In a hurry? check out the best Nikon D3300 lens options for each category below.
- Zoom Lens - Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
- Wide Angle Lens - Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
- Telephoto Lens - Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 G
- First Prime - Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8 G
- Macro - Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G
- Kit Lens - Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED AF-S DX VR
Best Zoom Lenses
In terms of value the best zoom lens is the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G, which was the Nikon D3300 kit lens. If you don't have one, definitely check that lens out.
Wide zooms for the Nikon D3300 are covered in the wide angle focal length range section.
The longer focal lengths of telephoto zooms are great if you want to do wildlife, sport, action, portraits, and any photography that has distance involved with the Nikon D3300. As large apertures on telephoto lenses is expensive to get, the long end of the zoom range for the recommended lenses will not be good in low light conditions.
- Quiet and Fast Autofocus
- Vibration Reduction (VR) for High Quality Images from Handheld Shots
- Great choice for wildlife photography
- 1 High Refractive Index (HRI) Lens Element
- Reasonable price and a perfect choice for amateur photographers.
The Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G lens is desirable because of its reach. Whenever you find yourself limited by how close you can get to the subject, this would be an excellent lens to have.
What's nice is that you won't have to spend very much money to get a copy of the lens. It was the second kit lens included with the Nikon D5600, D5500, and D3400. As such, there are many used copies available that are still in excellent condition.
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.
The lens weighs 580g (18.7 oz). The dimensions are (Diameter x Length) 3.0 in. (76.5 mm) x 4.8 in. (123 mm). While not small enough to be carrier in a pocket, the lens will easily fit in a bag.
- An Affordable Lens When Purchased Used
- Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for Accurate Autofocus
- One of the best lenses for Nikon D3300 Wildlife and Sports Photography
- 2 Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Lens Elements
- Vibrations Reduction (VR) Image Stabilization
The Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G was another bundled lens. It was sold as the second kit lens with the D3200, D3100, and D3300. It is a amazing deal when purchased used.
To put it into perspective, a copy in almost new condition can be purchased for less than half of what a used 55-300mm lens costs.
You aren't missing out on any optical tech as the lens has VR and ED lens elements. You'll be able to get sharp images even when hand holding the lens.
The only drawback of the 55-200mm compared to the 55-300mm is the 100mm less reach. If you are going to be shooting wildlife or sports, that difference could be worth paying the extra money for.
The lens weighs 335g (11.8 oz). Dimensions are (Diameter x Length) 2.9 in. (73.6 mm) x 3.9 in. (99.5 mm). It will be easier to carry around than the 55-300mm.
Best Wide Angle Lenses
Wide angles are useful for landscapes, real estate, astrophotography, architecture, group photos, event photography, and more.
They have a shot focal length which provides a wide field of view. This is useful for capturing images where backing up isn't an option, such as the inside of a room.
One thing to watch out for is the ability of wide angle lenses to distort an image. Portraits can be an issue as noses or any body part close to the lens will appear abnormally large.
- Small compact size and lightweight.
- Great for shooting video or travel.
- Vibration reduction (VR) image stabilization.
Firmware on the Nikon D3300 may need to be updated to ensure compatibility with the Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G. The lens is not compatible with olders Nikon cameras as it has no switches on the lens body. The only physical controls are a zoom and focus ring.
The lens is an excellent value. The only downside is that the maximum aperture is smaller than other options. The small aperture can be difficult to use in low light situations without a tripod or lighting.
That does come with the advantage of only weighing 8.2 oz. (230 g). It won't weigh down a camera bag which is why it is such a good choice for travel photography.
- 2 Aspheric and 2 Super-Low Dispersion Lens Elements
- Wide Aperture Perfect for Low Light Photography
- 77mm Front Filter Threads
- Focus Ring Clutch Style M/A Selector
A great lens for Nikon D3300 astrophotography is the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. The lens is fast, sharp, has a large aperture, and is a great value.
One quirk of the lens is the focus ring clutch that controls changing between manual and auto focus. To switch between the two focus modes, the entire focus ring is either pushed forward or pulled back.
I personally like the focus clutch because you do not need to look at the lens to find the switch. Not everybody agrees with that and some people prefer having a switch.
The lens does have a built-in autofocus motor, but it is loud. This can be a problem if you need quiet operation for an event or for shooting video.
In terms of size, the lens is fairly large. It weighs 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 for the Canon EF and Sony A mounts. Double-check to make sure the lens you buy is for Nikon.
- Hyper-Sonic Motor (HSM)
- Ultra-wide angle lens
- Internal Focus
- Super Multi-Layer Coating
- Aspherical lens elements for improved image sharpness
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 slightly smaller maximum apertures.
At 10mm the lens is going to produce an exaggerated perspective. You're likely going to see distortion, which you can reduce through post-processing.
4 aspherical and 3 low dispersion lens elements have been used to help reduce distortion and aberrations. In total there are 13 lens elements in 10 groups.
All that glass doesn't make the lens too heavy, coming in at a weight of 520g (18.3 oz). Dimensions are (Diameter x Length) 3.4" (87.3mm) x 3.5" (88.2mm).
Be careful if you are looking to purchase this lens. Sigma also made copies of the lens for Canon EF, Sony A, and Pentax K mounts. Make sure the lens is for Nikon before you buy it.
Best Telephoto Lenses for Nikon D3300
Both of the 55-300mm as well as the 55-200mm lenses mentioned previously should be considered. The two are low-priced telephoto zoom lens options. Check them out before looking at more expensive lenses.
This section is going to focus on telephoto prime lenses. Low light performance is better due to the bigger maximum aperture. Plus, you'll get nicer bokeh.
- Popular Portrait Lens Among Professional Photographers
- Internal Focus (IF)
- Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
- Super Integrated Coating (SIC)
One of the best lenses for Nikon D3300 portraits is the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 G. When you see how well the lens renders and the beautiful bokeh, you are going to understand why.
This is a full frame fx lens so it will have a higher price than other Nikon lenses. It is also relatively large and heavy.
Despite those drawbacks it is one of the most commonly used portrait lenses for wedding photography. It is the perfect lens for manual focus because of the shallow depth of field when shooting wide open with a full frame lens.
- Fast Aperture, Great for Low Light Shooting
- Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
- Small and Lightweight
- Super Integrated Coating (SIC)
- 7 Elements in 6 Groups
The 50mm f/1.8G is not a telephoto lens. The lens is still a fast prime, which is the reason it ought to be viewed as an option. You can use it to take portraits.
For use in low light situations, the 50mm will perform well due to the large aperture.
Nikon has not produced many prime lenses specifically for crop sensor cameras. Up against the DX 35mm, the Nikon 50mm has more reach.
The lens isn't large, weighing 185g (6.6oz) with a diameter of 2.8" and length of 2".
Best First Prime
- Fast Automatic Focusing
- Small Size Good for Street Photography
- Best Prime Lens for Nikon D3300 Everyday Photography
- Normal Lens Focal Length
The Nikon 35mm f/1.8G is one of the best prime lenses to get for the D3300.
A maximum aperture of f/1.8, means you'll be able to isolate your subjects and create beautiful bokeh. Indoors the lens is fast enough to where you will not need to use flash.
With a 35mm equivalent field of view of 52.5mm, you'll have a "standard" field of view. Your photos will have a perspective that is similar to what is seen by human eyes.
The lens was designed for a DX camera which is why it weighs just 200g (7oz). This is a versatile lens that can produce crisp images. 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 packet or camera bag.
Best Macro Lenses
Macro photography starts 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 same size as the camera's sensor. Popular subjects are insects, coins, flowers, copy work, and academic subjects.
There are other ways to achieve macro magnification, such as extensions tubes. I find a dedicated macro lens provides excellent image quality and easy to use on the Nikon D3300.
A macro lens for Nikon will be branded as Micro-Nikkor. This is a constant source of confusion as micro and macro have opposite meanings.
- Close-Range Correction System (CRC)
- Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
- Excellent choice for close up shots with the Nikon D3300
- Rubber Sealing Mount Protects Against Dust and Moisture
- Super Integrated Coating (SIC)
The Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G is the best choice for getting started with close-up and macro photography.
As far as modern macro lenses go, the lens is relatively inexpensive. It also has a high quality auto focus 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 good after the lens 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).
- Super Integrated Coating (SIC) to Reduce Chromatic Aberration
- Best macro lens for Nikon D3300
- Internal Focusing (IF)
- Vibration Reduction Technology
The major benefit of the 85mm focal length macro lens over the 40mm is a larger minimum focus distance. That distance will determine how much room you have to work between the front of the lens and subject.
At 1X magnification, the front of the lens is going to be close to the subject. If you are trying to photograph an insect, this may cause them to try to get away.
Another issue could be properly lighting a subject. Depending on your light source it could be difficult to get is setup without the lens blocking it.
The downside is that gaining a little more working distance, adds onto the price of the lens.
While not the primary purpose of the lens, it can be used for portraits. At 85mm, it can also be used for other subjects you would want to use a telephoto lens for, but it is a slower lens.
Lens Selection Criteria
- Image Quality
- Price to Performance
- Range of Focal Lengths
Money spent on a lens with good image quality will do more than spending that money on a new camera. Lenses do not require replacing or upgrading as frequently as a camera body does.
That should not mean that cost is was a factor in determining the best Nikon D3300 lenses. Lenses that cost thousands of dollars, even with their outstanding image quality, don't make sense to use with the D3300. After all, the Nikon D3300 was released as an entry level camera.
Each of the frequently used focal lengths are included.
Professional or specialized lenses such as perspective control, specialist macro, fisheye lens, and mirror lenses have not been listed.
When to Upgrade Your Camera
You should have multiple lenses and other photography gear before you think about upgrading cameras. Upgrading your camera, but not replacing the kit lens, is not going to lead to a big difference in your final image quality.
Using different focal lengths will have a bigger impact on your photography than a new camera.
The Nikon D3300 was introduced in 2012. The camera is still able to take great pictures.
However, the cost of a used D3300 is a small part of the cost when the camera was released. A similar decline in price also applies to more recent DSLRs.
An upgrade is likely less expensive than you assume if you are ready to sell your current camera after you replace it. This page covers the best Nikon D3300 upgrade options.
Types of Lenses
- Wide Angle - Captures a large angle of view of a scene. Popular for landscape photography.
- Standard - Has a field of view that looks "natural" when viewed by people.
- Telephoto - These have narrow field of view, which is useful for subjects that are far away or small. Many popular portrait lenses can be found in this type.
- Macro - Has the ability to take images close up to a subject at a 1:1 magnification ratio of subject to sensor size. Popular for product photography.
- Fisheye Lenses - Ultra wide angle with some fisheye lenses being such a wide focal length that they produce distorted circular images.
Zoom Lens vs Prime Lens for Nikon D3300
- Zoom - The focal length of the lens can be changed.
- Prime - Lenses with a fixed focal length. Usually have larger apertures than zoom lenses. Larger apertures are better for low light performance and creating blurry backgrounds.
Nikon F Lens Mount
The Nikon D3300 uses Nikon F-mount lenses. The F-mount has been around since 1959. There are several different lens variations.
Early Nikon lenses with autofocus relied on a motor drive built into camera bodies. The D3300 does not have a motor drive. As a result, autofocus will not work with those lenses.
For more information, you can see the Nikon F-mount lens and camera compatibility page.
Nikon DX Format Cameras
DX lenses have been designed for use on a cropped sensor APS-C camera like the Nikon D3300.
Kit Lens for Nikon D3300
The Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED AF-S DX VR is a great all in one lens that was one or possibly two of the originally included kit lenses for Nikon D3300. This is the lens most commonly bundled with used D3300's for sale on eBay or Amazon as it is a great all around lens.
If you don't have this lens, it is an excellent first choice for the camera. It has a very useful focal range and optical performance is good, especially considering the low price of a used copy of the lens.
Nikon D3300 Crop Factor
The Nikon D3300 has a 1.5x crop factor when compared to a camera with a full frame sensor that are designed for FX lenses. A camera lens designed for a full frame camera will have an imaging circle larger than what cropped sensor cameras need.