18 Best Lenses for Nikon D3500 // 2020 Buyer’s Guide11 min read

In this post I’m going to personally review the 18 best lenses for the Nikon D3500 based on a category.

Believe me, I know how exciting, yet difficult it can be to find the perfect lens for your camera especially since it can be an investment.

Because of this, I dive into each lens to uncover the pros and cons in terms of quality, build, important features, etc.

So make sure to read the post until the end. That way you can make the best decision for you!

Photographed with Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G

18 Best Lenses for Nikon D3500

I’ve listed out each lens here so it is easy for you to see them from a high-level view.

Click/tap on each lens name to jump to that section. At the end of each lens section, there is a link to jump back to this table to make it easy for you!

Because I am a published photographer myself, I have had the opportunity to shoot with most of these lenses so I can speak from firsthand experience.

I also list my personal overall best lens winner, the lens I absolutely can’t live without!

Let’s dive in:

#1 Pick - Best OverallRating
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens
Dollar Amount: $$

★ Editor's Top Choice ★

4.7 out of 5 stars
Best Portrait Lenses for Nikon D3500Rating
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
Dollar Amount: $
4.5 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
Dollar Amount: $
4.7 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G
Dollar Amount: $$$$
4.7 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G
Dollar Amount: $$

★ Editor's Top Choice ★

4.7 out of 5 stars
YONGNUO YN 50mm f/1.8 AF Lens
Dollar Amount: $
4.5 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G
Dollar Amount: $$$$
4.4 out of 5 stars
Best Macro Lenses for Nikon D3500Rating
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens
Dollar Amount: $$$

★ Editor's Top Choice ★

4.6 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G Lens
Dollar Amount: $$
4.6 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens
Dollar Amount: $$
4.7 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8D Lens
Dollar Amount: $$
4.6 out of 5 stars
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM
Dollar Amount: $
4.4 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G Lens
Dollar Amount: $$$$
4.6 out of 5 stars
Best Telephoto Lenses for Nikon D3500Rating
Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary Lens
Dollar Amount: $$$

★ Editor's Top Choice ★

4.7 out of 5 stars
Nikon 70-300 mm f/4-5.6G Zoom Lens
Dollar Amount: $
4.2 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G Lens
Dollar Amount: $$
4.5 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF FX Micro-NIKKOR 200mm f/4D Lens
Dollar Amount: $$$
3.9 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E Lens
Dollar Amount: $$$$
4.8 out of 5 stars
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G Lens
Dollar Amount: $$$$
4.2 out of 5 stars

What is the Overall Best Lens for Nikon D3500?

Your definition of “best” may differ from others.

Sometimes the most expensive, best-performing lens on the market isn’t what you’re looking for.

With that said, “overall best” to me fits several criteria: cost, performance, and versatility.

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens

best lenses for nikon d3500
Ask any photographer and they’ll tell you that you need to have a 50mm prime lens in your bag.

We believe that the Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens is the best overall lens simply because it can be used for different scenarios.

It has a wide aperture that provides great bokeh to highlight subjects when doing portraits. And also, you get to enjoy something that you can use in low light conditions.

One issue that you might find here is that it tends to focus slower than other prime lenses.

 

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4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Wide aperture
  • Useful for a variety of situations
  • Perfect for low light conditions
  • Can blur the background and focus on the subject

Cons

  • Slow focusing

→ Jump to Overview Table

The Best Lens for Nikon D3500 Portrait Photography

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

best lenses for nikon d3500
If you don’t have the budget to buy the 50mm f1.4 prime lens, then this is the next best thing.

It offers decent bokeh and crisp images. You can use both manual and autofocus with this lens plus you get to enjoy the SWM or the silent wave motor for quiet focusing capabilities.

One drawback is that some users reported some vignetting on the lower right when you shoot using a wide aperture.

 

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4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Quiet autofocusing
  • With wide aperture for bokeh
  • Perfect for low light conditions
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Vignetting when using a wide aperture

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

best lenses for nikon d3500
35mm prime lenses don’t always get the same popularity as the 50mm lenses.

The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm 1.8G Lens can make you change your mind. We consider it as one of the best lenses for Nikon D3500 because it offers a slightly wider angle but provides an f1.8 aperture perfect for blurring backgrounds and focusing on the subject.

It has silent autofocus coupled with good optics that can produce great photos. However, exposure isn’t exactly spot on. It also gets overexposed when you use it during the daytime.

 

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4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Wide-angle
  • Great for taking focusing on the subject
  • Crisp photos because of great optics

Cons

  • Problem with exposure during sunny days

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

best lenses for nikon d3500
What if you can find a compatible lens for Nikon D3500 that works both as a telephoto lens and a portrait lens at the same time?

That’s exactly what Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 85mm f1.4G Lens offers to the table. It carries a wide aperture despite the 85mm focal length.

It made use of technology that optimizes edge to edge sharpness. Unfortunately, it’s one of those best lenses for Nikon D3500 that comes with a hefty price tag.

 

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4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Works both as a portrait lens and telephoto lens
  • Wide aperture
  • Sharp images

Cons

  • Expensive

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

best lenses for nikon d3500
Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 50mm f1.4 G Lens may be an expensive option for a 50mm prime lens but it is undoubtedly one of the best lenses for Nikon D3500.

It offers superior quality images plus a much wider aperture than your typical 50mm f1.8 portrait lens. Unfortunately, despite the small change in aperture, this lens is quite expensive.

You also have to deal with a relatively slower focusing.

 

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4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Wide aperture for bokeh
  • Perfect for low-light conditions
  • Can blur background

Cons

  • Slow focusing
  • Expensive

→ Jump to Overview Table

YONGNUO YN 50mm f/1.8 AF Lens

best lenses for nikon d3500
If you are looking for a portrait lens for less than $100, the YONGNUO YN 50mm f1.8 lens makes a strong candidate for this.

It performs decently without breaking the bank. It is sharp enough but is still not as good as Nikon prime lenses.

But as an AF lens, it does focus fast enough not to mention it has a decent shallow depth of field.

 

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4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Less than $100
  • Fast-focusing
  • Has a decent shallow depth of field

Cons

  • Not as sharp as Nikon lenses

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

best lenses for nikon d3500
Looking for something wider than your 50mm prime lens but with an f1.4 aperture?

The Nikon AF FX Nikkor 35mm f1.4G Lens is not only a good wide-angle lens, but it can also serve as a superb portrait lens.

With its sharp photos, superb autofocusing capability, wide aperture, and wider focal length, it’s undoubtedly one of the best lenses for Nikon D3500.

However, not a lot of hobbyists have this lens. Priced at $1,500+, it’s an option for serious photographers.

 

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4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Can be used for both portrait and landscapes
  • Wide aperture
  • Fast-focusing
  • Crisp images

Cons

  • Expensive

→ Jump to Overview Table

The Best Lens for Nikon D3500 Macro Photography

Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

best lenses for nikon d3500
The Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8G IF-ED Lens offers glass elements known for reducing flare and chromatic aberrations.

And with this, you can expect superb images. You also get something that can give you a good closeup of your subject. It has an average ability to focus though it can’t take moving objects.

 

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4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Sharp images
  • Good for closeup
  • Decent focusing

Cons

  • Can’t take photos of moving subjects

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G Lens

best lenses for nikon d3500
The Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85mm f3.5G Lens is an ideal lens for shooting small details up close. It offers a clear focus for subjects around 0.9 feet away from the lens.

This lens improves your handheld shots thanks to the Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization feature.

And with silent wave motor that allows discreet focusing, it’s a camera that can be used for different scenarios.

Unfortunately, pro photographers think that it doesn’t give enough sharpness for macro photography.

 

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4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Can focus up close
  • With vibration reduction image stabilization feature
  • Discreet autofocusing

Cons

  • Doesn’t produce the sharpness expected by pros

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens

best lenses for nikon d3500
The Nikon AF S Nikkor 85mm f1.8G Fixed Lens is the type of lens that falls in between a portrait lens and a macro lens.

But what makes it stand out is the fact that it has a wider aperture than most macro lenses. It has a silent motor that allows discreet focusing plus it produces great images.

But what makes it one of the best lenses for Nikon D3500 for the macro category is the fact that it offers better closeup shots than your 50mm prime lens.

Unfortunately, you can’t shoot moving objects with this lens.

 

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4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Perfect for portrait and macro shots
  • Shoots great closeup
  • High-quality vivid images

Cons

  • Impossible to shoot moving objects

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF Micro-NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8D Lens

best lenses for nikon d3500
The Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f2.8D lens is another good option for those who plan on shooting at close range.

This lightweight lens can capture small details thanks to its Close-Range Correction system.

It gives you the freedom to focus on small subjects and enjoy minimized flare and good color balance.

The only downside is that you might want to ensure your light source. It doesn’t have a wide aperture to give you a good bokeh.

 

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4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Can capture small details well
  • Can focus on close distances
  • Vivid colors

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a wide aperture

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Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM Lens for Nikon

best lenses for nikon d3500
The Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM Lens is a good option if you want to invest in just one lens that can cover multiple situations.

This is the type of lens that you can rely on whether you need wide shots or you need to shot macro shots.

It also includes image stabilization allowing users to shoot moving subjects with ease. The downside is that the sharpness is only concentrated in the middle of the image.

 

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4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Smooth zoom
  • Can take shots of moving subjects
  • Can be used for different situations other than macro photography

Cons

  • Sharpness concentrated only in the middle

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G Lens

best lenses for nikon d3500
The Nikon AF SFX Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G Lens is a favorite lens by many because it can be used for shooting landscapes or shooting up close when you are doing macro photography.

You also get to enjoy a lens that can perform well even in low light conditions. And with three ED glass elements coupled with precision glass mold aspherical lens elements, you get high-quality photos.

It also offers silent focusing that gives you the chance to shoot discreetly. But with all of these perks, expect this lens to be expensive.

 

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4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Wide variety of focal lengths
  • High-quality photos
  • Quiet focusing

Cons

  • Expensive

→ Jump to Overview Table

The Best Lens for Nikon D3500 Telephoto Photography

Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens

best lenses for nikon d3500
The Sigma 150-600mm f5-6.4 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens may be a third party lens but it is something that you might want to consider if you plan on shooting subjects from a great distance.

This lens is quite durable with a dust-resistant and weather-resistant design. It is also relatively lightweight compared to other lenses, not to mention it takes sharp photos.

The downside is that you will need to have a tripod when shooting plus it has a relatively slow focusing.

 

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4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Sharp images
  • Has a good range
  • Weather-resistant and dust-resistant

Cons

  • Slow focusing

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Nikon 70-300 mm f/4-5.6G Zoom Lens

best lens for nikon d3500
If you are planning to spend on the best lenses for Nikon D3500 but you are also mindful not to overspend, the Nikon 70-300mm f4.5G Zoom Lens is a strong contender for this one.

Pegged below $200, you can enjoy superior quality images from this lens without draining your bank account.

You also get a vibration reduction capability that allows you to shoot even without a tripod. But keep in mind that anything beyond 20 feet might not be clear plus its autofocus doesn’t work on a D3500.

 

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4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Decent range
  • High-quality shots
  • Affordable

Cons

  • A lot of Nikon cameras don’t get to enjoy the autofocus

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G Lens

best lens for nikon d3500
The Nikon AF-DX Nikkor 18-300mm f3.5-6.3G Lens is a perfect option for a variety of scenarios.

It offers a wide-angle shot for landscapes and shoots close up photos once you zoom in.

This lens is surprisingly lightweight perfect for travelers not to mention optimized for shooting HD videos. It has vibration reduction image stabilization that offers great shots even when you have shaky hands.

Unfortunately, zooming in can compromise the quality of the images.

 

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4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Shoots great images
  • Has vibration reduction image stabilization
  • Optimized for HD videos

Cons

  • Zooming in compromises image quality

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Nikon AF FX Micro-NIKKOR 200mm f/4D Lens

best lens for nikon d3500
The Nikon AF FX Micro Nikkor 200mm f4D lens is a fixed lens option that provides you with crisp images and great shots even from far away.

It is usually a good option when shooting macro shots from afar. Unfortunately, it only serves as a plan B lens for most users since you don’t get to zoom in or zoom out of your subject.

And also, this lens tends to be a bit heavy.

 

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3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Great range
  • Vivid colors
  • Great focusing

Cons

  • Fixed lens
  • Heavy

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E Lens

best lens for nikon d3500
The Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 200-500m f5.6E Lens is a powerful telephoto lens with a minimum focus distance of around 7 feet.

It produces great quality images on different ranges. You also get to enjoy a vibration reduction in sports mode at 4.5 stops.

It allows you to capture moving subjects and reduce your wasted shots. But of course, quality requires that you spend more than $1,000 for this lens.

 

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4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Great range
  • Crisp images in all ranges
  • Allows you to capture moving subjects

Cons

  • Expensive

→ Jump to Overview Table

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6G Lens

best lenses for nikon d3500
The Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 lens is another contender for the best telephoto lens for the D3500. This lens can focus subject as close as 5.7 feet.

On top of that, you get an accurate focusing lens and a vibration reduction capability that gives the best results that you need.

However, you’ll need to be a serious pro to invest in this lens. It costs more than $2,000 which could turn off a lot of hobbyists or beginners.

 

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4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Accurate focusing
  • Vibration reduction to minimize wasted shots
  • Crisp images
  • Wide range

Cons

  • Expensive

→ Jump to Overview Table

Concluding Remarks

With powerful specs and a novice-friendly design, some people are asking: is the Nikon D3500 good?

This DSLR is the perfect camera for those who don’t want complicated configurations in their camera.

You get to shoot more and think less with the right lenses. But whenever you are trying to find a compatible lens for the Nikon D3500, be sure to compare at least three lenses.

Weigh the pros and cons to see which one fits your requirements.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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