The Nikon D500 is one of Nikon’s best midrange guys. It has earned the respect of plain hobbyists and pro photographers alike and continues to be used as a benchmark for new cameras.
Its features include the well-known EXPEED 5 image processing engine, a 20.9 MP DX CMOS sensor, 4K UHD video recording at 30 fps, 10 fps shooting capability up to 200 frames, native ISO of up to 51,200 (extendable to ISO 1,640,000), and a multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF module. It is also equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC!
When you are handed a camera like the Nikon D500, it is hard not to salivate and start taking pretty shots left and right. However, even the impressive specs of the Nikon D500 will not show on your final shots if you do not use the right lens. Lenses are just as important of an investment as your camera itself.
The purpose of this article is to give you an overview of some of the best lenses for Nikon D500 in 2019 and show you how exactly they fare.
Best Lenses for Nikon D500 in 2019
1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED
Overall, the Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR is one of the best lenses for Nikon D500 DSLR camera. It is a superzoom SLR lens with a good zoom range (16.7x), throughout which the sharpness is consistent most of the time. It also comes with good optical stabilization capabilities. We also think you will like the 1:3 macro magnification, which can take some really good shots.
The only things you may find off-putting about this lens for Nikon D500 is that it does not do so well against distortion. Moreover, the edges tend to look too soft when zoomed. It is also a little expensive, but then again, Nikon means quality.
2. Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II
We like to consider the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II a do-it-all kind of lens. That said, this may be one of the best Lenses for Nikon D500 DSLR camera. Its focal range covers wide-angle, telephoto, and everything else in between.
It also has two extra-low dispersion elements, which makes shooting at wide apertures worry-free by improving sharpness and color correction. However, we think there is still a big room for improvement in the bokeh effect and its sensitivity to backlight.
3. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
This lens from crowd favorite Sigma produces nice and sharp images even at the widest apertures. It may just be one of the best standard prime lenses for Nikon D500. Moreover, it does a good job of eliminating distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting.
However, it is plagued with the same problems found in most lenses for Nikon D500: corner softness. If you go higher than f2.8, this problem is very noticeable.
4. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens
The Nikon 35mm f/1.8G is a great low-light lens for Nikon D500. It takes sharp shots even at wide apertures, thereby possibly becoming one of the best standard prime lenses for Nikon D500. We also appreciate its compact size, which makes it highly portable.
Our only complaints about this lens for Nikon D500 is that it does not appear to do very well against chromatic aberration. Moreover, its bokeh effect is a bit inferior compared with that of its competitors.
5. Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
A lot of good things have been and continue to be said about the Art lenses by Sigma. The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, in particular, may easily be one of the best portrait lenses for Nikon D500 because of its sharp and vibrant images and the superior AF module.
The only slight “cons” we noticed were that this lens for Nikon D500 is a little too bulky and heavy to be used on trips. It is also not weather-resistant, but it is weather-sealed. These things take out wildlife and outdoor photography right out of the potential applications of this lens.
6. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
It is nice to finally see a lens for Nikon D500 with good bokeh effect. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art makes a good portrait lens for Nikon D500. The images are sharp and show good contrast, and the AF is reliably precise and fast.
We just wish it were not this expensive because there are other 50 mm f1.4 lenses for Nikon D500 out there that are cheaper but produce the same results. Moreover, this lens is not weather-sealed, which is just sad because it is something we expected for this price.
7. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Lens
The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR is a recommended standard zoom lens for Nikon D500. Its AF is quite accurate, and the colors are very life-like. The images are very sharp, which makes this lens ideal for portraits too.
The only thing we think you may not love too much about the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR is that it is huge and heavy. If you are using this lens outdoors or for wildlife, waiting for the perfect shot to happen may be literally painstaking.
8. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
If you are shopping around for the best wide-angle zoom lenses for Nikon D500, you may want to consider the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art. The aperture is a constant f1.8, which it manages to truly maintain throughout the focal length range. The image quality is nice, and the lens does great with background blur.
The only disadvantages we think you will see in this lens for Nikon D500 are the limited zoom range, lack of image stabilization, and visibly uncontrolled distortion depending on the zoom range.
9. Tokina 14-20mm f/2.0 AT-X Pro DX
The Tokina 14-20mm f/2.0 AT-X Pro DX has an APS-C sensor that works great for photos and 4K video. It is also one of the best wide-angle zoom lenses for Nikon D500. The images are very sharp and vibrant from corner to corner. This lens for Nikon D500 has good contrast and is not sensitive to backlight at all.
However, it does not come with built-in image stabilization and is not weather-sealed. Furthermore, there are quite a few issues with the AF module. The motor is loud, and the lens does not allow for manual intervention in AF mode.
10. Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
The Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is a telephoto zoom lens for Nikon D500. Tamron’s vibration compensation technology performs noticeably well in this lens, which is a major plus if you do a lot of outdoor, wildlife, or landscape photography. This lens for Nikon D500 also controls distortion well.
The only noticeable flaw in the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is its weight. It is quite a heavy lens, and it can easily strain your arms or neck during long shoots. But then again, this is subjective. If your body does not find this lens heavy, good for you.
11. Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports
Our list has another telephoto zoom lens for Nikon D500. The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports comes with a neat set of features that produce image quality that is way above that of average sports lenses.
The photos produced by this lens for Nikon D500 are sharp and have a manageable chromatic aberration. The body feels very solid and sturdy. The focus is great and fast; in fact, it is a lot better than what we expected from a 600 mm.
The only problem is zoom creep. What happens is that the zoom begins to creep forward when the lock is not engaged and the lens is pointing downward. It can get annoying at times.
12. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro
This lens from Tamron is an excellent macro lens for Nikon D500. As expected, the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro produces very sharp close-up images. It also does a great job when it comes to bokeh, and the lens hood makes a noticeable difference in the final shot. There is completely no distortion, and there is optical stabilization.
The only noticeable problem with this model is that when shooting at wide apertures, the light appears to be concentrated at the center of the image. The corners are visibly dimmed.
13. Nikon 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Micro
The Nikon 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Micro is one of the best macro lenses for Nikon D500. It produces nice and sharp close-up shots, and distortion and chromatic aberration are well controlled regardless of shooting conditions and camera settings. The AF module is also fast.
The most off-putting thing about this lens for Nikon D500 is its high cost. That is then followed by the vignetting effect that tends to show at f2.8 and the relatively limited maximum aperture.
Buying Guide for the Best Lenses for Nikon D500
Today we take a quick look at some of the features you commonly see in the best lenses for Nikon D500 today. These are mainly what determine the differences in prices of different lenses.
- Manual Focus Override
Nearly all DSLR lenses today have manual focusing rings. They allow you to manually change the focus as opposed to using AF. Manual focus override is more precise. You can manually adjust the focus without having to leave AF mode first.
- Image Stabilization
This technology is quite easy to understand. Simply put, it prevents blurring even when shooting in shake-prone settings. Shaky shots tend to be inevitable especially when using a telephoto or super telephoto lenses for handheld shots. You have to hold the camera long enough to get the right focus, but your shaky arm is not as determined as you are. This feature is simply called Image Stabilization by Canon, whereas Nikon and Sony call their versions Vibration Reduction and Optical SteadyShot, respectively.
Many lenses should be compatible with your camera’s autofocus (AF) module. Moreover, many of today’s lenses have built-in focusing motors that allow the lenses to swiftly and quietly focus on your subject. There are lenses without the silencing feature, but they can get particularly loud. Also, there are AF capabilities that work well only with images, whereas some are optimized for video.
- Lens Quality and Coating
Most of the time, a lens is expensive because of the glass it uses. High-grade lenses use high-quality glass that sometimes even comes with special lens coatings and other elements that improve image quality. It is quite easy to see what difference a good professional-grade lens makes. There are minimal reflection and distortion, and the images are sharp and consistent.
You want a weather-sealed (and water-resilient or waterproof if possible) lens if you often shoot wildlife, sports, or general outdoorsy subjects. You will not appreciate a weather-sealed lens until you have experienced the inconvenience (and expense) of damage due to rain, dust, or humidity.
The Nikon D500 is a marvel of modern technology. If you are really serious about photography, then you should have the Nikon D500 plus one or two of the best lenses for Nikon D500 in 2019 in your arsenal. Your final shots will always show how much you invest in the best.