If you are looking for the best zoom lens for Nikon D3300, it is essential to consider its focal length, aperture, and autofocus system, among other features. Below, I’ve handpicked my favorite products based on these factors. Read on to learn why they might matter to you.
When I think about the best budget Nikon DSLRs, one of the first models that come into mind is the Nikon D3300. This entry-level camera packs robust features that help both beginners and hobbyists capture quality images. But without the right lens, it is difficult to take full advantage of all these benefits.
With that in mind, I scoured the web to determine the five best zoom lenses for the Nikon D3300. Each item on this list will include a detailed review as well as pros and cons. Hopefully, it will help you narrow down your choices.
And if you are clueless about which features to look out for, a handy buying guide awaits you below. I came up with it to further discuss why each factor matters to you.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into the top picks!
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5 Best Zoom Lenses for Nikon D3300
Below are the five best zoom lenses for the Nikon D3300. Each one offers a versatile focal range, ideal for different kinds of photography.
1. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED – Editor’s Pick
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED is among the best zoom lenses for the Nikon D3300.
It offers a versatile focal range spanning from 24 to 70mm, which is equivalent to 36 to 105mm on an APS-C camera like the Nikon D3300. Thus, this zoom lens can offer a wide-angle perspective, ideal for architecture, landscapes, and group photos. At the same time, it allows you to get closer to your subjects, suitable for action, portraits, sports, and wildlife photography.
Meanwhile, this Nikon zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 to offer two significant benefits. First, it enables more light into the sensor to deliver brighter and clearer images, even when shooting in low-light conditions. Second, it creates a narrow depth of field that effectively separates the subject from the background.
Moreover, there is a Silent Wave Motor (SWM) and an internal focus (IF) mechanism. Both technologies provide fast and near-silent autofocusing to help you achieve sharper photos.
Finally, this zoom lens includes advanced optical elements with three extra-low dispersion (ED) glasses. These help correct flare and ghosting for better color and contrast in your images.
There is even weather sealing around the lens. Hence, it can withstand harsh shooting conditions.
On top of all these benefits, the NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 has enhanced optic formulas with three extra-low dispersion (ED) glasses. These produce exceptional color and contrast for rendering high-quality results.
Most importantly, the reviews for this product were positive. If there is any significant critic, it would probably be the build quality of the focus ring. Some users said that it is relatively stiff and produces a grinding sound when focusing manually. Additionally, it lacks an image stabilization system, which is a bummer considering its price.
But as you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons.
For this reason, I deemed the NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED as the best zoom lens for Nikon D3300. I highly suggest it for everyday photography, owing to its standard zoom range.
- Versatile focal range suitable for most kinds of photography
- Large maximum aperture provides shallow depth of field
- Impressive low-light performance
- Fast and quiet autofocus system
- Weather-sealed construction can withstand inclement weather conditions
- Quite expensive lens
- Lack of Vibration Reduction (VR) technology
- Some users noticed that the focus ring is stiff
2. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR – Runner-Up
If you prefer a more versatile and wider zoom range, consider the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR.
It has a focal length ranging from 18 to 140mm, which is equivalent to 27-210mm on the Nikon D3300. Hence, it can give you a wide-angle and a tight or narrow perspective. The former allows you to fit more elements within the frame, ideal for architecture and landscape photography. Meanwhile, the latter can bring distant subjects closer, perfect for shooting action, sports, or wildlife subjects.
Additionally, this zoom lens for Nikon D3300 offers a variable maximum aperture of f/3.5-5.6. That means the lens opening will adjust depending on the focal length you use. For instance, shooting wide-angle at 18mm gives you a larger aperture at f/3.5, ideal for low-light conditions. However, zooming in at 140mm can limit you to f/5.6, which might not be enough for dim-lit environments.
Furthermore, a Silent Wave Motor (AF-S) enables accurate, fast, and quiet autofocus. Thus, there is no need to worry about shooting fast-moving subjects. This technology can keep track of them across the frame.
Plus, there is a built-in image stabilization system. So whether you are shooting handheld or at slower shutter speeds, this zoom lens ensures smooth and stabilized videos.
Besides these advantages, the NIKKOR lens uses Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass to correct chromatic aberration and coma. Thus, it results in better light transmission efficiency and superior color consistency.
There are a few cons to this lens, though. First, some users said that its plastic construction feels cheap. Second, others were disappointed as the lens is not as sharp as they expected.
But considering its price, I think the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR is among the best zoom lenses for Nikon D3300. I highly suggest it to beginners who might not necessarily need the highest image quality.
- Wide focal range ideal for most kinds of photography
- Built-in image stabilization
- Fast and accurate autofocus system
- Advanced glass elements to reduce chromatic aberration
- Relatively lightweight lens, considering its zoom length
- The maximum aperture might not be bright enough in low-light conditions
- Some users said the plastic construction feels cheap
- Others noticed that the lens might not be sharp enough
3. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR – Best Telephoto Lens for Nikon D3300
Do you often shoot distant subjects, such as athletes, birds, and wildlife? If so, consider getting a telephoto zoom lens, such as the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR.
It features multiple focal lengths ranging from 200 to 500mm, which has a zoom range equivalent of 300 to 750mm on the Nikon D3300. So if you need to capture distant subjects, this item is perhaps the perfect lens for your needs.
Additionally, this NIKKOR telephoto lens has a maximum aperture of f/5.6. It is not the fastest or brightest lens on the market by any means. However, the lens opening stays constant throughout the focal range, ideal for low-light photography. Plus, it creates a shallow depth of field to make the subject stand out from the background.
Moreover, this zoom lens offers a built-in Vibration Reduction (VR) to help stabilize your shots. At the same time, it enables you to use a slower shutter speed of up to 4.5 stops.
Plus, the NIKKOR 200-500mm telephoto lens includes a fast and Silent Wave Motor (SWM) autofocus system. This technology can keep track of the movement of subjects across the frame, ideal for fast-action scenes. Meanwhile, it also allows you to switch to manual focusing for total creative control over the lens.
Finally, this telephoto lens for Nikon D3300 has advanced lens elements. These can minimize flare and ghosting that can improve image contrast and clarity.
However, before buying this lens, it is essential to know its downsides. First, it is pretty bulky and heavy, making it hard to carry during shoots. Second, it is obviously not the best lens for low-light conditions due to its smaller maximum aperture.
Nevertheless, the NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR is still among the best telephoto zoom lenses for Nikon D3300. I recommend it for users who need to get closer to the subject.
- Long zoom range can capture distant subjects
- Fast and near-silent autofocus with an option for manual focus override
- Built-in Vibration Reduction (VR) technology
- Advanced glass elements reduce lens flare and ghosting
- Heavy and bulky construction
- Lens might not be bright enough for low-light situations
4. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR II – Best Wide-Angle Zoom Lens for Nikon D3300
Those who are into architecture or landscape photography might want to consider a wide-angle lens. Fortunately, I have the right product in mind.
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR II offers a wide-angle perspective, owing to its broad focal range of 16 to 35mm. This zoom length is equivalent to 24 to 52mm when attached to an APS-C camera like the Nikon D3300.
Meanwhile, this zoom lens is among the best FX lenses with a constant aperture of f/4. Although it is not the brightest or fastest lens on the market, it still offers reliable performance in low-light situations. At the same time, it can create a shallow depth of field to separate the subject from the background.
What’s more, an advanced Vibration Reduction (VR II) technology can correct camera shake and vibration up to four stops. So whether you are shooting handheld or at slower shutter speeds, this NIKKOR lens still delivers smooth and stabilized footage.
Plus, the built-in Silent Wave Motor (SWM) provides an accurate and near-silent autofocus performance. Together with the internal focusing design, it can track the movements of subjects across the frame. And if you want complete creative control over the lens, this zoom lens also enables manual focus override.
On top of all these benefits, the NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G includes advanced aspherical elements that effectively minimize chromatic aberrations and lens distortion.
Finally, a Nano Crystal Coat can eliminate flare and ghosting to help you achieve improved contrast and color accuracy.
Despite these advantages, there are still a few downsides to this lens. First, some users said that the plastic construction feels cheap and flimsy. Second, others commented that the lens is not as sharp as they expected.
With that said, the NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR II is still among the best Nikon lenses for wide-angle shots. I highly suggest getting one if you need a wide-angle perspective.
- Wide-angle perspective ideal for architecture and landscape photography
- VR image stabilization ensures smooth footage
- Fast and accurate autofocus system
- Advanced glass elements reduce flares and ghosting
- The maximum aperture might not be bright enough for low-light shooting
- Some users said that the plastic construction feels cheap
- Others were not impressed with the sharpness of the lens
5. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR – Best Budget Zoom Lens for Nikon D3300
If you are on a tight budget, consider getting the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR. At less than $200, it packs robust features that might meet your everyday photography and videography needs.
First, this zoom lens has a versatile focal length ranging from 55 to 300mm. It gives you an equivalent zoom range of 82 to 450mm when attached to the Nikon D3300. So whether you are shooting portraits or wildlife, the NIKKOR lens brings them closer to you.
Second, there is a variable maximum aperture that depends on the focal length you use. At 55mm, the lens opens up to f/4.5 to let more light into the image sensor. However, when you zoom in at 300mm, expect the aperture to close slightly at f/5.6. Thus, this zoom lens might not be as reliable in low-light situations.
Fortunately, the NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G features a built-in Vibration Reduction system. This image stabilizer allows you to use slower shutter speeds to enable more light into the sensor. At the same time, it can correct camera shake for smoother photos and videos.
Moreover, this zoom lens includes a built-in Silent Wave Motor (SWM). It delivers near-silent autofocus as well as full-time manual focusing. Hence, it can help keep the subject sharp and in focus.
Lastly, it includes two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements. These minimize lens flare and ghosting to deliver greater contrast and better light transmission efficiency.
However, before buying this lens, it is essential to know its downsides. For one, several customers were disappointed with the inconsistent autofocus performance. It is also not the sharpest lens on the market by any means.
But considering its affordable price, the NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G is still worth considering. For this reason, I included it on this list of the best zoom lenses for Nikon D3300.
- Versatile zoom range
- Quiet autofocus with full-time manual focus override
- Built-in VR image stabilization can correct camera shake and vibrations
- ED glass reduces flare and ghosting
- Telephoto focal length is not suitable for wide-angle photography
- Inconsistent autofocus system
- Some users said the images are not as sharp as they expected
How to Choose the Best Zoom Lens for Nikon D3300
When shopping for the best zoom lens for the Nikon D3300, it is essential to learn about the following considerations. Hopefully, these will help you understand why they matter.
Zoom lenses have a variable focal length that makes them suitable for all kinds of photography. However, it is still best to consider the actual zoom range of the lens to ensure that it will meet your needs.
If you often take pictures of architecture and landscapes, consider getting a wide-angle zoom lens. Look for one with a focal length of less than 50mm, so you can easily fit more elements within the frame.
Those who are into wildlife or sports can invest in a telephoto zoom lens. It usually features a focal length of more than 75mm to help you bring distant subjects closer.
Finally, you can use a standard zoom lens if you want to photograph people or general sceneries. This lens type sits between 35 to 75mm to provide a natural perspective without noticeable distortion.
Besides focal length, you might also want to think about the maximum aperture of the lens. This factor dictates how much light enters the image sensor. At the same time, it affects how much of the subject is in focus. The aperture is measured by f-stops or f-numbers.
The smaller the f-stop, the larger the opening of the lens. That delivers better low-light performance and a shallower depth of field.
So if you intend to shoot in low-light situations or take portraits, I recommend investing in a lens with a large maximum aperture like f/1.8 or f/2.8.
The autofocus technology is another factor to consider when choosing a zoom lens for the Nikon D3300. It is best to look for one with fast and accurate performance, especially if you will be shooting fast-moving subjects. This way, you can ensure that the subject is sharp and in focus, no matter the movement.
The Nikon D3300 does not have in-body image stabilization. Thus, it can deliver blurry or soft photos during handheld shooting.
To compensate for this, you may want to invest in a zoom lens with built-in optical stabilization. It can correct camera shake by several stops. Thus, this technology ultimately allows you to shoot handheld or at slower shutter speeds.
Unlike prime lenses, zoom lenses are often heavier due to their movable glass elements. So before buying one, I highly suggest checking its weight. After all, no one wants to carry bulky lenses, especially when traveling a lot.
Fortunately, some zoom lenses are just as compact and lightweight as their counterparts. Thus, they are easier to carry and pack.
If you find it hard to pick the best zoom lens for Nikon D3300, it might help to set your budget. Ask yourself if you are willing to spend thousands of dollars on high-quality lenses. If yes, you may usually find them worth the cost for their professional-grade image quality and results.
However, if you are on a budget, you can still find lenses with reliable performance at a lower price. Just lower your expectations since they typically do not provide the highest quality photos and videos.
Finally, consider buying a zoom lens for the Nikon D3300 with a warranty. This coverage makes it easier to ask for a refund or return should the lens suddenly stop working within the specified period.
There you have it—the best zoom lenses for the Nikon D3300! I highly recommend each one for its versatility and quality results.
But if we can only suggest one, it would be the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED. It offers a variable focal length that is equivalent to 36 to 105mm on the Nikon D3300. Thus, it is ideal for most kinds of photography, including landscapes, portraits, and travel. Furthermore, it offers fast and near-silent autofocus as well as weather sealing. The former gives you clearer and sharper photos, while the latter ensures durability in various outdoor conditions.