Buying Guides

Best Lens for Nikon D5500 in 2023

Rajib Mukherjee Avatar
Rajib Mukherjee
7 March, 2023 • Updated 1 year ago
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Nikon D5500 Lens
The Nikon D5500 is an entry-level DSLR camera utilizing an APS-C sensor and the Nikon F-mount. The camera was launched in January 2015 and has been embraced among beginner photographers. Nikon has since replaced the D5500 with the D5600 but many photographers continue to use this camera.

There are many variations between the D5600 and the D5500, but one of the critical differences is the D5500’s lack of an Optical Low-pass Filter (OLPF). This makes the D5500 sharper than the D5600, which has an OLPF. That invariably means if you’re a landscape or fashion photographer, or just someone who likes to capture the finer details, you would be better off shooting with the Nikon D5500 instead of the D5600.

Let’s check out some of the best lenses to pair with your D5500 to take the camera’s abilities to the next level.

If you’re a Nikon enthusiast, make sure to explore our comprehensive guides on the best lenses available for other popular Nikon models, including the Best Lenses for Nikon D810, Best Lenses for Nikon D850, Best Lenses for Nikon D7500, and Best Lenses for Nikon D5200. These guides provide in-depth analysis and recommendations to help you find the perfect lens for your needs.

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Products Features
BEST STANDARD PRIME LENS
4.8
+13000
+13000
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8GNikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
  • Fast maximum aperture of f/1.8
  • Offers an effective focal length of 52.5mm
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $300
  • Fast maximum aperture of f/1.8
  • Offers an effective focal length of 52.5mm
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $300
Check price
at Amazon
BEST ALL-PURPOSE ZOOM LENS
4.7
+900
+900
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VRNikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR
  • Surprisingly sharp across the focal length
  • A decent compact shape considering the optical zoom
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $500
  • Surprisingly sharp across the focal length
  • A decent compact shape considering the optical zoom
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $500
Check price
at Amazon
BEST MACRO LENS
4.7
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-EDNikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
  • One of the rare few lenses without cross-compatibility issues
  • Minimum focusing distance of 31.4cm
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $700
  • One of the rare few lenses without cross-compatibility issues
  • Minimum focusing distance of 31.4cm
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $700
Check price
at Amazon
BEST SUPER-TELEPHOTO LENS
4.7
+1100
+1100
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VRNikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
  • Constant fast aperture across the focal length
  • Cost-effective considering the focal length the lens offers
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $1500
  • Constant fast aperture across the focal length
  • Cost-effective considering the focal length the lens offers
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $1500
Check price
at Amazon
BEST PORTRAIT LENS
4.8
+2100
+2100
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8GNikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
  • Built-in autofocusing motor that works with the D5500
  • Comes with Nikon’s silent wave motor autofocusing technology
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $400
  • Built-in autofocusing motor that works with the D5500
  • Comes with Nikon’s silent wave motor autofocusing technology
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $400
Check price
at Amazon
BEST LANDSCAPE LENS
4.4
+80
+80
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VRNikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
  • Full-time manual focusing override
  • Comes with a fixed aperture of f/4 across the focal length
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $900
  • Full-time manual focusing override
  • Comes with a fixed aperture of f/4 across the focal length
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $900
Check price
at Amazon

Best Lenses for the Nikon D5500 Camera

1. Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

The 35mm is always a special lens, because it offers a very versatile focal length. However, the 35mm paired with the D5500 won’t have the same field of view as you would expect on a full-frame camera. Your D5500 is a crop camera that offers a cropped field of view. The effective focal length becomes 52.5mm and the field of view becomes 44 degrees.

The lens is ideally suited for shooting everyday photography, including portraits, weddings, group shots, street photography, and even travel photography. The fixed focal length will force you to use creative positioning to create the effect you want. If you enjoy problem-solving and putting in the required work to get the shot, this is a great lens.

This lens has two major selling points. First, the lens offers a fast aperture of f/1.8, and second, the lens is very inexpensive. The fast aperture of f/1.8 is great for capturing a lot of light in many shooting situations, especially when you’re shooting in low light.

The lens’s minimum focusing distance is 11.81 inches, which means you can keep a subject in the middle of the frame and capture interesting perspectives by blurring the background. That being said, the bokeh quality isn’t the best. If bokeh is a staple of your photography style, the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G may not be for you.

But for all the cons (which are not too many, in my opinion), I feel this is a great lens. The price makes it a no-brainer, as you can’t go wrong. It’s still a fast autofocusing lens with a wide-open aperture.

In terms of construction, the lens is a simple design. There are eight elements arranged in 6 groups, including one aspherical element that handles the spherical aberrations and distortion. In reality, however, the lens suffers from some lateral chromatic aberrations.

The lens also features a super-integrated coating that takes care of internal reflections, ghosting, and flares, which can be especially prevalent in dimmer lighting conditions.

The weight of the lens is only 200 grams, but I am not too happy with the build quality. Of course, cost-cutting has been done to make the lens lighter and more affordable. At this price, you can’t ask for much.

It also lacks weather sealing and image stabilization. Although I don’t feel anyone will miss image stabilization because the lens is high-speed and unlikely to need it.

The lens features a ring-type ultrasonic motor for autofocusing, which provides a smooth performance. The lens does feature a full-time manual focusing override. This enables the photographer to adjust focusing when shooting manually. However, there is no focus distance scale, so you must depend on your eyes to confirm where you’re focusing.

Regarding sharpness, the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G is a decent performer. There is a noticeable softness if you’re shooting wide open at f/1.8, which gets corrected when you stop down the lens to f/2.8 or slower.

Pros
  • Fast maximum aperture of f/1.8
  • Inexpensive lens
  • Offers an effective focal length of 52.5mm
  • Very versatile lens
  • Fast autofocusing
  • Easy to create background blur
Cons
  • Lateral chromatic aberrations are present
  • A little bit of barrel distortion
  • Build quality isn’t the best
  • No weather sealing
  • No image stabilization

2. Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR

The 18-140mm is a tough choice as an all-purpose zoom lens simply because this category has several options. But I have chosen a lens designed for DX-format cameras, and it’s an OEM lens. The D5500 is a great entry-level camera and the 18-140mm is an excellent all-purpose lens that you can use to explore photography and find your niche.

The lens offers an effective focal length of 27-210mm when mounted on the D5500. That means it offers a wide angle of view for capturing amazing landscapes and other wide panoramic shots, as well as great focal lengths for shooting portraits and other close-range subjects.

In terms of construction, the lens comprises 17 elements arranged in 12 groups. One aspherical element takes care of spherical aberrations. Additionally, the presence of one extra-low dispersion element ensures that the lens can overcome the effects of chromatic aberrations and color fringing, improving the color contrast of the images. Chromatic aberrations, however, are present but can be easily corrected during post-processing.

Additionally, the lens features a super-integrated coating, which ensures that the lens can withstand the effects of hard lighting, flares, and ghosting.

The lens weighs 490 grams and contains a generous amount of rubberized plastic. There is no weather sealing on the lens, so if you risk using this lens for an outdoor shoot, make sure you don’t expose it to harsh weather.

The large zoom ring dominates the exterior design of the lens, whereas the focusing ring feels a bit narrow. The manual focusing mechanism is mechanical, which can be a pain, but is more accurate and precise.

Autofocusing on the lens is powered by Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor technology. This technology is very high quality, ensuring super smooth autofocusing performance. The lens features a full-time manual focusing override, ensuring you can quickly and precisely adjust the focus by manually turning the focusing ring whenever required. Focusing is internal, and the overall focusing performance is very smooth.

However, it must be noted that the lens does not have a focusing distance indicator. You don’t get a depth-of-field scale, either.

The lens does have image stabilization built-in. Nikon rates it at four stops, which means you can hand-hold this lens when shooting. It does give some leeway, especially when shooting in low light conditions because you can use a slower shutter speed to compensate for the lack of a wide-open aperture and still not induce image blur.

Regarding image quality and sharpness, the lens is very sharp right in the middle of the frame. However, sharpness tends to drop as you move away from the center of the frame. This continues until you’ve reached the extreme periphery of the frame, where sharpness is at its lowest. Stopping down the lens improves the overall quality of the images.

Another aspect that needs mentioning is that the lens shows noticeable barrel distortion when the lens is fully zoomed out. On the other hand, when you zoom in, barrel distortion is replaced by some pretty noticeable pincushion distortion. Though both barrel and pincushion distortion can be rectified easily in post-processing, it is something to look out for. Modern Nikon cameras can also correct this in the camera as well, but you have to ensure the option is turned on in your camera.

Pros
  • Surprisingly sharp across the focal length
  • Comes with optical image stabilization
  • A decent compact shape considering the optical zoom
  • Mechanical manual focusing rather than focus by wire
Cons
  • Some amount of distortion is present
  • Corner sharpness isn’t the best at wide-open apertures
  • Does not come with a lens hood

3. Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED

A bunch of macro lenses are available for the Nikon F-mount. However, I have picked the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED for the D5500. Even though this lens is designed for full-frame Nikon F-mount cameras, it also works fine on APS-C cameras like the D5500. On crop cameras such as this, the effective focal length becomes 157.5mm.

Several third-party macro lenses are compatible with the Nikon F-mount. However, many third-party lenses don’t work as expected if you switch to a mirrorless Nikon. There is no way that you can use a Nikon Z-mount lens on an F-mount camera. If you have a mirrorless Nikon Z-mount camera and are looking for a macro lens that you can interchange, this lens is a good choice.

This is a true macro lens. It offers a 1:1 macro photography perspective that allows you to capture the life-sized reproduction of small subjects onto the image sensor.

The lens comes with no aperture ring thanks to the G series it belongs to. The lens has a sizeable focusing ring that sits very close to the front element of the lens. There are no other rings on the lens. The lens utilizes Nikon’s silent wave motor-powered autofocusing mechanism and includes a full-time manual focusing override option for precise manual focusing.

There is a focus delimiter button on the lens. This allows you to choose the focusing distance for the lens to work on. If set to normal mode, the lens will focus throughout the focusing range or limit it to between infinity and up to 0.5 meters.

If you’re not shooting anything macro, you may as well take advantage of the focus delimiter button to reduce the focus hunting distance. This will speed up the focusing performance of the lens. I would have instead loved to see a focusing distance limiter option that limits the focus to subjects within 0.5 meters.

Many macro lenses have a short focusing throw – not the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, though. If you love precise focusing adjustments, the Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED is an excellent lens. But on the other hand, autofocusing isn’t the quickest compared to competitive lenses. One reason is that the focusing ring has to travel quite a distance from infinity to the closest focusing distance.

As you change the magnification ratio and move closer, the autofocusing performance tends to drop. I have noticed that the lens is better off focused manually when shooting at 1:1 magnification.

The lens features an internal focusing mechanism. Thanks to this, the lens’s front element does not move when the lens focuses. This allows for using polarisers and filters, should the user want to.

Additionally, the lens features three stops of image shake correction. This ensures that hand-held shooting is more reliable and blur-free. Many macro photographers prefer shooting with a tripod, so this feature is not a must-have. Image stabilization does, however, aid in the versatility of the lens.

The construction of the lens includes 14 elements arranged in 12 groups. This sturdy design consists mainly of metal and feels solid in the hands. Plus, the lens comes with secure weather sealing, making this a great lens to take with you when you’re headed outdoors.

For many, the hefty bulk and the weight of the lens are reassuring and a sign of durability. Others, however, will feel that the lens is too heavy for many genres.

It includes one extra-low dispersion element that reduces color fringing and chromatic aberrations. The lens features nine rounded aperture blades that have the potential to produce exciting bokeh or out-of-focus effects.

The lens also features a nano crystal coating with a super integrated coating that ensures the lens can counter the effects of flares, ghosting, and reflections that can affect color contrast and accuracy.

Both distortion and vignetting are present but are not significant enough to impact your buying decision. In any case, these can be easily corrected I post-processing.

The Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED is not the sharpest of macro lenses. That said, it can hold its own and produce exciting results. Considering that we’re picking these lenses in the context of the D5500, the sharpness quotient of this lens is quite good. The lens produces the sharpest results when stopped down to about f/4. Stopping down the lens beyond f/5.6 results in no further improvement of sharpness.

Pros
  • One of the rare few lenses without cross-compatibility issues
  • Comes with a handy focus delimiter switch
  • Minimum focusing distance of 31.4cm
  • Full-time manual focusing override
  • Good weather sealing
Cons
  • Missing many of the newer features

4. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

The Nikon 200-500mm is a delight to shoot with in many ways. Though designed to work with full-frame Nikon DSLRs, the lens is compatible with all APS-C Nikon DSLRs using the F-mount. On the D5500, the lens’s effective focal length becomes 300-750mm and offers an excellent optical zoom for photographing birds and wild animals. You can also use this lens for shooting sports photography.

One of the main USPs of the lens is the constant aperture of f/5.6 across the focal length. This allows you to maintain the same exposure across the focal length. If you’re shooting birds and wildlife hidden away in thick foliage, having a bright enough aperture that is constant across the focal length is very handy.

The second most important USP is that the lens is one of the easiest superzooms to hand-hold in the business. Yes, it does feel a bit too heavy for a camera like the D5500, but if you hold the zoom ring, which is positioned rather well, the camera and the lens feel balanced. This, however, is subjective as many users may not feel the same way.

Considering that the primary competition lenses – the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC and the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM – are lighter than the Nikon 200-500mm, many are inclined to feel that those two are better hand-held lenses than the Nikon. Having used the lens extensively, I can vouch for the lens’s comfort.

The construction of the lens includes 19 elements arranged in 12 groups. Three extra-low dispersion elements in the lens suppress chromatic aberrations and color fringing. On top of that, the lens features a super-integrated coating that ensures that the lens can suppress the effects of flares, ghosting, and internal reflections.

I like the lens construction. It feels solid in the hands, and despite the apparent use of plastic in some areas, the lens can withstand the odd knocks and bumps. However, it must be remembered that the 200-500mm f/5.6 isn’t weather sealed. It is best to be careful when exposing this lens to bad weather. You should also avoid dusty environments to prevent dust from getting caught in the lens while zooming.

The price is the third and, in some ways, the tilting factor for photographers looking for an OEM super-telephoto lens. This is undoubtedly one of the most cost-effective super-telephoto lenses on the market. If you’re on a tight budget or looking for an entry-level super-telephoto lens, the 200-500mm f/5.6 should be on your radar.

One significant advantage of the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 is that the lens is compatible with the 1.4x teleconverter. However, there is a catch. Autofocus will be available only when the camera supports f/8. In this case, the D5500 does not support f/8, which means with the 1.4x teleconverter, you won’t be able to utilize autofocusing.

Super telephoto lenses must come with vibration reduction (Nikon’s version of image stabilization). The 200-500mm has a vibration reduction system rated at up to 4.5 stops. As mentioned above, the lens is perfectly hand-holdable for short bursts, and the VR is handy in such situations. It is also helpful when shooting in low-light conditions.

There is a dedicated sports mode for the built-in VR, which comes in handy when shooting fast action shots, such as panning a bird in flight or when panning an athlete.

Coming now to the autofocusing prowess of the lens. Nikon’s silent wave motor technology powers autofocusing. As I have mentioned elsewhere, this technology is very quiet and reliable. The 200-500mm focuses fast and accurately.

The lens features a full-time manual focusing override that lets you seamlessly intervene when the lens cannot lock focus and override the focusing aspect. The focusing ring is very smooth and is probably one of the best-focusing responses I have seen.

However, it’s to be kept in mind that the lens isn’t comparable to some of the other fast autofocusing premium super telephoto lenses in the market. And you’re bound to feel the difference, especially when tracking high-speed subjects like a bird in flight or a gazelle at full steam. But considering the budget, this is a fantastic lens to work with. Compared with some of the competition lenses, the Nikon is often better.

An internal focusing design ensures that the lens can maintain the overall length of the lens while focusing.

There is a focus delimiter button that does what it’s supposed to do. It limits the focus hunting distance between the subject and the lens and, in some situations, can make a huge difference when shooting birds and animals. You can toggle between the full option, where the focusing mechanism is free to rock back and forth between the total focusing distance or limit the focusing range between infinity and 6 meters.

Pros
  • Constant fast aperture across the focal length
  • 4.5 stops of image stabilization
  • Internal focusing design
  • Cost-effective considering the focal length the lens offers
  • Better low-light performance than some of the competition
Cons
  • Heavy
  • The stock collar isn’t the best in the business
  • Doesn’t come with weather sealing

5. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

The 85mm f/1.8G replaces a very old, tried, and tested design that was also extremely popular among full-frame Nikon DSLR users – the 85mm f/1.8D.

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G is a reasonably cost-effective prime lens designed for the full-frame Nikon DSLRs using the F-mount. This lens is also compatible with the D5500, which uses an APS-C sensor and the F-mount. On the Nikon D5500, the effective focal length of this lens becomes 127.5mm. This focal length is suitable for capturing portraits. However, considering that the field of view narrows down when mounted on a D5500, the lens is unlikely to be of much use for other genres. You can use this lens for sports photography like track and field but not for fast action and other photography types requiring a longer focal length.

There are multiple versions of the 85mm lens from Nikon, and this one, with its f/1.8 aperture, ensures a fast aperture allowing crisp images in most kinds of lighting. The fast aperture also assists in producing excellent bokeh. It blurs the background of your subject to produce interesting out-of-focus effects.

A relatively simple design, the lens’s construction includes nine elements arranged in nine groups. These elements include no specialized lens elements but do include a super-integrated coating that ensures the lens can withstand the effects of flares, ghosting, and internal reflections. Compared to the older lens that this lens replaces, the new lens weighs 350 grams, about 30 grams lighter than the outgoing lens.

Another piece of info about the lens is that it has a rubber gasket around the lens mount, which prevents the lens from getting affected by dust and the elements.

The new lens has seven aperture blades compared to the older one with nine. However, compared to the older lens where the aperture blades were straight, the aperture blades are rounded in the new lens, and therefore the bokeh quality is better in the upgrade.

Silent wave motor technology powers the autofocusing mechanism of the lens. The front element of the lens does not rotate when the lens focuses. This is helpful when you’re using circular polarizers and filters. Unlike the older 85mm f/1.8D lens that did not have a built-in autofocusing motor and therefore didn’t autofocus on entry-level cameras such as the D5500, this lens does. For manual focusing, the lens comes with a full-time manual focusing override.

Speaking of manual focusing and the manual focusing ring, the ring is close to the lens’s front. When you hold the focusing ring, the lens balances out rather well. The manual focusing ring is very smooth to operate and gives good feedback.

Autofocusing performance overall is swift and reliable. It would help if you remembered that this lens isn’t optically as fast as the 85mm f/1.4 lens. Still, the 85m f/1.8G isn’t too far behind.

The 85mm f/1.8G is a very sharp lens in terms of image quality. Even when shooting wide open at f/1.8, the lens demonstrates exemplary sharpness. The center of the frame is the sharpest when the lens is stopped down, but by f/11, lens diffraction starts to eat into the sharpness quotient of the lens. Corner sharpness is an issue across the apertures due to field curvature and the only time it shows any improvement is when the lens is stopped down to f/5.6 and f/8.

The lens does suffer from the effects of longitudinal chromatic aberrations. Longitudinal chromatic aberrations are the effect of the wavelengths of the different colors in white light not focusing on the same focal plane. The result is typical when the light rays come straight toward the lens. The light rays focus at different points on the same optical axis and create purple fringing in front and behind the point of focus. This is easily visible when you’re shooting wide open. The problem is that longitudinal chromatic aberrations are challenging to eliminate during post-processing.

The lens also suffers from a little bit of vignetting. The D5500 shows less vignetting than full-frame cameras. If you stop down the lens to f/2.8 or smaller, vignetting disappears entirely. Vignetting can also be corrected during post-processing, which is easy to take care of.

One feature that makes this lens a superior portrait lens compared to the many others on the market is its ability to create beautiful, smooth bokeh that accentuates the subject.

Pros
  • Built-in autofocusing motor that works with the D5500
  • Fast f/1.8 aperture that captures a lot of light in any situation
  • Effective focal length becomes 127.5mm on the D5500
  • Comes with Nikon’s silent wave motor autofocusing technology
  • Excellent bokeh and background blur
Cons
  • No weather sealing
  • Corner sharpness is an issue across all apertures
  • A little bit of vignetting and distortion is present

6. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

The 16-35mm is a constant aperture zoom lens designed for the full-frame Nikon camera systems and primarily for shooting landscape photography. Despite that, the 16-35mm is a good option for crop camera owners. Specifically, D5500 owners.

On a crop camera like this, the effective focal length becomes 24-52.5mm which is still an excellent focal length for shooting landscapes. But now, the lens has become ideal for shooting street photography, weddings, group shots, and plenty of other genres requiring a wide angle.

The reasonably fast aperture of f/4 is constant across the focal length. That means your exposure doesn’t change when shooting across different focal lengths. The 16-35mm is often compared to the 14-24mm f/2.8. If you’re interested in specialized genres like astrophotography, you’re better off shooting with the 14-24mm because of the faster aperture. The 16-35mm, with its slower aperture of f/4, will not be suitable for astrophotography.

For everything else, the 16-35mm is a good choice. I would highly recommend this lens for shooting landscapes.

The construction of the lens includes 17 elements arranged in 12 groups. These include three aspherical elements that suppress the effects of spherical aberrations and distortions. The lens also features two extra-low dispersion elements for suppressing color fringing and chromatic aberrations.

Nikon applied a nano crystal coating to counter the effects of internal reflection, flares, and ghosting that plague wide-angle lenses when working in challenging lighting conditions. This potentially improves the overall image quality by boosting the contrast and colors of your images.

Still on the subject of construction, the lens does come with rubber sealing around the mounting plate. A gold ring around the lens barrel indicates that this is one of Nikon’s professional Nikkor lenses, suggesting that the lens comes with weather sealing. You can take this lens outdoors in inclement weather, and it should be able to handle itself without issues.

The 16-35mm is a bargain considering the potentially excellent image quality that it has to offer. True, lenses such as the 14-24mm f/2.8 are superior, but such lenses can be overkill for the D5500. The 16-35mm comes with a hood that you can optionally detach, and unlike the 14-24mm, you can still use a regular filter using the 77mm filter thread.

The 16-35mm f/4 features a traditional ring-type autofocusing motor. The silent wave motor technology is a great tool as it autofocuses very quickly and smoothly. The lens comes with a full-time manual focusing override.

Additionally, the internal focusing elements ensure that the barrel length of the lens remains unchanged when focusing, speeding up the autofocusing process. There is also a focusing distance scale, which gives you a visual guide on how far or near you focus.

One more advantage of the 16-35mm is the presence of image stabilization. The VR (as Nikon calls it) on the 16-35mm f/4 is rated at up to 2.5 stops. This means you can easily hand-hold the lens and shoot landscape photography without issues. VR also compensates for not using a higher ISO number when shooting in dark conditions. The f/4 aperture is fast in good light but as quick as an f/2.8 lens when lighting drops. VR ensures that you have a bit of leeway by allowing you to shoot with a slightly slower shutter speed and not have to boost the ISO.

Regarding the all-important performance aspect, I will make another comparison with the 14-24mm. This is because many of you may have a full-frame camera, and you might be looking for the sharpest and best optical performance to go with your camera. If budget isn’t a problem, the 14-24mm is what you should go for. This is one of the best-performing wide-zoom lenses that I have ever seen. But if you’re using a D5500 or any other crop camera, the 16-35mm f/4 is an excellent pick.

Regarding corner sharpness, the 16-35mm improves as you stop down the lens. This is true until about f/8, after which sharpness drops for 24mm and 28mm. However, the lens’s best corner sharpness for focal lengths 35mm and 16mm is at f/16.

The lens does suffer from a bit of barrel distortion. However, this isn’t significant and can be easily rectified when post-processing your images. In any case, barrel distortion is significant only when the lens shoots at its widest focal length and then goes away when zooming to 24mm.

Pros
  • A versatile focal length is suitable for several photography genres
  • Perfect for landscape photography
  • Weather sealed
  • Full-time manual focusing override
  • Comes with a fixed aperture of f/4 across the focal length
  • Allows the use of screw-in filters of 77mm
Cons
  • Suffers from color fringing, especially at the long end of the zoom
Rajib Mukherjee Avatar
Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. The first time he ever clicked an image was with an Agfa Click IV back in 1984. A medium format film camera. From that auspicious introduction to photography, he has remained hooked to this art form. He loves to test and review new photography gear. Rajib travels quite a lot, loves driving on Indian roads, playing fetch with his Labrador retriever, and loves photography. And yes, he still proudly owns that Agfa Click IV!