5 Best Lenses for Nikon D500 in 2021

If you are looking for the best lenses for Nikon D500, the most important things to consider are price, focal length, and aperture. With these in mind, I handpicked the top five products on the market below. So if you want to learn more why these features matter, read on below!

For me, one of the best Nikon cameras is the Nikon D500. Although it was initially released in 2016, it remains competitive due to its robust capabilities. It shares the same advanced autofocus system, processor, and metering system as the Nikon’s flagship full-frame model, the D5, but at a significantly lower price.

The main highlights, however, are the ten frames per second (fps) continuous shooting and the huge buffer capacity. 

On top of these features, the D500 is compatible with hundreds of lenses that make it possible to capture all kinds of subjects.

But with so many options on the market, choosing the right lens is not easy. 

Fortunately, I scoured the web to come up with this list of the best lenses for Nikon D500. Each of these top picks includes a detailed review, listing price, features, pros, and cons, so you can easily compare them. I also included a buying guide to help narrow down your choices.

And if you are wondering whether the Nikon D500 is still worth it today, take a look at my opinion below.

Is the Nikon D500 DSLR Worth It in 2021?

Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR. This camera has a smaller APS-C sensor that is compatible with both DX lens and FX lens formats.

Countless photographers and review sites raved about the Nikon D500 at the time of its release in 2016. Photography Life deemed it as a “sports and wildlife photographers’ dream come true.” Digital Camera World even went as far as to name it the “best digital SLR Nikon has ever made” for the money.

But does this camera hold up five years later?

Well, let us briefly look at the pros and cons below.

As the Nikon DX flagship model, the D500 offers robust and versatile features. Image quality is superb for an APS-C model, owing to the advanced processor. This 20.9-megapixel DSLR is also capable of shooting in low-light without excessive loss of detail.

Moreover, the D500 has phenomenal focusing performance since it borrows the same AF system from the D5. It can even shoot 4K/30p and timelapse videos. Plus, there is a 10fps burst rate for photos.

As for the overall build and ergonomics, there is just so much to mention! The weather-sealed body, dual memory card slots, backlit buttons, and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity are standouts for many photographers. 

The downsides? It lacks a built-in flash and in-body image stabilization. Also, the video mode only works in Live View. Plus, it is not a full-frame camera, so it offers a crop factor. In simple terms, this affects the equivalent focal lengths of DX and FX lenses.

But as you can see, the pros of this DSLR far outweigh the cons.

If you already own one, you made the right decision. But if you are still considering it, go ahead and buy the D500 or read more reviews.

So going back to the question–does the Nikon D500 hold up today?

Yes, we think it does, and it is still worth your money!

But no matter how powerful this camera can be, it would not work properly without a camera lens. So continue reading for the best lenses for the Nikon D500.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2021

ImageProductDetails
Best All-Around LensNikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f3.5-5.6G Camera LensNikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6GAperture: f/3.5-5.6
Focal Length: 18-140mm
Weight: 1.30 pounds
Dimensions: 3.81 x 3.07 x 3.07 inches
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Best Wide Angle LensNikon AF-S FX 20mm f1.8G Camera LensNikon AF-S FX 20mm f/1.8GAperture: f/1.8
Focal Length: 20mm
Weight: 0.78 pounds
Dimensions: 3.19 x 3.27 x 3.27 inches
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Best Telephoto LensNikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f4.5-5.6G Camera LensNikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6GAperture: f/4.5-5.6
Focal Length: 55-300mm
Weight: 1.28 pounds
Dimensions: 4.84 x 3.03 x 3.03 inches
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Best Standard LensNikon AF-S 50mm f1.8G Camera LensNikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8GAperture: f/1.8
Focal Length: 50mm
Weight: 0.4 pounds
Dimensions: 2.09 x 2.83 x 2.83 inches
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Best Macro LensTamron 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 Camera LensTamron 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6Aperture: f/4.0-5.6
Focal Length: 18-140mm
Weight: 0.96 pounds
Dimensions: 4.61 x 3.03 x 3.03 inches
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5 Best Lenses for Nikon D500

1. Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G – Best All-Around Lens for Nikon D500

Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f3.5-5.6G Camera Lens

Are you a beginner at taking photos? Or perhaps, do you need a lens for everyday photography that is not the kit lens? If that is the case, we recommend looking at the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G.

It features multiple focal lengths that go as wide as 18mm and narrow at 140mm. So whether you want to shoot wide-angle shots or close-up portraits, this Nikkor lens is an extremely versatile lens choice.

It also has a variable aperture of f/3.5-5.6. This range does not offer the best low-light performance and bokeh, so avoid it for portraits or night photography. Nevertheless, the overall image quality is still pretty good for a zoom lens.

Moreover, you can expect better contrast from this DX lens, owing to the Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass. There is also a Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for a fast and quiet autofocus performance. 

And despite its long focal range, the lens is still compact enough. Feel free to carry it to any photography and videography setting.

Pros:

  • Versatile zoom range
  • All-in-one lens
  • Low-cost
  • Relatively compact for its range

Cons:

  • The maximum aperture might not be bright enough for low-light situations
  • It does not offer the most shallow depth of field
  • Heaviest lens on our list

2. Nikon AF-S FX 20mm f/1.8G – Best Wide-Angle Lens for Nikon D500

Nikon AF-S FX 20mm f1.8G Camera Lens

If you want to capture more of the scene in front of you, the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G might meet your needs.

This wide-angle lens has a focal length of 20mm. It gives you a broad perspective, perfect for architecture, cityscapes, landscapes, street photography, or just general group photos.

It is also great for taking wide-angle pictures in low-light conditions. It features a maximum aperture of f/1.8 that allows more light into the sensor. Thus, it is now easier than ever to capture night scenes or achieve a shallow depth of field.

Furthermore, the glass itself includes a Nano Crystal Coat. It helps reduce sagittal flare and chromatic aberration so that you can ensure good sharpness across the entire frame.

Most customer reviews were impressed with the image quality, but a few users said that photos are not as crisp and distinct as expected.

Nevertheless, the Nikon AF-S FX 20mm f/1.8G is still one of the best wide-angle lenses for the Nikon D500.

Pros:

  • Ultra-wide perspective
  • Impressive performance in low-light conditions
  • Shallow depth of field
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons:

  • No Vibration Reduction (VR)
  • Expensive
  • Not as sharp

3. Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G – Best Telephoto Lens for Nikon D500

Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm f4.5-5.6G Camera Lens

Are you looking for a telephoto zoom lens that is relatively lightweight? Consider the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G.

This lens allows you to zoom in 5.5 times more than normal at 300mm without being too heavy. It only weighs around a pound, so you can carry it in your hands if you need to shoot on-the-go. Of course, we still recommend getting a tripod when using a telephoto lens to reduce the load.

It also features a variable aperture of f/4.5-5.6. The range is not wide enough to let light in for night photography. But image quality is still great, especially when shooting with proper lighting.

Moreover, this Nikkor lens has a built-in Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization. It provides three stops of VR to reduce camera shake when shooting handheld.

Despite this capability, some users did not like how blurry and unfocused their shots look like when using this lens.

But for its price point, the Nikon AF-S DX 55-300mm is hard to beat. We suggest this telephoto lens for casual wildlife or sports photographers. Otherwise, you may need to shell out more to achieve the best professional-grade image quality. 

Pros:

  • Long super zoom focal range up to 300mm
  • Lightweight for a telephoto lens
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) reduces shake when shooting handheld or at slower shutter speeds

Cons:

  • Maximum apertures are not the best in low-light performance
  • Loss in sharpness at maximum focal length

4. Nikon AF-S FX 50mm f/1.8G – Best Standard Lens for Nikon D500

Nikon AF-S 50mm f1.8G Camera Lens

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G is an excellent prime lens for shooting portraits.

The aperture opens wide at f/1.8, which offers a beautiful shallow depth of field in your photos. It also allows more light into the sensor, making it a great lens for low-light situations.

Meanwhile, the focal length of 50mm is enough to create a natural perspective and get close to most of your subjects. But there is no convenient way to adjust your view with this lens because of the fixed focal length. Instead, you have to move closer or far away from your subject physically.

Fortunately, this prime lens is compact and lightweight, so that you can bring it almost anywhere with you. Plus, the fast and quiet AF performance can come in handy for capturing unexpected sceneries. It helps ensure sharp images and better image quality.

Most customer reviews for the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G were positive, but some users reported vignetting when shooting at the maximum aperture. The lens also lacks Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, which can result in shaky performance.

Nevertheless, it is still among the best standard prime lenses for the Nikon D500. We recommend having this Nifty Fifty glass on your collection for shooting portraits and general photography.

Pros:

  • Value for money
  • Impressive low-light performance
  • Shallow depth of field
  • Fast autofocus

Cons:

  • No Vibration Reduction (VR)
  • It can produce vignetted photos at the widest aperture

5. Tamron 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 – Best Macro Lens for Nikon D500

Tamron 70-300mm f4.0-5.6 Camera Lens

If you want to photograph small subjects in stunning detail, consider the Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 Di LD Macro.

This macro lens offers a 1:2 ratio, which can capture photos at life-size magnification. It also helps bring distant subjects closer, thanks to its telephoto focal lengths.

Moreover, it features a variable aperture of f/4.0-5.6. It can offer a decent amount of background blur in your images.

There is also a lens hood included in the package to reduce glare and increase contrast.

On top of all these benefits, it has a built-in autofocus motor to ensure the sharpness of your images.

But since this is a third-party lens, fast performance is not always guaranteed. Several customer reviews said that the autofocus is slow and loud. A few users also complained that using the zoom will affect the AF capability. 

With that said, Tamron offers a six-year warranty to this macro lens. So if you ever encounter any problem with the item, you can quickly return it and ask for a replacement.

Overall, the Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 is one of the best zoom lenses for Nikon D500. 

Pros:

  • Macro capability offers stunning results
  • Super zoom lens allows you to get closer to the subject
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Low-cost lens

Cons:

  • It is not ideal for low-light shooting
  • Slow and noisy autofocus
  • Third-party lens may affect performance

Things to Look for in a Nikon D500 Lens

By now, you are probably familiar with the best lenses for the Nikon D500. Still, there are a few things you need to consider before finalizing your purchasing decision. Make sure to read through the following factors to find the right one for your needs.

Price

Do you want to get the most value for your money? Or are you willing to spend a lot in exchange for the most advanced features?

No matter your budget, you can find an excellent lens for the Nikon D500 that delivers high image quality. But if you want the extra benefits and professional-grade results, you may need to invest in more expensive lenses.

Focal Length

When looking for a lens, you must also ask yourself how much of the subject you want to capture.

If you want a broad perspective, get a lens with a shorter focal length between 20mm to 35mm. This wide-angle lens is ideal for architectural buildings, cityscapes, and landscapes.

For those who want a tighter frame, go for a telephoto lens with a focal length of more than 70mm. It can capture distant subjects, perfect for sports and wildlife photography.

Want to achieve both wide and tight shots? Invest in an all-around zoom lens. It is the ideal lens for almost everything, from portraits to wildlife shots.

Finally, those who want a natural-looking perspective should buy a standard lens. It has a focal length between 35mm and 70mm, close to what our eyes see.

Aperture

Aperture can affect the depth of field or how much blur is in the background of images. It also determines how much light enters into the sensor of the camera, hence playing a significant role in low-light performance.

So if you want to capture images with the most shallow depth of field, find a lens with a larger maximum aperture such as f/1.4 or f/1.8. Likewise, it is the best choice for low-light situations due to the wide aperture.

A higher aperture is not necessarily the right one for your needs, though. For instance, if you are into architectural or landscape photography, you are more likely to avoid a shallow depth of field because you want everything in your shot to be in focus.

Stabilization

The Nikon D500 lacks in-body image stabilization. It can affect sharpness and focusing when shooting handheld or at slower shutter speeds.

If you want to ensure clear images, consider getting a lens with built-in image stabilization.

Fortunately, it is easy to find one with this feature. For instance, the Nikkor line uses Electronic Vibration Reduction (VR) technology to reduce camera shake. There are also third-party lenses with image stabilization.

Compatibility

There is no doubt that the Nikon D500 is a great camera. But owning one does not mean that you will not be upgrading your photography gear in the upcoming years.

So you may want to think about the future use of the lenses you will buy.

For instance, if you want to invest in a full-frame Nikon body someday, you need to buy the equivalent lens. 

Fortunately, most FX-format (full-frame) lenses are compatible with the Nikon D500. You can choose to invest in them now and avoid buying another lens if you upgrade your camera in the future.

However, it is essential to note that they are usually heavier and bulkier than DX-format (APS-C) lenses. They also result in a 1.5x crop factor because the Nikon D500 has a smaller sensor. 

We still recommend getting DX-format lenses for the APS-C DSLRs like the Nikon D500.

But to give you more options, we included both FX lenses and DX lenses on this list.

Weight

No one wants to carry around heavy lenses, especially during a trip.

So before buying a glass for your Nikon D500, be sure to consider its weight. Look for a compact one that you can carry during handheld shoots or pack inside your bag with ease.

Warranty

Lastly, you should consider getting a lens with a warranty. It will allow you to return or ask for a replacement from the manufacturer should the glass stop working. 

Take note that most warranties only cover defects. You cannot qualify for a refund or replacement if you accidentally damage the lens. 

Conclusion

We hope this article helped you find the best lenses for the Nikon D500.

We recommend all products on our list as they are the leading items among their categories. But for beginners, we suggest getting the 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G. It has a variable focal length and aperture, perfect for all-around photography. Meanwhile, our top value choice is the 50mm f/1.8G prime lens if you are on a tight budget.

Good luck finding the perfect lens for your needs!