Best Low Light Lenses For Nikon Cameras – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated: June 28, 2021

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Contrary to popular belief, the low-light condition doesn't just comprise of trying to photograph something at night. You could come across it even during the day time, when the sun decides to hide behind a cloud, leaving you with bare minimum lighting. 

When that is the case, the lens you use holds more importance than your camera body. It can make a world of difference by taking bad lighting conditions and providing you optimal results. However, how can you choose a good low light lens for your Nikon camera? It's a million-dollar question!

People often find it pretty confusing to pick a lens, given the number of options available on the market. Don't worry! We've got you covered.

We have the ultimate buyer's guide for low light lenses, which carries the answers to all your photography dilemmas. To find out more, keep on reading!

Comparison of the Best Low-Light Lenses For Nikon Cameras

  • Maximum aperture is F1.4
  • Minimum distance is 0.45 m
  • Simple and practical nature of this unit makes it the best overall
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  • Has the focal length of 58mm
  • Maximum reproduction ratio is 0.13x
  • Incredibly reliable which makes it the runner-up
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  • Weighs approximately 1540g
  • Features focal length range of 70-200 mm
  • Provides great value for money which makes it the best for the money
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  • Focal length is of 85 mm
  • Minimum focus range is of 0.80m
  • Innovative features make it the best Nikon low light zoom lens
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  • It is not zoomable
  • Has a focal length of 35mm
  • Incredible design makes it the best D3300 low light lens
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What Purpose Does a Low Light Lens Serve?

Imagine you go on a very tough hike to capture photos of beautiful scenery, some mountain perhaps, and you reach there to realize the lens you own doesn't work well for dim lights. This is precisely why low light lenses are created. Let's take a look at some uses:

To Create Beautiful Bokeh

If you like the blurred background effect to make your subject the center of attention, then low-light lenses are great for that. This is also due to the wide aperture and depth offered. 

For Wedding Photography

Weddings, engagements, or parties are often events with scarce lighting. Thus, a low-lighting camera is great for capturing wedding pictures. 

To Get Amazing Pictures in Scarce Lighting Conditions

Low light lenses are equipped with multiple features that ensure they optimize the light available to give you an evenly lit picture. A wide aperture allows the maximum amount of light to enter the lens, so the picture you take is well lit. 

What Makes a Great Low Light Lens?

There are certain aspects to consider when looking for a good low light lens. Let's take a look at all the factors that make a great pick.

Durability and Construction

Invest in products that are well-constructed, using great quality material. This ensures that they are reliable and durable. The construction is crucial for a lens. It should be heavy-duty and preferably safe to travel with. 


It is true that lenses can be a pretty expensive investment; however, there are great quality lenses available at every price point. Thus, it is crucial to set a price point for yourself, so it's easier for you to narrow down your options. Furthermore, the build and aesthetics of the lens are compromised when you opt for cheaper ones; however, their performance is still great. They just won't last as long. 


Apart from having a wide aperture, a good low light lens should have features such as an aspherical lens and super integrated coating, which reduces chromatic aberrations and lens glare. Furthermore, silent wave motor is another great feature to have, which makes the autofocus on your lens fast and quiet. 

Review of the Best Low Light Lenses for Nikon

There are plenty of lenses out there on the market. The abundance of products available makes it difficult for a person to decide which one to invest in. Thus, we have some great recommendations. The following are the best lenses you can get your hands on. 

Best Overall:
 Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras


  • Non-curved, aspherical surface reduces aberrations
  • Fast f/1.4 aperture lets you capture brilliant low-light photos
  • Compact and lightweight size makes the Nikon easy to travel with
  • Silent Wave motor technology allows autofocus to be quiet and fast
  • Focusing mode allows easy switching between manual and automatic focus


  • Focus speed is slow
  • Does not have an aperture ring
  • Lens hood comes off easy as it does not lock in place

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers find the unit to be a great investment. Firstly, it doesn't break the bank as it is one of the more affordable options available on the market. Furthermore, it carries an array of features that aids in producing sharp and crisp images. It also features a focus mode, which allows one to switch between manual and autofocus easily.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit features super integrated coating and a non-curved aspherical lens, which reduces chromatic aberration and lens glare to the minimum. The autofocus it features is very quiet, so your subject isn't disturbed, which is essential for wildlife photography. It's very easy to travel with as well since it is lightweight and portable.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens would work for a wide variety of situations. You can expect excellent low-light performance from this product as it has a fast, wide aperture of f/1.4. It is great for portraits and for blurring backgrounds to get beautiful bokeh. The 50mm focal length it features is great for creating a natural depth of field.

Bottom Line

Overall, this unit is a great purchase. It is one of the best Nikon lenses you can get your hands on. It works for multiple circumstances and is highly convenient to use. It is a consumer favorite for many reasons and proves to be a great investment.

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras


  • Has a 9 rounded- blade which creates an excellent bokeh
  • Focus mode allows easy switching between manual focus and autofocus
  • Lightweight and portable construction makes it the perfect lens to travel with
  • Fast f/1.4 aperture produces evenly-lit outstanding photos which have an edge-to-edge sharpness
  • Incredibly versatile as it offers a natural perspective with telephoto characteristic to exaggerate the depth of field


  • On the expensive side of the spectrum
  • Autofocus isn't fast enough to capture rapidly moving objects

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers appreciate this unit a lot. It carries their favorite features in a portable construction and is highly reliable. Some buyers did find it to be a little expensive; however, the performance and quality are worth the splurge. It is a long-term investment as it is incredibly well-built and highly durable.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stands out for multiple reasons. This unit is incredibly well-constructed and reliable. It can be easily traveled with as it has a portable construction. Furthermore, it can work well for low light conditions at the maximum aperture, which is incredibly fast. It can work for both daytime and night-time.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is great for night-time and lowlight conditions. It is therefore great for multiple lighting conditions. It can be a great lens to travel with, as it has a very lightweight and portable construction. Furthermore, if you're fond of capturing photos blurred backgrounds or bokeh as they are called, it performs very well for that.

Bottom Line

This unit is impeccable. It is highly reliable and of great quality. You won't regret buying it as it offers great features which optimize the performance of the camera. There are plenty of features in the product that aid in producing the high-quality image results it gives. Therefore, it's a great investment.

Best for the Money:
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens For Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (New, White box)


  • Silent wave motor technology allows fast and accurate autofocus
  • Focus mode allows easy and quick changing between manual and autofocus
  • Features super integrated coating enhances light transmission and offers consistency in color
  • Produces sharp and clear images as it features nano-coating which reduces ghosting and flare
  • Features vibration reduction and image stabilization which enables handheld shooting at four shutter speeds


  • It's heavy compared to other models
  • Lens hood isn't of the best quality
  • When it's wide open, one may notice a slight vignette

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers find this unit to be a great investment. It is slightly heavy, yet the image quality it produces is worth all the trouble. It is great for low-light conditions and carries a plethora of features. It is constructed to be of high-quality, which makes it durable and highly reliable.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It caught our attention for carrying an incredible design, being of great quality, and offering great value for money. It is highly versatile and very ergonomic. It offers image stabilization and vibration reduction for superior quality handheld shooting. Furthermore, it has superb autofocus, which is efficient and quiet.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit is highly versatile. It can be employed in lowlight conditions and gives great results in normal lighting as well. It is a professional lens and is considered to be a staple for wedding photography. Moreover, the construction is advanced and heavy-duty; thus, it might be intimidating for a beginner.

Bottom Line

Overall, this unit is a great investment. If you have been looking for a lens that does it all and offers great value for money, then this one by Nikon will become your go-to lens. It is well-designed and is of great quality. It is definitely worth checking out.

Best Nikon Low Light Zoom Lens:
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras


  • Can easily shift between manual and autofocus due to the focus mode
  • Features silent wave motor technology for an efficient and quiet autofocus
  • Fast aperture allows it to work incredibly well under lowlight conditions
  • Super integrated coating enhances light transmission, allowing it to have consistent color
  • Has an internal focus which allows it to be portable and compact so it can be traveled with easily


  • Focusing is slightly slow
  • Some buyers complained of a slight purple fringing
  • Does show a bit of chromatic aberration when wide open

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers really like this product. They find it to be easy to operate and great for multiple conditions. It is great to travel with as it has a portable construction and is highly durable. It doesn't break the bank as it is one of the more budget-friendly options on the market.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit caught our attention as it carried multiple features to aid in the reduction of glare and ensure you get a sharp and crisp image. A lot of lenses have trouble with autofocusing and portraits, whereas this unit carries both functions out beautifully. It is incredibly reliable and has high-quality construction.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit would be great for people looking for a great wedding photography lens. It is incredibly well-built and carries multiple features to ensure that you can make the most of any lighting situation. Furthermore, it's lightweight and portable design makes it easy to use by people who are not used to heavy lenses and is great for travel.

Bottom Line

All in all, this unit is a great product to invest in. It is constructed to be highly durable and provide high-quality, sharp images. It is one of the best lenses to get your hands on for low-lighting conditions. Furthermore, it is a consumer favorite, and purchasing this won't cause any regrets.

Best D3300 Low Light Lens:
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras,2183,Black


  • Incredibly budget-friendly thus accessible to a wider audience
  • Lightweight and compact construction makes the Nikon easy to travel with
  • Great for creating bokeh and for low-light conditions at a maximum aperture of f/1.8
  • Features silent wave motor autofocus system which allows it to autofocus efficiently and quietly
  • Super integrated coating increases light transmission efficiency and offers color consistency plus reduces flare


  • Lacks hard stops when focusing manually
  • Chromatic aberration is noticeable at wide aperture
  • Autofocus isn't quiet and produces a screeching noise

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are incredibly happy with this unit. Many consumers commented that it would be the best lens for D3300 as it is the setup they use themselves. Furthermore, consumers find it to be a bang for the buck as it is high-quality yet is budget-friendly. It carries multiple features to ensure quality performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stood out to us as this unit is simply perfect for many conditions. It is packed with features such as super integrated coating, which reduces flare and offers color consistency throughout the picture. It has an incredibly lightweight construction, which makes it easy to travel with. Furthermore, it has a fast autofocus.

Who Will Use This Most

This unit would be perfect for a beginner as it is affordable and offers a wide range of features to learn new techniques on. You can perfect the art of capturing the perfect bokeh as it allows you to do so with its wide aperture. Furthermore, it is great for portraits and low-light photography.

Bottom Line

The overall construction of the unit is phenomenal. It is built to cater to a wide audience and is a great lens to own. It comes with multiple features that make it highly versatile. It is great for traveling, given its high-quality, durable, portable, and lightweight construction. It is a great investment.

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Low Light Lens

If you are still on the fence about whether or not you want to invest in a low-light lens, perhaps looking at the benefits it offers will make you decide. 

Better Pictures

If you own a lens that struggles to take good pictures in unfavorable lighting conditions, buying a low-light lens is a great investment. Low light lenses are equipped with features such as wide aperture that allows them to excel in low light conditions, along with normal lighting conditions. Thus, you can have better pictures in any situation. 

Long-Term Investment

It will prove to be a great long-term investment. Once you invest in a well-designed and durable unit, it will go on to work for years without needing replacement. 


Investing in a quality low light lens will ensure reliability. You can employ it for different conditions. It will be great for traveling and prove to be a reliable piece of equipment, allowing you to take beautiful pictures. 


To conclude, it would suffice to say that buying the right lens for yourself can be a daunting experience. There are plenty of technical terminologies involved which may throw a lot of you off. Hopefully, you were able to get a better insight into what constitutes a great low light lens and how to buy the right one for yourself.

A very important idea to be considered is that you can't buy a great lens without researching it first. Make sure you compare features, prices, and the overall value and then buy the best one according to your needs. Pay attention to your style of photography and invest in a lens that will boost your camera's performance in those conditions.

People Also Ask

Buying a lens can be overwhelming and a rather confusing job. People tend to have a lot of questions about it; thus we took the liberty of answering your most frequently asked questions. Hopefully, it helps you out with what you've been struggling with:

What Makes a Lens Good in Low Light?

In low light conditions, a lens should allow the maximum light to pass through it so that evenly lit pictures are produced. This is achieved by widening the aperture to let in the light. 

How Can I Take Better Pictures in Low Light?

Light is an integral component for photography, and a lack thereof is a challenging situation. It is important to be patient and keep practicing. Furthermore, get the right equipment and invest in a lens that excels in low-light photography. 

What ISO Should I Use in Low Light?

When one is operating a film camera, the standard has been to use ISO 400 for low light conditions. Meanwhile, ISO 1600 is employed for night-time photography. Remember, the higher the ISO of the lens, the more sensitive the film will be to light.

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Hi, I’m Andy. I’ve been taking pictures for just about as long as I’ve been old enough to hold a camera. I studied photography in community college after high school but was encouraged to follow a career path that was more stable. I do gigs here and there on the side but never took the leap to focus my efforts full-time. When Pam reached out to me through a mutual friend, I jumped on the opportunity to be a writer. Favorite type of photography: macro and street.