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9 Best Standard Zoom Lenses for Nikon in 2024

Last updated: March 20, 2024 - 14 min read
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In this article, we explore the nine best standard zoom lenses for Nikon. With fantastic lenses for Z-mount and F-mount cameras, we cater to photographers looking for quality and versatility from their zoom lens. From capturing wide landscapes to detailed portraits, these lenses offer a range of focal lengths and apertures to suit various photography styles.

Our top picks include the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S for its exceptional sharpness and the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR for its reliable image stabilization. Both are great lenses that cover a wide range of photography styles. But if they are not the lenses for you, keep reading to see all the best standard zoom lenses for Nikon cameras.

Our Top 2 Standard Zoom Lenses for Nikon
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR

What Is the Best Standard Zoom Lens for Nikon Z?

When choosing the best standard zoom lens for Nikon Z cameras, focal range, aperture, and weight are some of the key factors you need to consider.

The Nikon lenses in this list have chosen for their balance of performance, versatility, and portability. These lenses excel in various photography styles, from landscapes to portraits, ensuring sharp, clear images even in low light.

Our Top Pick
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
  • Versatile 24-70mm range for diverse scenarios
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture for low light
  • Exceptional sharpness and bokeh quality
  • Durable, weather-sealed construction
  • Quick, accurate autofocus system
Best Value Full Frame Lens
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/4 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/4 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/4 S
  • Compact design, ideal for travel and events
  • Consistent f/4 aperture across zoom range
  • Lightweight build enhances portability
  • Sharp images with minimal aberrations
  • Durable with comprehensive weather sealing
Best for Travel
Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F/2.8
Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F/2.8
Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F/2.8
  • F/2.8 aperture for superior low-light performance
  • Balanced zoom range for versatility
  • Robust build with weather sealing
  • Impressive sharpness and color accuracy
  • Fast, silent autofocus for stills and video
Best APS-C Z Lens
Nikon DX NIKKOR Z 16-50mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon DX NIKKOR Z 16-50mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
Nikon DX NIKKOR Z 16-50mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
  • Ultra-compact and lightweight for everyday use
  • Versatile 16-50mm zoom range for various subjects
  • Built-in Vibration Reduction for sharper images
  • Excellent close-up capabilities enhance creative shots
  • Quick, silent autofocus perfect for video recording
 

Our Favorite Standard Zoom Lenses for Nikon Z

Let’s take a closer look at our favorite standard zoom lenses for Nikon Z cameras. From wide landscapes to intimate portraits, there’s a lens here to meet every need. With options ranging from the versatile Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S to the compact Nikon DX Z 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR, photographers can find the perfect tool to enhance their photography skills.

1. Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Our Top Pick
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
805 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 2.8
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
24-70 mm

The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is a top choice for photographers who need versatility and high performance. Its classic 24-70mm focal length range is perfect for capturing everything from sweeping landscapes to tightly framed portraits.

The f/2.8 aperture gives you excellent exposure control, allowing you to capture sharp shots in low light and create a shallow depth of field. The blurred bokeh background looks great in portraits or product shots.

This lens is sharp across the zoom range, ensuring crisp images from 24mm to 70mm. It uses special glass elements to reduce chromatic aberration, so colors are accurate and details are clear.

However, it lacks built-in image stabilization, so you’ll have to rely on the camera’s in-body stabilization system instead. This might be a downside for some, but the aperture is wide enough for most situations. 

Compared to the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S, the 24-70mm f/2.8 version offers better low-light performance and shallower depth of field, making it a good option for professional photography. It’s heavier and more expensive, but the image quality and versatility justify the cost for many.

A classy lens for Nikon mirrorless cameras, it’s easy to see why the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S tops our list of the best standard zoom lenses. 

 

2. Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S

Best Value Full Frame Lens
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/4 S
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
500 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 4.0
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
24-70 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
No

The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S is similar to the previous lens with its versatile 24-70mm focal range. While it doesn’t match the standards of that lens in some regards, it’s lighter and more affordable. And it still delivers excellent images. 

The f/4 maximum aperture is a stop down from the f/2.8 of the previous lens, so you lose some of low-light and depth of field ability. But it is still fast enough for most shooting situations. It’s also constant throughout the zoom range, so you don’t lose any stops at the telephoto end. 

This lens delivers clear images across its focal range, with no loss of quality at either extreme. Thanks to its specialist glass elements, it handles color fringing and distortion well.

It’s sturdy yet lightweight at 1.1 lb (500 g), which is a bonus for street or travel photographers. Quick and accurate autofocus makes it reliable in fast-paced settings. And a custom control ring gives you a more personalized user experience. 

It’s step down from the 24-70mm f/2.8, but the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S is a great option for enthusiasts. Its versatile, portable, and sharp design give it a broad appeal, making it a must-have lens for any Nikon mirrorless user.

 

3. Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8

Best for Travel
Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F/2.8
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
565 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 2.8
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
28-75 mm

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is another versatile zoom lens that strikes a balance between flexibility and image quality.

Although the 28mm isn’t as wide as previous lenses, it’s still a good option for landscapes and property exteriors. Its 75mm telephoto focal length also excels at capturing detailed portraits and everyday scenes.

The constant f/2.8 aperture is a huge benefit for low-light photography or for creating a shallow depth of field. It’s constant throughout the zoom range, so you get complete creative control. 

Weighing just 1.2 lb (565 g), this lens is relatively light for its class, making it a good travel companion. Its quick and near-silent autofocus system ensures sharp images in dynamic shooting situations. While it lacks optical stabilization, many cameras in Nikon’s Z series have excellent image stabilization built in.

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is a great all-rounder lens without the heft or price of more premium models. Its optical performance and versatility add to its appeal, allowing you to shoot a wide range of photography genres. 

 

4. Nikon DX Z 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR

Best APS-C Z Lens
Nikon DX NIKKOR Z 16-50mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
135 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 6.3
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
16-50 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Nikon DX Z 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR is a compact, lightweight, and affordable lens, making it a prime choice for photographers on the go. As a DX-format (APS-C) lens, its focal range is equivalent to 24-75mm on a full frame, covering everything from wide landscapes to intimate portraits.

The variable aperture isn’t the fastest, especially when you’re at 50 mm. But it does have effective Vibration Reduction (VR)  that gives you more exposure compensation when you’re working in low light. 

This lens is incredibly light at just 4.8oz (135 g). It’s an easy fit for any decent camera day bag. 

Its optical performance is solid. Thanks to specialized glass elements, it delivers sharp images with minimal aberrations. The autofocus is also quick and reliable, capturing fleeting moments with precision.

The Nikon DX Z 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR offers a good mix of performance and convenience, ideal for amateur photographers, beginners, or those wanting to travel light. It’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for your first standard zoom lens. 

 

What is the Best Standard Zoom Lens for Nikon F?

This section focuses on the best standard zoom lenses for Nikon F-mount DSLR cameras. Selected for their optical performance, versatility, and build quality, the lineup includes Nikon, Sigma, and Tamron lenses.

These choices cater to a range of needs, from professional photography to everyday shooting, emphasizing sharpness, low-light capability, and image stabilization.

Our Top Pick
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR
  • Versatile 24-70mm zoom for diverse photography needs
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture for low light, depth control
  • Robust, weather-sealed construction for reliability
  • Sharp images with controlled aberrations, distortions
  • Effective image stabilization for handheld shooting
Best Value F Lens
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR
  • Broad 24-85mm range for versatile shooting scenarios
  • Variable aperture ideal for varied lighting conditions
  • Lightweight design enhances portability and handling
  • Vibration Reduction for steady shots in motion
  • Sharp imagery with minimal chromatic aberration
Best Sigma Art Lens
Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 DG OS HSM | A for Nikon F
Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 DG OS HSM | A for Nikon F
Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 DG OS HSM | A for Nikon F
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture for consistent exposure control
  • Art series quality ensures superior image sharpness
  • Optical Stabilization for steady shots in low light
  • Hyper Sonic Motor for fast, silent autofocus
  • Durable build with weather-sealed protection
Best Tamron Lens
Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A032 for Nikon F
Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A032 for Nikon F
Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A032 for Nikon F
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture for excellent light capture
  • Vibration Compensation ensures sharp images in low light
  • Ultrasonic Silent Drive for quick, quiet autofocus
  • Durable construction with moisture-resistant features
  • Superior optical performance with minimal aberrations
Best APS-C F Lens
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G VR II
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G VR II
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G VR II
  • Compact, lightweight design for easy portability
  • Versatile 18-55mm range for everyday shooting
  • Vibration Reduction for sharper handheld photos
  • Ideal for beginners with user-friendly operation
  • Affordable entry into Nikon lens ecosystem
 

Our Favorite Standard Zoom Lenses for Nikon F

Let’s take a closer look at our favorite standard zoom lenses for Nikon DSLR cameras.

Whether you’re capturing vast landscapes or intimate portraits, these lenses provide the tools you need to improve your photography skills. With options from Nikon, Sigma, and Tamron, photographers have a wealth of choices when it comes to standard zoom lenses.

1. Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

Our Top Pick
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
1070 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 2.8
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
24-70 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
1

The Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR has to be the best standard zoom lens for Nikon F-mount cameras. It’s versatile, robust, and produces professional results. Its 24-70mm focal length is perfect for capturing everything from wide landscapes to detailed portraits.

The constant f/2.8 aperture helps in low light and creates a beautiful background bokeh effect. It’s constant throughout the zoom range, so you get the same low-light performance at any focal length.

You also have the fantastic Vibration Reduction (VR) system for even better results in low light. Giving you four extra stops of compensation, the VR makes it easier to shoot from hand or in dimly lit situations. 

This lens features advanced optics that includes ED glass and aspherical elements, which reduce aberrations and distortion. Its sharpness is impressive, producing crystal-clear images at any focal length.

Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor is quick and reliable, giving you excellent focus support. While its weight might be a downside for some, its build quality and weather sealing make it durable option for outdoor photography.

The Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR is a modern classic, and it’s still the best standard zoom lens for Nikon DSLR cameras. 

 

2. Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR

Best Value F Lens
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
485 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 4.5
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
24-85 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR is a practical choice for photographers looking for a single lens that can handle a variety of scenes. Its focal range is great for capturing everything from vast landscapes to detailed portraits.

The variable aperture is not the widest, but it still supports shooting in moderately low light. Thanks to the lens’s Vibration Reduction (VR) feature, you get extra support when there is less light available.

Sharpness is surprisingly good for a zoom lens in this price bracket. Thanks to the Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements, it produces crisp images with accurate colors at any focal length.

Lightweight and compact, this lens is easy to carry around when shooting for long periods. It’s also a great travel photography lens, giving you a wide focal range in a small package. 

It might not offer the same level of performance as more expensive lenses, but the Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR strikes a good balance between quality, versatility, and price. 

 

3. Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | A for Nikon F

Best Sigma Art Lens
Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 DG OS HSM | A for Nikon F
Brand
Brand
Sigma
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
1200 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 2.8
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
24-70 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | A offers flexibility and high-quality images at a reasonable price.

Its wide aperture of f/2.8 across all focal lengths gives you excellent performance in low light and the ability to achieve a shallow depth of field.

This makes it perfect for capturing everything from expansive landscapes at 24mm to detailed portraits at 70mm. The Optical Stabilization (OS) is a big advantage, significantly reducing camera shake and allowing for sharper images in dim conditions.

The lens boasts a solid construction with weather sealing. This ensures it can withstand varied shooting environments, from dusty landscapes to damp city streets.

Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) powers the autofocus, which is both quick and quiet.

The lens impresses with its sharpness and chromatic aberration control. The pleasing bokeh effect, created by the 9-blade diaphragm, adds a professional quality to portraits and close-up shots.

While it’s on the heavier side, the lens’s performance and versatility justify its place in your camera backpack.

For those seeking a reliable, all-around lens for Nikon F mount cameras, the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | A is a good option. It offers a balance between quality, functionality, and affordability.

 

4. Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 for Nikon F

Best Tamron Lens
Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A032 for Nikon F
Brand
Brand
Tamron
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
905 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 2.8
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
24-70 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a lovely standard zoom lens that combines versatility and quality.

Its constant f/2.8 aperture across the zoom range is a key feature, enabling consistent exposure control and the ability to achieve a shallow depth of field. This makes it ideal for a variety of shooting conditions, from low light to capturing subjects with a beautifully blurred background.

The Vibration Compensation (VC) significantly improves its usability in handheld shooting, reducing camera shake and allowing for clearer images in low light.

This lens combines high-quality optics with robust build quality. The weather sealing adds an extra layer of protection, making it suitable for use in diverse environments.

The autofocus system is both quick and precise, ensuring sharp images even in dynamic scenarios.

Despite its hefty build, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 remains popular with those who value optical performance and flexibility. Its ability to produce sharp, detailed images across a wide range of focal lengths, coupled with effective image stabilization, makes it a powerful tool for various types of photography.

 

5. Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II

Best APS-C F Lens
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G VR II
Brand
Brand
Nikon
Lens Weight
Lens Weight
195 g
Maximum Aperture
Maximum Aperture
f/ 5.6
Focal Length Range
Focal Length Range
18-55 mm
Image Stabilization
Image Stabilization
Yes

The Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II is versatile and compact, making it an ideal zoom lens for beginners. Its focal range covers everything from wide landscapes to detailed portraits, making it a practical choice for everyday photography.

The variable aperture of f/3.5-5.6 does present some limitations, especially at the 55mm end. Thankfully, the VR system gives you a helping hand when you are low on light, providing four stops of exposure compensation.

Weighing only 195 g, this lens is notably lightweight and easy to carry, perfect for travel and long shooting days. Its construction is mainly high-quality plastic, which contributes to its portability. But the lack of weather sealing is disappointing.

Sharpness is commendable across its zoom range, with only slight softness at the edges when the aperture is wide open. The lens handles chromatic aberration and distortion well, with minor issues easily corrected in post-processing.

A cost-effective, versatile lens, the Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II is the perfect standard zoom lens for APS-C Nikon DSLR cameras. 

 

Conclusion: The Best Standard Zoom Lenses for Nikon

The standard zoom is one of the most popular lenses in photography. And finding the best standard zoom lenses for Nikon opens a whole new world of possibilities. You can shoot everything including landscapes, portraits, street, and travel photography all with just one lens. 

This article reviewed the nine best standard zooms for Nikon Z-mount and F-mount cameras. Each lens was evaluated for its performance in various situations, from low light to capturing detailed portraits.

Our top picks are the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S for its sharpness and versatility and the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR for its optical performance and stabilization. These lenses stand out for Nikon photographers, but we’ve seen that there’s no shortage of options when it comes to standard zoom lenses for Nikon cameras. 

Our Top 2 Standard Zoom Lenses for Nikon
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F/2.8E ED VR