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(Last Updated On: April 8, 2020)
Home Camera Lenses Best Nikon Lenses For Landscape Photography in 2020

Best Nikon Lenses For Landscape Photography in 2020

(Last Updated On: March 27, 2020)

Landscape photography is one of the more popular photography genres, but like anything else, getting those beautiful landscape photos depends, at least in part, on having the right equipment. That includes your camera lens, and Nikon is one of the best camera brands out there. Now, you might be wondering which is the best camera lens for Nikon cameras, and why is it so important for landscape photography.

image of a mountain lake - landscape image
To capture those stunning landscape photographs, you’ll want to choose from among the best Nikon lenses for this popular photographic niche.

Well, here we present the 9 best Nikon lenses for landscape photography, but first let’s talk about why you need a special camera lens, and what makes for a great landscape lens. 

Why do you need a special landscape camera lens?

You may not just need one camera lens for landscape photography, you might need several. The reason is that there are a wide range of landscape photographs you might take. You could be taking photographs in all types of lighting conditions, from the brilliant colors of a sunset to the mystical scenery of a fog-shrouded forest. You might also be zooming in on your subject or using a wide-angle lens to get that panoramic view. Therefore, if your budget for camera lenses is restricted, you’ll need to consider your best options to cover all the landscape photography possibilities you might encounter. 

dimly lit forest path - landscape image
You want a special camera lens for landscape photography because you will encounter a variety of conditions from well-lit landscapes to low-light conditions.

Essential Features of Landscape Photography Lenses 

  • Low Light Performance: When you’re shooting landscape images, there will be times when the light conditions won’t be optimal, and that’s why you’ll want a camera lens with a wider aperture. An aperture of f/1.8 or lower will help you get those clear, sharp pictures even if you don’t have great light. If your maximum aperture is f/5 or narrower, it won’t be effective in low light conditions.
  • Focal Length: The focal length refers to a camera lens’ level of zoom. A lens with a fixed focal length helps produce higher quality images because there’s no room for error in the movement of glass. But, it is usually better to have a variable focal length since you don’t want to have to buy a separate lens for every viewing angle you might encounter. For landscape photography, it’s often best to have a focal length between 10 mm and 45 mm. 
  • Lens Distortion: This refers to images where straight lines look bent. Wide-angle lenses can have problems with distortion, but most well-known brands will give you better results. Telephoto zoom lenses will produce more distortion than prime lenses, but with wide-angle lenses, there is a natural distortion that is difficult to avoid. Generally, it’s relatively simple to correct for distortion using photo editing programs like Photoshop or Lightroom, but if you’re planning on shooting a lot of geometric patterns or architecture, you’ll want to choose among wide-angle lenses with minimal distortion for your camera. In that case, one of the prime lenses might work better for you.  


Important Tips to Keep in Mind Before Purchasing a Lens for Photographing Landscapes

These are some important considerations you should think about before choosing the best Nikon landscape photography lenses for you: 

  • Aperture range: This is probably one of the most important considerations for landscape photographers. The aperture refers to the amount of light that passes through contactable and expandable opening of the lens. The aperture f numbers corresponds to an f-stop, and the higher the number, the more narrow the aperture. The lower the number, the wider aperture. So, an aperture of f/8 lets in more light than f/11. And, that is typically the range you want for landscape photography. A lens with an aperture range between f/8 and f/11 will usually allow you to keep the entire landscape scene you’re photographing in focus. But, it’s also good to have a lens that has a wider aperture, like f/1.8, because there are likely to be times when you’ll be photographing in low light conditions.
  • Weight of the lens: This is another important consideration for landscape photographers who will be carrying not only the lens, but the camera and other equipment for hiking in rugged landscapes. Lenses come in varying weights and sizes, and most landscape photographers prefer to use zoom lenses that are more versatile than prime lenses of the same focal length. So, think about what you’ll be doing with the lens as well as how you’ll store it before deciding on a model.
  • Focus: Lastly, a lot of landscape photographers are also shooting fast moving objects, such as birds or other animals. That requires a fast focus mode, but if that’s not your interest, you might prefer a manual focus lens, or at least a camera that has the option of manual focus.
  • Vibration Reduction: Vibration reduction technology allows the lens to focus fast and quietly. You might think much about it, but when you need it, you’ll be glad you have vibration reduction technology.
  • Wide-angle: We’ve been discussing the use of a wide-angle lens for landscape photography, but what is meant by that term? Wide-angle lenses do more than simply allow you to go wider, though they do emphasize the sense of space and distance in the scene. They also, however, help to add a sense of depth as well as dimension to the image. 

    With landscape photography, a wide-angle lens usually refers to anything up to about 35 mm on a full-frame camera, and 25 mm on an APS-C–or crop sensor–camera. If you go too low on the other end, however, you can get a fisheye effect. Sometimes you want that, but if you’re not careful, you get some serious distortion at the edges of the image. For true wide-angle landscape photography, you usually want a camera lens between 14 mm and 24 mm. 
Nikon Wide Angle Lenses for Landscapes
Selection of Wide Angle Lenses

The type of Nikon camera you choose also impacts the choice of camera lens, and the images it will produce. Nikon crop sensor cameras (APS-C) will produce a more zoomed in appearance while cameras with full-frame sensors will let you go wider. You want a Nikon lens that’s compatible with your camera’s sensor size, and of course, one that’s made for your camera’s model. So, what are the best Nikon lenses out there for landscape photography? We’ve got a few suggestions. 

9 Best Nikon Lenses for Landscape Photography

Here are nine of our picks for best landscape lenses for your Nikon camera: 

#1: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Lens

This is one of the best Nikon landscape lenses. It’s affordable, portable, and produces sharp images. Thanks to the vibration reduction image stabilization feature, you might even be able to forego the tripod sometimes. This could be handy when you’re hiking or traveling with all your camera equipment. 

AF-S Nikkor 16 - 35 mm f/f G - best nikon lens for landscape photography
The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16 – 35 mm f/f G lens is an affordable, portable lens that captures sharp images.

This is also one of the first lenses for landscape photography to offer vibration reduction image stabilization and ultra wide angle technology. When you’re using this Nikon lens, you’ll barely hear any noise or disturbance. Furthermore, the focal length for this lens is perfect.

Additionally, it’s been sealed so that it can withstand tough weather conditions. You don’t need to be afraid to take this Nikon lens into the great outdoors. Finally, it has a great autofocus with fast speeds that produce a sharp image quality. 

#2: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G

This is one of the best Nikon landscape lenses out there. It has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, an excellent autofocus, and a silent wave motor (SWM) that means it can focus fast without making noise.  The image quality you’ll get with this popular Nikon lens is incredible. Almost everyone who’s reviewed this landscape lens has been blown away by sharpness and compositions, and many landscape photographers have made this their workhorse camera lens since it can fill a variety of different roles.

Nikon 24 - 70 mm f/2.8G lens
The Nikon 24 – 70 mm f/2.8G lens is packed with features that will help you capture stunning images. 

You can take sweeping wide-angle landscape photography shots, but still have the flexibility to zoom in on those landscape details you want to capture too. Finally, this is one of the best-made Nikon landscape lenses–it’s built to last. For all these reasons, this lens is considered one of the best Nikon landscape lenses available.

#3: Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S

This is the first 14 mm ultra-wide zoom Nikon landscape lens that is extremely portable and accepts 82 mm filters.

best Nikon lens for landscape photography - Z 14-30 mm f/4 S
The Nikon Z 14-30 mm f/4 S is extremely portable and it accepts 82 mm filters. 

It’s only made for the Nikon Z mount FX mirrorless cameras, but it’s about a pound lighter than other ultra-wide angle lenses that don’t accept filters without a third party adapter, and that takes up tons of space in your camera bag–and that’s critical when you’re out hiking in that rugged landscape. For that reason alone, this Nikon lens is bound to become one of the best landscape lenses. 

#4: Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II

This Nikon landscape photography zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, and vibration reduction image stabilization. The 70 – 200 mm focal length gives you great flexibility–you can zoom to 200 mm to capture those great details, or you can retract to 70 mm for those sweeping landscape photographs. 

Nikon 70-200 mm f/2.8G - landscape photography lens
The Nikon 70-200 mm f/2.8G with vibration reduction technology gives you great flexibility for landscape photography.  

Additionally, the image quality you get with this Nikon lens is superb–they are sharp with great contrast, brilliant clarity, and vibrant colors with no chromatic aberration.  And, the improved vibration reduction image stabilization technology with this lens allows it to focus fast and quietly.

Finally, the design of this Nikon lens makes it lightweight, durable, and reliable. It has a magnesium alloy lens barrel with the elements used inside. For sharp images, a fast autofocus system, and great flexibility, this lens is one of the best Nikon landscape lenses out there.


#5: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens

This Nikon telephoto lens has a maximum aperture of f/4 and a nano crystal coat to reduce lens flaring and ghosting. It’s one of the best-rated Nikon telephoto landscape zoom lenses, and it’s a strong alternative to the 24 – 70 mm zoom lens. This Nikon lens gives a little extra flexibility, and the image quality of this telephoto lens is superb. It’s an excellent choice for many of your photography needs.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G
The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G with vibration reduction technology is one of the best rated Nikon telephoto lenses. 

Due to the zoom range, you can take a variety of different landscape photos. The autofocus and accuracy are excellent, and it’s manual focus ring is easy to use. Additionally, the vibration reduction image stabilization technology means it will focus fast and quietly. The Nikon telephoto lens does produce a bit of distortion, but it’s something that is easily remedied in post-production processing. 

#6: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Zoom Lens

This Nikon lens is a specialist lens created mainly for landscape photography. It has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 to f/4.5 and it uses Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology. Most Nikon users love the wide-angle photos this lens creates, and the zoom range of 10 – 24 mm allows for great creative license, even with its small focal range. 

The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G Zoom Lens
The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G zoom lens is a specialist lens created specifically for landscape photography.

This lens also has a quick and quiet autofocus feature that produces sharp images even towards the edges of the composition. You’ll simply be amazed at the image quality. 

#7: Nikon AF-S DX 8-15mm Fisheye

This Nikon lens isn’t one you use in every situation, but it gives a unique perspective. The AF-S 8 – 15 mm lens offers two wide-angle settings, the 8 mm circular or the 15 mm fisheye. With the 8 mm circular, you get a 180-degree viewing angle, and that can produce some incredible circular landscape photos. 

The Nikon AF-S DX 8-15mm Fisheye Lens for Landscapes
The Nikon AF-S DX 8-15mm Fisheye is a specialty lens that gives a unique wide-angle perspective with the fisheye lens.

Your other choice with this lens is the 15 mm, which results in stunning fisheye landscape shots. They look almost like panoramic shots. With a maximum aperture of f/3.5 to f/4.5 and a virtually silent autofocus system, the image quality is nothing short of superb, even at the edges. Finally, this lens is weather-sealed to withstand the harshest elements. It’s a great choice for the specialist landscape photographer. 

#8: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G 

This is one of the best Nikon landscape lenses for anyone who wants a standard-angle 35 mm f/1.8G lens. It’s a bright lens that’s good in low light conditions for general purpose imaging, and for those shots with a shallow depth of field. Additionally, Nikon lens is compact, lightweight, and the picture angle creates images that mimic that of the human eye. 

The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G is one of the best standard-angle landscape lenses available.

Additionally, this Nikon lens takes super fast photos, and it’s affordable. Even so, there’s no compromise in its construction. The barrel is hard polycarbonate, the lens mount is metal, and it features a SWM that ensures silent auto-focusing. The manual focusing ring is easy to use and readily accessible in the front. 


Best Nikon Prime Lens for Landscape Photography

As far as prime lenses go, this is one of the best for landscape photography.

#9: Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED Fixed Lens with Auto Focus

This affordable ultra-wide-angle Nikon landscape prime lens is lightweight and compact. It’s got a SWM for quiet focusing, two extra-low dispersion glass elements, and a nano crystal coating to reduce reflection. It’s also got a close focusing distance of 0.2 meters, and its maximum aperture of f/1.8G helps increase the separation between your subject and the background.

The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED is a perfect wide angle lens choice for landscapes
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED is a lightweight lens with SWM for quiet, quick focusing.

The wide aperture makes it a great for low light events, like concerts, where you want a shot with the crowd in it. Additionally, this is one of the best wide-angle lenses for astrophotography, and basically, anything that needs a wide field of view combined with a shallow depth of field. You can both get close to your subject with the 7.8 inch close focus, and get wide, expansive vistas into the frame. All of that combined with an extraordinary level of sharpness is provided by this prime lens. This combination of features makes this one of the best prime lenses for landscape photography. 

Best Nikon Wide-Angle Lens for Landscape Photography 

Aside from the Nikon landscape lenses mentioned above, a great and more affordable wide-angle lens is the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24mm f/1.8G ED. It’s a prime lens with a bright aperture for low light conditions and depth of field control. It also works with both full-frame and APS-C cameras. It produces sharp images with no distortion. It comes with a reversible lens hood and it is weather-sealed for inclement conditions. Additionally, the 24 mm lens can focus as close as 9.1 inches, which lets you get up close and personal too. These features make one of the best wide-angle landscape photography lenses available.

path to the horizon
With the right equipment, including the right lens, you’ll be ready to go out and get those stunning landscape images.


With these types in mind and list of the 9 best Nikon lenses for landscape photography, you’re ready to go out and conquer this rewarding field. Be sure to consider your needs before making a purchase, but the 9 Nikon landscape lenses mentioned here will give you great image quality no matter what you’re hoping to accomplish. 

FAQs

Is the Nikon 18 – 55mm lens good for landscape?

This is a great Nikon lens to start with for landscape shoots, but the quality of the image will depend more on your skill than with other landscape lenses. You can get great results though, and it’s more affordable than landscape lenses with a longer focal length. 

What’s the best budget friendly Nikon landscape lens?

Of the best landscape lenses we’ve discussed, the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G is one of the most budget friendly. It’s a great standard camera lens to start with, it’s good in low light conditions, and it’s lightweight. It’s also well-constructed, and it captures great images that emulate what you see with your eyes. 

Which Nikon landscape lens works well with filters?

The workhouse Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G we discussed is not only great for landscape photography, it also takes filters. That adds to its lightning quick autofocus, brilliant colors with no chromatic aberration, and useful zoom range on full-frame cameras. You really can’t ask for a better all-around Nikon landscape lens. It’s quite simply one of the best lenses available.

Catherine Gaither
Catherine Gaither
Catherine Gaither is a professional bioarchaeologist. She has traveled the world photographing archaeological sites and artifacts, and studying human physical remains. She has written numerous professional publications. She continues to work as a forensic consultant and author.

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