Nikon's Recommended Lenses, Maybe

Hmm. Not sure what's going on here, but dpreview re-published a list of Nikon's recommended lenses for the D850 from SLR Lounge, and then amended that list a few hours later when NikonUSA seems to have woken up from a slumber. 

First the amended list (original list items shown with *).


  • 14mm f/2.8D#
  • 19mm f/4E PC-E*
  • 20mm f/1.8G*
  • 24mm f/1.4G
  • 24mm f/1.8G
  • 24mm f/3.5D PC-E
  • 28mm f/1.8G
  • 35mm f/1.4G
  • 45mm f/2.8D PC-E
  • 58mm f/1.4G
  • 85mm f/1.4G
  • 85mm f/2.8D PC-E
  • 105mm f/1.4E*
  • 105mm f/2.8G Micro-Nikkor
  • 200mm f/2*
  • 300mm f/2.8G
  • 300mm f/4D
  • 300mm f/4E
  • 400mm f/2.8E*
  • 500mm f/4E
  • 600mm f/4E
  • 800mm f/4E


  • 14-24mm f/2.8G*
  • 16-35mm f/4G
  • 16-80mm f/2.8-4E#
  • 17-35mm f/2.8D#
  • 24-70mm f/2.8E*
  • 24-120mm f/4G#
  • 70-200mm f/2.8E*
  • 70-200mm f/4G
  • 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G*#
  • 200-400mm f/4G

NikonUSA appears to be totally asleep at the wheel. The 28mm f/1.4E, a very good lens that I just reviewed, isn't on their "final" list but was on the initial list. Likewise, the 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E was on the initial list but not on the final list. I'm also not sure why the 85mm f/1.8G wouldn't be on that list, other than the fact that NikonUSA really wants to sell the f/1.4 version. Someone is just winging these "lists" off the top of their head is my guess.

You may have noticed some # marks in the list. As far as I'm concerned, those lenses probably do not belong on a D850 optimal lens list:

  • 14mm f/2.8: High degrees of CA, high vignetting, poor corners with clear smearing, poor contrast wide open, most of the zooms with this focal length actually are clearly better (e.g. 14-24mm f/2.8). This is a lens that's needed a redesign for over a decade.
  • 16-80mm f/2.8-4E: Yes, a DX lens that Nikon wants to sell more of is on the D850 list for some reason. It's a very good lens. At DX crop. Why you'd have that in your D850 kit I have no idea. 
  • 17-35mm f/2.8D: Guess Nikon still has some stock of this lens they need to sell. Pretty much all the same complaints as with the 14mm, but with the additional problem that it is pretty poor at the 35mm end. Another lens that's needed a redesign for over a decade.
  • 24-120mm f/4G: Another lens Nikon wants to sell you because they make them in volume. But it was struggling with the D800/D810 and things don't get better with more resolution. I'm very tempted to say that you're far better off buying the 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, and you'll appreciate the smaller and lighter build. The 24-120mm f/4G is one of the lenses that I've been considering dropping from my list. I'm pretty close to doing so after having looked at a few more images.
  • 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G: Again, the long end is just weak, and it easily shows on the D850. This is another lens on my "considering dropping" list. Unlike the 24-120mm, the 80-400mm has some redeeming qualities that keep it more in contention, particularly its performance from 80-200mm, and even out to 300mm. I don't think I'll drop it from my list, I'll just add a comment that you'll want better at 400mm.  

In more than a month of shooting now, I've seen nothing that's changing my mind about my best lenses for the D850 list. Indeed, my opinions are solidifying the more I shoot. The only lens I'm still not completely sure of is the 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5, which is currently in my test bag, so I should have an answer soon.

Update: Nikon Rumors found a document on the Japanese Nikon site that lists their recommended lenses for the D850. And yes, it disagrees with the dpreview list in the following ways: no 14mm, added the 28mm f/1.4E, added the other f/1.8 primes, added the 60mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor, added the two DC-Nikkors (105mm and 135mm f/2D), added the older 500mm f/4G, added the 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5, added the older 24-70mm and 70-200mm f/2.8G, and added the 200-500mm f/5.6E. It also omits the 17-35mm f/2.8 and 16-80mm f/2.8-4E DX ;~).  So I was right, NikonUSA seems asleep at the wheel again. 

I'm sticking by my list. 

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