6 Best Lenses For The Nikon D750/780 (…and 3 to avoid)

The Nikon D750 is over 8 years old now but it’s still one of the best full-frame DSLRs on the market and the D780 is every bit as good.

You don’t want to waste such a well-made camera with inferior lenses, so to help you fill out your kit, here are my picks for the best lenses for the Nikon D750 and D780.

In fact, these are the lenses I use on my D750.

The first lens I would recommend for you is the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 G2 because of its high image quality, versatile zoom range, wide maximum aperture, and affordable price.

Some of these lenses also made my list of the overall Best Nikon Lenses so be sure to check that out as well.

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Top Pick

Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2

Tamron’s version of the pro-photographer’s workhorse lens is every bit as good as the Nikon version at about half the price.

The Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 is one of the best overall lenses you can buy. In fact, it made my picks for the best Nikon lens overall.

To begin with, this lens covers arguably the most useful focal lengths with a range of 24-70mm and it has a wide maximum aperture of f/2.8 that is useful for shooting portraits with a shallow depth of field.

I recommend the Tamron version instead of the Nikon 24-70mm because it delivers image quality on par with the Nikon for about half the price. Unless you’re a professional that doesn’t mind dropping an extra $1000, the Tamron is going to be a MUCH better value for your money.


  • Exceptional image quality
  • 24-70mm range covers most needs
  • Well-built, weather-sealed, and durable body


  • Extending barrel may turn off some photographers compared to the Nikon version

It also boasts excellent image quality with sharpness across the focal length range and minimal distortion. Even when shooting wide open at f/2.8 there is minimal edge softness. As a result, your images are going to be sharp whether you’re shooting portraits at 70mm and f/2.8 or landscapes at 24mm and f/10.

Lastly, it’s about half the price of its 24-70mm Nikon counterpart, so you’ll be getting tremendous value for your dollar with this lens.

Budget Pick

Nikon AFS DX 50mm f/1.8G

The 50mm f/1.8 lens is a perfect upgrade from the D750 kit lens. The wide max aperture will unlock opportunities to use shallow depth of field in your photography and shoot in low light conditions.

I always recommend that all my students have a mid-length prime lens like this in their bag. In addition to being one of the most affordable lenses you can find for the D750, it is also incredibly sharp and has a wide maximum aperture of f/1.8.

The wide maximum aperture of f/1.8 allows you to use a shallow depth of field to create background blur in your portrait photos or to shoot in lower light. This alone actually makes it much more versatile than most kit lenses with a maximum aperture of f/4 or f/5.6.


  • One of the least expansive Nikon lenses
  • Pro-level image quality
  • Wide f/1.8 max aperture
  • Light and compact


  • 50mm prime can be limiting

The 50mm focal length is more versatile than you would think. You can get close and shoot portraits but it is also wide enough that you can get a lot of the scene in the frame as well.

You can leave this lens on your camera and, with a little movement to get the right framing, get a lot of different types of shots. It is also very light and compact at 6.5oz, which makes it great for travel.

This lens makes a great companion to the D750 because it is affordable but still has some pro-level features like the f/1.8 maximum aperture and excellent sharpness at all apertures. This means that while you may be limited by the focal length, you can get very high-quality results in terms of image quality.

But, I am sure many of you are interested in shooting landscapes, so check out this next pick…

Best Wide-Angle

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD

The focal length of this Tamron lens is perfect for wide-angle scenes like landscapes and cityscapes and the f/2.8-4 aperture is wider than many other lenses in this price range so you can use it for wide-angle portraiture as well.

The D750 is an excellent choice for shooting landscapes, but some of the popular Nikon wide angle lenses are prohibitively expensive and the very popular Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G lens may have excellent image quality but the large front element makes using filters quite frustrating.

On the other hand, this Tamron lens easily takes 77mm filters which makes it easy to use polarizers and ND filters for long exposures. In fact, this lens is the one that I use on my D750 regularly for shooting landscapes.

But the image quality is quite good as well. It is one of the sharpest wide-angle lenses I have used. In fact, this lens made my overall list of the best wide-angle lenses for Nikon.


  • Excellent image quality
  • Affordable compared to other Nikon options
  • Uses 77mm filters easily


  • Variable aperture may annoy some users

Another benefit of using this lens for shooting landscapes is the short minimum focusing distance of 11 inches. This means you can get very close to foreground elements in your images while still capturing the wide scene behind them.

D750 with Tamron 17-35mm (Settings: 19mm | f/2.8 | 1/400 sec | 100 ISO)

Overall, I think 90% of D750 shooters would love this lens. But if you need the extra 3mm at the wide end or the f/2.8 aperture throughout and don’t mind the difficulty using filters or the substantially higher cost, then the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 G is also an exceptional lens.

Of course, not everyone wants to spend their days in the great outdoors shooting landscapes and many of you would rather photograph people. If that’s the case then this next lens may be perfect for you…

Best For Portraits

Nikon 85mm f/1.4G

The 85mm f/1.4G is everything you need in a portrait lens…good focal length for compression, wide f/1.4 max aperture, and razor-sharp focus even when shooting wide open.

If you want to shoot primarily portraits, you may want to have a slightly longer focal length than the 50mm lens above. In that case, this 85mm lens is perfect.

When it comes to shooting portraits on my D750, this is probably the lens I use more than any other. It has everything you need for portraits.

The added reach compared to a 50mm or even a 24-70mm lens will allow you to fill the frame more and step back a few feet while shooting portraits. This gives the appearance of something we call compression. This generally has the effect of making people’s faces look more flattering and also allows you to more easily eliminate background distractions from the frame.

The wide f/1.4 maximum aperture gives you total control over the depth of field in your portraits. I tend to only use the max f/1.4 aperture when I am stepping back away from the subject a little for a full body portrait and stop down to f/1.8 or f/2 when shooting closer, but simply having that option makes a big difference.


  • Among the best in image quality
  • 85mm is great for portraits
  • Wide f/1.4 max aperture


  • 85mm can be too long in smaller spaces
  • f/1.4 aperture is overkill for most situations

I also recommend stopping down to at least f/2.8 when shooting more than one person. For example, when shooting someone 10 feet away at f/1.4 your depth of field is only going to be about 4 inches!

Lastly, there is the image quality of this lens. Often, lenses with very wide max apertures like f/1.4 can be a little soft when shooting at the maximum. I didn’t experience that when using this lens. Even wide open, I am able to get excellent sharpness.

If you are looking for more options though, check out my breakdown of the best portrait lenses for Nikon.

Best Telephoto

Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 G2

This Tamron telephoto gives you the reach you need for shooting sports and wildlife without the hefty price tag that you’ll find on the Nikon 70-200mm lenses.

If you want to shoot sports or wildlife then you’ll need a telephoto lens. Having a zoom telephoto like this 70-200 f/2.8 G2 from Tamron gives you the ability to cover more area as the action moves closer or farther away.

This is another lens where you’re getting a lot more value for your dollar by choosing a Tamron lens over a Nikon. Don’t be deceived though, the image quality of this lens is top-notch.


  • Exceptional image quality
  • 70-200mm range is great for sports
  • Well-built, weather-sealed, and durable body
  • Fast autofocus motor


  • More affordable than Nikon version but still expensive

Just like the 24-70mm above, this Tamron lens delivers image quality and sharpness on par with its Nikon counterpart, but at less than half the price.

You’ll get excellent sharpness throughout the focal range and aperture range. For those of you shooting sports or other action, the autofocus built into the lens is very fast as well so you don’t have to worry about missing the action. Paired with the Nikon D750 and its excellent AF system, this makes a great combination for sports or wildlife photography.

If the 200mm long end of the focal length isn’t enough for you then you can also take a look at the excellent Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens. The maximum aperture is smaller but the huge zoom range and 600mm reach is trememdous.

Best Macro Lens

Nikon 105mm Micro AFS VR IF_ED

With a 105mm focal length to let you work from a safe distance and a 1:1 reproduction ratio, this lens is perfect for macro photography and can also be used as a portrait lens.

The Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Micro lens is a standout in the Nikon lineup when it comes to close-up shooting. Even though it’s getting a little old at this point, it still beats out the competition.

The 105mm focal length combined with a 1:1 reproduction ratio means that you can shoot macro images without having to get super close to your subject. This can be very helpful when shooting live subjects like insects.

This lens is very sharp in the center at f/2.8 which is great for both macro and portraits. When you stop down to about f/5.6 you’ll see that same excellent sharpness all the way to the edges of the frame.

Lenses To Avoid

Not every lens, even if it’s made by Nikon, is worth buying. There are some lenses that trade image quality just to have a huge zoom range. These might be ok for taking snapshots but as your photography skills improve, you’ll easily see the shortcomings.

Instead of these, stick to the ones on the list above. Here are some of the most popular lenses I’ve seen recommended by other sites to use with the D750 that you really should avoid…

Nikon 24-120mm f/4

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this lens.

It’s just ok.

It’s the typical kit lens you get with a higher-end full-frame camera, which means that it does a lot of things decently but nothing really great. It’s affordable but you’ll be making a lot of compromises.

The 120mm long end is nice but probably not enough reach to shoot sports or wildlife. The f/4 maximum aperture is good, but if you shoot a lot of portraits, you’ll wish you had an f/2.8 or f/1.8 lens instead.

The image sharpness is also just ok. If you’re someone that likes to zoom in to your images at 100% and see just how sharp they are, then you’ll probably be disaappointed with this lens.

All that being said, if you just want a “do-it-all” lens and aren’t interested in pursuing photography as a hobby or profession…then this lens may be okay enough for you.

Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E

This lens can be very tempting to those of you that want the extra reach to shoot your kid’s soccer game or something similar. But I think you’ll be disappointed.

I could deal with the small variable max aperture of f/4.5-5.6 but the real problem with this lens is that it just isn’t sharp enough, especially for a 24MP camera like the D750.

It also has noticable color fringing which adds to the loss of image quality.

While the big 70-300mm focal range can be tempting, I would skip this one altogether.

Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G DX ED VR

I am surprised I even have to mention this but I found it listed on TWO other websites as a recommended lens for the Nikon D750, but this is a crop sensor lens!

It doesn’t cover the full sensor of the D750 which means your photos would end up with a black circle around the outside.

It just goes to show you how much attention other sites put into their recommendations. Stick with me and you won’t get nonsense like this.

What To Look For When Choosing A Lens For Your D750

Some lenses are just better suited for some cameras and while all Nikon F-mount lenses would fit onto the D750/780, there are some things you should consider before choosing one.

Full Frame Compatibility

The D750 is a full-frame lens, which means that lenses made for crop sensor cameras will not cover the entire area of the sensor with an image, leaving a black circle around the outside of your photo.

It’s fairly easy to distinguish which Nikon lenses are made for crop sensor cameras as they are designated with a “DX” but for other brands like Tamron or Sigma, you may need to read into the specs a little bit.

If you have an older Nikon lens, the easiest way to determine whether it is compatible with your D750 or D780 is to check this Nikon lens compatibility chart.

Maximum Aperture

If you’re currently using one of the kit lenses that came with the D750 then the biggest impediment to your photography may be that those lenses do not have a wide maximum aperture. This can hinder your ability to use depth of field in your photography.

So when you’re looking for an upgrade for your D750 go with one of the lenses above instead.


While kit lenses do usually over a wide focal length range, the lack of a wide aperture and lower image quality often offset any benefits that range gives you.

Instead, look to fill your bag with lenses that do one thing really well. You can use f/1.8 primes for portrait photography, sharp wide angle zooms for landscape photography, and macro lenses for…well…macro photography, obviously.

Taking this specialization approach is a much more effective way to build your collection of lenses instead of overpaying for a lower-quality lens that is trying to do everything.

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