When it comes to mid-range DSLR cameras you really don’t need to look further than the Nikon D5300.
This beautiful camera features a 24.2 megapixel sensor as well as a range of other awesome features that make it such a good choice to use for traveling, hiking, outdoor use, or just general photography.
Some of the features I really like are the full HD 1080p video as well as the built-in Wi-Fi that makes it a lot easier to do things I transfer photos and share them on social media.
I also find that the photos that the D5300 are able to capture come out quite sharp and full of incredible detail, which makes it great if you’re looking to edit your photos and have them coming out looking as perfect as possible.
As for the best lens for the Nikon D5300, there are actually quite a few different options to choose from and it ultimately depends on what you’re looking to photograph as well as how often you’re using the camera.
For those of you that are just hoping to get some quick shots on your next trip abroad then you’re probably going to be okay with just the kit lens, otherwise if you’re looking to make the most out of this beautiful Nikon camera and I recommend taking a look at some of the different lenses down below.
In this post I cover some great kit lenses, wide-angle lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, portrait lenses, and all-in-one lenses that are great for general use.
Regardless which one of these lenses you end up going with you still want to make sure that you’re following basic photography principles so that you are able to take amazing shots without having to rely so much on the quality and type of your lens.
After my recommendations be sure to check out my lens buying guide for a more in-depth look at which one of these options is the best suited for you.
The Best Nikon D5300 Lenses
I want to start with the kit lenses because it’s very likely that you’ll get one of these if you order the box that comes with a lens and if not they’re also pretty well suited for beginners so if you just have the body you can consider picking up one of these on their own.
Nikon 18-55mm (f/3.5-5.6 VR II)
- Weight: 6.9-ounces
- Max aperture: f/3.5
- Benefits: Lightweight, reasonably priced
- Drawbacks: Plastic body and mount build, questionable durability
This Nikon 18-55mm kit lens is definitely good enough if you’re just getting started with photography and you want to get outside and start taking photos without having to worry about which different lenses and other accessories you should use.
Most of the people I see using the D5300 hardly ever progress beyond the 18-55mm so it’s ultimately not a bad choice to use on a regular basis.
This model is a little bit lighter than some of the older models and also offers a more sharper picture so the end result is going to look a little bit better before you start editing.
As for the distortion, just like with similar lenses you can expect to find some at the wide end (18mm) but the camera actually comes equipped with an automatic distortion correction function that you can use to help alleviate this problem.
In a little light you might run into some problems with a little bit of motion blur and although the camera comes equipped with some vibration reduction technology you’re still going to want to consider using a tripod if you’re taking photos in low light or at night.
In the end, the Nikon 18-55mm that comes in the kit is still a very suitable choice for beginners and you can still use it to get some pretty amazing photos right out of the box.
Nikon 18-140mm (f/3.5-5.6 VR)
- Weight: 17.3-ounces
- Max aperture: f/3.5
- Benefits: A great beginner zoom lens
- Drawbacks: A little bit heavy, especially compared to better and bigger lenses
For many people, like myself, it’s a lot easier to just carry around a single zoom lens instead of having to pack away a few different prime lenses so the Nikon 18-140mm is a great choice in that regard, especially for beginners.
This is zoom lens has a surprisingly decent range and if you’re looking for a little bit more zoom out in the field that I would recommend going with a kit that comes with this one rather than the 18-55mm above.
There’s definitely a noticeable improvement of photo quality when you’re able to shoot at longer distances, especially when you’re traveling abroad and you want to grab that quick shot rather than getting closer to the subject or editing in post.
This one comes with the vibration reduction technology although you’re still going to want to use a tripod if you’re shooting at night, especially at zoomed ranges.
What I don’t like about this lens is the heavier weight compared to similar models as well at the distortion depending on the zoom level that you’re using.
However, I really like the sharpness and overall this is still a decent option for beginners that just getting into photography as a hobby or are simply looking for a reasonably priced zoom.
The Best Wide-Angle Lens for the Nikon D5300
I’m a huge fan of using wide-angle lenses, especially for traveling, because I feel that they capture an awesome amount of the subject as well as the surrounding details.
Nikon 10-24mm (f/3.5-4.5)
- Weight: 16.2-ounces
- Max aperture: f/3.5
- Benefits: Arguably one of the best Nikon wide-angle lens models
- Drawbacks: Some noticeable distortion at the wider end and unfortunately no vibration reduction technology
These days, unless you’re using the GoPro, wide-angle lenses can be pretty expensive and even more so when you consider their limited use.
However, I think they’re great for traveling with and they’re also well suited for a wide range of other outdoor and indoor photographic experiences so I would definitely recommend that any serious photographer has at least one laying around.
The Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 it’s definitely what I would recommend taking a look at if you’re looking for an awesome wide angle lens to use for photographing landscapes or architecture with very little distortion.
The image that this model is able to capture is quite sharp, surprisingly wide, and even the zoom range is very agreeable as it’s similar to what you would get on a 15-36mm.
Unfortunately, there is a little bit of distortion at the wide end but this is quite common when you go with wide-angle models so it’s not something that I am worried too much about.
Also with the zoom, you’re able to capture a surprising range of focal lengths starting with an ultra-wide view all the way down to a more normal FOV.
I would definitely recommend checking out the Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 if you’re looking for something wide-angle that’s very capable and useful and a wide range of photography settings.
Sigma 10-20mm( f/4-5.6)
- Weight: 18.3-ounces
- Max aperture: f/4
- Benefits: Great value, suitable for beginners
- Drawbacks: Some distortion and softness noticeable in the corners
I remember that one of the first ever non kit lenses I got was a Sigma and at the time I was a bit worried that the quality wasn’t going to be as good as going with something made by Nikon.
Thankfully I was wrong, and these days I find that the Sigma lenses are great value alternatives to the more expensive branded options.
The Sigma 10-20mm is definitely what I would recommend taking a look at if you’re looking for a quality wide-angle lens that you can use with your D5300 that is a lot more reasonably priced than the Nikon branded alternative.
For beginners, or those on a budget, this is a great option to consider and overall the performance is quite respectable so it’s unlikely that you’ll run into any issues using this lens on a regular basis.
The useful focal length range is very similar to what you would expect from a 15-30mm and the optical performance is quite impressive as well.
Unfortunately, the max aperture range of this is only f/4-5.6 so it’s not as good as the Nikon wide angle but it’s still pretty awesome for the price as well that’s for beginners.
Another issue I noticed is that there was a little bit of softness and distortion in the corners but I also found this problem with my Sony mirrorless and it’s quite easy to fix in post.
For those of you traveling light or not really interested in adding too much more weight to your camera bag then you’re going to want to keep in mind that this lens weighs a little bit more than 18-ounces although it’s designed using plastic materials.
Either way, I would still recommend taking a look at the Sigma 10-20mm if you’re looking for a decent wide-angle that isn’t totally going to break the bank.
Nikon 18-300mm (f/3.5-6.3 VR)
- Weight: 19.4-ounces
- Max aperture: f/3.5
- Benefits: A great all-around lens that’s a good choice for most people looking for something versatile and durable
- Drawbacks: A little bit of softness at full zoom
I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Nikon 18-300mm VR if you just want to carry around a single lens that’s going to be well suited for most situations.
With this model you’re able to capture stunning photos at both sides of the focal spectrum and you don’t have to feel around and change lenses when you’re out in the field unless you’re looking for something more specific.
This is actually the lens that I would recommend for most people because I find that it’s ideal almost regardless of the type of photography that you’re doing.
Some of the more noticeable benefits of this guy are that it’s a lot lighter than the previous version and also more reasonably priced so if you were holding out because of the price of the older one then I think it’s time to give this one a look.
The only drawback that I could find was a little bit of softness at full zoom but overall I still think it’s one of the best lenses for the Nikon D5300.
Surprisingly, it weighs less than 20 ounces despite its fairly big size and it’s a suitable choice whether you’re traveling or just walking around your local neighborhood photographing the architecture and landscapes.
Nikon 18-200mm (f/3.5-5.6 VR II)
- Weight: 19.8-ounces
- Max aperture: f/3.5
- Benefits: Reasonably priced
- Drawbacks: Some distortion at the wide end
Another great choice for an all purpose lens is the Nikon 18-200mm VR II.
This guy is great regardless of whether you’re doing close-up shots or hoping to get something with a wider angle and it’s not surprising why it’s a top choice for most people.
If I ever had to carry just a single lens in my camera backpack it would probably very likely be this one and I’m a huge fan of the sharp images that it’s able to capture throughout its entire focal range.
The this model comes with an equivalent to zoom range of 27-30mm on a 35mm camera and it also has a vibration reduction technology so it’s fairly decent at low light.
To the touch it feels quite sturdy and durable but at just under 20-ounces it’s still not that heavy and a good lightweight option to consider.
Of course, this isn’t what I would recommend if you’re looking for something with a very good zoom like if you’re a wildlife photographer or hoping for something better suited for telephoto photography but otherwise for most people it’s a very great lens that’s going to stand up in most situations.
Given the reasonable price and overall build quality of the Nikon 18-200mm VR II I would definitely recommend taking a look at it whether you’re looking for something to use for traveling or you just want a general use lens at home that you can use in a variety of situations.
Telephoto Zoom Lenses
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR II
- Weight: 10.6-ounces
- Max aperture: f/4
- Benefits: Reasonably priced for a zoom lens and not too heavy or bulky
- Drawbacks: Not the sturdiest mount
Quite recently the Nikon 55-200mm VR II was released the updated version of their previous flagship zoom lens.
This bad boy is a little bit lighter and when you’re not using it can be collapsed down into an even smaller size so it’s great for traveling or adding to a camera bag if you’re carrying around a few different lenses without having it take up as much space.
When it comes to the aperture and focal length the basic specifications are still the same so there really isn’t as much of an improvement in that regard and you still might want to consider going with the older version if you’re on a budget and looking to save a little money on a zoom lens.
However, this is bound to become the standard lens for this specific focal length and moving into the future I would definitely consider taking a look at the Nikon 55-200mm VR II if you’re looking for an all-around decent zoom to add to your arsenal.
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR
- Weight: 18.7-ounces
- Max aperture: f/4.5
- Benefits: A great reach when it comes to zoom
- Drawbacks: Not a huge fan of the slow autofocus
For those of you using a Nikon DX format camera it’s definitely the Nikon 55-300mm VR that I would recommend taking a look at if you’re looking for the best Nikon telephoto lens.
The images that this lens is able to capture are quite sharp, offer great colors, and the vibration reduction makes it less of an issue when it comes to camera shake.
The extra 100mm for the zoom range really help when it comes to shooting close-ups as well as wildlife compared to the other options that aren’t going to allow you to get as good of a zoom without having to worry about the vibration as much.
One of the main drawbacks I think is the maximum aperture that’s only f/4.5-5.6 and you’re definitely going to find this to be a problem when you’re shooting in low-light situations outdoors, although the vibration reduction as well as using a dedicated tripod could help to alleviate this problem quite a bit.
On the other hand, if you’re mostly taking photos during the day and aren’t too worried about low light situations then this is definitely a suitable choice for you if you’re looking for a telephoto optic.
Everyday (Portrait) Lenses
Nikon 35mm f/1.8
- Weight: 7.1-ounces
- Max aperture: f/1.8
- Benefits: Reasonably priced, great in low light conditions, lightweight design
- Drawbacks: Somewhat of a flimsy build
For those of you that are focusing on shooting portraits using your Nikon D5300 then it’s definitely the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 that I would recommend checking out.
In my opinion, this is arguably one of the best lenses available today in the DX lineup and I really love how well it performs in low-light situations, the sharp quality of images that it captures, and how reasonably priced it is.
If you’re looking for a prime lens for travel, everyday use, or capturing portraits then you really can’t go wrong with this bad boy.
The one thing I don’t like about it is that the lens actually features a plastic design that doesn’t seem well suited for long term use although if you’re careful with your lenses it’s very likely that you won’t run into any issues.
One thing I want to mention is that when you’re using this with the D5300 you can expect a more normal field of view (52.5mm) compared to something a little bit more wide angle so keep this in mind depending on what you’re looking for.
Nikon 50mm f/1.8
- Weight: 6.6-ounces
- Max aperture: f/1.8
- Benefits: Great in low-light situations, reasonably priced, lightweight design
The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is another awesome prime lens that I would recommend if you’re looking to capture portraits and you don’t want to go ahead and spend too much money.
This lens is able to capture pretty sharp photos, works quite well in low-light situations, and I really love the quick autofocus that makes snapping shots when you’re out and about a breeze.
At just 6.6 ounces it’s also very lightweight so it’s well suited for traveling as well as those that don’t want to add too much additional weight to their camera bags.
One thing I want to mention is that this is actually an FX lens but it’s completely compatible with the different DX cameras such as the D5300 (offering a focal length of 75mm).
Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
- Weight: 17.1-ounces
- Max aperture: f/3.5
- Benefits: Incredible performance
- Drawbacks: A little bit heavy and quite pricey
It’s the Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR but I would recommend taking a look at if you’re professional looking for a top-quality lens to take with you out in the field.
With this bad boy you’re able to cover a focal length range of 24-127.5mm on a 35mm so you can really use this for grabbing some wide-angle shots as well as medium telephoto portraits depending on what you’re hoping to capture.
I also quite like the sharp Images, the quick autofocus, and I don’t notice as much distortion compared to what I’ve seen with other zoom lenses.
For those of you that don’t feel like traveling with a tripod then you’re bound to like the vibration reduction that’s great for capturing photos in low-light situations.
Overall, I think this is definitely a great lens to use for traveling, taking portraits, and even photographing events such as weddings or parties.
Lens Buying Guide
Buying a Third Party Lens
These days there are quite a few third-party manufacturers selling a variety of different lenses.
Most notably are companies such as Tamron and Sigma that are really stepping up their game when it comes to the quality and durability of products that they’re coming out with.
A lot of these lenses from these third parties are compatible with the D5300 and I really don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t recommend using them, especially if you’re on a budget and looking for something more affordable.
One of the main reasons that I think they’re cheaper is because I do not believe that they are held to the same standards of quality or offer the same build quality as the branded Nikon lenses but I also don’t believe that most people would be able to tell that much of a difference, especially given the range in price.
For those of you that are only going to pick up one or two extra lenses then I would recommend sticking with the Nikon ones but if you’re hoping to add a few different options to your collection or you’re using a few different cameras then you might be better off going with a third party models.
Another thing that you should consider is that if you want a general everyday use lens then I would still recommend sticking with a Nikon one and if you’re looking for something more specific such as a zoom or wide-angle then I would recommend checking out the third party ones.
Prime Lens or Zoom Lens?
There is definitely a lot of debate when it comes to the prime vs zoom lens argument but really it comes down to what you’re planning on using your camera for as well as what you’re hoping to photograph.
Prime lenses are great because they come with a fixed focal length, are able to capture photos much quicker, don’t weigh as much, and there’s less distortion in the finished product which results in you having to do that editing overall.
On the other hand, zoom lenses are ideal if you’re looking for something that can cover a wide range of different focal lengths, gives you more versatility when you’re out capturing photos, or if you’re planning on photographing objects that aren’t likely to be nearby to where you’re standing.
One thing I love about the D5300 is that it does come included with an automatic distortion correction mode so this is a pretty nifty feature to have, especially if you’re using zoom lenses most of the time.
I think that most people will see a lot more benefit out of using a zoom lens because they’re a lot easier to use to get some good photos, more versatile, and you can spend more time focusing on actually taking photos than setting up the shot and framing everything properly.
There are definitely some reasonably priced prime lenses out there and if you’re planning on doing a lot of photography using those focal lengths or expanding your skills then I would definitely recommend taking a look at some of the different primes available, although I still think that zoom lenses are a much better choice overall.
For beginners, and even mid-level photographers I would recommend picking up a zoom lens first if you’re looking to buy something extra and then adding a prime lens later on after you’ve gained some experience and are hoping to widen your horizons when it comes to the photos that you are able to capture.
These days DSLR are still pretty good at capturing video, although I would definitely recommend going with a point-and-shoot or even a mirrorless camera if video is your main focus.
The Nikon D5300 is able to capture video at 1080p as well as a 720p at a variety of different speeds depending on your preferences.
The different lenses are okay when it comes to filming but they’re definitely not as good as what you would get out of a Canon lens or even one of them mirrorless options that I’ve recommended.
These days it’s all about film quality and unfortunately you’re not going to be able to shoot 4K video with the D5300, or even 2.7K, so if that’s what you’re going for then you’re going to want to check out the Nikon D500 which is capable of capturing 4K at the moment.
As for the lenses, most of them are going to do pretty well, more specifically the primes are going to give you some pretty decent video, so you might run into some issues with the telephoto lenses.