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Best lenses for Nikon D600

Nikon-D600-tripod

After the best lenses for D800 series, DxOMark published several new articles covering the best lenses for the Nikon D600 DSLR camera:

Best ultra-wide angle prime lenses for Nikon D600

Lens Model  DxOMark Score
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 21mm f/2.8 ZF2 25
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Aspherical 25
Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG ASP RF 25
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZF.2 25
Nikon AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D 24
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 18mm f/3.5 ZF2 22
Sigma 14mm f/2.8 EX Aspherical HSM 19

Best wide angle prime lenses for Nikon D600

Lens Model  DxOMark Score
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM A 37
Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC 34
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/1.4 ZF2 34
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED 33
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/2 ZF2 33
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G 33
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2 ZF.2 33
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G 32
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 28mm f/2 ZF2 29
Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D 26
Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D 25
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2.8 ZF2 22

Best 50mm lenses for Nikon D600

Lens Model  DxOMark Score
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM 32
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G 32
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D 32
Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T 50mm f/2 ZF2 31
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G 31
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D 28
Carl Zeiss Planar T 50mm f/1.4 ZF2 25

Best moderate telephoto lenses for Nikon D600

Lens Model  DxOMark Score
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G 40
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G 40
Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T 100mm f/2 ZF2 36
Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Aspherical IF 36
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM 34
Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF 32
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED 32
Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D 31
Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2D 31
Carl Zeiss Planar T 85mm f/1.4 ZF2 29
Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro 29
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM 28
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO 28
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro 28

Wide angle zoom lenses for Nikon D600

Lens Model  DxOMark Score
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED 28
Tokina AT-X 16-28 f/2.8 PRO FX 24
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR 23
Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED 21
Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D IF-ED 20
Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM II 17
Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG 17

Best standard zoom lenses for Nikon D600

Lens Model  DxOMark Score
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED 27
Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD 27
Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF 23
Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM 23
Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED 22
Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical [IF] 22
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR 22
Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED 21
Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED 18

The listed lens test scores were measured with a D600, but the results are still very close to the list of best lenses for the D800.

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  • Fiatlux

    Surprised to see the comparatively lows scores of the ultrawide, and even more surprised to see the Sigma 20 1.8 matching the score of the Zeiss Distagon…

    • Micah Goldstein

      At the same apertures, the Sigma is a killer lens. Provided get a good sample! It’s a little glowy wide open, but the general consensus is that it’s very competitive from 2.8 down.

      Here’s a boring wall photo, but keep in mind that this is wide open on a D700: http://h.micahmedia.com/MG1_4231.jpg

      …it only gets better as you stop down!

      • Pablo Ricasso returned

        You might try a tripod. Otherwise I’d have to say that you don’t have a good sample. Look at the lower left corner.

        • Micah Goldstein

          On a tripod. What’s happening–which I know from experience–is this has a bit of field cuvature, which is close at the middle and far at the corners. And no, I wasn’t perfectly square with the wall.

          Depth of field is so small that close and at f1.8 that parts of the door frame are falling outside the range of sharp focus. And the range of sharp focus is curved, which is what “field curvature” is. I think the camera is a little tipped down too. Not much though! DOF is just that thin.

          If I get around to it, I’ll try to shoot closer to infinity wide open for an example. I don’t actually have an 82mm ND filter, so that’s not always easy to do.

          The point is, a good sample is plenty sharp. Yeah, a little bit of field curvature. But there’s nothing else that wide and that fast and full frame. Yet I imagine they’ll make another before N or C do. Sad.

          • Aldo

            “plenty sharp” <—agreed

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=788718764 Matei Horvath

            People if you want to take pictures of doors and wall at lest do it properly. But can I ask why do you need expensive equipment to take a bad picture of a door?!

            • crusty

              It is quite a nice door, shame about the photo.

            • Micah Goldstein

              I have a whole website to criticize…and you pick this?!

              I was trying to be nice and show a full res image that shows what the lens is capable of. I’m not foolish enough to throw away a good image just to prove a point.

            • crusty

              Ego disturbed ?

            • Micah Goldstein

              No, if my ego were a metal band it would be Slayer. Disturbed are poseurs.

            • Micah Goldstein

              Yes, you can ask.

          • H 2

            Hello, for $1700 i bought a 16,20,24f2,28f2,35f2,
            50f2,55,85f2,105,135,and a 200mm lens. They
            are smaller,lighter,and sharper. They also use
            the same size 52mm filters. I do have to focus
            them myself, what a concept!
            Let’s all get out and be there at f8. It’s about
            taking pictures.
            Best of luck at your efforts.
            H2

      • Aldo

        nice door picture… if you hadn’t mention you are on a tripod I would also say there is a tad of motion blurriness… or maybe staring at d800 handheld files for too long is affecting my judgement.

        • Micah Goldstein

          The lens blur that this does have can be odd. It does have bad coma. Bit that only comes out wide open with point lights close to infinity.

          Working in close, the bokeh is actually pretty nice. And it gets REALLY bleeding close. I mean, be careful getting close to dangerous subject or you’ll end up bleeding. It focuses closer than it’s lens hood will allow. Fun for special effects.

          • Aldo

            lol most of my subjects don’t bite. (most<—keyword). I get pictures like this also. I always assumed it was motion blurriness.

      • BroncoBro

        What is amusing here is that I see little difference between *your* door picture and those *I* make with my D90 and the 18-55mm kit lens. Seriously. The fact that the folks at DxO are making a nice living generating this information proves that the joke is on many of you “photographers”. And Micah, I’m not targeting you…nothing personal. I’m sure (I hope) you make a lot of fine photographs.

        • Pablo Ricasso returned

          Actually, I was kind of hard on Micah. It is fairly amazing considering that it was shot at f1.8. It was actually better in the corners than most I’ve seen. Well, except for the one corner. Your 18-55 lens isn’t a bad lens and is at it’s best at that focal length. But you are stopped down a minimum of two stops when you are using it, and this one was shot wide open, so you shouldn’t compare your results. Let’s just say that the Sigma isn’t a lens I would use all the time, like I might your kit lens. And that is also the reason the lens got the same score as the Distagon 15mm which starts at f2.8. It beat the lens a bit on resolution, speed, and CA while the Zeiss had less fall off and distortion. So I’d say it probably earned the score, but then again a 15 is a much harder lens to produce, so every lens with a longer focal length had better damn well score as high…

      • maxx

        Well…cameralabs just reviewed the Tamron 2.8 Vc and it didnt fair too well. The Nikon outpaced the Tamron in real world tests. Proof that scores and charts are meaningless.. picked up the Nikkor 24-70.. love it. Simple as that.

        • http://micahmedia.com/ Micah

          Yeah, the only 24-70 that might be sharper is the new Canon. But that won’t mount, so the 24-70 it is! Good gear.

    • Pablo Ricasso returned

      That’s because they give some of the weight that should be on resolution to vignetting and distortion. And the weight that they give to resolution is mostly or all on the center. I have no doubt they are methodical and accurate. However, their method of compiling a lump score SUCKS.

      • desmo

        you hit the nail on the head

    • Emanuele

      And the Sigma 24-70 score? Haa haa haaa, maybe I have to pull it out of the trash. Bleah!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gangrenous.green Gangrenous Green

    I would have thought the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR would score higher. I’m very happy with mine.

    • preston

      I’m very happy with mine as well (haters gonna hate, but the addition of VR in this case is amazingly useful for me), but agree with the scores in this case. The distortion is seriously worse than any other lens in its class from 16mm to about 20mm. I wish I didn’t have to correct every photo in this range!

      • neversink

        Although I don’t use that lens, you don’t have to always correct the distortion. Sometimes the distortion is part of the beauty of photography. For that range I use the Nikon17-35 or 14-24 if not shooting prime. I was considering purchasing the 16-35 but realized that it was not built as solidly and since I often shoot in dusty or areas where inclement weather is common, I prefer the protection the other lenses afford. Unfortunately, one has to pay for that weatherproofing.
        Which is what I hate about a lot of the cheaper third party lenses like Sigma. They are often prone to dust due to their construction.

        • desmo

          I love mine dispite the distortion.
          but even when i am unhappy with the distortion-its simple and easily fixed in lightroom(the fix is automatic) and since its a simple correction the cost in Image Quality is minimal

    • AM

      Yes, besides Sharpness, Transmission, Distortion, Vignetting, and CA, DXO Mark needs to add Happiness to its reviews.

  • Aldo

    now they give the same scores to the tamron and the nikon 24-70… don’t make sense. the tamron being better for the d600 and the nikon for the d800 is more credible.

    • Micah Goldstein

      DX0 ratings are garbage. I wish the admin wouldn’t waste time posting thing crap. Or at least clearly mark the title as DX0 related.

    • Pablo Ricasso returned

      Maybe all that complaining we did finally paid off.

      • Aldo

        lol right? idk though, something tells me they are trying to push up third party lenses, just a thought. Only the people who own/use these lenses are the real experts.

    • DonD

      A lot of these number do not make sense. The Nikon 85mm 1.4 scores a 40 while the Nikon 24mm 1.4 scores a 33. As good as the 85 might be, the 24 is better, no? At least that’s always been my impression.

      • rearranged

        In general a fast 85mm lens will be better than a fast 24mm lens since telephoto prime lenses are much easier to design. The 24mm 1.4 is excellent and comparing it to an 85mm is like comparing apples to oranges.

        • neversink

          I couldn’t agree more. Well put. They are both incredible lenses though I use the 24/ f1.4 much more than the 85 which I am about to sell. Not because it’s a bad lens. i just keep reaching for the Nikon 105 micro instead. i just love that focal length. i admit the 85 f/1.4 might be a tad sharper, but you certainly have to enlarge a D800 photo to three or four feet before you might be able to tell the difference in IQ.

      • MyrddinWilt

        Telephoto and normal lenses don’t suffer from the constraints of the SLR mirror box. If you look at most telephoto lenses the rear element is actually quite a way from the mount.

        Wide SLR lenses have to do quite a dance. Which is why the results from Leica’s rangefinder camera have been preferred and why many of us are wondering when Nikon is going to deliver the fast CX wide angles that the format is made for.

        The 24 is a lot harder to design and manufacture than the 85 which is why it costs so much more. The 85 is the better lens though.

      • jake

        well, if you are talking about the 85f1.4G , then it actually makes sense there since it is the best Nikon lens in current FX lens line up, it is actually even better than the Zeiss t*2/100ZF2.
        but if you are talking about the 85f1.4D , then it is an old lens and not very sharp in the corners.
        and as other guys say, the 24 is a good lens but it is less sharp than 85f1.4G because a fast wide angle prime is much harder to design than a great 85mm f1.4 prime.

    • desmo

      not credible at all the Nikon is better for both D600 and D800

      I don’t know why I say that ,could it be it simply a way better lens in a whole other league

      • Aldo

        I say that because the tamron loses sharpness outside the center which should be less noticeable on the 24mp sensor, yet they made it best for the d800

      • jake

        right, the DXO lens mark is really not logical at all , I do not see any logical sense in their lens ranking system .

        that said , DXO sensor mark is quite reliable.

  • Mansgame

    Why complicate things?
    Zooms:
    Best ultra wide angle? 14-24 f/2.8. Best mid zoom? 24-70mm f/2.8 Best telephoto 70-200 f/2.8 VRII. Best long telephoto? 200-400mm f/4 VR

    Best primes? 24mm f/1.4; 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, 200mm f/2 VR

    Best Macro? 105mm f/2.8 VR

    • preston

      LOL. So you’re asking the review website that epitomizes oversimplification to complicate things less, right?

    • ifLooksGoodMustBeGood

      also in this way you see the difference between e.g. 24-85 vs 24-70 is not earth and heaven. No matter how the forum kings are stating so. Whatever these numbers mean.

      • desmo

        these numbers mean nothing
        (there is so much windage being applied without discretion,that even if the base mtf test has merit the final numbers are bullshit)

    • Shad

      That’s about how my Nikon kill was.

      Never was disappointed Used it in different countries, shot thousands and thousands of photos.

    • Andrew

      Yep, I don’t know what they are doing at DXO mark – they are just disconnected from reality with their silly charts. I had both Tamron 24-70 VC and Nikon 24-70 . I liked VC feature but in the end – Nikon was landing many more shots due to its faster and more precise focusing and I liked the overall quality of image ( clarity + color + bokeh ) more. So, I sent Tamron back and never looked back.

  • John

    These lists are just plain stupid to base a buying decision on – they certainly in no way tell even close to the whole story about a lens and if it’s suitable to one’s particular style of photography.

    • preston

      Agree 100%. . but. . unfortunately this is the world we live in. With how cheap and easy (full auto modes) modern dslr’s are, I’m guessing for every person that visits the dxo website and is frustrated with how little sense it makes for real world photography there are 5 people that think it’s amazingly convenient and accessible and at least partially base purchasing decisions off of it.

      • neversink

        Agree with both Preston and John above. DxO tests are interesting, but when buying a lens, one must test each one as their can be lemons here and there.
        Quality control is just one of the reasons why I would never by another Sigma lens, despite DxO ratings.

        • desmo

          agree, these best lens articles are beating a dead horse
          the best lens for a D800 would also be best for a D600, as both cameras have sensors that exceed the lenses currently available

          • RealityCheck

            No.. the D600 is nothing more than a D3x with a 65% plastic body. The same lenses that worked great on a D3x work great on the D600…

            • Genaro

              No… it’s a full-frame D7000.

    • niknik

      Fully agree.
      These kind of list make no sense at all.
      You really have to be quite stupid to guide your decision based on such a list.

  • preston

    Is anyone else wondering why it’s on a video head in the picture? ;)

    • AM

      No, it’s only you.

  • Mark S.

    This is the largest list of stuff everyone already knows that I have ever seen lol

  • Jesse

    In my humble opinion, DxOMark Score is just a score. It has little relationship with how useful and overall performance a lens is. Why do you define “BEST” = the highest DxOMark Score?

  • 103David

    The numbers are pretty much like someone you don’t even know telling you what jock strap and/or what bra size you need.
    It’s really very simple; Get what fits YOU.

  • Jerome M.

    In order to make comparisons more simple, I’ve compiled DxO’s over 3,600 tests and combinations. With the Excel file I’ve prepared, you’re also able to spot on which camera, a specific lens does best.

    Have fun with it :

    http://www.photoexposition.fr/slr-dslr-reflex/objectifs-photo-performances-selon-dxo/

    • BroncoBro

      This is great…the next time I want to take a picture of a spreadsheet, I’ll look at your list to see what lens to use.

    • fred

      Where is the English version?

    • stan

      Fantastic reference, thanks for sharing!

  • jake

    this crap getting really ridiculous , they think the Sigma 20mm f1.8 is better than my Zeiss 18mm f3.5?
    noway and stop reading DXO crappy lens test , I trust DXO sensor test but not this lens mark thing.
    they say Nikon 20mm f2.8 AF-D is a good lens , sorry but I had it and it was a terrible lens even on my old D700.
    so how could it be any better on the D600 or the D800?

  • SJK

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the images I get with the nikkor 28mm f1.8 on my D600. Highly recommend it.

  • G15

    Nice to see Sigma doing so well.

  • TheGipper

    Very happy with the results from my 35mm F/2 AF-D and 50mm F/1.8G on my D600.

    http://alphawhiskey.slickpic.com/photoblog/post/PhotoChallengeInLondon

  • SjonnieKroket

    I don’t understand why the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 is above the Nikon 50mm, the scores are the same and the Nikon is cheaper?

  • RealityCheck

    The D600 is no different than the D3x – anything that worked great on the D3X works great on the D600.

  • chris
  • tedtedsen

    i won an small photo competition ges what i used d90 and 18-70 kitlens other used d4 d3s d3x or canon 1dx 5dmk3 to thake the winning images is not about Your gear but Your brain

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