Check out our list of 6 best lenses for Nikon D5500, the most advanced entry-level DSLR from Nikon.
There are a couple of important things to know before buying a lens, but the biggest factors are its focal length, aperture sizes and image quality. We chose lenses with lengths that cover what most people, amateur and professional, use almost every day, and lenses that have high image quality without being too expensive.
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Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX
The Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX is small, optically great and also the most affordable Nikon lens out there.
Because of its large f/1.8 aperture, the lens gathers a lot of light and is perfect for low light situations (parties, clubs, night photography etc.). This means less blurred shots and more high quality images when shooting in dark places.
Another reason why f/1.8 is so good is because it allows you to completely blur the background, making your subject stand out (called shallow depth of field). It’s the easiest and quickest way to make your shots look professional.
Who is this lens good for? Wedding, portrait, casual, low light, indoor photographers. The focal length is actually perfect for almost everything except for wildlife, and combined with the f/1.8 the quality of your shots will look absolutely stunning.
Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S
Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S replaces the old, but best selling 50mm f/1.8D that couldn’t auto focus on bodies like the D5500 that have no AF motor. This new version however, works perfectly and will also auto focus on it without any issues.
Quality wise, it’s just like the 35mm above, and also features the same aperture size. Due to a slightly longer focal length, its bokeh (background blur) looks more pleasing and makes it more appropriate if you’re really into portraits or like having a shallow depth of field on your images.
It’s slightly heavier and bigger, takes 58mm filters but is still extremely compact! Perfect for those who travel and want 1, high quality prime lens.
Who is this lens good for? Everyone, from extreme low light, clubs, street photography, to portraits and weddings, sports, animals, products etc. Think of it as a slightly longer brother of the 35mm.
Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro
Since the introduction of Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S Micro, macro photography got a lot cheaper (Nikon calls their macro lenses ‘micro’).
The 40mm focal length is great for product, bug, portrait and even casual photography. True macro lenses have a 1:1 ratio (also known as 1x magnification), meaning they don’t really zoom in your subject or any other marketing crap like that, it’s the glass elements inside them that actually make the subject appear as big as it is in real life.
It’s designed for DX cameras which the D5500 is, so AF and image quality are top notch. Focusing is quick and precise, which is a must if you’re photographing moving subjects, and the lens has a closest focusing distance of 6.4 inches.
Who is this lens for? Anyone who wants an affordable, high quality macro lens.
Best Zoom Lenses for Nikon D5500
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR
The Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S is your best choice if you want to photograph animals or sports on a tight budget. Paired with the 18-55mm kit lens, you’re covered on wide, standard and telephoto ranges, so there’s almost nothing you won’t be able to capture.
It’s light and compact, has a plastic mount (like all low priced lenses) and feels solid but not like more expensive lenses. For $150 though, this is all expected and the image quality is really good, along with AF speed and overall performance.
Who is this lens for? Anyone who wants a lot more zoom than what the 18-55mm offers. Outdoor activities, sports, animals, planes, as long as you’re not indoor (where raising the ISO speed is a must).
Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S
The all-around Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR is a much more versatile and higher quality lens than the 18-55mm kit lens.
Almost 100mm more zoom means you’re not only ready for wide and standard photography, but also for telephoto, making this lens perfect for general photography and traveling as well.
Image quality, colors and contrast are all great and improved compared to the 18-300mm (more zoom usually results in worse quality), but you are missing 160mm on the telephoto end. If that’s important to you, and you’re willing to pay $200 more, check out the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR AF-S here.
Who is this lens for? Like using one lens for everything but feel like the 18-55mm doesn’t cover enough?
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX II
Tokina may not be the most famous third-party lens company, but their Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro DX II is cheaper than anything around this focal length (let alone such a big aperture) and offers same, or even better image quality than competition!
Like the rest of their lenses, this one is built like a tank and feels solid in hand. Aperture f/2.8 makes it easy to photograph in low light, clubs/indoors without raising your ISO too high.
Nikon doesn’t have a wideangle lens at this price, let alone an f/2.8 wideangle zoom. The Tokina 11-16mm also focuses and works perfectly on the Nikon D5500.
Who is this lens for? Landscape, sky/night, indoor, club photographers. Get it only if you know you need the f/2.8 aperture for low light, since you’re mostly paying for that.
6 More Recommended Lenses for Nikon D5500
In case you’re willing to spend more to get even better quality/focus, check out our top 6 lenses below, from wide to extreme telephoto. All of these work perfectly on the D5500 so you’re ready to shoot from the moment you mount them on your camera.
Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S – Same image quality and sharpness as the f/1.8 above, but slightly bigger aperture, so get the f/1.4 if you often shoot in low light conditions and don’t like using high ISO speeds.
Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S – If you’re into concert, wedding or portrait photography, or just love beautiful bokeh and razor sharp images, get yourself this lens!
Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR – Better than the 18-300mm and 55-200mm, faster auto focus and better build quality.
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM – It’s like 3 wide angle lenses in one. Sharp, big f/1.8 aperture and less than $1,000, perfect for low light, street and general photography.
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM – The most affordable super telephoto zoom with great quality, AF speed and image stabilization up to 4 stops.
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM – Razor sharp and simply one of the best lenses out there from any company.
Nikon Lens Terms Explained
FX – Mount that fits and works perfectly with all Nikon DSLR cameras
DX – Mount made specifically for DX cameras such as the D5500 and all the way up to Nikon D500. They’re often lighter and cheaper than FX lenses.
VR – Stands for Vibration Reduction and it helps you when you’re shooting with slow shutter speeds (like at night or indoors) and you’re trying to get sharp results. Basically it tries to minimize the blur caused by your movement (more info here) and is almost always successful, but only if your subject is static.
AF-S – Lenses with AF-S have an auto focus motor built-in and will focus with cameras that don’t have a motor built in them (the D5500 and all other entry-level models don’t have it). You don’t have to worry about this too much as almost all lenses today do have the AF-S in them.
G – No aperture ring on the lens itself, kind of like in the old days. Again, pretty much 99% lenses for the past 10 years.
ED – Stands for Extra-Low Dispersion glass elements, helps at reducing chromatic aberration (color fringing).
IF – Internal Focusing, it means the front element of a lens does not rotate when auto focusing (useful when used with polarizing filters)
Micro – These ‘macro’ lenses have a 1:1 ratio and make your subject look as big as it is in real life.