As one of the best cameras for beginners, the Nikon D3500 is truly the best entry-level Nikon body. It has everything the newcomer would want: multiple shooting modes; Full HD video recording; a useful rear LCD screen; easy-to-reach touch buttons; and large 24.2 MP still images.
Normally purchased with a kit lens to advance beginners, those who stick with this camera often need to upgrade the kit quickly. Kit lenses such as the 18-55mm are useful for absolute beginners, but just aren’t versatile enough to perform the wide variety of tasks that photographers demand once they get to grips with their kit. If you want shallow depth of field, need to zoom in on a bird in flight, or fancy trying astrophotography, you’ll need to invest in a better lens.
Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the best lenses for the Nikon D3500, from ultra-wide zooms to telephoto lenses, with a penchant for quality and value for money. There’s a reason so many lenses made by Nikon appear on this list, it’s because Nikon is absolutely fantastic at creating lenses for their camera bodies. A long heritage in lens making is Nikon’s specialty, so they’re usually among the best.
There are third-party lenses you’ll want to avoid like the plague, but don’t completely rule out off-brand lenses as there are some real specialty gems out there in all sorts of styles. Luckily, we’ve included the best ones here so you don’t miss a thing.
The best lenses for Nikon D3500
A new breed of the older AT-X line that was amazing for crop sensor shooters that required ultra-wide angle at a reasonable price, the Tokina ATX-I 11-16mm f/2.8 CF now has a additional “i” in its title (for interactive) to denote Tokina’s attempt to let photographer and lens communicate with each other.
It does this well with a clutch mechanism ring to switch between autofocus and manual focus, ridding the clumsy switch on the side of the lens barrel. Great edge-to-edge sharpness and minimal chromatic aberration make it a solid choice for landscape photographers and the wide, consistent aperture also lends itself to astrophotography or low-light interiors such as real estate photography .
A big step up from other entry-level telephoto lenses, this 70-300mm from Nikon combines excellent focusing, substantial vibration reduction and extra-low dispersion (ED) glass for clear images. Fast internal focusing means attached filters won’t rotate at the end of the lens, so users using filters can set it and forget it when composing.
At 415g it might feel a bit heavier than other crop sensor lenses, especially if you’re not used to using telephoto lenses, but it’s still reasonably light compared to full-frame options. A variable aperture range means that zooming in to 300mm results in a maximum aperture of f/6.3, which would normally make it difficult to get decent exposures for sports and wildlife photography without increasing the shutter speed. shutter, but four vibration reduction stops quickly solve this problem.
A step up from Nikon’s cheaper and ultimately less useful 40mm macro lens, this 60mm offers extra reach when photographers need to capture flying subjects or want to compress perspectives for more intimate macros.
Clear, glare-free shots are achieved through the use of ED glass combined with two aspherical lenses and a nanocrystal coating on the front element that also makes cleaning easier. Compact yet heavy, this lens fits well in the hand as its weight gives the lens a legit premium feel. Sadly, there’s no vibration reduction, but the constant wide f/2.8 aperture sucks in enough light to compensate in most scenarios. Offering true macro with a 1:1 reproduction ratio, subjects appear large and detailed in photos.
Probably the second most purchased lens when upgrading the kit lens that comes with the D3500 is this “nifty fifty”. Well named since its very large aperture of f/1.8 allows it to take bright images even in the darkest environments. The 50mm fixed focal length is generic enough to capture many types of subjects, be it portraits, landscapes or close-ups.
While it’s soft around the edges when fully open, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, this optical feature is actually praised by many as it helps push focus to the center of the frame (and usually the subject) creating a more intimate ambiance. Although photographers may want to click the Remove Chromatic Aberration button in their favorite image editing software, the high-contrast edges of the frame can suffer from purple and cyan fringing. But at this price, what’s the harm of an extra click?
When you’re hoping to take sports, wildlife, or automotive shots, the standard kit lens isn’t enough. In fact, even the practical zoom range of 70-300mm mentioned above is still a bit short when distant subjects need to fill the frame. However, Sigma’s “contemporary” version of its 150-600mm definitely extends the capabilities substantially. Considering this is a DX lens, the effective focal length is actually more like a whopping 225-900mm.
Compact and surprisingly light for its focal length range, it’s the perfect accompaniment for bird shots or distant athletes in the field. There are no accidental zoom bumps either, thanks to the zoom lock switch that works at any focal length. Two stabilization modes make it easy to capture and track moving subjects, whether they’re flying around trees or heading towards a lens.
For those who simply want an upgrade to their existing kit lens, this 16-80mm f/2.8-4 from Nikon offers excellent zoom range and a technological boost. Four Vibration Reduction stops help keep handheld shots sharp when shooting in low light. Photographs are crisp and clear with four ED glass lenses and three aspherical lens elements. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than the other lenses on this list, but the extra features, superior optics and flexible focal range mean you probably won’t need another lens for this. accompany for most shots.
A nanocrystal coating keeps flare to a minimum, and the Silent Wave Motor drives a fast, quiet autofocus system. In fact, a 24-120mm disguised thanks to the 1.5x crop sensor on DX bodies is like a kit lens on steroids. Still small and light, the enhanced features and enhanced optical clarity make this the perfect lens for hobbyists and travel photographers.
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