, and I make sure to have it with me anytime I carry a camera. I adore everything about it, including the beauty of the photographs it generates, its size, its weight, and the quality of its manufacture. I’ve gotten accustomed to living with a somewhat sluggish concentration, which, in actuality, has proven to be a benefit.

The only explanation for why it focuses so slowly is that it has a long focus throw, which means that the ring may revolve almost 180 degrees. This makes it very easy to focus the camera manually. In addition to that, it showed me the importance of being in the correct spot at the right moment, and as a result, I seldom miss a picture because the focus is off. Because it is mounted on my D700, it makes for a formidable combo; in fact, if I had to, I could go through an entire wedding with only that camera and this lens alone. That is the extent of its adaptability.

I put it to use for photographing people, food, and groups of people as well as anything else that may arise. It has a width that allows it to be used indoors and a length that ensures I won’t have to get too close to my customer’s face with my camera. Yes, I would love to have exotic lenses like the AF-S 35mm f/1.4G or the AF-S 24mm f/1.4G. It’s because of the 50mm that I’ve developed a strong passion for environmental portraiture.

I would probably use the two pricey pro primes at least as frequently as this inexpensive 50mm lens, but I would never go out on a project without this lens, either as my primary or as my backup lens. Because of how amazing it is, you should only use it if you really require an aperture of f/1.4 and know how to shoot at that aperture.

3. Final Words

You can find a variety of prime lenses from Nikon that are both quick and affordable in this post. Although each of these lenses is unique, they are all capable of becoming excellent all-purpose solutions. Naturally, everything is determined by the primary focus of your paper. Do you like to take pictures of your friends gathered together, or do you occasionally find yourself drawn to street photography? If this is the case, the 28mm f/1.8G lens could be the best option for you.

And what if the majority of your work consists of portraits? The 85mm f/1.8G lens, with its figure-flattering compression and creamy out-of-focus areas, is probably going to be the ideal choice for you. Do you feel that you fall anywhere in the middle of the spectrum? You may get out of this situation with the help of a 35mm or 50mm prime lens, either of which can become your favorite prime lens for the time being. If you choose to base your decision on the subject you’re photographing, you won’t be let down by any of these fantastic optics.


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