Best Vintage Nikon Lenses: [Your Ultimate Buying Guide]

Vintage lenses are one of the trending things on Instagram. The generation seems to be very interested in a blast from the past. Thanks to the vintage Nikon lenses that let us click some aesthetic pictures. With the best vintage Nikon lenses, anyone can click some chic photos.

And guess what? These vintage lenses are inexpensive, available, and easy-to-use. You can now enjoy some unusual photography without spending piles of riches. But how to determine which lens is worth giving a try?

Here, in this article, we’ve put light on some top-grade Nikon vintage lenses that’ll serve you with some ‘worth a glance’ pictures. Let’s check them out!

Which Nikon Camera Can Use Old Lenses?

When it comes to the camera, brand loyalty is a strange thing. While getting yourself a camera, you can’t realize what charm it’ll add to your life when you’ll look back. Old lenses come with the same specialty. You can’t abandon them at once. These lenses add a special touch from the past. And thanks to Nikon that they let you use your old lenses in new cameras as well.

If you’re using an old F-mount lens, the Nikon Df camera is pretty compatible with every lens. Non-AI lenses are pretty adjustable with Nikon Df cameras. The Df camera is a ‘full-frame’ camera. That means Nikon has manufactured it in such a way that you can use any lenses in it.

Nikon D500 is presumably the only camera that is compatible with every kind of lens you put into it.

Why Are Old Lenses Better?

While going through best vintage Nikon lens reviews, we noticed people mentioning that the old lenses ten to be sharper. Have you ever wondered why?

It is a general statement that older than lenses are way better than the newer lenses. The modern counterparts don’t tend to be as sharp as the old ones are. The old, sharper than ever, lenses are referred to as cult or legacy lenses. That’s because the older lenses don’t have extra glasses for zooming.

If you’re a newbie at photography, an older lens will help you to learn. As you are new in snapping, you may lose camera focus commonly. And old lenses aid you to be an expert at focusing.

Older lenses offer your better aperture with f/1.2, f/1.4, and even f/0.95. Such a wider aperture isn’t that available in newer zoom lenses. Another mindboggling fact about the older lens is the bokeh. Older prime lenses serve you with substantially defined lights. You experiment with some bewildering background while using older lenses!

Prime lenses are tinier than the modern ones. Which makes them a good option to carry while you’re going on a trip. Carrying prime lenses while you’re traveling is one of the most comfortable experiences ever!

6 Best Vintage Nikon Lenses Reviews

1. Best 24mm AI Lens: Nikon 24mm f/2.8 manual focus AI lens

Nikon 24mm f/2.8 manual focus AI lens

Key Features:

  • 24mm max focal length
  • 24 mm min focal length
  • f/2.8 max aperture

Available On Amazon

Nikon 24mm f/2.8 manual focus AI lens is extremely sharp. They serve you with sharper than ever photos, even in the corners. When it comes to old lenses, Nikon is one of the only brands that has persisted in maintaining quality.

If you’re searching for a camera with substantial presentation and contrast, put your hands on 28mm f/1.4D AF. It is one of the best manual focus vintage lenses you can ever own. Taking pictures with outstanding surroundings no more requires much effort.

Although the price of this magical device is steep, it’s worth every penny. As the lens weighs 14.4 ounces only, you can carry it wherever you desire to.

If you’re a man who loves to live in the vintage era, Nikon 24mm f/2.8 manual focus AI lens can be a worth-trying bid for you. This prime lens will help you experience a vintage touch of old-age lenses.

👍 Pros:
  • Perfect focal length
  • Nicely handles flare
  • Low light
👎 Cons:
  • Pretty expensive

2. Best 50mm AI Lens: Nikon 50mm f/1.4 f1.4 AI manual focus lens

Nikon 50mm f/1.4 f1.4 AI manual focus lens

Key Features:

  • Min focal length 50mm
  • Max focal length 50mm
  • Wide-Angle lens

Available On Amazon

If you’re willing to spend your riches on the best vintage Nikon 50mm lens, put your hands on this astonishing piece. The lens was precisely tested by the brand while manufacturing. The blade hasn’t got any fungus, haze, or oil in the blades.

So, are you scouring for an outstanding wide-angle prime lens? Why not use a Nikon 50mm manual focus lens? This magnanimous lens by Nikon features a focal length of 50mm. You can get a polarizing filter of 52mm and original caps at the same time.

Be it withstand ability or performance, the lens aces in every field. The strangest thing is, the lens weighs 10.4 ounces, plus you can use it forever!

Taking astonishing head-and-shoulder pictures is no more a bridge too far. The functionality of the glass is worth paying your cash. You can give Nikon 43-86mm f3.5 AI Lens for one-touch zoom features.

👍 Pros:
  • Good for portraits
  • Amazing micro-contrast
  • lightweight
👎 Cons:
  • Scratch-prone

3. Best 135mm AI Lens: Nikon 135mm f/3.5 f3.5 lens

Nikon 135mm f/3.5 f3.5 lens

Key Features:

  • Fixed non-zoom lens
  • 135 min focal length
  • f/2.8 to f/22 aperture range

Available On Amazon

Nikon 135mm f/3.5 f3.5 lens is another excellent option that can amaze you. This prime lens curtails the aberrations in the images. Nikkor 135 mm lens offers you an 18-degree angle of view for making the subject appear a bit larger. Isn’t that outstanding?

If you are looking for a prime lens that reduces aberrations, why not purchase a Nikon 135mm f/3.5 f3.5 lens! This lens makes the objects appear more than they are. The lens will assist you while capturing objects in a distant place by bringing them closer. Taking different types of pictures using vintage lenses is more classic now.

This AI manual focus lens can capture objects in the distance without distorting the resolution. You can have optimally brighter shots within a click! Capture classic portraits with this boon.

👍 Pros:
  • Focuses distant objects easily
  • Brighter shots
  • Good for portraits
👎 Cons:
  • Other vintage lenses are lighter

4. Best 28mm AI Lens: Nikon Nikkor 28mm 2.8 Ai-S CRC Lens

Nikon Nikkor 28mm 2.8 Ai-S CRC Lens

Key Features:

  • Wide Angle Lens
  • Min focal length 28mm
  • 8 elements in 8 groups

Available On Amazon

If you wanna play with a wilder version of vintage lenses, Nikon Nikkor 28mm 2.8 Ai-S CRC Lens can never go wrong. Unlike mainstream lenses, this Ai-S lens has 8 elements in eight groups. No other Nikon lens can perform so neatly. Owning such a sharp manual lens is anyone’s wildest dream ever!

Usually, random 28mm 2.8 Ai-S CRC Lenses use 5 elements design. But this unusual piece has 8 element design in 8 groups! This vintage lens offers correction like no other lens can ever offer you.

This AI lens is a bit different than other older AI lenses. The lens can focus at every point as it uses floating elements to optimize. Capturing some night photography with vintage lenses is more exquisite with this Nikkor lens.

Those who are searching for a camera with top-class ergonomics, this is it! Most of the customers who have purchased this beyond-beauty haven’t felt disappointed. No other Nikon vintage lens can satisfy your visual thirst this much.

👍 Pros:
  • Greater compatibility
  • Exquisite sharpness
  • Multicoated
👎 Cons:
  • No Ass-gasket

5. Best 50mm AI-S Lens: Nikon AI-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2

Best 50mm AI-S Lens: Nikon AI-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2

Key Features:

  • Front cap 50mm
  • 52 mm photo filter thread
  • Maximum aperture of 1.2

Available On Amazon

This one is the best 50mm manual focus lens available in the market. Within piles of lenses that come with high-brow claims, going for it can’t be the wrong step. A metal manufactured lens can make a difference within other plastic material.

If you’re comprehending an article about manual lenses, you can’t complete it without Nikon AI-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2. When it comes to manufacturing, quality, durability, nothing can beat Nikon.

The lens offers you sharpness and clarity that none can ever dislike. Like other Al-s lenses, Nikon AI-S FX 50mm f/1.2 can show compatibility with all DX and FX digital SLRs. Even though you do not have the privileges of autofocus in it, it ensures clarity and sharpness.

It’s got LF-1 Rear Lens Cap for F Mount Lenses. If you’ve got a D-3, you can pair up with it for the best results. The pinch-type front caps can be another reason for its uniqueness.

👍 Pros:
  • Commendable distortion
  • Very sharp
  • Brighter capture
👎 Cons:
  • Not compatible with cheaper DSLR’s

6. Best 135mm AI-S Lens: Nikon 135mm f/2.8 Nikkor AI-S Lens 

Nikon 135mm f/2.8 Nikkor AI-S Lens 

Key Features:

  • f/2.8 max aperture
  • Max focal length 135mm
  • Micro contrast

Available On Amazon

If you’re thinking about purchasing a manual focus lens for your SLR camera, you can buy this one. When it comes to AI-S lenses, Nikon has never disappointed its customers. It’s a solid manual focus lens for portraits. It’s been a professional secret for years!

Nikon 135mm f/2.8 Nikkor AI-S lens is a luxury that anyone can afford. This stunning piece offers you a long lens, dense sharpness, and bokeh at the same time.

The automatic aperture control powered by Nikkor can make you fall in love with it. It also includes an automatic diaphragm with 7 blades! Isn’t that amazing? Capturing a sharp portrait has never been this easier.

This longer than ever, the lens can be your savior while clicking extraordinary portraits. This mindboggling telephoto lens can even work fascinating with D7000. You will rarely find a manual focus lens in such sharp and good condition.

👍 Pros:
  • Amazing picture quality
  • Slender
  • Commendable sharpness
👎 Cons:
  • Focusing requires viewfinder is modern DSLR’s

What to Consider Before Buying the Best Vintage Nikon Lenses?

Are you thinking about buying a vintage Nikon lens? Puzzled about how to get yourself a top-coat lens?

Nikon is a top-grade camera lens brand serving its customers with maximum satisfaction. Getting yourself a Nikon vintage lens can be a very wonderful experience for anyone.

But vintage lenses are not something that customers buy regularly. You need to consider some substantial characteristics while getting your vintage lenses. Let’s see what they are-

Wide Aperture Settings

Wide aperture settings play a substantial role in enhancing the image quality of your photo. Make sure that the vintage lens you’re going to purchase offers a brighter picture. The prime lens you’re keen to buy should serve a dual purpose. It has to enhance photo quality and capture brighter pictures.

Focal Length

The focal length of your camera lens can mostly affect your capture. Let’s face the truth; you can’t buy every lens in the market. And you honestly don’t need to do that, right?

What focal length you should use depends on what type of shoot you’re going to have. If you’re searching for the lens to capture some nice portraits, Long lenses may work wonders for you. Lenses that are more than 60mm are known as telephoto lenses. But the more capturing street view, we’ll suggest lenses with less focal length.


You’ll get to see many vintage prime lenses in the market, but not all of them are worth your riches. If a piece costs much doesn’t mean it’ll serve much. And not every vintage lens can meet your needs, although they’re steep. Before buying a vintage lens, note down your budget and preferences.


Vintage lenses seem splendid until they don’t fit into your digital camera. Most of the old lenses don’t adapt to the modern camera. There are some exceptions though. Pentax K mount and Nikon F mount cameras are the glorious creation that adapts vintage lenses also.

If you can’t adapt your lens with modern camera settings, you can try an adapter. An adapter can help you pair up your Canon Fd lens with Fujifilm X-T2! There are tons of adapters for mirrorless cameras. Go for the adapter which matches the lens mount of the camera you’re using. And the brand of lens you’re using.


Digital lenses come with a facility of transferring all the data back and forth. Metering, focal length, shutter speed, ISO, and what not! You can enjoy any sort of communication between your lens and camera while using a legacy lens.

Weight and Size

As you’re the one who’s going to carry the lens, you should think about it. If you’re keen to shoot in the wilderness of the countryside, carrying tons isn’t worthy enough. Purchasing a smaller lens can make you save lots of money. Using a smaller lens lets you save your riches on filters. Using a smaller lens can save a photographer from spending on myriads of filters.

What Is the Difference Between Nikon AI And AIS Lenses?

Nikon AI lens was introduced back in 1977. It was used for coupling the lens to the camera’s exposure system. You can call it Ai or Automatic maximum aperture indexing. If your camera has got programmed exposure mode, the Ai lens enables you to use it. Nikon AI lenses are compatible with non-AI cameras. AI lenses can make your work easier if you’re going to shoot in the aperture.

When the aperture method of AI lenses was aggravated to automatic aperture control, Nikon introduced the world with AI-S lenses in 1982. AIS lenses come with a linear aperture movement. AI-S mechanisms let the AI lens to increase the feature automatic aperture control. The minimum aperture of AI-S is marked more in orange.

How to Maintain Vintage Nikon Lens?

The maintenance of your Nikon lenses can substantially affect your image quality. Proper care and maintenance of vintage lenses can reward you with crisp and sharp images. Regular care also increases the durability of your vintage pieces.

There are many tips that you can use for caring for your vintage lenses. Without learning to maintain them, you can’t expect them to last eternally. Be it the best Nikon zoom lenses or prime one; every lens needs your care.

1. Always attach a lens cap with the lens before putting it in the camera bag.

2. Avoid keeping it in any dusty or damp area

3. Use a soft-bristled brush or a blow-dryer for cleaning

4. Always wipe the lens in circular motions. Don’t be too harsh on it.

5. Immediately attach another lens right after removing one.

6. Don’t forget to attach a lens cap while you’re not using the camera

Some hacks can prevent your lens from getting dusty. You can keep them in mind as well!

1. Your camera lens should be facing down to the ground while you’re changing the lens. This will make sure that any dust or particles don’t enter.

2. Canned air can blast your camera optics and sensor. Don’t use it. Any manual air blower is a better option than canner air.

3. Don’t let dust or dirt stay on your camera lens for a long time.


You’ll find tons of articles about the Best vintage Nikon lenses. But not all of them are worth your time. To serve you with an informative piece of article, we’ve contacted many experts. Some professionals have also stated their opinion to us. We’ve scrolled tons of amazon reviews to ensure customer satisfaction.

We hope the article comes in handy!

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Hi, it's Arif the publisher of CameraEvents, a positioning and branding website. We Review & Guide through various Camera Tools and Accessories to Create and Capture your Spectacular life Moments