Guide to the 6 Best Nikon D300 Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: January 23, 2022
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The Best Nikon D300 Lenses

If you already know the kind of Nikon lens you need, have a look at the best lenses for the Nikon D300 below.

Best Zoom Lenses for Nikon D300

One of the most useful and common zoom lens is the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G, one of the kit lenses for the Nikon D300. The 18-55mm is not going to be discussed as it is already attached to the camera.

Wide zoom lenses are covered further down the page.

Telephoto zoom lenses are excellent with the Nikon D300 for sports,wildlife, portraits, action, or any subject that is far off.

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G Kit Lens for Nikon D300
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for Fast and Quiet Autofocus
  • Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization for Great Handheld Shots
  • Covers a Wide Focal Length Range
  • Perfect Lens for Action Photography with the Nikon D300

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The main appeal of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G is the range the lens has packaged with image stabilization. It's going to be an excellent option anytime you find it challenging to get closer to your subject. Like other zooms, the aperture of f/5.6 at the far end of the zoom range is smaller than the best, wider aperture alternatives cost significantly more.

You will not have to break the bank to get this piece of glass. There are a bunch of pre-owned lenses available for purchase as it was included with the Nikon D3400, D5600, and D5500 cameras.

In order to span the considerable zoom range, the lens is made-up of 17 elements in 11 groups. Two of the elements are extra-low dispersion and one is a high refractive index element to ensure sharp images.

It weighs in at 580g (18.7 oz), with dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 3.0 in. (76.5 mm) x 4.8 in. (123 mm). While not small, it can still easily be carried around on the camera or in your bag.

Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR

Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 G telephoto for Nikon D300
  • Excellent Value When Purchased Second-hand
  • Silent Wave Motor for Accurate Autofocus
  • Excellent for Wildlife, Sports, Action, & Portraits
  • 2 Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Lens Elements
  • (VR) Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization

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The Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5. 6G was the second lens included with the D3300, D3200, and D3100 dslrs. This is a outstanding deal when purchased second-hand.

One in great condition can be found for half the expense of a second hand Nikon 55-300mm.

The only disadvantage of the 55-200mm is the 100mm reduction in reach. It still has VR image stabilization and to help you get sharp images when shooting hand-held.

One good thing about the lens is that carrying it around won't be a problem. It only weighs 335g (11.8 oz) with dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 2.9 in. (73.6 mm) x 3.9 in. (99.5 mm).

Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD

Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Super Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon D300
  • Ultra Silent Drive (USD) Autofocus Motor
  • Extra Low Dispersion (XLD) Glass Element
  • Broad-Band Anti-Reflection (BBAR) Lens Coating
  • 9 Aperture Blades for Beautiful Bokeh
  • Minimal focus distance 59.1"

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The Tamron 70-300mm is a great pick if you want 300mm of reach, but don't want to pay as much for the 55-300mm from Nikon.

One big shortcoming is that there is no image stabilization. This will make it more challenging to get sharp images hand holding the lens.

Similar optical image stabilization is incorporated in the Tamron as found in the Nikons. All of them have extra-low dispersion elements and anti-reflective lens coatings.

The lens weighs 16.1oz (458g). It has a length of 5.6" and diameter of 3.2".

Best Wide Angle Lenses

A wide angle lens is helpful for landscapes, astrophotography, architecture, group photos, real estate photography, and more.

One thing to watch out for is the wide angle causing strong distortion. Portraits can be a challenge as body parts such as a nose close to the front of the lens will appear distorted.

A benefit of a wide angle is that image stabilization is significantly less critical. Small vibrations of movements are unlikely to cause blur in a photo.

Having a fast maximum aperture is essential for astrophotography. In order to get the absolute best results, you want the maximum aperture to be at least f/4.

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Nikon D300
  • Perfect option for night photography
  • Fast f/2.8 Maximum Aperture
  • 77mm Front Filter Threads
  • Focus Clutch Style M/A Selector

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The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 is fast and razor sharp. With a large aperture, this lens is a very good selection for astrophotography.

One key feature of the lens is the focus clutch that controls changing between autofocus and manual focus. To swap focus, the focus ring is either pulled back or pushed forward.

There's a built-in autofocus motor, but it is loud. This is a problem if you require quiet operation when shooting at an event.

The lens is quite large, weighing 550g (1.21 lbs) with dimensions of 4.02 x 4.02 x 4.02 in (L x W x H)

Be careful when you look to buy the lens. Tokina also makes versions that use a different lens mount like the Canon EF or Sony A mounts. Double check to make sure the lens you purchase is compatible with Nikon.

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 Wide Zoom for Nikon D300
  • Hyper-Sonic Motor (HSM)
  • Ultra-wide angle lens
  • Internal Focus and Excellent Build Quality
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Built with Aspherical Elements that Reduce Distortion

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The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 falls into the same price range as the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. It has a larger zoom range, but a slightly smaller maximum aperture.

At 10mm the lens is going to produce a very distorted perspective of anything close to the lens. You're possibly going to spot distortion, which you can eliminate a lot of via image post processing.

4 aspherical elements have been made use of in order to reduce aberrations and distortion. In total there are 13 lens elements in 10 groups to provide the best image quality possible.

All that glass does not make the lens too heavy, as it only weighs 520g (18.3 oz). Dimensions are diameter of 3.4" (87.3mm) and length of 3.5" (88.2mm).

Be careful if you're going to purchase this lens. Sigma also offered copies of the lens for other DSLR lens mounts which includes, Sony A, Canon EF, and Pentax K mounts. Make sure the one you buy uses the Nikon F lens mount.

Best Telephoto Lenses

The 55-300mm & 55-200mm lenses discussed in the zoom section are also the lenses to look for first if you need a telephoto lens.

This part is going to take a look at telephoto prime lenses for sports, action, wildlife, and portrait photography. There are many of these lenses readily available for the Nikon F-mount.

However, telephoto prime lenses tend to be expensive due to the amount of optics that need to be utilized. The weight of the lens and feeling when mounted on a camera needs to be taken into account. The right lens the one that is easy to handle and use so you can capture memorable pictures.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 G Portrait Lens for Nikon D300
  • Best Lens for Portraits
  • Internal Focus (IF)
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Superb Color Reproduction

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The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G is one of the best Nikon lenses for professional photographers. It is a fast lens that delivers excellent images and pleasing bokeh, making it the best portrait lens for the Nikon D300.

The 85mm 1.8G is an FX full frame lens. You'll observe two differences when comparing it against a DX lens.

First, full frame lenses are in most cases cost more compared to DX lenses.

Additionally, the lens is larger than many DX lenses, including zooms. While not a huge issue, if you plan to carry it around with another lens, you'll definitely need a bag.

Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G Prime Lens for Nikon D300
  • Excellent Lens with a Fast Aperture
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Small and Lightweight
  • Excellent Pick for Low Light Photography

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Taking the crop factor focal length multiplier into account, this lens could be looked at a short telephoto. It is an affordable fast prime that can be made use of for portraits and indoor photography.

The FX 50mm f/1.8G provides more reach than the DX 35mm f/1.8G, while still having a comparable price.

There won't huge differences between the lenses. With the 50mm, you'll get a bit more reach and have a less difficult time blurring the background.

It weighs 185g (6.6 oz) and has dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 2.83" x 2.01".

Best First Prime

Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G

Nikon DX 35mm f/1.8 G Best Prime for Nikon D300
  • Very Accurate Autofocus Performance
  • Takes Good Pictures in Difficult Lighting Situations
  • Excellent Nikon D300 lens for street photography
  • High Build Quality
  • Best option for an all around lens

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The Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G is the best first prime lens to get for the Nikon D300.

The maximum aperture of f/1.8 means you'll be able to isolate your subjects and create beautiful bokeh. When shooting indoors the lens is fast enough so that you will not need to employ a flash.

With a 35mm equivalent field of view of 52.5mm, you will have a "standard" field of view. Your photos will have a angle of view that is very close to what is seen by human eyes.

Weighing just 200g (7oz), there is never a reason not to have the lens with you. With dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 2.8 in. (70 mm) x 2.1 in. (52.5 mm), you can easily keep it in a coat pocket or bag.

Macro Photography Best Nikon D300 Lenses

Macro photography begins with a reproduction ratio of 1:1. That 1:1 ratio can also be referred to as life size or 1X magnification.

Those terms all mean that the subject being photographed is the exact same size as the camera's sensor. Popular subjects are insects, coins, flowers, copy work and academic subjects.

There are other great methods to achieve macro magnification, for instance extensions tubes. Personally, I find that a macro lens is easier to use and gives better results. That's because a macro lens has a large minimum focus distance.

As a quick note, Nikon branded their macros as Micro-Nikkor lenses. This is a source of confusion as micro and macro have complete opposite meanings.

Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G

Nikkor Micro 40mm f/2.8 G Macro Photography Nikon D300
  • Close-Range Correction System (CRC)
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio of 1X
  • Well Built with a Rubber Sealing Mount Protects Against Dust and Moisture
  • Outstanding choice for Close Ups

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The Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G is the best choice for starting out with macro and close-up photography with the Nikon D300.

As far as modern macro lenses go, the lens is relatively inexpensive. It also has a high-quality autofocus motor and uses current optics.

This means the lens can also be used for general photography. That's not the case with older macros, as their image quality only becomes excellent after the aperture is stopped down.

The lens weighs 235g (8.3 oz) with dimensions (diameter x length) of 2.7 in. (68.5 mm) x 2.5 in. (64.5 mm).

Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR

Nikkor Micro 85mm f/3.5 Macro Lens for Nikon D300
  • Super Integrated Coating (SIC) to reduce Chromatic Aberration
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio of 1X
  • Built with Internal Focus (IF)
  • VR - Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization

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The big benefit of the 85mm macro lens over the 40mm is a longer working distance. That's the distance between the front of the lens to the subject.

At 1X magnification, the front of the lens is to the subject. If you are hoping to photograph an insect, this may cause them to try to get away.

Another issue might be properly lighting a subject. Based on your light source it might be tricky to get it setup without the lens blocking it.

The drawback is that a little bit more working distance adds to the price of the lens.

While not the main goal of the lens, it is the right focal length for portraits, but the f/3.5 maximum aperture will not create the best background bokeh.

Lens Selection Criteria

  • The overall Image Quality
  • Price to Performance
  • The Focal Length Range

Having a high-quality lens is of more importance for image quality than a high priced camera. Lenses don't wear out, you will be able to keep your lenses if you ever decide to upgrade your Nikon D300.

That doesn't mean that price is not a factor. It does not make sense to recommend high priced lenses, even if they are the best quality.

All the most commonly employed focal lengths have been covered.

Professional or niche lenses such as perspective control, specialist macro, mirror, and fisheye lenses haven’t been included. They are high priced enough to also advise a camera upgrade.

When to Upgrade Your Camera

The Nikon D300 was released in 2007. It should be come as no surprise that there are many Nikon D300 upgrade options available. One of the nice things is that you can still use the same lenses with a more recent camera, the bulk of with seamless compatibility.

Having access to different focal lengths, a fast prime, or a new lens will do more for you than a brand new camera. However, it is not easy to overlook the high resolution available from a more recent APS-C camera body as well as fast continuous shooting speed and more white balance options.

The price of a pre-owned Nikon D300 replacement is a small fraction of the price when the camera was brand new. That same drop in price also applies to more recent camera models.

An upgrade that is a perfect match for your requirements is most likely much less than you imagine if you will be prepared to sell your D300 camera once you have a replacement.

Types of Lenses

Focal Lengths

  • Wide Angle - Captures a large angle of view of a scene. These have a short focal length.
  • Standard - Has a field of view that looks "natural" when viewed by people. Any focal length between 35mm to 50mm.
  • Telephoto - Lenses with a narrow field of view, effective for subjects that are far away or small. Wildlife photos are a popular use for this type of focal length.
  • Macro - Has the ability to take images close up to a subject at a 1:1 magnification ratio of subject to sensor size.
  • Fisheye - Ultra wide-angle lenses that produce distorted circular images.

Zoom vs Prime

  • Zoom - The focal length is variable. The zoom range covered will be different, but Nikon is always trying to make better zooms.
  • Prime - Lenses with a fixed focal length. Usually, they have larger apertures than zoom lenses. Larger apertures are better for low light condition and creating blurry backgrounds with a telephoto lens. Better ones will have razor sharp image clarity.

Compatible Lenses

Nikon F Mount

The D300 camera can use Nikon F-mount lenses. Nikon first utilised the F-mount in 1959. There are a number of different variations of the lens mount as it has been modified over time to support DSLR cameras.

Early lenses with autofocus were designed to work with a focus motor built into camera bodies. The Nikon D300 is one of the only entry level DSLR cameras to a focus motor built into the camera body. As a result, autofocus will work with the first autofocus lenses.

The Nikon D300 doesn't have a EE servo coupling post or meter coupling ridge. Light metering will not work normally for manual lenses that do not have electrical contacts. AF lenses with physical aperture rings will likely need to be stopped down to their smallest aperture.

Nikon D300 Kit Lens

The Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR was originally included with the Nikon D300. This was most often included with second-hand D300's for sale on eBay or Amazon.

It is among the many dx nikkor lenses that have been included with cameras over the years. These make up the right lens option for a majority of the required needs of a Nikon D300 owner.

In challenging low light conditions using fill flash from the camera will help. Compatible lighting equipment like Nikon's creative lighting system is definitely helpful if you can purchase second-hand speedlites that are affordable.

If you don't have this lens, it is an outstanding first choice for the camera. The focal length, inclusion of image stabilization, and performance is adequate, especially considering the affordable cost of a second hand copy. The one undesirable aspect is the f/5.6 aperture at the long end.

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