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The Best Nikon D40 Lenses

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Best Lenses for the Nikon D40

If you know the type of lens you want, check out the best lenses for the Nikon D40 below.

  1. Best Zoom Lens - Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
  2. Best Wide Angle Lens - Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II
  3. Best Telephoto Lens - Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G
  4. Best First Prime - Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G
  5. Best Macro Lens - Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G
  6. Best All in One Lens - Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR

Best Zoom Lenses for Nikon D40

Quite possibly the most common and useful zoom lens is the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G, which was the kit Nikon D40 lens. The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G is not going to be discussed as it is already with the camera.

Wide zoom lenses are discussed in the wide angle section.

Telephoto zoom lenses are awesome with the Nikon D40 for action, portraits,wildlife, sports, or any subject that is far off.

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

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Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G
  • Fast and Quiet Autofocus
  • Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization for Excellent Handheld Shots
  • Gives You a Massive Focal Length Coverage
  • Outstanding Lens for Wildlife Photography with the Nikon D40
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The biggest appeal of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G is the reach the lens has packaged with image stabilization. It is going to be an excellent choice anytime you find it hard to get nearer to what you would like to take a picture of. Like the other zooms mentioned, the aperture of f/5.6 at the far end of the focal length range is smaller than the best, better alternatives cost a lot more.

You will not have to spend very much to get this lens. There are lots of pre-owned copies readily available as it was included with the Nikon D3400, D5500, and D5600 cameras.

The considerable zoom range of 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

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Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G
  • Excellent Value When Purchased Second-hand
  • Silent Wave Motor for Accurate Autofocus
  • Outstanding for Wildlife, Sports, Action, & Portraits
  • 2 Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Lens Elements
  • (VR) Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5. 6G was frequently bundled with the D3200, D3100, and D3300 DSLR cameras. It is a amazing deal when purchased secondhand.

A copy in great cosmetic condition is found for less than half the expense of a pre-owned 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 beneficial thing about the lens is that hauling it around won’t be an issue. It 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 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD

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Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6
  • 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"
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Tamron 70-300mm is a very good choice if you want 300mm of reach, but don’t want to pay for the 55-300mm from Nikon.

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

Very 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 worthwhile 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 challenging as noses or any body part close to the front of the lens will appear abnormally large.

A benefit of a wide angle is that image stabilization is significantly less critical. Tiny movements or vibrations are not as likely to be noticeable in a picture.

Having a fast maximum aperture is vital for astrophotography. {To get the best images, you want at least a f/4, if not f/2.8|In order to get the most impressive images, you want the max aperture to be a minimum of f/4.

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

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Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
  • Perfect selection for night photography
  • Fast f/2.8 Maximum Aperture
  • 77mm Front Filter Threads
  • Focus Clutch Style M/A Selector
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

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

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

The built-in autofocus motor is noisy. This might be a big problem if you require quiet operation when shooting at an event.

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

Be mindful when you look to get the lens. Tokina also makes versions that use a different lens mount like the Canon EF or Sony A mounts. Make sure the lens you buy is compatible with Nikon.

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

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Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5
  • Hyper-Sonic Motor (HSM)
  • Ultra-wide angle lens
  • Internal Focus and Very Good Build Quality
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Built with Aspherical Elements that Reduce Distortion
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

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 an exaggerated distorted perspective. You’re likely going to see distortion, which you can reduce through post-processing.

4 aspherical elements have been utilized to help reduce distortion and aberrations. In total there are 13 lens elements in 10 groups to ensure the best image quality possible.

All that glass doesn’t make the lens too heavy, coming in at a weight of 520g (18.3 oz). Dimensions are diameter of 3.4" (87.3mm) and length of 3.5" (88.2mm).

Be careful if you are looking to purchase this lens. Sigma also made copies of the lens for other DSLR camera mounts including, Canon EF, Sony A, 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 included in the zoom section are also the lenses to look for first if you need a telephoto lens.

This section is going to take a look at telephoto prime lenses for sports, action, wildlife, and portrait photography. There is no shortage of these lenses available for the Nikon F-mount.

However, telephoto prime lenses tend to be expensive because the amount of optics that need to be used. The weight of the lens and ergonomics when mounted on a camera body need 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

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Nikon 85mm f/1.8G
  • Best Lens for Portraits
  • Internal Focus (IF)
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Superb Color Reproduction
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

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.

The 85mm 1.8G is a full frame lens. You’ll notice two differences when comparing it against a DX lens.

First, full frame lenses are usually more expensive than DX lenses. They have larger lens elements, which translates to additional cost.

Second, the lens is larger than many DX lenses. 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

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Nikon 50mm f/1.8G
  • Outstanding Lens with a Fast Aperture
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Small and Lightweight
  • Excellent Pick for Low Light Photography
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

Taking the crop factor focal length multiplier into consideration, this lens could be considered a short telephoto. It is a budget friendly fast prime that can be utilized for portraits and indoors.

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

There aren’t huge differences between the lenses. With the 50mm, you’ll get a bit more reach and have a less challenging 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

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Nikon 35mm f/1.8G
  • Very Accurate Autofocus Performance
  • Takes Great Pictures in Tricky Lighting Situations
  • Excellent Nikon D40 lens for street photography
  • High Build Quality
  • Best option for an all around lens
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G is the best first prime lens to get for the Nikon D40.

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.

Weighing just 200g (7oz), there’s 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 D40 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. Personally, I find that a macro lens 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 constant source of confusion as micro and macro have opposite meanings.

Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G

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Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G
  • 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
  • Excellent option for Close Ups
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G is the best choice for getting started with macro and close-up photography with the Nikon D40.

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 good after the lens has been 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

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Nikon Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G
  • Super Integrated Coating (SIC) to reduce Chromatic Aberration
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio of 1X
  • Built with Internal Focus (IF)
  • VR - Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The major benefit of the 85mm macro lens over the 40mm is a longer working distance. That’s the distance from the front of the lens to the 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 a challenge to get it setup without the lens blocking it.

The downside is that a little more working distance adds to the cost of the lens.

While not the primary purpose of the lens, it can be used for portraits, but the f/3.5 maximum aperture might not create the best background bokeh.

Lens Selection Criteria

  • Overall Image Quality
  • Price to Performance
  • Focal Length Range

Having a high-quality lens is of greater value for image quality than a pricey camera. Lenses don’t wear out, you will be able to keep your lenses if you ever decide to upgrade your Nikon D40.

That doesn’t mean that price is not a factor. It would not seem sensible to recommend high priced lenses, even if they are the best.

All the most commonly employed focal lengths have been covered.

Professional or niche lenses such as mirror, perspective control, specialist macro, and fisheye lenses were not covered. Those are costly enough to warrant a camera upgrade.

When to Upgrade Your Camera

The Nikon D40 was released in 2005. It should be come as no surprise that there are many Nikon D40 upgrade options available. One of the nice things is that you can still use the same lenses with a newer camera, the vast majority with seamless compatibility.

Having access to different focal lengths, a fast prime, or a brand new lens will do more for you than a brand new camera. However, it is very difficult to overlook the high resolution available from a recent APS-C camera body as well as fast continuous shooting speed and more white balance options.

The price of a second-hand Nikon D40 replacement is a fraction of the cost when the camera was new. That same drop in price also applies to newer camera models.

An upgrade that is perfect for what you want is most likely more affordable than you would think if you will be ready to sell your D40 camera once you have the 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, helpful 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 spans a range. The zoom range coverage will vary, but manufacturers are always trying to make more impressive 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 D40 camera needs Nikon F-mount lenses. Nikon has been using the F-mount since 1959. There are many different versions of the lens mount as it has been improved over time to support DSLR cameras.

Early lenses with autofocus employed a focus motor built into camera bodies. The Nikon D40 is one of the only entry level digital SLR cameras to have the focus motor built-in. As a result, autofocus will work with early autofocus lenses.

The Nikon D40 does not have a meter coupling ridge or EE servo coupling post. Light metering won’t work correctly for manual lenses without electrical contacts. AF lenses with physical aperture rings will likely need to be stopped down to their smallest aperture.

Nikon D40 Kit Lens

The Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR was originally bundled with the Nikon D40. This was most commonly included with pre-owned D40’s for sale on eBay or Amazon.

It is in a growing crowd dx nikkor lenses that have been bundled together with cameras through the years. These make up the right lens selection for a majority of the projected needs of a Nikon D40 owner.

In tricky low light conditions using fill flash from the camera will help. Compatible lighting equipment like Nikon’s creative lighting system will be beneficial if you can purchase pre-owned speedlites that are inexpensive enough.

If you don’t have this lens, it is a great first selection for the camera. The focal length, image stabilization, and performance is solid, especially considering the affordable price of a second hand copy. The one undesirable aspect is the f/5.6 aperture at the long end.