Lenses that are great for photography may not necessarily be suitable for video. If you specialize in videography and filmmaking, you will require a set of specialized lenses to give versatility in your scene-making.
In this article, we have picked 10 of the best Nikon lenses for video for DSLR and mirrorless models. This includes a selection of wide-angle, portrait, standard zoom, and telephoto zoom lenses for different video compositions.
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Best Nikon Lenses for Video – Our Top 10 Picks
1. Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
This Nikon Z lens offers the ultimate in wide-angle cinematography for Z-mount cameras.
Our favorite lens for videography is the Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S. This is a superb quality lens that offers a great wide-angle focal length for a variety of cinematography styles. At 14-24mm, you can record in exceptional detail and create sweeping wide-angle scenes with ease.
This is an S-Line lens, meaning it has excellent build quality and optics. You can expect sharp recording regardless of the focal length, and the constant f/2.8 aperture also gives greater flexibility for depth of field.
The f/2.8 aperture will also help record low-light or nighttime scenes. We also like that it has a weatherproof build. As a result, you can comfortably use it outdoors if you need realistic weather conditions for your video.
If you are serious about recording high-quality wide-angle video, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S is a top option.
2. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED is a quality wide-angle lens with a fast AF motor for action scenes.
If you’re looking for a DSLR option that is comparable to the Z lens we just discussed, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED is an excellent option. You can use this camera on Nikon DSLRs and if you’re considering making the switch to mirrorless, it will also work on the Z systems with an adapter.
This is another superb wide-angle Nikon lens that is great for landscape cinematography, or wide-angle action scenes, for example. It has a superior lens construction complete with ED and aspherical elements, and nanocrystal coatings. These will ensure sharp video footage with minimum optical errors.
The constant f/2.8 aperture will also help record a range of lighting conditions and settings. It also allows for professional footage with beautiful, blurred backgrounds.
We also like the quality of the AF motor in this lens. It uses Nikon’s SWM motor that offers high-speed focusing if you need to focus on moving subjects in your film shoots.
3. Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S
The 50mm focal length of this lens makes it ideal for tight-cropped video footage of people to place the emphasis on them.
Aside from wide-angle lenses, every cinematographer needs a high-quality portrait lens. One of the best of these lenses is the Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S. This 50mm lens is perfect for tighter-cropped videos and scenes that concentrate on particular subjects.
Apart from the excellent focal length, this 50mm lens also has an array of features that make it easy to use for filmmaking. For example, it has a maximum f/1.2 aperture. This allows you to create brilliant separation from your scene subject and their background. With this, you can create professional-quality footage with great transitions, too.
This lens also has premium optics that result in crystal clear and sharp footage from corner to corner. For professional character and portrait videos, or even for vlogging, this is one of the best options on the market.
4. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G has a great maximum aperture, high-quality lens elements, and a fast AF motor.
Another great focal length for videos and filmmaking is 85mm. On a full-frame Nikon camera, this is an ideal focal length for portrait cinematography and close-cropped scenes. The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G is a fantastic choice for DSLR users who focus more on person-centered videography.
For compatibility, this portrait lens can be used with FX, DX, and Z Cameras (to use it with a Z camera, a mount adapter is required). You will typically, however, get the best results in terms of video quality and sharpness with a native FX full-frame camera.
This Nikon FX lens also has some great usability features that make it ideal for video. Equipped with a Silent Wave Motor autofocus, it offers fast and accurate autofocusing and allows for great subject tracking. The lens also has nanocrystal lens coatings that help boost video quality and maintain sharpness from corner to corner.
5. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G is a powerful lens that delivers consistent video quality, regardless of the settings and lighting.
If you want something wider than 85mm, but still want a lens for general videography, something like the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G could be a great option. At 58mm, you have lots of flexibility in the scenes you can create. For example, you could use it up close to centrally frame your subjects during scenes or go for a slightly wider perspective, focusing on the surroundings a little more.
For low-light and nighttime videos, this lens also excels thanks to its maximum f/1.4 aperture. This gives you far greater control for low-light settings and makes this the perfect candidate for shooting nighttime videography. The aperture also means that you can produce professional bokeh effects in your videos.
The quality of the lens construction also excels. The design provides edge-to-edge sharpness for videos and footage that is evenly lit. If you want a compromise between the 50mm and 85mm focal lengths, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G is a top option.
6. Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S gives videographers versatility and a tool to transition smoothly between different depths and focal lengths.
Next, we move to standard zoom lenses. Standard zooms are flexible options for videography and can be used for a range of scene types. One of the best lens options in this category is the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S.
The focal length of 24-70mm enables videographers to shoot anything from wide-angle scenes, through to tight-cropped portrait scenes. The zoom of this lens also allows you to experiment with scene transitions and changes in depth while remaining stationary.
In terms of quality, this lens is fantastic and features S-line durability and lens optics. It has a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 which means it also performs well in low-light scenes. You can also benefit from the excellent STM autofocus motor, which makes subject tracking and focusing during high-speed scenes a breeze.
Another thing worth considering is that this lens is a great contender for outdoor use. It is weather-sealed to repel dust and moisture, meaning you can take your gear out in all extremes and not have to worry so much about damage to the lens.
7. Nikon AF-S FX 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR benefits from image stabilization and is great for fast-paced action videos.
Similar to the Z version above, we have the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR. Although this may not be one of the best Nikon lenses for beginners, it is fantastic for videos and is one of the most versatile Nikon video lenses available.
This lens can be used on full-frame FX cameras and gives a superb focal length of 24-70mm. This dynamic focal length means you might be able to use this as your only film lens – if it fits your shooting style. The only range you’ll be missing out on is mid-range telephoto and beyond.
The lens comes equipped with also has Vibration Reduction, Nikon’s image stabilization, and works for up to 4 stops of camera shake. With this in mind, you can use this lens for handheld video recording and still expect easy subject tracking and sharp focusing.
8. Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S is a premium mid-range telephoto lens that has some of the best utility for video recording.
A mid-range telephoto lens is a great accessory to have for recording videos. With the bigger focal length, you can experiment with different scene compositions and also create incredibly tight portrait footage that really closes in on your subject.
As a result, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S is one of the best Nikon lenses for video. This S-line lens is a premium choice and a great option for serious filmmakers. It also offers some of the best usability features, too. One reason for this is that it has customizable function buttons and a control ring that can be programmed, making adjusting settings a breeze. You can customize this lens to your exact needs or the needs of your various scene types.
Like many of the lenses we’ve picked, you also get consistent image quality across the board with the f/2.8 constant aperture and the high-quality lens optics. Your HD videos will look fantastic and have edge-to-edge sharpness.
9. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
This mid-range telephoto lens has high-quality optics and has great features for filmmaking like a constant f/2.8 aperture.
If you have a Nikon DSLR, you can find a similar mid-range telephoto option with the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. This high-quality telephoto lens has a hefty price tag, but it will deliver consistent quality and performance in your video recording.
With a focal length of 70-200mm, you can shoot many different scene types and also experiment with different angles and positions. For example, you can record from a distance but still get detail or get up close and make your subjects the focus of each scene.
This lens also gives brilliant video quality thanks to Nikon’s advanced optical technology. Your footage will be incredibly sharp and have vivid colors and great contrast. For low-light shooting, the constant f/2.8 aperture is also excellent and makes this lens a top all-around performer.
10. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR gives videographers brilliant versatility in their choice of scenes and transitions.
Our last choice is the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR. This multi-zoom lens has telephoto through to super-telephoto capabilities. It is incredibly versatile and can be used for various scene types and video recording.
Despite the larger size of this lens, it is a stellar performer. The lens benefits from Vibration Reduction (VR) should you wish to handhold this lens. And when you combine the VR with the SWM autofocus, you have a lens that can quickly focus and track moving objects for high-action scenes.
This lens also has a range of special lens elements including ED and aspherical elements. These features help reduce ghosting and flare, but also help boost the overall quality and sharpness of your video footage.
Although this lens doesn’t have a constant aperture across the focal length range, it still offers flexibility with an f/4.5 aperture at 80mm and an f/5.6 aperture at 400mm. This should still allow for great control and decent low-light performance.
Which Nikon Lens for Video Is Right for You?
If you own a Nikon DSLR or mirrorless camera, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to the best Nikon lenses for video. The first step is to consider the type of video you want to record and what shots you will take. From there, you can find the lenses to suit.
For more flexible shooting, zoom and telephoto lenses will offer up plenty of options for your scenes and allow for ultra-detailed closeups. For these, lenses like the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR and the Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S could be good options.
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