Nikon has a good selection of affordable wide-angle lenses. You can easily purchase one for under $500. However, these are generally limited to AF, AF-S, and AF-P models. Currently, there are no Nikon Z lenses under this price point.
In this list of Nikon wide-angle lenses under $500, we have included both prime and zoom lenses. Nikon does have a good selection of zoom lenses that incorporate wide-angle focal distances, however, we have only concentrated on the specialist wide-angle lenses instead of the multi-purpose lenses that have both wide-angle and telephoto capabilities.
Wide-angle lenses are essential to any photographer’s kit. They allow you to capture more detail from a landscape perspective but also experiment with different angles and compositions.
When choosing such a lens, always consider the focal distance and what type of camera it is suitable for. For example, a 24mm wide-angle lens used on an APS-C cropped-sensor camera would actually have a focal distance of 38mm (24 x 1.6).
1. Nikon AF NIKKOR 24mm f/2.8D (Overall Winner)
Our top choice is the Nikon AF NIKKOR 24mm f/2.8D. This budget lens provides an optimal focusing distance and a host of quality features.
Firstly, it has a Close-Range Correction (CRC) system which improves focusing and image quality at closer distances. It also has a multi-layer lens coating which minimizes distortions and improves the contrast and colors of images.
This affordable lens is incredibly lightweight and weighs just 0.60lbs. It is also just 2.56 inches at its longest length which means it is portable and easy to carry. The only downside with this wide-angle lens is that it does not have any built-in image stabilization.
2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED
Similar to the 24mm, we have the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED. This is another affordable wide-angle lens under $500, and it provides a slightly larger focal distance of 35mm (56mm on APS-C sensor cameras).
This lens has several useful features to improve its performance and image quality. For example, it has Nikon’s super-integrated lens coating (SIC) which reduces flares, ghosting, and improves color balance. Also, it weighs just 0.67lbs, and has an overall size of 2.83 inches.
This lens has a decent autofocus system that enables you to focus quickly, and accurately on moving objects. Interestingly, this lens also has a minimum focusing distance of 0.25m which provides greater freedom and flexibility in your photography.
3. Nikon AF NIKKOR 35mm f/2D
As one of the best Nikon wide-angle lenses under $500, the Nikon AF NIKKOR 35mm f/2D has a good maximum aperture of f/2, making it ideal for low-light photography. The larger aperture range also improves its performance with hand-held shooting.
It is a highly portable lens, weighing just 7.2oz, and has a total length of 2.56 inches. Also, it has a closest focusing distance of 0.85ft.
To provide superior image quality, this affordable lens also has Nikon’s super-integrated coating which improves performance and reduces distortions. When using this lens, you will notice the excellent image quality even at the outer edges of photos – there is no softness and minimal vignette.
4. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G
The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G is a high-quality wide-angle lens, however, to get it for less than $500, you must purchase a used model. When purchased new, it is just over $600 which is still decent for the quality it offers.
This top lens has a nano-coated aspheric lens element and the Nikon SIC. These combine to provide sharp image quality, and virtually no distortion. It also has the Nikon Silent Wave Motor which uses advanced technology to give a smooth and silent autofocusing system.
Also, if you want to use manual focus, you can switch simply by turning the lens focus ring. This automatically overrides the AF system with no delay.
5. Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
The Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR is a solid choice for ultra-wide-angle photography. This budget zoom lens has some great features including vibration reduction and a near-silent autofocusing system.
This makes it easy to use hand-held without compromising image quality. The three aspherical lens elements eliminate distortion and the SIC coating also minimizes flare and ghosting. The seven-blade aperture configuration allow you to create lovely rounded bokeh effects for your backgrounds.
This affordable lens has a minimum focusing distance of 0.8ft which offers greater creative possibilities.
6. Nikon AF NIKKOR 28mm f/2.8D (Budget Winner)
If you don’t want to pay extra for the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G, the Nikon AF NIKKOR 28mm f/2.8D is a suitable alternative. This is our top budget choice and has a solid list of features to provide great image quality.
As one of the best budget wide-angle lenses, this 28mm lens has a superior lens element. It has been configured in such a way to reduce distortions and provide sharp image quality.
This lens is lightweight and compact, weighing just 7.4 ounces with a size of 1.77 x 2.56 x 2.56 inches.
Shoot in Extra Detail with Nikon Wide-Angle Lenses Under $500
Wide-angle lenses are great for a range of photography. The above Nikon wide-angle lenses under $500 represent real budget options so you don’t have to break the bank.
When using a wide-angle lens, we advise considering a lens hood. This type of lens usually has more exposed glass elements and is thus prone to damage. A lens hood can help protect the outer lens element, it can also help reduce any glare and light pollution.
Also, consider features like image stabilization and autofocus. Although image stabilization is not as important for wide-angle lenses, it still helps when shooting at slower shutter speeds. A fast and quiet autofocusing system is important to help you capture moving objects in sharp detail.