Looking for the best Nikon lenses for wedding? Who said that they should be produced by Nikon Co? What about Sigma or Rokinon? Today we’ll find out what kind of photography lenses you need to use with your Nikon camera body to take beautiful and clear wedding portraits and group photos.
Lately, to satisfy a bride and a groom, photographers took a few group shots, some portraits and a picture of a bride. Everything has changed and now the couples are more demanding about their wedding photoshoot. Those delightful photos of the newlyweds against the natural background, sincere lifestyle photos while preparing, and the images of the ceremony or evening dances require professional photography skills and gear. The wedding photographer has to demonstrate not only the excellent theoretical knowledge but also effective technical aspects. It doesn't make any sense to compare Canon wedding lens and the best Nikon lenses for weddings, because these companies have gone separate ways. Canon has the lenses for amateurs and professionals (L-series), while Nikon hasn’t got any division. You choose a lens according to your preferences instead of labeling. The main problem is about the choice, as there is no clear separation and you need to spend several hours reading the articles to realize which lens really suits you.
This is a classic kit to shoot weddings. I am not saying this is the best one to take with you to the wedding photo session, but this is definitely the best decision you can make. I recommend shooting portraits with 105mm, but remember that you have to move 3-4 meter away. As a result, you get an excellent bokeh effect and a high image quality. The 35 mm is your main lens, which is suitable for the most part of the shooting day and, 16mm is the primary wide-angle lens.
1. Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art – about $900
This is a wide-angle lens of the premium Art line from Sigma. Sigma Art 20/1.4 DG HSM, as it was announced in 2015, had no direct competitors that allowed the company to announce the innovation to be “the first full-frame 20 mm f/1.4 lens in the world”, excluding Leica Summilux-M 21/1.4 ASPH at $6,730. The picture quality is magnificent as the distortion is not critical and can be easily corrected. There is good sharpness over the entire frame and chromatic aberrations are minimal. It’s no doubt, a decent lens and has no competitors at all. This lens offers a unique ratio of focal length, luminosity and image quality.
2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED – about $220
Nikon 35mm f/1.8 is very light and compact among the best budget Nikon lenses for weddings models. Among all prime lenses with a focal length of 35mm, this model can be called the sharpest starting from the center to the edges of the image. The great luminosity allows you to shoot in low light without raising ISO as well as to make portraits with a blurred background, due to the small depth of field.
3. Nikon 105mm f/1.4E AF-S ED Nikkor – about $2100
Every professional photographer, who uses the best Nikon lenses for weddings on a budget is obliged to have this lens. It has appeared recently, mainly in 2016, but many shooters have been waiting for it for a long time. It is very precise and sharp. I use it for portraits when I need to emphasize the skin texture.
This lens works perfectly both in the studio or outdoors. Whatever the lighting is, the lens will provide an elegant bokeh and sharp details even at the extremely open aperture. It has got a high-speed autofocus so you won’t have to wait. The only problem is that there is no stabilizer, which makes shooting in poor light conditions more difficult.
What I really like about this set of the best Nikon lenses for weddings and other types of shooting is that you can take pictures with a focal length from 24 to 200mm having one lens in a bag and another one attached to the camera. 70-200mm is a great telephoto lens to take lifestyle pictures. But there is an obvious disadvantage – the weight and size of these lenses are great, and therefore you will have to carry it all with you. Still, you have two universal lenses at hand that will allow you to change the focal length quickly. I suggest using 24-70mm as the main lens and 70-200mm as a portrait one.
1. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED – about $1700
It’s one of the best Nikon lenses for weddings and portraits due to its ergonomic characteristics that I ever had. It weighs 1 kg and is very comfortable to hold in hand. Besides, it has a comfortable grip both in the recess for fingers and on the zoom ring. There is quite a wide zoom ring, which is very professionally done. The zoom ring itself moves smoothly if the lens has a horizontal orientation. If you put the glass down or up, the evenness will disappear completely, because the front elements are movable and rather heavy, that is why there will be the tightness of the ring. It practically captures no glares (although this is more a defect while recording video).
2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E – about $2650
If you compare this lens with its previous version, it becomes difficult to see the difference. However, the new version is shorter and lighter, which increases its compactness. The image quality is more than decent – an excellent sharpness, even with an open aperture and a beautiful unsharp area. All the details and texture of the skin are exceptionally well visible in the portraits. Personally, I think that the improved image quality, as opposed to the previous version, as well as improved autofocus and optical stabilization, are worth each penny if you work with a 70-200 lens every day. The most important feature of this lens is the improved quality when working in back lighting conditions. It’s the best Nikon FX lenses for weddings for me, as I know that it will help me get better images in difficult lighting conditions.
What I like about this set of the best lenses for weddings Nikon FX is the possibility to carry only two little lenses that can fit in a small bag. Besides, one of the lenses will always be attached to the camera, so you can take one single case. In this set, everything works like this – 24-70mm is the main working lens that covers most of the focal lengths used for shooting – whether it is indoor photography, shooting the celebration itself or the group shots, and 85mm one is used as a portrait lens.
1. Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art – about $1300
This lens has probably the largest number of potential buyers. The range of focal lengths from 24 to 70 mm covers most of the photography needs, and that is why such lens is considered to be the best lens for wedding photography Nikon. Also, the lens is ideal for everyday use, as it is suitable for landscape photos, portrait and product shooting. You’ll see the “A” symbol proudly flaunting on the case of this lens, which shows its belonging to the premium ART series. Even those, who shoot only with prime lenses, will be interested in this one.
2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G – about $1600
Each lens manufacturer can boast of the excellent portrait lenses, and Nikon can be proud of its nanocrystalline monster - Nikon N AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.4G. The letter ‘N‘ - not only speaks of a special nanocrystalline coating of objective lenses but is also a kind of designation of very high-quality, expensive, professional lenses, similar to Canon's ‘L’ lenses. It’s the best Nikon prime lenses for weddings that produces a soft picture, ideal for a portrait. The weak side is the focusing speed, but at the same time, it almost never “misses”.
This set of the best Nikon D3100 lenses for weddings is similar to the previous one, but it surpasses the competitors in compactness since the existing lenses certainly cannot be called compact. However, what's really good is that 17-55mm allows you to take really wide shots, but it is not so good for portraits, unlike the 24-70mm lens, and a portrait 135mm lens is a very popular option.
1. Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 G DX – about $1450
Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S DX Nikkor is an excellent and universal (medium-focus) high-aperture zoom for Nikon DX cameras with a crop matrix. Its lens speed can be safely used in conditions when ‘darker’ lenses are no longer able to produce a bright picture even when the stabilizer is activated. The sharpness is high even with an open aperture, and it increases even more with a slight aperture. I would like to note that the zoom ring is quite narrow and is almost close to the bayonet. Before purchasing a lens, it is better to attach it to the camera and check the balancing, and most importantly, the convenience zoom work. With the Follow Focus system installed (in fact, the gearbox for easy focusing in manual mode), it becomes more difficult to get to the zoom ring. The lens is not equipped with a stabilizer. Taking into account its versatility, it would be better if this one of the best Nikon DX lenses for weddings had an extra pair of shutter speeds.
2. Rokinon 135mm F2.0 ED UMC – about $550
Rokinon 135mm F2.0 ED UMC is a full-format manual long-focus lens with a fixed focal length for 35mm SLR and digital mirrorless cameras. The aperture ring works smoothly, and it clearly gets in whole and half positions. Ring stroke exceeds 180 °. The lens is heavy (830 g), but this is quite a normal weight for an 11-lens lens with such a focal length and a f/2.0 aperture with a case made of metal. It’s one of the best full frame lenses for weddings Nikon that fully justifies its purpose. High lens speed allows you to manipulate the depth of field creatively, but as there is no autofocus, you need to get used to shooting. Experimentally, we came to the conclusion that it is advisable to set the shutter speed no longer than 1/500 s. for confident shooting with a camera in your hands.
The lens “does not like” frontal exposure. Even if a bright light source does not enter the frame, but is located in the front hemisphere, the picture will have a sort of light veil. Even a rather deep lens hood cannot prevent this. On the other hand, it can easily be used as a creative effect.
This is a very light and compact lens. You will probably use 50mm as the main and portrait lens. This is quite an expected and frequent choice of many photographers at weddings. If you want your photos to be diverse, you can be sure that the wide-angle lens will do its job, and you will only select a great background.
1. Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S – about $470
Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G AF-S is currently the best autofocus high-aperture lens of Nikkor family. Moreover, it’s the best lens for wedding photography Nikon D7000 that is equipped with super fast autofocus. As for vignette, there is nothing uncommon about this lens. At the very open aperture, the vignetting is quite noticeable, but, starting with f/2.0, you can no longer worry about it with a crop and with f/2.8 in full frame. The lens is slightly “soft” on the open aperture, but it preserves a clear picture and is very sharp across the whole area. There is a noticeable longitudinal chromatic aberration on the full aperture, and it’s typical for almost all lenses with such a lens speed.
2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED – about $800
Nikon 20mm f/1.8 is a high-aperture wide-angle model for Nikon full-frame cameras (FX). Like any other Nikon prime lens, this 20mm f/1.8 is extremely sharp across the entire frame. On the f/1.8 open aperture, sharpness decreases slightly in the corners, but this isn’t noticeable in real life at all. If you close the aperture a little, you will not see the difference between the angles and the center. These characteristics make Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 a great choice for those, who do not accept compromises in landscape photography. The diameter for filters is standard - 77mm. The camera does an excellent job with the distortion and chromatic aberrations in automatic mode, so I don’t notice them even if they are present.
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G EDCHOICE OF FIXTHEPHOTO||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon 105mm f / 1.4E AF-S ED NikkorBEST PORTRAIT LENS||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8EBEST
|Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM ArtBEST WIDE – ANGLE LENS||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED||CHECK PRICE|
|Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 G DX||CHECK PRICE|
|Rokinon 135mm F2.0 ED UMC||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S||CHECK PRICE|
|Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED||CHECK PRICE|
You may take the best10 mm Nikon prime lenses for weddings, a 14 mm wide-angle lens and a 200 mm telephoto lens. You will get great shots because these lenses are universal. But this kit has several drawbacks: it’s expensive, weighs a lot and inconvenient to use. I am sure you have read the reviews by professional wedding photographers, who put 5 or 6 lenses on the table assuring you that they use all of them. They usually say: “I use a macro lens to take several pictures of the rings”. In fact, they take such photos with a 17-55mm lens and get an excellent result. So, it doesn’t seem necessary to carry an extra pound in your camera bag.
To take high-quality pictures of a wedding ceremony, you need no more than 3 best Nikon lenses for portraits and weddings in your wedding photography gear kit. Mostly, they are a wide-angle, portrait and telephoto lens.
They are good for group and portrait shots where you need to show the environment or the surroundings. When you are not physically able to step back to capture everything you want into the frame, you definitely need this lens.
Portrait lenses are 85mm and 135mm models, although you can find that 50mm is the best portrait lens. It is true about crop matrices, but it doesn’t work with full frame ones. The best Nikon lenses for weddings and portraits help create an excellent background blurring and accurately draw attention to the person.
They are needed for lifestyle images when you are out of people’s sight so that they behave more naturally and don’t try to pose. Remember, that the wedding pictures, which were taken while moving from one point to another, would look much better. You get the stunning shots when you are changing places and regularly experiment with the shooting angles instead of just replacing the lenses because the bag is too heavy. I’m going to review 5 kits of the most essential lenses for an excellent wedding shooting that are really convenient to use.
Since the most popular images among customers are taken with natural light, a high-aperture lens is an advantage. Professional and mid-range digital SLR and lenses with f/2.8 and even “faster” ones also provide better autofocus performance.
When important wedding events happen in dim light and you have to take photos quickly, an image stabilizer is a very useful feature. The best Nikon camera lenses for low light weddings with image stabilizer have the VR (Vibration Reduction) abbreviation in their name, while Sigma lenses use OS (Optical Stabilization) and Tamron Company uses VC (Vibration Compensation) lenses. This option helps reduce camera shake when shooting at long exposures that inevitably affect image quality.
The majority of professional lenses are equipped with special elements that reduce aberration and distortion. Low-dispersion elements compensate for chromatic aberration, and aspherical elements cope with geometric aberration. Some lenses do this better and others worse. It is another reason why professional optics of the best Nikon lenses for weddings and portraits cost more, but their advantages are much more relevant for professional wedding photography.
Of course, these aren’t the only requirements for wedding photography lenses, but these things matter most of all. So, don’t waste your time searching for the lenses you’d like to buy in online stores. There is no need to consult with sale assistants and watch dozens of videos on YouTube. We have compiled a list of the most solid kits of lenses for the best lens for wedding photography Nikon.
You have probably understood that you don’t need lots of lenses for a really great photo session. In fact, two lenses will do. Even if you have dozens of the best Nikon lenses for weddings, there is no time to use them all. Take only the most necessary gear that satisfies all your needs.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.