The 6 Best Nikon D90 Lenses

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: December 21, 2021
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The Best Nikon D90 Lenses

If you already know the type of Nikon lens you need, check out the best lenses for the Nikon D90 below.

Best Zoom Lenses for Nikon D90

One of the most common and useful zoom lens is the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G, which was a Nikon D90 bundled lens. The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G is going to be omitted as it is already attached to the camera.

Wide zooms are covered lower down.

Telephoto zoom lenses are very good with the Nikon D90 for sports,wildlife, portraits, action, or anything involving subjects at a distance.

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

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G Kit Lens for Nikon D90
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for Fast and Quiet Autofocus
  • Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization for Magnificent Handheld Shots
  • Gives You a Wide Focal Length Range
  • Terrific Focal Length for Sports Photography with the Nikon D90

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The main appeal of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G is the reach the lens has packaged with image stabilization. It will be an excellent option anytime you are unable to get closer to your subject. Like the other zooms mentioned, the aperture of f/5.6 at the long end of the zoom range is a bit small, wider aperture options are significantly more.

You will not have to break the bank to get this zoom. There are plenty of second hand lenses readily available as it was sold with the Nikon D5500, D5600, and D3400 digital cameras.

In order to span the enormous zoom range, 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 D90
  • Excellent Value When Purchased Used
  • Silent Wave Motor for Accurate Autofocus
  • Fantastic 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 included with the D3200, D3300, and D3100 digital SLR cameras. It is a awesome deal when purchased secondhand.

One in decent cosmetic condition is found for half the price of a used 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 hand-holding the camera.

One benefit of the lens is that hauling it around won't be a problem. 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 D90
  • 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 good choice if you want 300mm of reach, but don't want to pay for the 55-300mm from Nikon.

One big disadvantage is the absence of image stabilization. This will make it more difficult to get sharp images hand holding the lens.

Comparable optical image stabilization is integrated 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 difficult as body parts such as a nose close to the front of the lens will appear abnormally large.

A benefit of a wide angle is that image stabilization is significantly less essential. Small vibrations of movements are less likely to be noticed in a picture.

Having a big maximum aperture is beneficial for astrophotography. To get the best possible results, you want at least a f/4, if not f/2.8

Be careful when you look to shop for 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 get 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 D90
  • Hyper-Sonic Motor (HSM)
  • Ultra-wide angle lens
  • Internal Focus and Great 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 any object or person that is close to the lens. You're probably going to spot distortion, which you can minimize during post processing.

4 aspherical elements have been utilized to assist in reducing distortion and aberrations. There are 13 lens elements in 10 groups to help create the best image quality possible.

All that glass doesn't 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 aware if you're looking to buy this lens. Sigma manufactured versions of the lens for other DSLR camera mounts which includes, Pentax K, Sony A, and Canon EF lens mounts. Make sure the one you buy uses the Nikon F lens mount.

Best Telephoto Lenses

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

This part will take a look at telephoto prime lenses for sports, action, wildlife, and portrait photography. many of these lenses are around for the Nikon F-mount.

However, telephoto prime lenses tend to be expensive resulting from the amount of optics that need to be implimented. The weight of the lens and control and handling when mounted on a camera body should be considered. 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 D90
  • 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's a fast lens that delivers excellent images and pleasing bokeh, making it the best portrait lens for the Nikon D90.

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

First, full frame lenses are generally more expensive when compared with DX lenses.

Next, 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 will definitely need a bag.

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

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G Prime Lens for Nikon D90
  • Very Good 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 consideration, this lens could be looked at a short telephoto lens. It is an economical fast prime that can be made use of for portraits and indoors.

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

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 D90
  • Very Accurate Autofocus Performance
  • Takes Very good Pictures in Tricky Lighting Situations
  • Excellent Nikon D90 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 D90.

The f/1.8 maximum apreture means you'll be able to isolate your subjects and create beautiful bokeh. Indoors the lens is fast enough so that you will not need to make use of a flash.

With a 35mm equivalent field of view of 52.5mm, you'll have a "standard" field of view. Your photos will have a angle of view that is comparable to what is seen by a human eye.

Weighing just 200g (7oz), you ought to always have this 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 D90 Lenses

Macro photography begins with a reproduction ratio of 1:1. That 1:1 ratio can also be described 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 get macro magnification, like 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 D90
  • 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
  • Great option for Close Ups

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The Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G is the best choice for beginning macro and close-up photography with the Nikon D90.

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

This means the lens can also be utilised for general photography. That's not the case with older macros, as their image quality only becomes 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 D90
  • 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 key 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 to the subject. If you are trying to photograph an insect, this may cause them to try to get away.

Another issue can be properly lighting a subject. Based on your light source it is likely to be a challenge to get it setup without the lens blocking it.

A downside is that a bit more working distance increases the price of the lens.

While not the biggest purpose of the lens, it can be used for portraits, but the f/3.5 maximum aperture probably won't produce the best background bokeh.

Lens Selection Criteria

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

Having a high-quality lens is more important 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 D90.

That doesn't mean that price is not a factor. It wouldn't make sense to advise using thousand-dollar lenses, even if they are the best.

All the most commonly used focal lengths have been listed.

Niche or professional lenses such as mirror, perspective control, macro, and fisheye lenses weren't covered. Those are high-priced enough to also recommend a camera upgrade.

When to Upgrade Your Camera

The Nikon D90 was released in 2008. It should be come as no surprise that there are many Nikon D90 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 new lens will do more for you than a brand new camera. However, it is next to impossible 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 D90 replacement is a fraction of the cost when the camera was brand new. That same drop in price also applies to more recent camera models.

An upgrade that is a great match for your needs is most likely quite a bit cheaper than you think if you will be ready to sell your D90 camera shortly after 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, useful 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 can be changed. The zoom range coverage will vary, but Nikon is always trying to make larger 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 D90 camera works with Nikon F-mount lenses. Nikon first utilized the F-mount in 1959. There are different variants of the lens mount as it has been updated over time to support digital SLR cameras.

The first lenses with autofocus were powered by a focus motor built into camera bodies. The Nikon D90 has a built-in focus motor. As a result, autofocus will work with the first autofocus lenses.

The Nikon D90 does not have a EE servo coupling post or meter coupling ridge. Light metering can not work as expected for manual lenses that do not have electrical contacts. AF lenses with physical aperture rings will most likely need to be stopped down to their smallest aperture.

Nikon D90 Kit Lens

The Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR was originally included with the Nikon D90. This was most commonly included with second hand D90's for sale on eBay or Amazon.

It is one of the many dx nikkor lenses that have been sold with cameras over the years. These make up the right lens option for a large percentage of the required needs of a Nikon D90 owner.

In challenging 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 find pre-owned speedlites that are affordable.

If you don't have this lens, it is a fantastic first selection for the camera. The focal length, inclusion of image stabilization, and performance is adequate, 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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