5 Best Nikon Camera Lenses for Landscape Photography

When shopping for the best landscape lens for Nikon, the most important factors to consider are the focal length, aperture, and stabilization. Below, I’ve summarized the top five products based on these features. So read on to learn why they are essential.

As a casual photographer, landscapes are among the most common subjects that I like to capture. They are so popular that they become a photography genre of their own, further subdivided into 13 types.

However, achieving stunning landscape photos depends on the right equipment. This includes your camera body and lens, and there is no doubt that Nikon is among the best camera manufacturers on the market today.

With these in mind, I scoured the web to determine the five best Nikon lenses for landscape photography.

This photography genre can involve all types of lenses (yes, even telephoto!), but we only listed wide-angle lenses, which are essential in every landscape photographer’s kit. Instead, we will talk more about zoom and prime lenses that go along with full-frame or APS-C DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

So whether you are into seascapes or mountain photography, this list of lenses for landscape got you covered. There is also a handy buying guide below to help you make the right purchasing decision.

Read on to learn more!

A Brief Guide to Nikon Lens Abbreviations

When shopping for Nikon camera lenses, you will encounter many letters and numbers on the lens barrel. We know how confusing these can be for beginners. So before we dive right into our top picks, we would like to explain what these characters mean briefly.

Nikon Lens Abbreviations

AF-S or AF-P

AF-S, or Autofocus Silent, refers to Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM). It enables accurate, fast, and quiet autofocusing within the lens.

However, some lenses have AF-P, which uses a pulse or stepping autofocus motor. This offers faster and smoother autofocusing than an AF-S lens, ideal for video and quiet shooting conditions.

Nikkor

Nikkor is simply the brand name of Nikon’s range of lenses.

Focal Length

Next to the Nikkor brand, you will see numbers, such as a 16-80mm. These characters refer to the distance between the lens and the sensor when focusing on a subject. They also determine the angle of view or how much of the scene is captured by the sensor. The distance is measured in millimeters.

In our example, you will see two numbers indicated, which means that it is a zoom lens. The smaller number (16mm) is the minimum focal length, while the larger number (80mm) is the maximum focal length.

The larger or longer the focal range, the smaller the angle of view it provides. This gives you a tighter or zoomed-in perspective.

But it is also common to see only one number on the lens, such as 50mm, meaning that it is a prime lens. This type of lens has a fixed focal length.

Maximum Aperture

The next set of numbers, such as 1:2.8-4, refers to the maximum diameter of the lens opening or maximum aperture. It is usually indicated in f-number or f-stops.

The smaller the f-number, the larger the lens opening. Thus, it allows more light into the sensor, which enables you to use a faster shutter speed. So an f/2.8 lens is faster than an f/5.6 lens.

In our example, you will see two number markings (1:2.8-4). These indicate that the lens has a variable aperture, which differs as the focal length changes. Usually, though, you will only encounter one number that identifies the lens’s constant maximum aperture through the entire focal range.

E or G

The E abbreviation stands for electronic aperture activation or electromagnetic aperture control. These lenses lack a manual connection to the aperture in the camera body. Instead, they communicate using electrical signals, hence the name. They are fairly new and usually more expensive than G lenses.

G simply means gelded. These lenses do not have a manual focus ring found on old Nikon lenses, but they include a focus motor inside the glass. Most Nikon lenses are usually gelded.

ED

ED means extra-low dispersion glass, which is an optical glass that Nikon developed to correct chromatic aberrations.

VR

VR indicates that the lens features Vibration Reduction. This image stabilization technology from Nikon reduces blur caused by camera shake to deliver sharp images. It is handy for shooting handheld or in low-light conditions.

DX or FX

Finally, the DX abbreviation means that the lens is fine-tuned to use for crop-sensor cameras.

In contrast, FX means that the lens is designed for full-frame cameras.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2021

ImageProductDetails
Best Zoom Lens
for Landscape Photography
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mmNikon AF-S FX NIKKOR
24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 24-70mm
Filter Thread Size: 77mm
Dimensions: 5.24 x 3.27 x 3.27 inches
Weight: 2.36 lbs
Check price
Best Prime Lens
for Landscape Photography
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mmNikon AF-S DX NIKKOR
35mm f/1.8G
Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
Focal Length: 35mm
Filter Thread Size: 52mm
Dimensions: 2.09 x 2.76 x 2.76 inches
Weight: 0.44 lbs
Check price
Best Mirrorless Camera Lens
for Landscape Photography
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mmNikon NIKKOR Z
24-70mm f/4 S
Maximum Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 24-70mm
Filter Thread Size: 72mm
Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.1 x 3.1 inches
Weight: 1.10 lbs 
Check price
Best Third-Party Lens
for Landscape Photography
Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art DC HSMSigma 18-35mm
f/1.8 Art DC HSM
Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
Focal Length: 18-35mm
Filter Thread Size: 72mm
Dimensions: 4.76 x 3.07 x 3.07 inches
Weight: 1.79 lbs
Check price
Best Budget Lens
for Landscape Photography
Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLDSigma 17-50mm f/2.8
EX DC OS HSM FLD
Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 17-50mm
Filter Thread Size: 77mm
Dimensions: 3.62 x 3.31 x 3.31 inches
Weight: 1.25 lbs
Check price

5 Best Landscape Lenses for Nikon Cameras

1. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED – Best Zoom Lens for Landscape Photography

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm

Specifications:

  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
  • Focal Length: 24-70mm
  • Filter Thread Size: 77mm
  • Dimensions: 5.24 x 3.27 x 3.27 inches
  • Weight: 2.36 lbs

If you prefer having a variable focal length for landscape photography, go with a wide-angle to medium telephoto zoom lens.

One of the best choices on the market is the NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED. It enables you to capture more of the scene in front of you while still giving you the flexibility to shoot far-away landscapes. 

Meanwhile, the fixed maximum aperture at f/2.8 delivers consistent exposure across the entire focal range. It is also fast enough to ensure exceptional low-light performance.

What’s more, the NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G features three extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements and PGM aspherical lenses. These enhance color, contrast, and sharpness, which results in high-quality photos and videos.

On top of these benefits, this Nikon lens comes with an exclusive Nano Crystal Coat. It minimizes ghosting and flare to offer greater image clarity.

Most customer reviews for this lens were positive, with several landscape photographers praising the image sharpness and color it produces. However, some users reported that photos turn out to be soft in the center. It is also quite heavy and expensive at around $1,600.

With that said, we find that you get what you pay for with this lens. Overall, the NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED is among the best zoom lenses for landscape photography due to its versatility and image quality.

Pros:

  • Versatile zoom range
  • Fast lens
  • Vibrant color and contrast
  • Sharp image quality, even when shooting wide open
  • Accurate and quick autofocus
  • Weather-sealed

Cons:

  • Heavy and bulky
  • On the pricier side
  • Lack of VR image stabilization
  • Some users reported that images were soft

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Do you want a wider perspective? Consider checking out the NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. It is an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens, meaning that it is not as versatile as the NIKKOR 24-70mm. But it enables you to shoot a broader scene, making it easier to capture panoramas and landscapes in front of you. Plus, it also comes with a weather sealing, exclusive ED Glass, and Nano Crystal Coat. Despite these pros, it shares the same downsides as the 24-70mm, namely the heavy build and steep cost.

2. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G – Best Prime Lens for Landscape Photography

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm

Specifications:

  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
  • Focal Length: 35mm
  • Filter Thread Size: 52mm
  • Dimensions: 2.09 x 2.76 x 2.76 inches
  • Weight: 0.44 lbs

Do you want the best Nikon lens for landscape photography with a fixed focal length? Consider getting the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G.

Some landscape photographers will warn against the 35mm because it is not too wide. However, we think that it is the ideal focal length for capturing landscapes. The NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G does not distort the scenery like an ultra-wide-angle lens will do. Instead, it captures the subject closer to how you see it with your own eyes.

For this reason, it is still quite versatile despite being a prime lens. It enables you to capture both landscape and portrait photos in stunning detail.

Regarding aperture, this Nikon lens opens wide at f/1.8. It offers a narrow depth of field and exceptional low-light performance. The latter is especially handy for capturing panoramas during nighttime.

Despite these pros, there are still a few downsides to this landscape lens.

It lacks VR optical image stabilization and ED glass, which can affect overall image quality. Some users also reported that the exposure is inconsistent. For low-light conditions, the wide-angle lens performs exceptionally well. But it underexposes the scene on a bright day. Fortunately, there is a solution for this problem. You can try updating the firmware of your camera.

To sum up, the NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G is among the best prime wide-angle lenses for Nikon DX-format cameras. If you own a full-frame model, you can check out the FX-format lens with the same focal length.

Pros:

  • Versatile for a prime lens
  • Remarkable low-light performance
  • Stunning narrow depth of field
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Budget-friendly

Cons:

  • Lack of VR image stabilization
  • Not weather-sealed
  • The fixed focal length might not be too wide for some
  • Some users reported inconsistent exposure

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If 35mm is not wide enough for you, check out the NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED prime lens. This Nikon landscape lens offers the same maximum aperture while giving your photos a little distortion. It enables you to capture stunning landscape images. However, it is approximately four times the base price of the NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G.

3. Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S – Best Landscape Photography Lens for Mirrorless Cameras

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm

Specifications:

  • Maximum Aperture: f/4
  • Focal Length: 24-70mm
  • Filter Thread Size: 72mm
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.1 x 3.1 inches
  • Weight: 1.10 lbs 

Do you use a Nikon Z mirrorless camera for photographing landscapes? Consider getting the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S.

This wide-angle to telephoto lens is fully compatible with the Nikon mirrorless camera line. Thus, you can bid goodbye to lens adapters and achieve stunning results right out of the package.

It features a variable focal length ranging from 24mm to 70mm. So whether you want to shoot wide or achieve a tighter perspective for landscape, this lens delivers.

When using this lens, you can also take advantage of the 5-axis Vibration Reduction technology on your camera to minimize camera shake. There is also an electronic VR (e-VR) that further stabilizes images, ideal for movie mode.

Moreover, the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 ensures a faster and near-silent AF, owing to the new stepping motor (STM).

On top of these benefits, it offers a close focus of less than a foot (11.8 inches) away from your subject. Thus, it is not only suitable for landscapes, but it is also perfect for macro photography.

But despite its versatile focal range, the maximum aperture of f/4 can limit the type of photography you can do. First, it is not fast enough for low-light conditions. And it does not offer the shallowest depth of field, which is crucial for portraits. Finally, it is quite expensive.

Nevertheless, the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 is an excellent all-rounder Nikon lens for landscape photography. We recommend buying it as part of a kit.

Pros:

  • Multiple focal lengths offer versatility for most landscape photographers
  • 5-axis Vibration Reduction technology
  • Ultra-quiet stepping motor (STM)
  • Weather-sealed
  • Close focusing for macro photography

Cons:

  • On the pricier side
  • Not suitable for low-light shooting conditions
  • It does not offer a narrow depth of field
  • No dedicated focus ring

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If you want to shoot faster in low-light conditions, take a look at the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S. It shares almost the same specs as the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4, except for the maximum aperture and focus ring. This manual focus lens can capture scenes wide open at f/2.8, which offers greater versatility. However, it is more than twice the price of our recommended product. 

4. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art DC HSM – Best Third-Party Lens for Landscape Photography

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art DC HSM

Specifications:

  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
  • Focal Length: 18-35mm
  • Filter Thread Size: 72mm
  • Dimensions: 4.76 x 3.07 x 3.07 inches
  • Weight: 1.79 lbs

Maybe you own many Nikon lenses already, or you just want to try third-party lenses and see what the hype is all about. Regardless of your reasons, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art DC HSM is a landscape lens worth checking out.

This wide-angle lens has a focal range between 18mm and 35mm, perfect for capturing landscapes and panoramas. However, it is not an ultra-wide-angle glass, so you can still use it for portraits, close-ups, and casual everyday photography. On a full-frame camera, the focal length translates to 27mm-52.5mm.

Additionally, it opens wide at f/1.8. This maximum aperture delivers stunning depth of field and remarkable low-light performance.

Furthermore, this Sigma lens features a Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass. It helps reduce aberrations and curvature when shooting at the widest angle of view.

Meanwhile, the Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures fast and smooth autofocusing. That said, some users have problems with the AF. They reported that it is not as accurate, resulting in softer photos.

The lack of optical image stabilization can also affect image quality when shooting handheld.

The pros outweigh the cons, though.

For this reason, we think the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art DC HSM is among the best third-party lenses for landscape photography.

Pros:

  • Versatile wide-angle focal length
  • Sharp photos
  • Exceptional low-light performance
  • Stunning narrow depth of field
  • HSM for fast autofocus performance

Cons:

  • No optical image stabilization
  • The focal range might not be wide enough for full-frame cameras
  • Some users said that AF performance is inaccurate

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Do you want to achieve a wider perspective at a lower price? Check out the Tokina AT-X PRO DX 11-20mm f/2.8. It offers a shorter focal range, perfect for stunning landscape photos. It also provides the same maximum aperture, resulting in sharp images even at low-light conditions. However, it is not as versatile as the Sigma, and it is more prone to flare than the Nikon native lenses.

5. Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD – Best Budget Lens for Landscape Photography

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD. It offers very sharp images even in low-light, making it one of the best Nikon lenses for landscape subjects.

Specifications:

  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
  • Focal Length: 17-50mm
  • Filter Thread Size: 77mm
  • Dimensions: 3.62 x 3.31 x 3.31 inches
  • Weight: 1.25 lbs

The Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD is among the best budget-friendly lenses for landscape photography.

At less than $350, it offers a fairly versatile zoom range of 17-50mm. It is wide enough to capture panoramas while still delivering a natural perspective.

Meanwhile, the maximum aperture at f/2.8 ensures constant exposure throughout the entire focal length. It also provides a narrow depth of field for stunning portraits.

An anti-shake feature (Sigma OS) even enables you to shoot at around four stops slower than usual. 

Furthermore, the Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) functions similarly to Nikon’s AF-S. It offers fast and accurate autofocus.

However, some users noted that the focus ring turns as it autofocuses, and it produces a loud sound when you accidentally touch it. Other customer reviews also stated that the placement of the focus ring is awkward and confusing.

That said, the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD is still an excellent lens for landscape photography, especially considering its price.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • All-around focal range
  • Great low-light performance
  • Built-in anti-shake feature
  • Fast and accurate autofocus

Cons:

  • Loud autofocus
  • Some users reported back-focusing issues
  • Not compatible with full-frame Nikon cameras (heavy vignetting)

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The NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED is another budget-friendly Nikon lens for landscape photography. It is an ultra-wide-angle lens, resulting in a broader perspective. It also comes with the Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for faster and quieter autofocus than the Sigma. However, it is not as fast, which can affect low-light shooting performance.

How to Choose the Best Landscape Lens for Nikon Cameras

There are some essential considerations you should think about before buying the best Nikon lenses for landscape photography. 

Focal Length

The best landscape lenses for Nikon cameras tend to be ultra-wide to wide types. They offer a broad angle of view that makes it possible to fit foreground and surrounding elements into one image. Thus, they make the scenery larger or more grand than it seems in real life.

However, as previously mentioned, ultra-wide-angle lenses are not the only ones used by landscape photographers. You can use a standard or telephoto lens to capture nature and other outdoor subjects.

For instance, a telephoto glass is more suitable for scenes where there is a lack of foreground interest or distracting objects nearby. It can help isolate the subject and place emphasis on the details and patterns found on the landscape. 

To sum up, going as wide as possible is not the only way to capture stunning landscape photos. Think about your needs and what you want to achieve to determine the right focal length of your lens.

Aperture

A lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 is not always necessary for landscape photography. After all, you are probably trying to capture everything in focus. This means that a smaller f-stop number, which isolates the subject and has a narrow focus point, is not ideal most of the time.

But if you primarily shoot landscapes at night, it is crucial to find a lens with a maximum aperture of at least f/2.8. Owning a fast lens also makes it easier to capture other subjects besides landscapes.

Stabilization

Before buying a Nikon lens for landscape photography, consider if you need one with built-in optical image stabilization. It helps reduce camera shake by several stops if you are shooting handheld or in low-light conditions. Otherwise, you can skip this feature if you use a tripod during your shoots. 

Durability

Landscape photography requires you to get out and explore nature. As such, you need a lens that is durable enough to withstand outdoor conditions.

It is best to look for a lens with weather sealing so you can shoot in wet and other harsh situations just fine. A weather-sealed lens also blocks the elements that can get inside the lens, thus preserving image quality for the long term.

Budget

Lenses for landscape photography are available in budget and beginner-friendly to high-end prices.

Fortunately, you can still find great lenses that fit your budget. Notable examples include the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 and the NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G. Do not expect too much from these lenses, though. If you want the highest image quality and the most robust specs, you may need to spend more.

Warranty

Before finalizing your purchasing decision, you might also want to check if the lens includes a warranty. It will allow you to return the lens if it suddenly stops working or has issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which lens is best for landscape photography?

This article lists some of the top lenses for landscapes, but they are not necessarily the right ones for you.

Thus, the best Nikon lens for landscape photography will entirely depend on your needs and what you intend to achieve.

Do I need a fast lens for landscape photography?

Fast Nikon lenses are not really necessary for landscape photography. However, they offer more versatility if you want to achieve a particular look or capture other subjects besides landscapes.

Is a 24mm lens wide enough for landscape?

Again, it will depend on your needs and preferences. For some landscape photographers, a 24mm lens is still a bit narrow to their tastes. But others find it wide enough to shoot vast expanses of nature.

Conclusion

That concludes our article about the best landscape lens for Nikon cameras.

We highly recommend all products on this list as they will help you produce stunning nature photos. 

But if we only have to suggest one, it would be the NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED. It offers both wide and telephoto angles of view for impressive versatility. Most importantly, it delivers sharpness across every frame. So whether you want to capture seascapes, mountains, or forests, this NIKKOR lens is a great choice.