Nikon DSLR cameras users have access to a huge range of lenses. They can purchase official Nikon NIKKOR lenses, but there is also a top selection of third-party prime lenses for Nikon cameras too. Third-party lenses from manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron offer brilliant quality and great flexibility for your photography.
While it ideal to have at least one zoom lens for your kit, having a selection of prime lenses is also a great idea. Prime lenses usually offer better image quality and precision than zoom lenses. This is because the lens elements are specifically designed for one focal distance.
In this guide, we look at six of the best third-party prime lenses for Nikon cameras. We have included several wide-angle choices for landscape photography, and some portrait lenses with a larger focal distance – enjoy!
1. Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art (Overall Winner)
Our number one choice third-party lens for Nikon is the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art. This is part of the Sigma Art series and has a superb design that is ergonomic but functional.
The image quality this lens produces is amazing. This is achieved by various technologies including advanced lens coatings, and the Hyper Sonic Engine for fast autofocusing.
In addition, the lens design is sleek and has a durable exterior coating with a textured grip. It is compatible with various Nikon DSLRs – both APS-C and full-frame.
Get the full story in our Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art review and really see how well this lens performs.
2. Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD
The Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD is a similar model to our top Sigma choice. It is another lens that is both perfect for portrait photography and useful at events. The 85mm focal distance provides enough subject detail but still allows you to experiment with the background too.
As part of the Super Performance (SP) range, this Tamron lens is durable and robust. It. features various lens coatings to reduce moisture, and distortions.
You can be assured that the image quality will be sharp and clear. This is further enabled via the vibration compensation technology that minimizes camera shake. To top it off, as one of the best third-party prime lenses for Nikon cameras, it has a brilliant maximum aperture of f/1.8.
If you’re interested in learning more, read our Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD review.
3. Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
The Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is one of the best wide-angle prime lenses available. It offers ultimate image quality and is a brilliant lens for landscape shots or street photography.
As part of the Art range, it has numerous benefits such as an improved design and a superior lens element. The optical design provides excellent image quality and clarity. Also, the HSM autofocus motor features a superior autofocusing performance.
The maximum aperture of f/1.4 is one of the best maximum apertures available and provides unbelievably flexibility in your compositions.
See how the lens works and what features it offers in our Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art review.
4. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM is one of the best third-party prime lenses for Nikon due to its flexibility and quality. A focal distance of 50mm is an excellent compromise. It can still be used for some wide-angle shots, but it gives you more depth if required.
This is complemented by the f/1.4 aperture. You can create stunning bokeh backgrounds and focus on minute details of subjects.
This is not part of the Sigma Art range, but the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM is still durable and high performing. Using this lens, you can create superb quality images. It also still has the Sigma HSM motor which helps the autofocusing.
Check out our complete review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM to get all the details and see if this lens will fit your needs.
5. Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD
The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD is a great wide-angle lens. When used on a cropped-sensor camera, it has an equivalent focal distance of 49mm which means it can be used for portraits too.
This Super Performance lens has an advanced lens coating to reduce ghosting and other distortions. It also has Tamron’s USD autofocusing motor which provides a quick and silent process.
The lens is resistant to moisture and the external casing is weatherproof. Put these components together and you have a durable, high-performance lens that can create amazing images for your Nikon cameras.
Head on over to our Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD review to get all the specs and see how the lens performs.
6. Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro (Budget Winner)
Our best budget choice is the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro. This is one of the best third-party prime lenses for Nikon cameras due to its great price and solid performance.
The focal distance of 105mm can be used for a variety of purposes, and it features macro capabilities. When mounted on a tripod, it makes an excellent macro lens.
The minimal focusing distance is 12.3 inches, and it has a 1:1 magnification ratio. This means you can get amazing quality macro shots from a relatively safe distance.
Although it only has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, this is still enough to focus on small details of your macro subjects.
And, of course, you can read even more about this budget option in our Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro review.
Use Third-Party Prime Lenses for Nikon for Greater Creativity
While Nikon does have a fantastic range of prime lenses, there is no reason why you can’t look at some of the best third-party prime lenses for Nikon DSLRs as well. The lenses we have featured from Sigma and Tamron are superb quality. They rival the top Nikon lenses and will bolster your lens repertoire.
When selecting prime lenses, we advise choosing a wide-angle, mid-range, and telephoto. This gives you greater variance and covers the main types of photography. For example, you could choose a 24mm, 50mm, and 105mm.
Also, always check that the third-party lens is compatible with your camera. There should be a list of compatible models on the manufacturer’s product page.