6 of Our Favorite Budget Lenses for Nikon DSLRs

Innovative cameras - Nikon D850

If you’re a Nikon shooter looking to expand your kit on the cheap, then this list of budget lenses may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Nikon may not be the shinning pillar on the hill that it used to be, but Nikon DSLR cameras still enjoy their status as some of the most popular stand alone cameras on the market. Everyday someone buys a new (or new to them) Nikon DSLR and needs to start the process of building out their photography kit – only to find that this hobby is way more expensive than they had realized. But fear not, quality budget lens options for Nikon do exist, and we are here today to share some of our favorites with you.

Nikon 50mm F1.8 G

“Easy to use, overall, this lens is very nice. Feature wise the Nikon 50mm 1.8G does not need much. Thankfully, the changes in this lens were also not just cosmetic. This lens has been given more utility for DSLRs than its predecessor. It can be used on all FX and DX Nikon cameras. While it’s slightly more expensive than its predecessor, it is worth the cost. It’s such a nice lens. It’s a lens that will never let you down.”Read Our Full Review Here

Nikon’s 50mm f1.8G is an incredible kit lens upgrade for both Nikon FX and DX shooters. It has good image quality and is very much optimized for DSLR use in ways that the older 1.8D lens is not. This really should be one of your first upgrades if you don’t have it already.

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Nikon 85mm F1.8 G

“The Nikon 85mm f1.8 G is a modern update to an old lens, and Nikon indeed did a fantastic job with it. For the price, it is very sharp,  fast focusing in most situations, silent, and built extremely well. As a budget level lens, it is really hard to beat except by perhaps Rokinon’s 85mm f1.4; but that doesn’t have autofocus at all.”Read Our Full Review Here

85mm is one of those classic portrait lenses and Nikon’s 85mm f1.8 is one of the best, especially when you add price to performance into the equation. It’s fast, sharp, quiet, and offers an incredible value to those just getting into portraiture and can honestly last a long time.

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Nikon 35mm F1.8G


“If you are a Nikon DX shooter, you should own this lens. It is a fantastic tool that will never let you down. The lens is extremely versatile and can travel anywhere. Out of all of my photography purchases so far, this has been one of the best. Even though I shoot full frame more often now, the Nikon 35mm f1.8G is still in heavy rotation. It is a work horse and it’s brilliant.” Read our long term Review

If you are a DX (crop) Nikon shooter than this is a lens you should heavily consider if you like the full frame 50mm field of view. This lens is fast, great optically, and fairly compact, making it pair nicely with cameras like the D5500, D7200 and D500.

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Tamron 35mm F1.8 DI VC USD

“This lens has the absolute best exterior texture I’ve ever felt. Zeiss, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma–nothing can compare to this. It just feels so soft and elegant, yet I know for a fact that it can take a beating. This lens has weather sealing and at a $599 price point, who can beat that for a DSLR lens? Beyond this, the lens has incredible color quality, and beautiful bokeh that will make you want to shoot wide open all day…” Read our Full Review

If you are an FX shooter, or the Nikon 35mm f1.8G isn’t your style, then another great option for Nikon shooters is to grab a Nikon mount version of Tamron’s 35mm f1.8. This is a great performer and is also relatively cheap while still having both weather sealing and image stabilization.

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Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 product photos (7 of 7)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 1.8

“We’ve got absolutely nothing but respect and love for the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 DC HSM. If you’re an APS-C DSLR user, this should be the lens that is a high priority item on your list. It’s sharp, contrasty, has beautiful color that is true to life, focuses quickly, and stays compact due to its internal zooming and focusing design.” Read our Full Review

Another option for the DX-only crowd is the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8, which offers prime-like image quality in the form of a fast aperture zoom lens that is great for still and video. If you are rocking a D7500 or D500, this is a lens you should consider for sure.

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Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.