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Best Walk Around Lens for Nikon [2021 Review]

In: 
Published: 14/08/2021

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

As a real estate photographer, you will need to walk around with a lightweight and fast-aperture lens that can shoot outstanding real estate photos no matter the shooting situation. In this review, we focus on the best walk around lens for Nikon that will suit several different scenarios. 

Our Top Nikon Walk Around Lens Reviews

While walking around a property, every shooting condition is different, and you will need a versatile lens that can zoom when necessary and still perform well in poor lighting if need be. Below, we detail our best walk around lens for Nikon that meets these specifications.

Brand
Best Overall
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Best for the Money
Nikon 20mm f/1.8
Best Cheap Pick
Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8
Product
NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Standard Zoom Lens...
NIKON NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S Ultra Wide Angle Fast...
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto...
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Wide Angle
Standard
Maximum Focal Length
70 Millimeters
20 Millimeters
35 Millimeters
Best Overall
Brand
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Product
NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Standard Zoom Lens...
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Maximum Focal Length
70 Millimeters
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Nikon 20mm f/1.8
Product
NIKON NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S Ultra Wide Angle Fast...
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Maximum Focal Length
20 Millimeters
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8
Product
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto...
Lens Type
Standard
Maximum Focal Length
35 Millimeters
Price

Best Overall Walk Around Lens for Nikon: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 is a workhorse lens that covers portraits to wide-angle fields of view. As a standard zoom with a bright aperture of f/2.8, it can shoot in virtually all outdoor conditions, making it the overall best walk-around lens on our list. 

NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Standard Zoom Lens...

The bright aperture makes it excel in subject isolation and depth of field control. The optical construction consists of four aspherical and two low dispersion elements, which helps to reduce the spherical and chromatic aberrations effectively than the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8. 

With Nano Crystal and ARNEO coating, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 effectively eliminates the ghosting and flare, enhancing the color accuracy and contrast. 

Unlike the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8, it features a two-stepping motor which helps realize a near-silent, fast and smooth autofocus performance. However, the 1.8 pounds weight is harder to carry around.

Pros

  • The elements help reduce chromatic aberrations better than the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8. 
  • The aperture makes it excel in subject isolation and depth of field control.

Cons

  • Its weight is unsuitable for carrying in a camera case.
  • The zoom range is minimal compared to the Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6.3
NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Standard Zoom Lens...
  • NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/ 2.8 is a compact mid-range zoom that is indispensable for a wide range of photo...
  • With an f/2.8 constant maximum aperture, exposure is consistent across the entire zoom range
  • Lens incorporates an all-new Multi-Focusing System, consisting of 2 AF drive units, precisely...

Best Nikon Walk Around Lens for the Money: Nikon 20mm f/1.8

The Nikon 20mm f/1.8 is an ultra-wide-angle lens that blends a bright design, broad view field, and a sleek form factor. This makes it an excellent choice for landscape shooting even in poor lighting conditions. 

NIKON NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S Ultra Wide Angle Fast...

The optical construction consists of low dispersion and aspherical elements geared towards the reduction of optical distortions for clarity and sharpness enhancement. 

With the use of Super Integrated Coating and Nano Crystal, it significantly reduces the ghosting and flares even when shooting in situations of strong lighting. Like the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8, it comes with a Silent Wave Motor, which helps realize a quiet, fast and accurate autofocus performance. 

Also, the autofocus comes with a full-time manual override which allows you to have a better focusing control, especially where precision is required. Although it's heavier than the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8, at 1.11 pounds is still portable enough.

Pros

  • The broad field of view is ideal for landscape photography
  • The manual override enhances focus precision.

Cons

  • Unlike the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, you can't zoom distant subjects
  • The 20mm focal length doesn't offer a natural view field like the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8
Sale
NIKON NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S Ultra Wide Angle Fast...
  • NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1. 8 S lens features a wide f/1.8 apertures
  • Lens features advanced Nikon technologies, including ED glass elements and Nano Crystal Coat
  • Lens incorporates an all-new multi-focusing system for fast, accurate autofocusing

Best Cheap Walk Around Lens for Nikon: Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8

Although it's the cheapest on our list, the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8 is a versatile prime that incorporates professional features in a sleek form. With an f/1.8 bright aperture, it gives a better application of selective focus techniques than Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5. 

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto...

The Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8 utilizes one aspherical element to eliminate the spherical aberrations and distortions for enhanced picture clarity and sharpness. However, this one element is not effective like the three elements in the Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mm f/2. 

The element is coated with a Super Integrated Coating to control the ghosting and flare, which helps to enhance the color accuracy and increase the contrast. 

With a weight of 0.44 pounds, it's the second most lightweight on our list, making it convenient to carry and shoot for a prolonged time.

Pros

  • It's the second most lightweight on our list, making it ideal for carrying.
  • The aperture provides a better application of selective focus techniques.

Cons 

  • The single element may be ineffective than the three in the Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mm f/2.
  • It lacks the image stabilization function, making the resulting image blurred. 
Sale
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto...
  • F mount lens/DX format. Picture angle with Nikon DX format 44 degree
  • 52.5 millimeter (35-millimeter equivalent). Rear focusing; Manual focus override
  • Aperture range: F/1.8 to 22; Dimensions(approx.) 70 x 52.5 millimeter

Best Walk Around Nikon Lens with Image Stabilization: Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5

The Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 spans a useful focal range from portrait-length to wide-angle, making it suitable for use in a wide range of shooting situations. 

NIKON 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR AF-S Nikkor Lens -...

The optical construction consists of low dispersion and three aspherical elements. These are geared towards reducing the spherical and chromatic aberrations for better image sharpness over the zoom range. 

Also, the elements are coated with Super Integrated Coating to help suppress the ghosting, flare, and surface reflection for better color accuracy and contrast when working a bright light. 

Unlike the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8, it's equipped with an image stabilization mechanism that helps eliminate the camera shake effect by around four stops. 

Although it's heavier than the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8, the 1.07 pounds weight can't exhaust you when walking around. However, the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 aperture is not impressive in low-light shooting.

Pros

  • The image stabilization mechanism eliminates the camera shake effect.
  • It can shoot in harsh lighting with less flare and ghosting.

Cons

  • Its performance in backlit conditions is less appealing.
  • It produces less appealing bokeh than the Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4.
Sale
NIKON 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5G ED VR AF-S Nikkor Lens -...
  • Engineered for Nikon FX-format DSLRs
  • Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 61°, Minimum Angle of View (DX format): 18°50’, Maximum Angle...
  • Nikon VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization

Best Low Light Walk Around Lens for Nikon: Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8

The Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8 is a normal-length prime that comes with an impressive bright aperture of f/1.8, making it ideal for use even when shooting in poor lighting. It performs exceptionally well in both portrait and landscape photography, thanks to its natural view field. 

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens

One aspherical element is included in its optical construction, which helps to suppress aspherical distortions and aberrations to enhance image clarity and sharpness. 

Like the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, this element comes with a Super Integrated Coating, which eliminates the ghosting and flares to facilitate color accuracy and improve contrast. The Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8 comes with a Silent Wave Motor to enhance the speed and precision of the autofocus function. 

It weighs 0.4 pounds, making it the most lightweight on our list and ideal for carrying. However, unlike the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, it lacks image stabilization.

Pros

  • Its performance in poor lighting situations is impressive
  • It is the most lightweight on our list, making it convenient for carrying.

Cons

  • It lacks the image stabilization function
  • The lack of zoom capabilities limits its versatility
Sale
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
  • Fast, upgraded f/1.8, compact FX format prime lens. The picture angle with 35 millimeter (135)...
  • Focal length 50 millimeter, minimum focus distance 1.48 feet (0.45 meter)
  • Newly developed optical system with aspherical lens element, exclusive Nikon silent wave motor (SWM)

Best Wide Angle Walk Around Nikon Lens: Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mm f/2

The Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mm f/2 is a wide-angle prime that offers an impressive 83.1 degrees view angle, making it suitable for capturing landscapes. The bright aperture of f/2 makes it good for low-light shooting with an effective depth of field application. 

Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mm f/2.0 Aspherical Wide Angle...

Unlike the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8, the optical construction consists of one low dispersion element and two aspherical elements, which helps to eliminate the chromatic and spherical distortions for enhanced picture sharpness. 

The elements come with a UMC coating, which reduces the flare and ghosting by enhancing uniform light transmission. It features a manual focus that is noise-free, making it ideal for use with camera-sensitive subjects. 

However, the manual focus may be inconvenient where fast focusing is needed. It weighs 1.29 pounds, the heaviest on our list, making it unsuitable for a prolonged period of use.

Pros

  • The manual focus makes it suitable for use with camera-sensitive subjects.
  • The broad view field is ideal for shooting landscapes.

Cons

  • It's the heaviest on our list, making it unsuitable for extended shooting
  • The manual focus is inconvenient where fast focusing is necessary.
Sale
Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mm f/2.0 Aspherical Wide Angle...
  • Ultra wide angle 16mm lens
  • Focal Length: 16mm, Minimum Focusing Distance : 7.9 inches (0.2m)
  • Large f/2.0 aperture for low light photography and night street shooting

Best Zoom Walk Around Lens for Nikon: Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6.3

The Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6.3 is one-lens that is suitable for working in a wide array of shooting conditions due to its variable focal length and aperture. It can achieve an 8.3x zoom, allowing you to cover a telephoto to wide-angle focal lengths. 

NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 Compact Telephoto...

The optical elements feature both the Nano Crystal Coating and ARNEO, which are geared towards enhancing color accuracy and contrast. However, unlike the Nikon 20mm f/1.8, the f/4-6.3 aperture is not ideal for shooting in poor lighting conditions. 

Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6.3 features an advanced image stabilization functionality that can reduce the camera shake effect by around five stops, promoting sharper images even when shooting handheld. With a weight of 1.26 pounds, it's the second heaviest on our list, which limits its portability.

Pros

  • The image stabilization prevents image blurring even when zooming
  • It has the best zoom range on our list, making it ideal for shooting distant subjects

Cons

  • It is the second heaviest on our list, making its portability limited.
  • Unlike the Nikon 20mm f/1.8, its aperture is unsuitable for shallow depth of field application.
NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 Compact Telephoto...
  • Lens features Nikon technologies including Aspherical Lens Elements, ED Glass Elements, ARNEO Coat...
  • Lens features built-in Vibration Reduction image stabilization
  • The customizable, clickless control ring offers quick and quiet access to most used camera settings

Best Autofocus Walk Around Nikon Lens: Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4

Although it appears simple, the Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 is a sophisticated standard zoom that boasts a maximum wide aperture of f/2.8, making it excel even in back-lit shooting conditions. 

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF Zoom Lens...

It uses two aspherical elements to minimize the spherical distortions and aberrations, helping render clear and sharp images. Like the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, it uses a Super Integrated Coating to suppress the ghosting and flare for improved image contrast, especially when capturing in harsh lighting circumstances. 

The use of an internal autofocusing design ensures the lens maintains its overall length over the focusing range, which is important especially when capturing camera-shy subjects. With a nine-blade aperture diaphragm, the Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 produces a pleasing and smooth bokeh quality. 

However, although it's lighter than the Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6.3, the 1.2 pounds weight is not ideal for an extended carrying time. 

Pros

  • It produces a smooth and impressive bokeh quality.
  • Its internal-focusing design enhances shooting of camera-shy subjects.

Cons

  • Its weight is unsuitable for prolonged shooting time.
  • Unlike the Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mm f/2, the autofocus is fast and accurate.
Sale
Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF Zoom Lens...
  • Wide to telephoto 3.5x zoom lens ideal for landscape, full-length portraits, travel and portrait...
  • Nine-blade rounded diaphragm achieves a natural blur for out-of-focus elements
  • Hybrid and molded-glass aspherical lens elements for higher optical performance

Features to Consider in a Nikon Walk Around Lens

Walk-around lenses come with varying attributes and specifications, which you need to take into account for you to make an informed decision. For instance, you will need to emphasize the lens’s weight, size, and optical build quality as they dictate its suitability. 

Additionally, you can use the table below to compare the aperture, weight, and focal length of different lenses.

ProductFocal LengthApertureWeight (Pounds) 
Nikon AF-S VR Nikkor24-85mm f/3.5-4.51.07
Nikon AF-S Nikkor50mmf/1.80.4
Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mmf/21.29
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor35mmf/1.80.44
Nikon Nikkor Z24-200mm f/4-6.31.26
Nikon Nikkor Z S24-70mmf/2.81.8
Nikon Nikkor Z Ultra Wide Angle20mmf/1.81.11
Nikon AF FX Nikkor24-85mm f/2.8-41.2

Aperture

A wider aperture allows in more light, while a small one lets in less light. Also, a large aperture provides better depth-of-field control.

Walk-around lenses should have a variable wide aperture, which means the aperture changes as you zoom in and out or when you change the focal length. Typically, it is because the maximum aperture decreases as the lens barrel is extended.

For instance, a lens such as Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 with f3.5-4.5 aperture means that the aperture is f/3.5 at a wide-open, but zooming in reduces it to f/4.5.

Hand holding a Nikon camera with lens

In walk-around photography, more light gets in the camera when the aperture is wide, which translates to better performance in backlit conditions. A variable aperture makes the lens more versatile, suitable for a wide variety of shooting situations.

Focal Length

The magnification that a lens offers is directly related to its focal length. Typically, the focal length number is measured in millimeters (mm) and is always indicated on the lens package or label. 

The general rule of thumb is that you get more magnification when using a higher focal length number, and the lower the focal length number, the smaller the magnification.

For walk-around photography, you need a lens that goes from a very wide edge like 30mm to a narrow ledge with a reasonable zoom-in of around 200mm. This gives you a lot of flexibility, allowing you to capture scenes in greater detail, such as buildings that are on city streets. 

A good reference lens is the Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6.3, which is widely recognized by professional photographers as the travel lens of choice.

Image Quality

It's difficult to make general statements concerning image quality, as in most cases, it depends on the viewer's perspective and the experience of the photographer. However, lenses with large zoom ranges ought to sacrifice some sharpness in order to get versatile. 

In addition, the number of optical elements that reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations determines the clarity and sharpness of an image. The higher the number of these elements, the sharper and clearer the image. 

For instance, a large number of optical elements in Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 enables it to shoot outstanding image quality.

However, modern lenses are very good in terms of image quality. So unless you're professionally capturing pictures for a demanding customer, any of the lenses on this list will realize sharp images if you utilize the necessary capturing techniques.

Weight

Weight is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a walk-around lens because the idea is to use it for walking around and traveling purposes. 

It's preferable to carry a lightweight lens, especially if you are carrying it for a prolonged period. It's therefore advisable to go for a lightweight lens such as the Nikon 50mm f/1.8.

Size

In addition to weight, the dimensions of the camera lens must be taken into account. Portability can be a crucial factor in a walk around the camera lens, especially if you are traveling and prefer to carry with you only the carry-on luggage. 

Hand holding a Nikkor lens

Therefore, when making your decision, consider the physical size of the lens. In such a case, you will want a lens with a sleek form factor such as the Nikon 20mm f/1.8.

Image Stabilization

The image stabilization feature is used to compensate for the movements of the person holding the lens. This helps to take pictures without blurring them, even at slower shutter speeds.

Typically, the lowest shutter speed your hands can hold the lens is the reciprocal of the focal length. With a 200mm lens, you wouldn't want to take pictures at a shutter speed slower than 1/200 second. It would be 1/50th of a second for a 50mm lens.

Image stabilization techniques help you take pictures at slower shutter speeds and are generally categorized according to how many additional "stops" you can be given to play with. "Stop" is a selection of photos to halve or double the light.

So if you moved to 1/50th of a second from 1/100th of a second shutter speed and nothing else changes, that becomes one-stop.

Advanced techniques of image stabilization offer 3-5 levels of stabilization. For instance, the Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6.3 offers image stabilization of up to 5 stops. As you can see, image stabilization can make a big difference, and definitely, it's worth considering when buying a lens.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Frequent Should I Clean the Lens?

The lens's cleaning frequency depends on the conditions of use and how you are packing it when carrying. For instance, if you are using it for shooting in dusty conditions, you may need to clean it at least once a week.

Can I Use a Zoom Lens for Low-light Shooting?

Generally, zoom lenses don't perform well in low-light. However, a high-quality zoom lens such as the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, with a wide aperture of f/2.8, will perform well in poor lighting like its prime counterpart.

Conclusion

With a wide range of shooting conditions out there, choosing a Nikon lens that will suit your walk-around photography needs is confusing. Fortunately, our list consists of lenses with a wide array of specifications, providing you with ideal options for your walk-around photography needs.

PFRE Team
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