The absence of the optical low pass filter means the camera can capture fine detail. However, there is a risk of moiré due to this exclusion.
In this discussion, we’ll look at the best lenses for the D810 to accentuate its strengths and compensate for its limitations. Without further ado, let’s find the best lenses for this camera.
The Absolute Best Nikon D810 Lenses, for Every Budget
1. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
The main strength of the D810 isn’t fast action or sports photography, but rather capturing the finer details of a subject. Genres such as landscapes, fashion, and product photography are a few areas where the D810 comes in handy.
The 24mm wide focal length complements this, as it is suitable for landscape images. The 35mm and the 50mm focal lengths are suitable for street and everyday photography, and the 70mm is a good enough focal length to shoot portrait photography. You can also shoot decent environmental portraits using the 35mm and the 50mm focal lengths if you have mastered the genre.
Speaking of portraits, the lens can also capture decent bokeh. Though not in the same league as the 70-200mm f/2.8, this lens is still capable of producing that much-desired blurred effect.
The lens’s autofocusing is fast and very precise. This model comes equipped with a full-time manual focusing override, which ensures you can grab hold of the manual focusing ring at any time and precisely lock focus without any issues.
The 24-70mm features excellent construction. It’s weather sealed and comes with a rear rubber gasket sealing the lens mount. The lens provides four-stop image stabilization, ensuring that you can handhold the lens in most lighting conditions. The fixed f/2.8 maximum aperture also lends itself to this ability.
Optically, this is one of the sharpest lenses that you will come across. The lens performs admirably wide open and stopped down and is perfectly sharp across the frame. There is a bit of distortion in the lens, but that’s not a dealbreaker. You can quickly correct distortion in post-processing.
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2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
The 50mm prime is a great lens and a personal favorite. This inexpensive lens offers a fast wide open aperture of f/1.8 and the ability to capture a lot of light in any lighting situation. The lens can capture any moment in good lighting with a fast associated shutter speed. In bad lighting, the f/1.8 aperture is great for capturing a lot of light, which a kit lens fails to achieve, ensuring that the lens can make proper exposures without any issues.
I have used both the older f/1.8 D version and the new f/1.8 G version of the lens – I like both. The f/1.8 D version has a manual aperture ring that allows you to change the aperture on demand, while the f/1.8 G version does not. The older lens did not have an autofocusing motor, unlike the new G version. Although this isn’t relevant for the D810, because this camera comes with a built-in autofocusing motor, the older lens won’t autofocus on crop cameras without a built-in AF motor. The new lens with the built-in AF motor offers that option.
Among the many features of the lens is the nonrotating front element that ensures that filters and filter holders can be used with precision.
Autofocusing on the lens is powered by silent wave motor technology. The f/1.8 G lens is very quick and accurate in terms of autofocusing performance. In dimly lit situations, however, the lens struggles – as does the older f/1.8 D lens.
The lens also features a full-time manual focusing override. This ensures you can tweak the manual focusing ring, even when autofocus is engaged.
3. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
This is the perfect companion to the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens I listed above. If you wish to buy two lenses for your D810, the 24-70mm and the 70-200mm f/2.8 would be ideal. This lens has a focal length from 24mm to 200mm covered at an f/2.8 constant aperture.
This FX mount lens is solidly built and offers excellent optical performance. This is a replacement for the older 70-200mm lens, and because of fluorite elements in the lens, the overall weight is lighter than before. The build quality is excellent, and I suspect it will withstand rough handling and still deliver beautiful images for years to come.
The lens has been treated with a nano crystal coating that ensures the lens can withstand the effects of ghosting and flares. A fluorine coating ensures that the lens can repel dust and moisture and is easy to clean when smears and fingerprints occur.
The focusing ring and the zoom ring have been swapped on the new design, which is not to my liking. Now, the zoom ring sits closer to the end of the barrel and the focusing ring closer to the lens mount. Inadvertently when you’re trying to work with the zoom ring, you move the focusing ring and change the focus by accident.
One of the oft-reported issues of the older lens was the presence of focus breathing. The new lens has been designed keeping in mind these issues, and focus breathing has been taken care of.
The lens offers impressive optical performance even when wide open and shooting at f/2.8. Some corner softness can be overcome by stopping down the lens by about a stop. This is one of the first 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses on the market, if not the best overall.
4. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G is a lens designed for the full frame image circle of Nikon’s FX-format cameras. The 85mm is the best focal length for shooting portrait photos. If portrait or fashion photography is your field of choice, this is one lens that should be in your camera bag.
This is an upgraded version of the older D series lens. The older lens came with six elements arranged in six groups. The new version of this lens comes with nine elements arranged in nine groups. Overall, the construction quality is excellent. The lens is smaller and less bulky than the f/1.8 version.
The construction of the lens includes a super-integrated coating. This implies that the lens can withstand the effects of flares and ghosting and that the final images have better contrast and color accuracy. In reality, however, the lens suffers from ghosting and flares.
The D810 is a perfect choice for shooting portrait photography. It captures a surprising amount of detail using the 36.3-MP CMOS sensor, and the 85mm f/1.8 lens is a perfect match for the camera. Lenses that are optically less sharp or suffer from lens diffraction are easily called out when paired with a high-resolution camera like the D810. The 85mm is optically very sharp and produces a fantastic image even when shooting wide open.
The quality of bokeh produced by this lens is admirable. The bokeh is soft and rounded thanks to the seven rounded aperture blades. This helps isolate a subject from the background and capture beautiful artistic shots.
Focusing is powered by Nikon’s silent wave motor-powered mechanism. This is a precise AF mechanism that’s very quiet. The lens’s front element does not rotate when it focuses, meaning you can use a filter or a filter holder without any issues. Full-time manual focusing override is also available. This ensures you can tweak the focus without switching to manual mode from autofocus mode.
5. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED
The 35mm is more versatile than the 50mm, considering that it’s neither too wide as a typical wide-angle lens nor too long. Even the 50mm feels too long in some situations. The 35mm is versatile because this lens can be used for landscape photography, cityscapes, weddings, group shots, architecture, and interiors. The lens can also be used for shooting environmental portraits, leaving negative space around the subject.
Wide-angle lenses are not designed for shallow depth-of-field shots, but you can capture some decent background blur if your subject is close to the camera. However, getting too close to your subject isn’t advisable as that can affect your subject’s facial features. Step back, shoot from a distance, and then, if possible, crop your images so that the facial features are not distorted.
This is a walk-around lens. Screw it onto your D810, and you can have a lot of fun shooting images all day without the need for any other equipment.
The construction of the lens includes 11 elements arranged in eight groups. This includes one extra-low dispersion glass element that suppresses chromatic aberrations and color fringing. The lens also includes one aspherical element that suppresses the effects of spherical aberrations and helps improve contrast and color accuracy.
Autofocusing on the lens is powered by Nikon’s silent wave motor technology. As mentioned, this is a quiet and precise autofocusing technology. The lens also features a full-time manual focusing override.
In terms of performance, the lens is very sharp right from the widest aperture. The center of the frame is very sharp, and so are the corners of the frame. The lens’s performance is better than some of the more illustrated competitors in the market. And considering that the price point at which this lens is sold is reasonable, this is an excellent value-for-money product.
6. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR
This is a beast of a lens, considering the powerful focal length and the fast maximum aperture of f/5.6. This lens is designed for capturing sports and wildlife photography and offers a fixed focal length. Many photographers would feel that the fixed focal length is somewhat limiting because it cannot zoom if necessary. This lens is ideal when you know that the subject you want to photograph is at a considerable distance, and the distance will not likely change.
For a 500mm super-telephoto lens, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR is surprisingly easy to handle. The lens weighs 1460 grams, and I have handled heavier lenses in my time. This lens can still be hand-held thanks to the Phase Fresnel technology that has been used. However, if you are pairing this lens with the D810, I would recommend a monopod at least.
If you compare this lens with the Nikon 500mm f/4, the f/5.6 lens is much lighter and more petite. Sure, you get a stop of extra light with the f/4 lens, but you have to pay a considerable sum of money to own the f/4 lens. Plus, it isn’t easy to handhold.
The construction quality of the lens is excellent. Even though comparisons with the top-quality 500mm f/4 lens would be unavoidable, this f/5.6 lens is also very well designed. The lens features moisture control and can handle abusive behavior thanks to the tough magnesium-alloy construction. The lens also features a fluorine coating on the front elements. This makes it easy for the lens to be cleaned in case of smudges and smears.
7. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
The Sigma 105mm f/2.8 is a macro lens. This is a true macro lens in the sense that the lens offers a 1:1 life-sized reproduction of any small subject on the sensor.
The lens’s focal length is 105mm, a short telephoto lens. The focal length is ideally suited for capturing portrait images. Thanks to the f/2.8 aperture, the lens captures a decent background blur.
The lens’s built-in image stabilization is perfect when it kicks in. It does an excellent job of stabilizing the scene. However, I noticed that when panning or tilting the lens, image stabilization produces a jerky motion in Mode 1. For panning and tilting, it’s better to switch to Mode 2.
Though the long lenses are not great for capturing a sizeable panoramic vista, you can still capture an interesting compressed image of the scene in front of you with this lens.
The lens has been optimized for the larger image circle of full-frame camera systems. However, this lens can also be used on APS-C camera systems.
This is a well-built lens and feels solid in the hands. This is despite the lens having a lot of plastic components. The lens comes with a metal lens mount, however, there is no weather sealing on the lens.
Autofocusing on the lens is powered by a hypersonic motor. This is a quick and precise AF technology. However, the lens is hardly going to be used in autofocusing mode. As is the case with most macro lenses, they’re usually manually operated.
Speaking of manual focusing, the manual focusing ring is significant, rubberized, and responds very well to input. The lens has a full-time manual focusing override. This ensures that you can turn the ring at any time and precisely adjust focusing without any issues.
8. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
The holy trinity of Nikon lenses is the 14-24mm, the 24-70mm, and the 70-200mm. These three lenses have a fixed maximum aperture of f/2.8, allowing the photographer to maintain the same exposure across the entire focal length range. The 14-24mm is a wide-angle zoom lens and is generally considered by photographers with deep pockets who want something wider than the 16-35mm f/4. The f/4 lens offers a more extended zoom range on the telephoto end, though the 14-24mm costs a lot more. The 14-24mm has a wider focal length range on the wide-angle end.
The lens’s construction includes three aspherical elements that reduce the effects of spherical aberrations and distortion. Additionally, the lens includes two extra-low dispersion elements that directly negate the effects of color fringing and chromatic aberrations. This has the effect of improving the sharpness of your images.
The lens also features what is known as a nano crystal coating. This coating helps negate the effects of internal reflections, flares, and ghosting and helps improve the color accuracy of your images, as well as the contrast.
There are advantages and disadvantages to the 14-24mm lens. On one side, the lens offers a stunning wide angle of view that captures 114 degrees to 84 degrees. But at the same time, you won’t be able to use a circular polarizer or an ND filter because those are not technically unsupported.
Nikon’s silent wave motor technology powers autofocusing. The lens also features a full-time manual focusing override that allows the lens to be tweaked manually at any time.
The 14-24mm is a fantastic focal length range that works for any photography genre where a wide angle of view is required. So, you can use this focal length to shoot architecture, interiors, landscapes, and cityscapes. This focal length, however, will not be suitable for portraits and other genres.
9. Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
I included the Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR in this discussion. That’s a reasonably priced super-telephoto lens, considering it’s a prime lens. However, some photographers may not be able to afford the 500mm f/5.6 and may look for a more affordable lens for their telephoto requirements. The Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 is a good solution.
This lens is optimized for the full-frame image circle of Nikon’s FX-format cameras. There is a compatible Canon version as well that works with all cameras using the Canon EF mount. The older Mark 1 or G1 lens was also very well received. It had a dedicated fan following, and the image quality was excellent, considering the price point at which the lens was launched.
The G2 improved on the overall autofocusing feature of the lens (the older G1 version had occasional autofocus freeze issues) and included weather sealing. I like the improvements on the new lens – especially the fact that the autofocusing problems have been dealt with. The G2 lens also has a better autofocus lock.
The G2 is solidly built and feels perfect in the hands. The buttons, dials, and switches fall in place and are very smooth to operate. When I compare the switches on the older G1 lens with the switches on the G2 lens, the ones on the G2 lens operate much more smoothly.
The new lens comes with weather sealing. This is something that was missing in the older lens. Weather sealing ensures that the lens can be used in inclement weather, and the chances of picking up dust and moisture are reduced.
The manual focusing ring on the lens is narrow and positioned in a place where it’s not very ergonomic. The positioning of the tripod collar always comes in the way of the focusing ring. You must ensure that the tripod collar is out of the way if you feel like using the focusing ring.