Expand Your Capabilities: Top 3 Nikon D5300 Lenses

The Nikon D5300 is a very capable consumer grade camera based on Nikon’s DX format, which uses a smaller CMOS sensor, that captures still and video images at 24.2 megapixels.  While positioned on the lower end of Nikons consumer grade camera lineup, the D5300 has proven to be a very popular camera due to its excellent image quality, while still being very user-friendly.  As with any camera system, the camera is only one part of a camera system and it can be argued that the most important part of that system is the lenses selected by the photographer.  This is especially true with high-resolution DSLR camera like the D5300!

Let’s Start with Some Things You Have to Consider

Nikon, as well as other 3rd party manufacturers, have dozens of lenses that will fit on Nikon’s F- Bayonet mount, which has been around for years.  In general, Nikon has two separate lineups of the lens, which includes the FX series and the DX series.  The FX lenses are generally used on Nikon’s FX cameras, which are built on the larger full frame sensor.  The DX lineup is used on cameras such as the D5300, which uses smaller DX sensor.

While theoretically all of these lenses using this mount will fit on the D5300, it is important for the consumer to focus their lenses selection on lenses with a built-in autofocus motor, as the D5300 does not have an autofocus motor that will focus older lenses.  In Nikon’s lineup, the lenses selected for the D5300 should generally have the designation “AF-S DX”, as these lenses are specifically made for Nikon’s DX system and have incorporated an autofocus motor into the lens itself.

Nikon’s “AF-S DX” lineup of lenses is significant, with over 20 lenses being available, with may having overlapping capabilities.  As one would expect, the range in price and optic quality is wide as well.   In the case of the D5300, it is important to note that with such high resolution, the flaws of any lens become very apparent, so care must be taken to select the best lenses that the photographer can afford, as well as the best possible image quality.

The idea lens lineup for the D5300 would offer excellent range in focal length, minimal overlap in focal length, excellent optical quality at affordable prices.  Nikon has three lenses that are a perfect match for the D5300 with one being a fixed lens, while the other two are zoom lenses.  Now let’s take a look at these lenses that meet this criteria and how they are a great fit for the D5300!

AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G

The AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 is one of Nikon’s best lenses ever and is quite a value at $199.99.  (Check out the latest prices here.)A fixed lens, the optics on the lens is amazing, with many people finding the bokeh, or the out of focus backgrounds, especially appealing.  It is also a fast lens at f/1.8, making the lens an excellent choice for use in low light situations where the photographer does not want to use the D5300’s flash.

At 35mm in the DX format, the lens has a 35mm or full frame equivalent of 52-mm lens, which is very close to the very popular “nifty fifty” used on full frame cameras.  In many ways, this is the perfect local length for a wide variety of photography styles including landscape, portrait and street photography.

Despite having an internal focusing system, the lens is small at 2.76” x 2.07” and weighs a mere 7.0 ounces.  This lens can easily be carried in the photographer’s jacket pocket in the field with one of the other two lenses being mounted on the D5300.  However, most photographers will like this lens so much it will stay on the camera most of the time!  Now let’s look at some of the technical data on this lens, as technical data should always be factored into any decision involving the purchase of photography equipment.

Item AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
Year Introduced 2009
Focal Length 35mm
35mm Equivalent Focal Length 52.5mm
Minimum Aperture f/22
Maximum Aperture f/1.8
Camera Mount Type Nikon F-Bayonet
Lens Elements 8
Lens Groups 6
Primary Format Compatibility Nikon DX
Secondary Format Compatibility Nikon FX in DX Mode
Maximum Angle Of View 44°
Minimum Angle Of View N/A
Minimum Focus Distance 0.98 Feet
Optical Conversion Factor 1.5x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 0.16x
Diaphragm 7 – Blade
Distance Information Yes
Aspherical Elements 1
ED Glass Elements No
Super Integrated Coatings Yes
VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization No
Autofocus Yes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor) Yes
Internal Focusing Yes
Focus Modes Auto, Manual
G-Type Yes
Tripod Collar No
Filter Type Screw On
Filer Size 52mm
Size 2.76” x 2.07”
Weight 7.05 Ounces
Accessories HB-46 Bayonet Lens Hood, LC-52 Snap-On Lens Cap, LF-1 Rear Lens Cap, CL-0913 Soft Case
Cost $199.95

Check out the latest prices here.

AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR II

Any DSLR kit should include a couple of zoom type lenses and the D5300 is no different.  The AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 G VR II is a very good lens that retails for $249.95.  The focal length of this lens covers the 35mm equivalent range of 27mm to 82.5mm, which makes this lens an excellent “walk around lens” suitable for wide angle shooting as well as portraits.  Many will find the lens a perfect travel lens as well as it measures 3.3” x 2.6” and is very light at 6.9 ounces.  An added benefit of this lens is that if you are carrying the AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 lens as well, they both use 52mm screw on filters, which eliminates the need to carry two sizes of filters.  One of the keys to enjoying extended periods of time shooting in the field is to keep the weight down and every ounce adds up!

While Nikon offers another 18-55mm lens, this is the one to get because of the VR II system built into the lens.  This system eliminates camera shake and is key to obtaining crisp clear shots especially at the 55mm range.  Significantly this is the second generation of Nikon’s “Vibration Reduction” or VR on Nikon’s lenses is excellent.  A majority of photographers would never consider owning a zoom lens without built-in lens stabilization.  That speaks for the significance of this technology and it is now widely available on moderately priced consumer grade lenses as well.   Now lets take a look at the technical specifications of this lens.

Item AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR II
Year Introduced 2014
Focal Length 18 – 55mm
35mm Equivalent Focal Length 27 -82.5mm
Minimum Aperture f/22-36
Maximum Aperture f/3.5-5.6
Camera Mount Type Nikon F-Bayonet
Lens Elements 11
Lens Groups 9
Primary Format Compatibility Nikon DX
Secondary Format Compatibility Nikon FX in DX Mode
Maximum Angle Of View 76°
Minimum Angle Of View 28°50’
Minimum Focus Distance .92 Feet
Optical Conversion Factor 1.5x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio .31x
Diaphragm 7 – Blades
Distance Information Yes
Aspherical Elements 1
ED Glass Elements No
Super Integrated Coatings Yes
VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Yes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor) Yes
Internal Focusing Yes
Focus Modes Auto & manual
G-Type Yes
Tripod Collar No
Filter Type Screw On
Filer Size 52mm
Size 3.3” x 2.6”
Weight Approximately 6.9 Ounces
Accessories LC-67 Snap-On Front Lens Cap 67mm, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap
Cost $249.95

Check out the latest prices here.

AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR

The third recommended lens is the AF-S DX 55-300mm f/f.4-5.6 G ED VR lens, which is a long zoom lens that retails for $399.95.  (Check out the latest prices here.)This lens has a 35mm equivalent range of 82.5 mm to 450mm, making this an excellent lens for sports or wildlife photography.   Generally this lens is best suited for outdoor use or in situations where lighting is not an issue, as the lens is fairly slow.

As with any zoom lens it is critical that the lens be equipped with a Vibration Reduction” system and while this lens has first generation “VR” it is excellent in eliminating camera shake, even when the long end of the lens is being used.  Photographers can be confident that the system will allow crisp images to be captured in a variety of settings, even at a focal length of 300mm!

One of the best things about this lens is that it is relatively small and light having such a long focal length.  Measuring 3.0” x 4.8” the 55-300mm only weighs 18.7 ounces.  The only downside to the lens is the need to carry 58mm filters if carrying the other two lenses, which use a 52mm filter.   As with the other two lenses, the 55-300mm lens comes with a carrying bag, as well as a front and rear lens cap.  Now let’s take a look at the technical specifications!

Item AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300 f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR
Year Introduced 2010
Focal Length 55-300mm
35mm Equivalent Focal Length 82.5-450mm
Minimum Aperture f/22
Maximum Aperture f/4.5
Camera Mount Type Nikon F-Bayonet
Lens Elements 17
Lens Groups 11
Primary Format Compatibility Nikon DX
Secondary Format Compatibility Nikon FX in DX Mode
Maximum Angle Of View 28°50’
Minimum Angle Of View 5°20’
Minimum Focus Distance 4’-6”
Optical Conversion Factor 1.5x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio .28x
Diaphragm 9 – Blades
Distance Information Yes
Aspherical Elements None
ED Glass Elements Yes, 2
Super Integrated Coatings Yes
VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization Yes

 

Autofocus Yes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor) Yes
Internal Focusing Yes
Focus Modes Auto, Manual
G-Type No
Tripod Collar No
Filter Type Screw On
Filer Size 58mm
Size 3.0” x 4.8”
Weight 18.7 Ounces
Accessories HB-57 Snap-On Lens Hood, LC-58 Snap-On Lens Cap, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, CL-1020 Soft Case
Cost $399.95

Check out the latest prices here.

While camera bodies are important, lens are the key to any camera system and it is best to focus on decent glass, especially if shooting a high resolution DSLR such as the D5300.  Despite the consumer having over 20 lens choices for the D5300, the AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 G VR II and the AF-S DX 55-300mm f/f.4-5.6 G ED VR lenses are the best ones on the market for the D5300.  They are affordable; provide a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 27-450mm. Best yet they all provide excellent optical quality in a variety of lighting conditions and are the key to unlocking the potential of the D5300!

Robert Alexander
 

A camera geek and freelance photographer, Robert (Aka "Rob" or "Bob") spends way too much time examining the finer points of cameras.

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