Take a look at our 7 best lenses for Nikon D500, from wideangle primes to telephoto zoom lenses.
The D500 is a beast of a camera; 21 megapixels, 153 auto focus points, 10 frames per second and native ISO up to 51,200 all allow you to shoot in any condition, whether it’s outside or inside, raining or hot, still or action photography.
That’s why we checked out everything Nikon and other companies have to offer, and selected the best lenses based on high image quality, affordability and overall usability (we skipped lenses that you’d probably use once a year).
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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 D3300 that have no AF motor.
Quality wise, it’s just like the 35mm below, 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 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 85mm f/1.8G AF-S
The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S is perfect for weddings, portraits, street and concert photography.
With superb image quality, beautiful colors and bokeh, this is one of the best lenses Nikon has ever made. The focal length makes it perfect for situations where you can’t or don’t want to get in front of your subject (typical for concerts and weddings). 85mm is also a great length for photographing faces as wider angles tend to distort faces, while longer lengths do work but often force you to get too far from your subject.
Like both prime lenses above, this one also features a large f/1.8 opening, so low light photography won’t be an issue at all. Combined with D500’s amazing low light performance, you can literally shoot in any condition!
Who is this lens for? Wedding, portrait, concert and street photographers. However, it can also be used for sports and many other types, don’t let the millimeters limit your creativity!
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? The 18-140mm serves as an excellent all-around lens with great quality.
A couple of years ago, large apertures were only possible on prime lenses, but Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM changed that in 2013. You’re looking at an optically superb, wide-to-standard large aperture lens that could save you a lot of money and weight (1 zoom with f/1.8 instead of 3 primes with f/1.8).
Not familiar with Sigma’s terms? The lens features HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor), which means the lens is very quick and accurate at focusing. You can also expect beautiful background blur thanks to 9 diaphragm blades, especially when wide open.
Besides amazing quality in still photography, the lens is perfect for videos as well, thanks to its smooth focus and zoom rings.
It weighs 1.79 pounds (810 grams) and is quite long, meaning your neck will get tired after a couple of hours of shooting. In a way, it’s like 3 x f/1.8 lenses in one so it’s just something you have to live with.
Who is this lens for? Anyone who shoots around the 18-35mm range but wants to stick with 1, high quality lens that offers f/1.8. That includes street, night, sky, club and indoor photography, but it’s just as good for traveling if you’re okay with carrying it for such long periods.
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S
The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S is one of the sharpest zooms available, with superb image quality and excellent overall performance. It’s perfect for both hobby photographers who want the best image quality, and also for professionals that need the best there is.
The 70-200mm range and f/2.8 aperture make it perfect for concerts, weddings, sports, reporters and animals. Its auto focus is very fast and accurate so it’s a perfect match for the blazingly fast Nikon D500.
Who is this lens for? Sports, portraits, weddings, concerts, action, animals (200mm is too short for serious wildlife), landscape, traveling (although not as light as many other lenses).
Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR AF-S
The Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR AF-S is a monster telephoto zoom, excellent if you’re looking for a high quality, wildlife/sports lens on a budget. It’s certainly not the cheapest, but it’s affordable in terms of the range and excellent image quality you get in return!
With a fixed f/5.6 aperture you don’t have to worry about changing your settings when zooming, and it’s also good for video recording because zooming in and out won’t affect the brightness of your videos.
After shooting for hours at 500mm, you’ll most likely be tired and some of your shots will be blurred. This is where the Vibration Reduction comes in, and helps you up to 4.5 stops so you can get clear shots even in darker conditions. On a DX camera like the D500, its field of view at 500mm is actually equivalent to 750mm!
Who is this lens for? Wildlife and sports photographers who want a lens with excellent optical quality and colors and fast auto focus.
5 More Recommended Lenses for Nikon D500
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 Nikon D500 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 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S – Best all-around zoom lens for traveling and types of photography that fit between 24 and 70mm (don’t forget the crop factor of your D500).
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 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.