Best Lenses for Nikon DF [2021 Review]

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The Nikon DF is Nikon’s answer to the plethora of models on the market equipped with mechanical controls. 

Although the camera has numerous amazing features such as wide aperture and fast autofocus, the best lenses for Nikon DF can give you a fixed focal point and can add color and beautiful effects to your images. 

Our Top Nikon DF Lens Reviews

Nikon DF is a retro-style, full-frame DSLR and is one of Nikon’s most popular cameras among professional photographers and hobbyists. The camera has a mix of features and limitations that are mostly borrowed from previous Nikon DSLRs, including the retro design. 

The best lenses for Nikon DF ought to add quality to the images with the assistance of its aperture, focal length, and depth of field, the range of these features on the lenses will depend on what you want to use your Nikon DF for. 

Best Overall Lens for Nikon DF: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E offers a level of versatility and image quality that makes it a great lens for every type of photographer. Measuring 5.75 x 5.75 x 9.25 inches and weighing 2.35 pounds, it is the heaviest lens on our buying guide.

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E’s zoom ring is located at the base of the lens, which makes it easy to reach and press. It is covered in the same rubberized rectangular pattern as other Nikon zooms, so it is comfortable to the touch. 

This lens is equipped with Vibration Reduction, a feature that the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G does not have. It is a feature that minimizes the appearance of distortion and blur in the background that is often caused by a shaky camera. 

The lens is sharp, and while it does show a bit of distortion, it can be fixed with some editing. The depth of field of the lens can be easily adjusted and the aperture to your liking by using the lens’s smooth rings. 

Unfortunately, this lens is not budget-friendly. However, if you have the money, it is worth the investment as it has all of the features and specs that you may want in a lens. Also, its aperture of f/2.8 is too narrow, and it is not ideal to use in low-light conditions, unlike the Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G and the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G that have wide apertures of f/1.4

Pros:

  • It has a solid build
  • It produces sharp images
  • It is equipped with a Vibration Reduction feature, making it perfect for handheld photography.

Cons:

  • It has uneven illumination when the aperture is on f/2.8; it can’t be used in low-light conditions.
  • Distortion shows up at wide apertures

Best Nikon DF Lens for the Money: Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

The Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G is a great option for photographers who use the Nikon DF camera. It is a solid performer that produces sharp images. It has a wide aperture of f/1.8 that is great for capturing photos in low-light conditions, unlike the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E. 

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

The lens measures 2.87 x 3.15 x 3.15 inches and weighs 12.3 ounces, making it lighter than the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR. It comes with a reversible bayonet lens hood and a soft carrying case so you can store it easily when you travel.

The Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G is equipped with a silent wave motor system or SWM, which means focusing is silent and ideal for capturing photos of live subjects. 

The control that the lens has changed between manual and autofocus. The manual focus ring is located right behind the front element for easy reach. The scale is also printed and it changes to show you the exact distance of the focus. 

However, the lens does not have an optical stabilization system, and distortion is visible if the camera is used handheld. To prevent unwanted effects, using a tripod is the best way to go. Also, it does not have aspherical glass elements, so flaring and chromatic aberration are visible when the maximum aperture is used. 

Pros:

  • It produces sharp images
  • It has a wide aperture of f/1.8, so it can be used to capture images in the dark
  • The lens as a Silent Wave Motor system for quiet and accurate focus 

Cons: 

  • The lens does not have an optical stabilization system, and distortion can be visible due to a shaky camera
  • It does not have aspherical glass elements, so flaring, ghosting, and chromatic aberration are visible on images at maximum aperture. 

Best Cheap Nikon DF Lens: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G

The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G is an amazing portrait lens when paired with the Nikon DF. Typically, lenses with 50mm focal length are compact when compared to wide-angle lenses or telephoto SLR lenses, and the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G is no exception. 

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm F/1.4D DSLR Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

The lens is lighter than the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR and the Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G, measuring 2.13 x 2.91 x 2.13 inches and weighing 10.2 ounces.

The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G includes coatings to protect it against natural elements such as dust, moisture, and water. It also has an internal focus motor that lets the lens zoom in on the subject without having to change its length. 

The lens can produce impressive sharpness on images when it is paired with Nikon DF. However, it does not have an aperture ring, so you won’t be able to use it on older manual focus cameras; it can only be operated through autofocus. 

The Nikon 50mm f/1.4G’s fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 is ideal for shooting in low-light areas, a feature that the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR does not have. 

The lens is not equipped with image stabilization, unlike the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR, so instead of using it handheld, which may affect the quality of the image, you can get a tripod or stabilizer to attach it to. 

Also, it can’t be used for macro photography as its maximum focal length is 50mm, which is only enough to zoom in on a subject without getting too close. 

Pros:

  • Perfect for portrait photography
  • Lightweight, it can be carried anywhere
  • It has an internal focus motor so that the lens can zoom in on the subject, and it won’t change its length while doing so. 

Cons:

  • It can’t be used for macro photography
  • It has no aperture ring, so manual focus can’t be used when the lens is attached to older camera models.
  • It does not have image stabilization, so distortion may be visible if the lens is used in handheld photography. 

Features to Consider in Lenses for the Nikon DF

Looking for the best lenses for Nikon DF that will match the camera’s technology and built-in features can be overwhelming. Here are the features that you need to consider so you can get the best lens for you.  

Nikon DF camera

Aperture

The target market of the Nikon DF is photographers that love to shoot with compact and fast-aperture lenses. The camera itself is made for low-light photography, and to be able to use that feature to its full extent, pairing it with a lens that has a wide aperture is the best way to go.  

The Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G and the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G have wide apertures and are meant for capturing images in low-lit areas. 

Shutter Speed

What sets Nikon apart from the other camera brands is that it has a shutter speed dial built-in, and the Nikon DF is no exception. A shutter speed refers to the amount of time that the camera’s shutter is open. 

Shutter speed can change the brightness of your images and it can also create effects by blurring motion or freezing action. 

The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E has a fast shutter speed of 1/4 or a quarter of a second, which is enough to let the lens gather enough light to brighten up your images. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Nikon DF Use Non-AI Lenses?

The Nikon DF can use non-AI lenses.

The Automatic Maximum Aperture Indexing or AI lenses have aperture increments that can be controlled more precisely by the camera, and it adjusts the aperture for you depending on what you are taking pictures of. 

Meanwhile, non-AI lenses are older lenses that have aperture increments that need to be adjusted by the user manually.

The Nikon DF supports both non-AI lenses and AI lenses. 

Are Nikon and Nikkor the Same?

Nikon and Nikkor are not the same, but they are connected. Nikkor was introduced solely for the Nikon F-mount lenses. 

Nikon camera lens

Any Nikon lens with Nikkor printed on it would be automatically identified as an F-mount, which is a type of mount launched by Nikon for its 35mm SLR cameras. It is also an indication that the lens is of premium build quality.

Conclusion

The Nikon DF is an amazing camera that deserves an equally amazing lens. Picking out a lens that suits your needs is not an easy task, as there are so many things to consider. However, as long as you know what you need and the type of photography you want to do, you can get the best lens for your camera. 

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VRNikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8GNikon 50mm f/1.4G
Image stabilizationYesNoNo
Aperture rangef/2.8f/1.8f/1.4
Silent Wave Motor SystemNoYesNo