Guide to the 6 Best Nikon D5000 Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: January 23, 2022
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The Best Nikon D5000 Lenses

If you know the focal length of lens you need, take a look at the best lenses for the Nikon D5000 below.

Best Zoom Lenses for Nikon D5000

The most common and useful zoom lens is the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G, one of the kit lenses for the Nikon D5000. The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G is not going to be covered as a large percentage people likely already own it.

Wide zooms are discussed further down the page.

Telephoto zoom lenses are awesome with the Nikon D5000 for portraits, action,sports,wildlife, 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 D5000
  • Fast and Quiet Autofocus
  • Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization for Superb Handheld Shots
  • Has a Massive Focal Length Coverage
  • Great Lens for Sports Photography with the Nikon D5000

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The biggest draw of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G is the range the lens has partnered with image stabilization. It's going to be a great pick whenever you may not be able to get nearer to your subject. Like the other zooms mentioned, the aperture of f/5.6 at the long end of the focal length range is a little small, better options will cost substantially more.

You won't have to spend very much to get this zoom. There are plenty of second-hand lenses for sale as it was offered with the Nikon D5600, D5500, and D3400 digital cameras.

The considerable zoom range of the lens is comprised 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 D5000
  • Excellent Value When Purchased Used
  • Silent Wave Motor for Accurate Autofocus
  • Very good 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 quite often sold with the D3300, D3100, and D3200 DSLR cameras. This is a incredible deal when bought second-hand.

A copy in good cosmetic condition is found for not even half the price of a second-hand Nikon 55-300mm.

The only downside of the 55-200mm is the loss of 100mm of 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 huge concern. 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 Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD

Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Super Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon D5000
  • 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 very good pick if you want 300mm of reach, but don't want to pay as much for the 55-300mm from Nikon.

One big drawback is that there is no image stabilization. This will make it more 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 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 tricky as noses or any body part close to the lens will appear deformed.

One advantage of a wide angle is that image stabilization is not as beneficial. Tiny movements or vibrations are not as likely to be noticeable in a photo.

Having a big maximum aperture is useful for astrophotography. {In order to get the best possible results, you want at least a f/4, if not f/2.8 maximum aperture|In order to get the most impressive photos, you want the max 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 D5000
  • Perfect pick 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 sharp. With a large aperture, this lens is an outstanding choice 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 often is a problem if you want quiet operation when shooting at an event.

The lens is comparatively 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 go to buy 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 decide to buy is compatible with the Nikon F-mount.

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

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 Wide Zoom for Nikon D5000
  • Hyper-Sonic Motor (HSM)
  • Ultra-wide angle lens
  • Internal Focus and Superb 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 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 reviewed 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 employed. 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

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 G Portrait Lens for Nikon D5000
  • 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.

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

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G Prime Lens for Nikon D5000
  • Great Lens with a Fast Aperture
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Small and Lightweight
  • Excellent Choice for Low Light Photography

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Taking the crop factor focal length multiplier into account, this lens could be thought of as a short telephoto lens. It is a budget friendly fast prime that can be utilised 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 blurring the background will be less challenging.

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 D5000
  • Very Accurate Autofocus Performance
  • Takes Excellent Pictures in Difficult Lighting Situations
  • Excellent Nikon D5000 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 D5000.

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 D5000 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

Nikkor Micro 40mm f/2.8 G Macro Photography Nikon D5000
  • 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

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The Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G is the best option for getting started with macro and close-up photography with the Nikon D5000.

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 made use of for general photography. That's not the case with older macros, as their image quality only becomes razor sharp 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

Nikkor Micro 85mm f/3.5 Macro Lens for Nikon D5000
  • 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 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 very hard 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 even more beneficial for image quality than a really expensive camera. Lenses don't wear out, you will be able to keep your lenses if you ever decide to upgrade your Nikon D5000.

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

All the most commonly employed focal lengths have been included.

Professional or niche lenses such as perspective control, macro, mirror, and fisheye lenses weren't included. They are high-priced enough to also recommend a camera upgrade.

When to Upgrade Your Camera

The Nikon D5000 was released in 2009. It should be come as no surprise that there are many Nikon D5000 upgrade options available. One of the nice things is that you can still use the same lenses with a current camera, the vast majority with seamless compatibility.

Having access to different focal lengths, a fast prime, or a cutting edge lens will do more for you than a just released camera. However, it is very difficult 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 second-hand Nikon D5000 replacement is a tiny proportion of the price when the camera was just released. That same drop in price also applies to recent camera models.

An upgrade that is the right camera for what you want is most likely much less expensive than you would think if you will be prepared to sell your D5000 camera when 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, great 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 be different, but manufacturers are always trying to make better zoom ranges.
  • 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 D5000 camera is compatible with Nikon F-mount lenses. Nikon first utilised the F-mount in 1959. There are a number of different variants of the lens mount as it has been modified over time to accommodate digital SLR cameras.

Initial lenses with autofocus were designed to work with a focus motor built into camera bodies. The Nikon D5000 does not have have the focus motor built-in. As a result, autofocus will not work with early autofocus lenses.

The Nikon D5000 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 D5000 Kit Lens

The Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR was originally included with the Nikon D5000. This was most commonly sold with second hand D5000's for sale on eBay or Amazon.

It is in a growing crowd dx nikkor lenses that have been sold together with cameras over the years. These make up the right lens choice for a large percentage of the projected needs of a Nikon D5000 owner.

In tough low light conditions using fill flash from the camera will help. Compatible lighting equipment like Nikon's creative lighting system can be beneficial if you can buy used speedlites that are inexpensive.

If you don't have this lens, it is a very good first pick for the camera. The focal length, inclusion of image stabilization, and performance is decent, especially taking into account the low cost of a used copy. The one undesirable aspect is the f/5.6 aperture at the long end.

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