As a real estate photographer, you need the perfect shot that will tell a property’s all by itself, even in the worst of lighting conditions. That is why you need a low-light Nikon lens. In this review, we will help you identify the best low-light lens for Nikon.
To shoot sharp and clear photos in poorly lit environments, you will need a lens that allows more light through the aperture. Below, we discuss the best low-light lens for Nikon that meets these requirements.
The Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4 Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4 is a short telephoto with an excellent, bright aperture of f/1.4, making it ideal for capturing in poorly lit circumstances. Also, this bright aperture gives better control over the application of shallow depth in field shooting.
It comes with a nine-blade aperture diaphragm, promoting the best bokeh quality on our list. It features an electromagnetic function that helps to control the aperture for better exposure regulation.
It's an internal focusing lens, ensuring the overall camera length doesn't change when focusing, allowing you to shoot even the camera-sensitive subjects. However, it's the heaviest on our list and most unsuitable for extended periods of use.
The Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2 is an excellent portrait-length lens with a maximum magnification of 1:2, making it suitable for shooting nearby subjects.
Unlike the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8, it features partial dispersion glass in its optical construction, which significantly eliminates chromatic distortions and aberrations. This allows it to produce sharp and clear images throughout the focus.
Unlike the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8, it comes with a manual focus only, which may inconvenience you if you want fast and effortless focusing performance.
However, the manual focus allows you to fine-tune your focus, thanks to the rubberized focus ring. Also, the barrel is all-metal, which improves tactile control and durability.
The Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8 is a prime lens that is impressively versatile, with a sleek form, a factor that makes it compact and suitable for carrying.
Although the performance in poor lighting situations can't match the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4, the maximum aperture of f/1.8 works well in low-light circumstances, it features one aspherical element in its optical design, which helps to suppress the optical distortions, enhancing image clarity and sharpness.
Also, the elements feature a super integrated coating which facilitates the suppression of ghosting and flare when shooting in bright light. It weighs 0.44 pounds, the second most lightweight on our list, enhancing portability.
The Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8 is a normal-length prime that suits a wide range of shooting conditions, ideal for real estate, portrait, and landscape. The maximum aperture of f/1.8 enhances the shallow depth of field control even in backlit conditions.
Although the bokeh quality can't match the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4, the seven-blade aperture diaphragm enhances a quality bokeh production. It comes with a Silent Wave Motor, which facilitates a fast and noise-free autofocus performance.
With one spherical element in the optical construction, it's less effective in eliminating the optical distortions compared to the Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2. It weighs 0.4 pounds, making it the most lightweight on our list.
The Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8 has an exceptional design that balances the compact form factor and weight while maintaining what it takes to excel in low-light shooting.
Like the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8, the elements feature a Super Integrated Coating, which helps to eliminate the ghosting and flare, enhancing the picture clarity and sharpness. It comes with a Silent Wave Motor, which enhances a silent and accurate focusing experience.
Also, the autofocus functionality comes with a full-time manual override, which gives you added control over the focusing performance by allowing you to fine-tune the focusing. Although it's heavier than the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8, it's still lightweight enough for carrying around.
The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 is a wide-angle prime that is flexible enough for shooting a wide range of applications such as event shooting, street, and real estate photography.
The maximum aperture of f/1.4 performs better in backlit conditions than Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8, producing sharp and clear photos. It further improves the image sharpness by suppressing the optical distortions and aberrations using a series of aspherical and low dispersion elements.
It uses a BBAR-G2 coating on the elements to reduce the ghosting and flare, enhancing the image contrast and color fidelity. Although lighter than the Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2, the 1.77 pounds weight is still unsuitable for an extended shooting period.
The Sigma 135mm f/1.8 is a telephoto prime that blends intuitive design and handling with advanced optics. With a bright aperture of f/1.8 and a member of the Art-series lenses, it excels in high-resolution rendering.
Unlike the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4, it employs SLD and FLD glass to minimize the color fringing and chromatic aberrations, improving the image clarity and sharpness. When shooting in bright lighting, there is minimal ghosting and flare, thanks to the Super Multi-Layer Coating on its elements.
Also, it comes with a nine-blade aperture diaphragm which enables it to produce a more impressive bokeh quality than the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8.
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is an advanced wide-angle prime that pairs a bright aperture with a comfortable focal length, making it ideal for selective focus and shallow depth of field effects. It's equipped with a Hyper Sonic Motor, which helps realize a silent and smooth autofocus performance.
It comes with a manual focus override which allows you to have better control over the focusing performance. Like the Sigma 135mm f/1.8, it comes with a nine-blade aperture diaphragm which enhances the production of a high-quality bokeh.
The construction is weather-resistant, making it ideal for use in trying situations. However, unlike the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8, it weighs 1.47 pounds, making it inconvenient for an extended shooting time.
Nikon lenses come in varying unique features, and knowing the features that excel in low light conditions might be confusing. The table below provides you with a summary of these features.
|Product||Focal Length||Aperture||Weight (Pounds)|
|Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8||35mm||f/1.8||0.44|
|Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8||50mm||f/1.8||0.4|
|Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4||105mm||f/1.4||2.17|
|Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8||85mm||f/1.8||0.8|
|Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2||100mm||f/2||1.86|
|Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4||35mm||f/1.4||1.77|
|Sigma 135mm f/1.8||135mm||f/1.8||2|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4||35mm||f/1.4||1.47|
Aperture is a crucial feature to keep in mind when purchasing lenses for low-light shooting. The aperture determines the amount of light that the lens allows in the sensor. When taking photos in low light, a lens that has a wide aperture, such as the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4, is your best option.
It enables the use of faster shutter speeds, even when capturing fast-moving subjects or capturing without a photo tripod. Wide aperture lenses also enable you to improve the bokeh quality, which is the appealing blurred background, especially if applied to portraits.
Different lens brands and models come with varying special elements and coatings. The elements are geared towards reducing the spherical and chromatic aberrations in the lens to suppress color fringing and improve image clarity and sharpness.
The special coatings are featured on individual elements, helping to minimize the ghosting and flare when capturing photos in bright light. Typically, the lens that features the highest number of elements and coatings, such as the Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2, produces the sharpest images with minimal optic distortions.
If your plan is to shoot photos for an extended period, then you should consider a lightweight lens such as the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8 as it won't exhaust you or hurt your wrists.
In the same way, you should consider a compact lens if your plan is to carry it around, shooting real estate or street photos. In most cases, the most lightweight lens is also the most compact, and so you don't have to mind the individual dimensions.
Typically, the ambient light may not allow you to see the dust or moisture when shooting in poor lighting conditions, and so you will unknowingly expose your lens to these harsh conditions.
However, you can have peace of mind when shooting in such conditions if the lens is weather resistant. For instance, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is weather-resistant, allowing you to shoot even in desert and snow conditions.
Poor lighting conditions affect autofocus performance, and the autofocus may keep on hunting. It may also affect the autofocus accuracy, and the best solution is to use manual focus like the one in Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2.
It is possible to shoot macro images in low light, but without a quality macro lens such as the Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2, getting sufficient light on your subject might be an issue.
With the market flooded with Nikon lenses that have varying features, identifying the most suitable for low light shooting may be challenging. However, the lenses in the above list perform well in poor lighting conditions, and any pick won't disappoint you.