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5 Best Nikon D3000 Lenses in 2021 [Expert Choices]

Your Nikon already came with a kit lens, but that is never enough. The camera you own is old but it is still capable of doing much more with the right lenses. The kit lens it comes with allows you to take reasonably good photos but not the best. Hence, you must be looking for the best Nikon D3000 lenses available in the market.

Luckily I too have this camera in my collection and I have used a bunch of lenses with it. So, if you’re wondering which lenses you should buy for different purposes, you need not worry. This article is going to be your one stop destination for finding the Nikon D3000 compatible lenses.

Nikon has variety of lenses, and I have tested many of them before I narrowed down to a few for this list. These lenses would allow you to take pictures that are crisp and extremely detailed. Now, let me walk you through a few basic terms that will help you make a better decision:

  • Max Aperture: The light from outside travels to the sensor through a hole known as an aperture. It is expressed as f-number such as f/4, f/5.6. The smaller the number, the wider the opening, which is useful for low light.
  • Lens Mount: Nikon D3000 uses the F mount. You may buy lenses from Zeiss, Sigma, Tokina, and Vivitar with F mount.
  • Image Stabilization: Nikon uses its patented VR stabilization. These lenses will have VR I or II marked on it.
  • Dust-proof: The lens system is very sensitive and works with multiple motors. Dust-proof lens systems have greater durability.

Best Nikon D3000 Lenses in 2021

This Nikon DSLR is widely used by both, amateur photographers and experts. Hence, it becomes more important to look for extra gear to upgrade the experience as and when required. For this one, I did in-depth research in terms of the current lens market and what experts usually use. This is an amalgamation of both of them:

  • Type: Telephoto Lens
  • Focal Range: 55-200mm
  • Aperture: f/4-5.6
  • Weight: 0.66 lbs

The Nikon NIKKOR AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II is a multi-functional lens for Nikon DX cameras. It is quite an inexpensive lens. It is excellent to start serious photography.

It is a telephoto-type lens which has a smooth and clear zoom. Nikon uses a new retractable lens barrel design. The front element does not rotate, which makes it convenient when using filters and polarizers.

AF-S stands for autofocus with silent wave motor. This technology makes the lens near-silent when the autofocus adjusts itself. The letter ‘G’ indicates that there is no aperture ring. Modern Nikon lenses do not need aperture rings.

Nikon’s super integrated coating counters any ghosting and flare. It gives improved color and precision. The 7-blade diaphragm delivers a natural effect to out-of-focus parts of the image, and the bokeh is quite pleasant.

The extra-low dispersion glass elevates the sharpness and contrast. It helps reduce distortions and aberrations. Also, the enter sharpness is good at the long end. It captures images as real as the eye perceives in bright light.

Vibration reduction helps image stabilization in hand-held photography. It improves video quality by reducing blur. Useful for slow speed shots. The high sensitivity of the focus ring may make adjusting manual focus difficult.

All these come in an amazingly small and light form. Even zoomed out, Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm is only 83mm long. Easy to attach and detach. Easy to clean.

Pros
  • Small and compact
  • Reasonably clear images
  • Reduced blur and distortions
  • Low cost
Cons
  • Plastic mount
  • AF inefficient in low-light
  • Only for DX-type DSLRs
  • Type: Prime Lens
  • Focal Range: 85mm
  • Aperture: f/1.8
  • Weight: 0.77 lbs

The Nikon NIKKOR AF S 85mm f/1.8G is made for the Nikon F(FX) DSLR cameras. The lens is very similar to the other f/1.8G models, has a wider aperture of 85mm, and offers the best photography techniques. Your images are clear, clean-cut, and have zero scopes for any discrepancies or aberrations.

The 85mm wide opening makes it easier for photographers to capture detailed and well-angled shots of smaller objects. The autofocus feature was very impressive as well, giving us the stability and lighting to click the perfect shot in dim lighting.

The 85mm lens is tailor-made for portrait shots. For wider landscape shots, you can check out the f/1.4G models. The AF-S f/1.8G works well as an entry-level lens. It also works well for wedding photography and taking close-up shots.

I liked the sharpness and crispness that the AF-S lenses bring to the images, and the 85mm model doesn’t disappoint. The other special effects like bokeh allow for greater flexibility.

Pros
  • Suitable for portrait photography
  • Can be handled by amateurs and professionals alike
  • Great picture quality, with the right color and contrast
  • The bokeh effect is very impressive
  • Sharp and crisp shots, with minimum abnormalities
Cons
  • The lens is heavy and not very portable
  • We noticed that the autofocus was slower
  • You don’t get an image stabilization option here
  • Some users have complained that the packaging was clumsy
  • Type: Prime Lens
  • Focal Range: 35mm
  • Aperture: f/1.8
  • Weight: 0.67 lbs

The Nikon NIKKOR AF-S 35mm f/1.8G is a fixed lens for your FX-format DSLR cameras. It is a wide-angle lens for full-frame cameras. It is cheaper than Nikon’s own alternatives. You may consider it a transition lens between DX and FX.

It is quite light and compact. This improves its portability. This is ideal for street photographers. Its large aperture of f/1.8 captures sharp images in low light. Moreover, it can capture images with the isolated subject at close shots. This is due to the f/1.8.

ED stands for ‘extra dispersion,’ which is a lens element. This gives a boost to contrast and sharpness. It also has one aspherical lens, which corrects image aberrations. The body is made of hard textured plastic. It has a rubber gasket to prevent dust from entering the lens. It has a metal mount. The filter thread is plastic-made. It may wear out with repetitive mounting and dismounting.

Despite using plastic in some parts, the build is quite sturdy. Size is neither too small nor too heavy and long. The front element is easy to clean due to its frontal placement. The front part does not move in and out. Thus, Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G ED is stable to use.

The thick focus ring makes it easy to adjust with the thumb and index finger. When the lens is in focus position, you will not need to re-adjust the filters. The coating helps reduce flare and retains color consistency.

The AF-S has a silent wave motor. This makes the autofocus nearly silent. The rear-focus offers fast autofocus without changes in length and barrel rotation. The accuracy is perfect. The speed is good enough to match it.

Pros
  • Compact and portable for DSLR
  • Nearly silent and fast autofocus
  • Excellent bokeh and subject-isolation
  • Reduced aberrations
Cons
  • Zone focusing is difficult
  • Not meant for portrait images
  • Type: Zoom Lens
  • Focal Range: 70-300mm
  • Aperture: f/4-5.6
  • Weight: 0.94 lbs

This telephoto zoom assures ease of handling. The Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G delivers fantastic images; more so, if you are using it with a tripod – as our research showed.

This lens covers a focal length range of 70-300mm. This is the same as 105-450mm on a DX-format camera. I clicked several subjects, as diverse as portraiture and wildlife, with this lens and found that this one is superb when it comes to choosing daylight telephoto subjects. And I got the best results when used this lens atop a Nikon DSLR with a built-in focusing motor.

This lens comes with a Super Integrated Lens Coating and provides both manual & autofocus facilities (depending on the type of camera you are using). I got accurate distance information for both flash & ambient light exposure. This lens comes with a 9-blade circular diaphragm, which helps to introduce Bokeh (soft out-of-focus background effect) & background defocus effects.

The high maximum aperture value of this lens allows for higher shutter speeds – thus, it was a suitable choice for us to do some action sports photography. We used the lens in both dim and brightly lit conditions – and were happy to get some nicely coordinated colors and highlights, even when I shot in dim light conditions.

Pros
  • Image stabilization
  • Not unduly heavy
  • The pricing is competitive
  • The focus is fast and quiet
Cons
  • Does not mount on old Nikons
  • Sharpness is on the wane 250mm onwards
  • Type: Wide Angle Lens
  • Focal Range: 52mm
  • Aperture: N/A
  • Weight: 0.7 lbs

The wide-angle lens by Altura is a cheaper alternative to the expensive professional photographic lens that you find in the market. Measuring 52mm with a large aperture, these lenses can fit most camera models.

The autofocus feature and image stabilizer features were great for capturing landscape images and crisp portrait angles alike. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to find a detachable bottom half which allowed us to click some fantastic up-close shots of small objects.

With the Altura 52mm lens, you benefit from a wide-angle lens and a macro lens in a single frame. You can separate these two functionalities or use them together, depending on the kind of shot you want.

The images captured are clearer even in dim or low lighting, and also the color scheme is impressive. You can even add some special effects like blurring and super zoom to your pictures for an enhanced effect with a little practice.

The Altura lenses are also very lightweight, compact, and easy to store, making them convenient for indoor and outdoor usage. The durable construction is weatherproof and comes with a lens covering and cap for extra protection.

Pros
  • Combination of a wide-angle and macro lens
  • Suitable for landscapes & close-up photography
  • Macro lens can be used separately as well
  • Very inexpensive compared to its peers
  • Suitable for first-timers and professionals alike
  • Comes with a lens cap and guard for protection against dust and moisture
Cons
  • Found some blurring at the sides of the image
  • Wide-angled shots are not very satisfactory

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need an external lens for Nikon D3000?

A very valid question. The 18-55 mm lens that came with your D3000 is good but not suitable for close-ups and indoors. You need at least a standard prime with a single focal length. Many will advise you to get a macro or close-up lens as a second lens. There is no fixed rule. You go where your instinct as a photographer takes you. If you find that you like outdoor photography you may choose a wide-angle or 70-300 mm telephoto lens.

What type of lens is best for portrait shots on Nikon D3000?

More or less everyone knows that the long barrel lenses are perfect for great wildlife photos. There is less said about indoor photography which is actually harder to tackle most of the time. The Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G is ideal for indoor photos with an f/1.8 aperture. You could also choose lenses with 50 or 85mm focal length. Ideally, the portrait lens should produce a shallow depth of field. Search the internet for sample images taken with the lens before investing.

Do I need a polarizing filter?

If you do a lot of daytime photography, it is a good idea to use a polarizing filter. They are not expensive and make the pictures look more vibrant. The brilliance of sunlight tends to wash out the color. A polarizing filter enhances color saturation making blue skies look azure, and foliage appear verdant. It also increases the contrast.

Does the build quality of a lens matter?

To the same extent that a cheap pair of eyeglasses compared to an expensive pair. Gold Ring Nikkor is handcrafted, and that certainly makes it better than the mass-produced lenses.

Will more expensive always mean better?

In photography, the human element plays a significant role, and a more experienced photographer would be able to extract more from entry-level lenses.

Verdict

  • The Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II is the overall winner. It is affordable, compact, and rugged lens, giving any budding photographer armed with a Nikon D3000 the chance to explore the world around him. It is quite unsurpassed for its versatility.
  • The runner up choice would definitely be the Nikon AF S 85mm f/1.8G. It put up quite a startling performance with 70-300mm focal length. An ideal lens for sports photography.
  • If you’re looking for more affordable and capable lens for your Nikon D3000, the Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G would be my only recommendation.