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What Are The Best Lenses For The Nikon D3500?

By Matthew Rivera
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The Nikon D3500 comes with a standard kit lens best for portrait photography, but it may not be suited for a wide range of shooting styles, such as landscape photography, sports photography, and more.
Using just the standard lens on the Nikon D3500 can be restricting. Adding other lenses to your kit can greatly expand what your camera can do and what photography techniques are available to you.
If you want to buy another lens for a different use, it can be difficult to choose from the overwhelming selection on the market. Keep reading to learn about the Nikon D3500, the types of lenses compatible with it, and what the best lens is for the D3500.

The Nikon D3500

Perfect for beginners, the Nikon D3500 is a very efficient and affordable entry-level DSLR camera. It produces good-quality images, especially when capturing casual and candid photos, with its 24-megapixel sensor paired with an EXPEED 4 image processor – pretty exceptional for an entry-level DSLR. 

When it comes to videos, this camera is best used for short clips only, not full-length videos, because it does not have vibration reduction (i.e. image stabilization) and can only shoot for up to 20 minutes with the highest capture quality.

The camera has two focus modes that allow the photographer to shoot using either a manual or automated focus setting. It also comes with an AF-area feature, where the photographer can select an area to focus on from the frame shown on the screen. These focus settings can be limited in some scenarios, such as when shooting with complex lighting or taking photos of moving subjects. 

While it may be unnecessary for seasoned photographers, the Guide Mode makes it easy to navigate the camera’s more technical features. 

 

Nikon D3500 specifications

Camera type

Digital single-lens reflex

Lens mount type

Nikon F mount with (AF) auto-focus contacts

Lens aperture

Aperture size of f/1.4-f/5.6; electronically controlled and with instant return

Autofocus support

Can be used with AF-P, type E, and G AF-S lenses

Dimensions

124 x 97 x 69.5 mm (4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 in.)

Weight

415 g (14.6 oz) with battery and memory card

Flange focal distance

46.5 mm

Best Lenses For The Nikon D3500

When buying a camera, you might notice that it comes with a lens kit so you can start shooting right away. The AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR kit lens that is included with the Nikon D3500 covers only the most commonly used focal lengths, ranging from 18–55mm. While the included lens is pretty useful, it’s not versatile enough for advanced photographers. If you’ve already mastered the standard Nikon D3500 camera lens, you may find that you need to expand your lens kit to broaden your horizons and expand your photography styles. Whether you’re looking for the best sports lens for the Nikon D3500, need to zoom in on crawling little insects, or want to try out more artistic and experimental approaches to photography, you will need to invest in more lenses if you want to grow your skill set. Below you’ll find some of the best lenses for Nikon D3500 for a wide range of uses. We’ve included a few Nikon lenses as these are guaranteed to be compatible with your camera, as well as a few other third-party lenses you might want to check out.


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4.8
5/5
Best portrait lens for the Nikon D3500

Best portrait lens for the Nikon D3500

The Nikon 35mm lens is a compact lens perfect for taking portraits. Because of its wide aperture of f/1.8, fast shutter speed, and round diaphragm, photographers can achieve a soft, blurred background and bokeh effect.

Features

  • Weight: Approximately 200 g (7 oz)
  • Dimensions: 70 mm × 52.5 mm 
  • Focus settings: 
  • Rear Focusing (RF) system
  • Autofocus with Silent Wave Motor
  • Manual focus with separate focus ring
  • Aperture range: f/1.8-f/22
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Flange focus distance: 46.5mm
  • Lens mount type: Three-lug bayonet F-mount

Pros

  • Weight: Approximately 200 g (7 oz)
  • Dimensions: 70 mm × 52.5 mm 
  • Focus settings: 
  • Rear Focusing (RF) system
  • Autofocus with Silent Wave Motor
  • Manual focus with separate focus ring
  • Aperture range: f/1.8-f/22
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Flange focus distance: 46.5mm
  • Lens mount type: Three-lug bayonet F-mount

Cons

  • Weight: Approximately 200 g (7 oz)
  • Dimensions: 70 mm × 52.5 mm 
  • Focus settings: 
  • Rear Focusing (RF) system
  • Autofocus with Silent Wave Motor
  • Manual focus with separate focus ring
  • Aperture range: f/1.8-f/22
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Flange focus distance: 46.5mm
  • Lens mount type: Three-lug bayonet F-mount


4.7
4.9/5
Best budget zoom lens for the Nikon D3500

Best budget zoom lens for the Nikon D3500


This lens is an Art-series zoom lens with a versatile zoom range that covers everything from normal focal lengths to wide-angled shots. This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 27.94 cm and a maximum magnification of 0.23x.

Features

  • Weight: Approximately 810 g / 28.5 oz
  • Dimensions: 3.07 x 4.76″ / 78 x 121 mm
  • Focus setting: Autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 constant maximum aperture to f/16 minimum aperture
  • Focal length: 18 to 35mm 
  • Flange focus distance: 44.0mm
  • Lens mount type: Canon EF
  • Zoom range: 27mm-52.5mm

Pros

  • High clarity and sharpness
  • Can work in low-light conditions
  • Fast, silent, and precise autofocus
  • Capable of producing bokeh
  • Low vignetting

cons

  • No built-in image stabilization system
  • Not weather-resistant
  • Limited zoom range
  • Inconsistent focus accuracy


4.4
4.9/5
Best wide-angle lens for the Nikon D3500

Best wide-angle lens for the Nikon D3500

Tokina ATX is a versatile wide-angle lens that is best used for shooting architecture, interiors, and landscapes.

Features

  • Weight: Approximately 810 g / 28.5 oz
  • Dimensions: 3.07 x 4.76″ / 78 x 121 mm
  • Focus setting: Autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 constant maximum aperture to f/16 minimum aperture
  • Focal length: 18 to 35mm 
  • Flange focus distance: 44.0mm
  • Lens mount type: Canon EF
  • Zoom range: 27mm-52.5mm

Pros

  • High clarity and sharpness
  • Can work in low-light conditions
  • Fast, silent, and precise autofocus
  • Capable of producing bokeh
  • Low vignetting

cons

  • No built-in image stabilization system
  • Not weather-resistant
  • Limited zoom range
  • Inconsistent focus accuracy


4.4
4.9/5
Best telephoto lens for the Nikon D3500

Best telephoto lens for the Nikon D3500

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm has an optical design that maintains great image quality and reduces color fringing. It is ideal for outdoor photography.

Features

  • Weight: Approximately 810 g / 28.5 oz
  • Dimensions: 3.07 x 4.76″ / 78 x 121 mm
  • Focus setting: Autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 constant maximum aperture to f/16 minimum aperture
  • Focal length: 18 to 35mm 
  • Flange focus distance: 44.0mm
  • Lens mount type: Canon EF
  • Zoom range: 27mm-52.5mm

Pros

  • High clarity and sharpness
  • Can work in low-light conditions
  • Fast, silent, and precise autofocus
  • Capable of producing bokeh
  • Low vignetting

cons

  • No built-in image stabilization system
  • Not weather-resistant
  • Limited zoom range
  • Inconsistent focus accuracy


4.5
4.9/5
Best macro lens for the Nikon D3500
Best budget zoom lens for the Nikon D3500 This lens is an Art-series zoom lens with a versatile zoom range that covers everything from normal focal lengths to wide-angled shots. This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 27.94 cm and a maximum magnification of 0.23x.

Features

  • Weight: Approximately 810 g / 28.5 oz
  • Dimensions: 3.07 x 4.76″ / 78 x 121 mm
  • Focus setting: Autofocus
  • Aperture range: f/1.8 constant maximum aperture to f/16 minimum aperture
  • Focal length: 18 to 35mm 
  • Flange focus distance: 44.0mm
  • Lens mount type: Canon EF
  • Zoom range: 27mm-52.5mm

Pros

  • High clarity and sharpness
  • Can work in low-light conditions
  • Fast, silent, and precise autofocus
  • Capable of producing bokeh
  • Low vignetting

cons

  • No built-in image stabilization system
  • Resistant only against dust and water droplets
  • Does not have a focus limiter


How To Choose The Best Lenses For Nikon D3500

If you want to buy the best Nikon D3500 lens, you need to know what kind of shooting you will do, what features you need, and whether the lens you want is compatible with your camera. Below are some things to consider when choosing the right lens for your Nikon camera:

Focus Settings

In photography, focusing means adjusting the lens to clarify the subject in the photo while blurring the background or vice versa. There are two common lens focusing settings: Manual focus: When a camera lens has a manual focus setting, the user can control the focus by hand. Automatic focus: An auto-focus lens focuses on the nearest subject. Depending on the camera’s settings and manufacturing, it may focus when the shutter is lightly pressed or the screen is clicked.

Image Stabilization

Not all cameras and lenses have a built-in vibration reduction setting, which can be very useful in taking videos. If your camera already has built-in image stabilization, then you won’t need lenses that have it. But for cameras like Nikon D3500 that do not have this feature, we recommend that you look for lenses with built-in image stabilization, especially if you want to take more professional-quality videos.

Weather Resistance

If you want to use your camera in challenging weather, it is recommended that you look for lenses that are designed to be specially sealed in parts where water and dust might infiltrate. Aside from avoiding permanent damage, this also prevents any mold from building up in your camera.

Camera Lens Mount

  • Screw-Threaded Type
    Attaching a lens to the camera with a screw-threaded mount is similar to threading a nut into a bolt. The screw-threaded mount is not extremely common anymore, as many photographers today prefer using newer and sturdier mount types.
  • Bayonet Type
    The bayonet-type lens mount is the most common lens mount for modern cameras because it precisely joins the electrical and mechanical components of the lens and the camera body.
    To correctly place a bayonet-type lens onto the camera body, align the lens with the camera body first. Once the lens is aligned, twist it by 45-90° to secure the lens in position. It is important to note that the number of tabs on a bayonet-type mount may vary from one manufacturer to another.
    Bayonet-type mounts are the most commonly used out of the three mounting types because it’s faster and more convenient to attach a lens to a camera. It is also much more precise, ensuring that the camera and lens electronics are accurately aligned.
  • Breech-lock type or friction lock type
    Similar to the bayonet-type mount, the breech-lock mount fastens the lens and the camera together with friction. If you want to attach these mounts, align the lens with the camera and rotate the rings on the lens until it is tight and secure.

Flange Focal Distance

Flange Focal Distance (FFD) refers to the measured distance between the film or light sensor in the camera and the lens mount. The FFD is one of the most important aspects of a camera’s system – if the lens is incorrectly positioned by even as little as a fraction of a millimeter, it will affect the camera’s functions. This often results in a mismatch between the focusing distance and the lens markings. In some cases, the camera may even lose the ability to reach infinity focus. In addition, each mount can only respond to a specific flange focal distance (FFD), and this measurement may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Because of this, it can be difficult to use and switch lenses with specific cameras. Always check that your mount and lens are compatible with each other in terms of FFD.

Aperture

Aperture pertains to the size of the opening inside the lens. The aperture controls the amount of light that hits the photo sensor, affecting the light contrast, depth of field, and sharpness of the image being captured. Each lens model indicates its minimum and maximum aperture size using an f-number range, such as f/2-f/20. 

When looking for a lens to purchase, you must keep the following aperture measurements in mind:

  • Maximum aperture: The maximum aperture is the extent to which the opening reaches the widest diameter a lens can open. This is identified by a low f-stop number, typically indicated on the lens exterior. Maximum aperture is often used for indoor sports where light is controlled or in settings with low-light shooting conditions.
  • Variable maximum aperture: Some lenses change in length, which changes the maximum aperture as well. Zoom lenses are the perfect example of lenses with a variable maximum aperture. When a zoom lens changes in focal length, its maximum aperture changes too.
  • Constant maximum aperture: Prime lenses, a type of lens that does not change in length, is the simplest example of a lens with a constant maximum aperture. Some zoom lenses have a constant maximum aperture as well, but these are more expensive. 

Basic Types Of Lenses

There are many lenses suited for different styles and purposes in photography. In this section, we will enumerate the commonly used types of lenses.

Standard Prime Lens

Standard prime lenses cannot adjust their focal length to zoom in or out of focus. Prime lenses are ideal if you want something that is compact and lightweight but can still capture sharp and wide images. Cameras like the Nikon D3500 typically come prepackaged with a standard prime lens.

Zoom Lens

Zoom lenses are pretty self-explanatory. This lens can change in focal length, zooming in and out to focus on a subject. This lens is ideal for when you don’t want to be too close to your subject. We recommend this lens for long-range photography like wildlife, sports, crowds, and landscapes.

Specialty Lenses

Many specialty lenses have emerged throughout time as more new photography styles and methods develop. These lenses are designed for more specific purposes and are not necessarily recommended if you’re just starting out with photography.
But if you’re looking to try out special lenses, we have listed a few of them below.
Wide-Angle Lenses
Wide-angle lenses are either wide-angled or ultra-wide-angled. Basic wide-angle lenses have a short focal length that expands the image horizontally, making closer subjects appear more magnified and the background smaller and sometimes even distorted.
Ultra-Wide-Angle Lenses
Ultra-wide-angle lenses are most commonly known as the fisheye lens. The ultra-wide capture makes photos appear distorted and barrel-like due to its 180-degree perspective.
This lens is often used in architecture, city, and landscape photography or videography because of how much it can capture in one frame. Because of its unique distortion and experimental look, the fisheye effect has also become more popular in recent fashion editorial and artistic photography.
Telephoto Zoom Lenses
A telephoto zoom lens has a longer focal length than wide-angle lenses, which is why some photographers refer to them as the “opposite” of wide-angle lenses. These lenses are ideal for adding contrast between your subject and your background because they can make the environment appear larger and closer to the subject.
Macro Lenses
Macro lenses are used to take photographs of objects at a very close range – even closer than what zoom lenses are capable of achieving. These lenses are designed to focus on the subject at an almost microscopic level. This is why macro lenses are usually used to take pictures of very small insects, birds, food, and other detailed subjects.

The Bottom Line

The Nikon D3500 DSLR has proven itself as an efficient entry-level camera, especially for beginning photographers. It is already a versatile DSLR camera – all you need is the perfect lens to work with it. From Nikon-branded lenses to third-party attachments, there are many options for you to choose from. Hopefully, our guide has provided you with enough information and recommendations for your next lens purchase!


4.8
5/5
Best portrait lens for the Nikon D3500


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