Best Nikon Manual Focus Lenses in 2023

Nikon is one of the most renowned camera manufacturers in the world, and their manual focus lenses are some of the best on the market. Providing incredible sharpness, excellent image quality, and unsurpassed optical performance, Nikon manual focus lenses are a must-have for any serious photographer. Whether you’re shooting landscapes, portraits, or wildlife scenes, these lenses give you an advantage over standard autofocus models. With so many types to choose from, however, it can be difficult to decide which lens is right for you. In this article we will explore all things Nikon manual focus lenses – from what types are available to why they’re essential for photographers of all levels – and give our top 10 picks for the best Nikon manual focus lenses on the market today.

Types of Nikon Manual Focus Lenses

Nikon manual focus lenses are available in a variety of types, allowing photographers to choose the lens that is best suited for their needs. The most common types of Nikon manual focus lenses include prime lenses, zoom lenses, macro lenses and tilt-shift lenses.

Prime lenses provide photographers with a fixed focal length, allowing them to capture images at a single distance without needing to zoom in or out. They are also designed to be lightweight and compact, making them ideal for travel photography. Zoom lenses offer more versatility than prime lenses by providing the ability to zoom in and out on a scene. Macro lenses offer extreme close-up capabilities for capturing highly detailed images of small subjects like insects and flowers. Tilt-shift lenses allow for creative effects such as altering the perspective of an image by tilting or shifting the lens relative to the camera’s sensor plane.

These different types of Nikon manual focus lenses can be used in combination with each other to create unique shots that could not be achieved with just one type of lens alone. For example, using a tilt-shift lens together with a macro lens allows photographers to take close up shots while also altering their composition or perspective. Ultimately, which type of Nikon manual focus lens is best will depend on the photographer’s individual needs and preferences.

Why Need The Best Nikon Manual Focus Lenses?

When it comes to taking professional-looking photos, Nikon manual focus lenses are an absolute must-have. These lenses provide superior optical performance and sharpness, giving your photographs a dynamic look that can’t be replicated with digital cameras or autofocus lenses. Their straightforward design allows for quick adjustments and precise control over your shot composition; plus, manual focus lenses provide excellent image stabilization which is great for shooting in low light conditions or when using a longer focal length lens. Additionally, they offer the flexibility of working with a variety of different camera bodies and camera systems while still providing outstanding results. For these reasons, having the best Nikon manual focus lenses in your arsenal can help you take stunning photos that stand out from the rest.

List of The 10 Best Nikon Manual Focus Lenses

Nikon has a great selection of manual focus lenses for those looking to capture amazing images without relying on autofocus technology. Nikon’s manual focus lenses range from primes to zooms and offer a wide variety of options for all types of photographers. Here are 10 of the best Nikon manual focus lenses you should consider:

  1. The AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G – This ultra-fast portrait lens is perfect for capturing stunning shots with beautiful bokeh effects. It features a Silent Wave Motor that ensures extremely quiet, accurate, and fast auto-focusing capabilities, plus a Super Integrated Coating that reduces ghosting and flare.
  2. The AF Zoom-NIKKOR 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5D – This versatile lens is ideal for both amateurs and professionals alike, offering superb image quality and excellent speed with its three aspherical elements and Super Integrated Coating. With the ability to zoom from 28mm up to 70mm, this lens offers maximum versatility in any shooting situation.
  3. The PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED – This ultra-wide angle prime lens is perfect for capturing stunning landscapes or closeup shots in low light environments thanks to its bright maximum aperture of f/4. Additionally, this lens features Nano Crystal Coat technology which minimizes ghosting and flare while providing superior sharpness even at the corners of your frame.
  4. The AF Micro-NIKKOR 200mm f/4D IF-ED – This telephoto macro lens provides excellent performance with closeup shots thanks to its internal focusing system which keeps the length of the lens constant during operation, as well as its Silent Wave Motor which ensures quick and precise autofocus performance in any situation.
  5. The AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2D – If you’re looking for an incredibly sharp portrait lens, then you can’t go wrong with this classic telephoto prime from Nikon featuring Defocus Control which allows you to control the degree of background blur in your images with ease. Additionally, this lens includes Super Integrated Coating that reduces ghosting and flare while ensuring superior color accuracy throughout your shots.
  6. The AI NIKKOR 35mm f/2D – This fast standard prime is ideal for taking portraits or shooting street photography outdoors because of its bright aperture at f/2 plus its seven diaphragm blades which provide beautiful bokeh effects in your photos when shot wide open at maximum aperture settings.
  7. The AI Nikkor 180mm f/2 ED IF – For those who need speed and reach when shooting wildlife or sports scenes outdoors, look no further than this classic super telephoto prime from Nikon featuring an ultra fast maximum aperture setting at f/2 plus built in optical stabilization that helps reduce camera shake when handholding the camera even when shooting long exposure shots in low light conditions without a tripod or monopod support system set up.
  8. The AI Zoom Nikkor 35–105 mm f / 3 . 5– 4 . 5D – Need something more versatile? Consider this classic zoom from Nikon featuring an impressive focal range from 35mm up to 105 mm , making it perfect for everyday situations like travel photography or street photography. Its five – element optical design ensures optimal image quality throughout the entire zoom range.
  9. The AI Zoom Nikkor 24–50 mm f / 4 D ED – Want something even more portable? Check out this classic wide angle zoom from Nikon featuring an impressive 24–50 mm focal range , making it perfect for shooting interiors or capturing sweeping vistas outdoors. Also included is internal focusing optics that help keep the length of the lens constant during operation , as well as extra -low dispersion glass elements that ensure superior sharpness even at maximum aperture settings.
  10. The AI Zoom Nikkor 28–45 mm F / 3 . 5 AIS – Last but not least, if you need something ultra -portable yet still reliable enough for everyday use, then consider investing in this classic wide angle zoom from Nikon featuring an impressive 28–45 mm focal range, making it perfect for capturing dramatic landscapes or capturing interesting street scenes indoors without having to worry about lugging around a bulky setup. Plus, it also includes a variable maximum aperture setting ranging from F / 3 . 5 all the way down to F / 22 depending on how much light you have available, giving you great flexibility when needing to shoot under challenging lighting conditions without having to worry about lugging around additional gear such as flash units or reflectors.

How To Choose The Best Nikon Manual Focus Lenses

Choosing the best manual focus lens for your Nikon camera is no easy task. With so many different lenses on the market, it can be overwhelming to pick just one that suits your needs. To help you out, we’ve put together a 5-point guide to consider when selecting the perfect lens for your camera.

Firstly, you should consider what type of photography you’ll be doing with the lens. Different lenses are designed for different types of photography and will differ in features such as focal length, aperture size, and speed. For instance, a wide-angle prime lens might be better suited for landscape photography whereas a telephoto zoom lens may be better for wildlife or sports photography.

Next, take a look at the optics of the lens: its aperture size and maximum speed. Look for lenses with larger maximum apertures (measured in f/stops) as these allow more light into the sensor resulting in sharp images even in lower light conditions. Also check out its minimum focusing distance and if it has any special optical coatings that can reduce flare and distortion from bright lights or sunsets.

Thirdly, take into account any special features that might come with the lens such as image stabilization or chromatic aberration reduction technology which can make life easier when shooting handheld or in tricky lighting conditions.

Fourthly, think about how much money you want to spend on your new lens; manual focus lenses can range from relatively inexpensive to high-end models so decide what price bracket is right for your budget before making a purchase decision.

Finally, consider any accessories that might come with the lens like filters or hoods which can help protect it while also providing some added functionality when shooting outdoors.

By taking all these points into consideration when choosing which manual focus Nikon lens to buy, you can ensure you select one which perfectly suits your needs and budget!

How To Take Care Of Nikon Manual Focus Lenses

Taking care of your Nikon manual focus lens is essential for making sure it lasts and performs optimally. Properly maintaining your lens is the key to keeping it in top condition for many years.

First off, make sure you’re only using the genuine Nikon lens caps and hoods when storing or transporting your lens. Lens caps protect from dust, dirt, knocks and scratches, while hoods help reduce flare and improve contrast.

Before attaching a lens to a camera body, always make sure the mount contacts are both clean and free of dust or dirt particles. To do this properly use a soft lint-free cloth dampened with an optical cleaning solution.

When shooting outdoors in humid conditions, keep a soft cloth handy to wipe off any condensation that might form on the lens surface. Never leave your lens out in extreme cold or hot temperatures as this can damage the optics over time.

It’s also important to take proper care when using filters on your lenses. Always make sure they are securely mounted onto the front thread of the lens barrel and never leave them on when not in use as this can cause abrasion to occur over time.

Finally, if you find yourself needing to clean inside the barrel of your lens then it’s best to take it into an authorized service center for proper maintenance. Doing so yourself could easily lead to damaging delicate components of the optical system which can be expensive to repair down the line.


In conclusion, Nikon manual focus lenses are a great choice for photographers who want to achieve the highest level of precision and control over their images. With a wide variety of lenses to choose from, you can find the perfect lens for your needs. By understanding what makes each lens unique and why you need it, you can make an informed decision about which one will best suit your photography style. Additionally, taking care of your Nikon manual focus lenses is paramount in ensuring they last for years to come. Ultimately, finding the best Nikon manual focus lenses for your photography goals is key to capturing stunning shots that stand out from the rest.

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