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Best Telephoto and Zoom Lenses Nikon D7500

It’s easy to get lost with such a large selection of telephoto and zoom lenses for the Nikon D7500. We focus on the best lenses based on image quality, sharpness, & usability.

Are you trying to figure out what telephoto and zoom lenses are compatible with your Nikon D7500? The D7500 is a great DSLR camera for all types of photography. With a 24 megapixel DX sensor, 8fps burst mode, ISO that expands up to 1,638,400 and 4K video in crop mode it will handle most of what you throw at it.

While it can just about do it all, the image quality depends far more on the lenses than the camera! So it’s important to learn about D7500 lenses so you can buy the best one.

Best Nikon D7500 Telephoto and Zoom Lenses

What is a Telephoto Zoom lens best used for?

The main purpose of a telephoto zoom lens is to get you closer to your subject. In photography terms this means you are using an increased focal length.

They are most commonly used in things like Sports and Wildlife photography, since these are situations where you can’t very easily just walk up and get a close up. Weddings are also a good use for a telephoto lens. It allows you to capture some cherished family interactions without feeling like you’re interrupting.

Another feature of a telephoto lens is for artistic purposes. It allows you to create a contrasting image between a focus of the foreground and your background.

Is there a different between a Telephoto lens and a Zoom lens?

A nice distinction that I picked up as I was learning is that Telephoto and Zoom lenses are not exactly the same thing. It’s true that they are often associated together, but they are in fact referring to different things.

The term Telephoto really is just referring to a lens that has a ‘long reach’. This typically translates to something longer than 60mm. Where as a Zoom means a lens that can achieve a range of focal lengths.

So here are a couple of examples…

Is a 85mm Prime lens a telephoto lens? The answer is Yes! Since you have a ‘reach’ or focal length of 85mm this falls into the range of what is considered telephoto.

Is a 10mm – 100mm Zoom lens a telephoto lens? Here the answer is Yes and No. While it would still probably be called a telephoto lens since some of the focal length range is, there is also parts of the range that are not considered telephoto.

All this really means is if you see the word ‘Telephoto’ associated with a lens is that it will help you get closer to the action without you actually having to be close to the action. All of the lens in our list below are Telephoto Zoom lenses.

If you’re more serious about telephoto photography and want the highest quality, then you’ll love the rest of our recommended lenses!

Selecting the Best Telephoto and Zoom Nikon D7500 Lenses

Remember that Vibration Reduction is useful to have if you plan on shooting for hours, or are shooting at long focal length. When you’re zoomed in on a far away subject even just a little bit of movement can have a big effect.

Which Lens to Buy?

We looked at over 150 available D7500 lenses from Nikon, Sigma, Tokina and Tamron.

It’s quite easy to get lost with such a large selection of D7500 telephoto lenses, which is why we focused on only the best lenses in terms of image quality, sharpness, value of money and usability.

Everything you’ll see on our list below is perfect if you want to get the most for your money.

Nikon D7500 Telephoto and Zoom Lenses: Quick List

We cover these lenses in depth below, but in case you’re looking for full specifications and reviews, here’s an organized list. Prime and zoom lenses, from widest to longest.

If you decide to buy anything through our Amazon links, you automatically support our work as we receive a small commission and it’s what allows us to write these guides.

Best for Portrait/Wedding/Low Light Lenses:
Nikon 85mm f/1.8G  AF-S

Best Telephoto/Action Lenses:
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 DI VC USD
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM
Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6

Best Walkaround/All-around Lenses:
Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8 DC HSM
Sigma 18-300mm f/4-5.6 DC OS HSM

Best Wideangle Lenses:
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro DX II
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM

Because the D7500 is DX camera, it can accept both DX and FX lenses (FX stands for full frame) so you don’t have to worry about a lens not fitting.

The D7500 also has an AF motor built-in unlike cheaper Nikon DSLRs, so you can use older lenses without the AF motor and still get auto focus.

Best Nikon Telephoto Lens for Portraits, Weddings, Low Light and General Photography

man and woman near grass field
Photo by Văn Thắng on

Best for portraits and sharpest – Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S

If you want to shoot in low light, or want to make your background blurry, you’ll want this telephoto lens.

Because of the big aperture and high image quality, it is used by all sorts of professional photographers. That includes weddings, portraits, concerts, journalism, you name it.

Since it is a telephoto prime lens it is also cheaper, smaller and lighter than almost any zoom out there. You lose zoom, but 85mm is a common focal length so unless you shoot extreme bird wildlife, this range is great for most photography situations. With a prime lens you are forced to move around and think more about your composition, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

1. Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S


We’ll keep it simple. If you’re into wedding, concert, portrait or night time photography, get the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S and you’ll never look back.

Why? It’s the focal length, there’s just something magical about 85mm for shots of people. Then there’s the awesome bokeh with fast f/1.8 aperture and sharp results. It’s more expensive but definitely worth it if you’re looking for that one lens to take your shots to the next level.

Because it’s noticeably longer, it’s not as good for street, indoor birthday and walk-around purposes, but is ideal if you can’t always be close to your subject. On a full frame camera it might still be acceptable for super tight spaces, but since the D7500 has a DX sensor, you should go with any of the lenses above if you want to capture subjects that are really close to you.

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

Best Nikon Lenses for Wildlife, Sports, Birds and Action Photography

herd of horse green grass field
Photo by André Ulyssesdesalis on

Budget telephoto zoom – Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Zoom up to 600mm – Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM

Nikon offers quite a few telephoto lenses for DX users and we really like their Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G because it’s cheap and gets the job done. For less than $150, it even comes with Vibration Reduction, an ED element for improved sharpness and auto focuses normally on the D7500.

Because telephoto lenses tend to be a bit heavier and also get you close to the subject, you’ll want to make sure you get one with Vibration Reduction. Basically, if you’re not totally stable the lens compensates for slight movements and makes the shot less blurry, but this won’t help if your main subject is moving fast, only a faster shutter speed will.

Cheaper telephoto lenses also don’t have large apertures and are usually between f/4 and f/5.6. This is not good for indoor action so remember to raise the ISO up to 1,600 – 3,200 to get acceptable shots, mainly for viewing on an computer monitor.

1. Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX


The Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G is great if you’re looking to start with something cheap, yet way better than the 55-200mm. It’s got better image quality, colors and contrast, and 100mm more zoom.

Bokeh also looks better due to 9 diaphragm blades compared to “just” 7 on the 200mm above, and it also focuses quicker and more silent. However, both lenses will often hunt in low light so be ready to do a bit of manual focusing from time to time. Outdoors, this is rarely an issue.

Build quality has also been improved and feels a lot less cheap/plastic, but in return the lens weighs more.

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

2. Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD


We used to love Nikon’s 70-200mm zoom, but after trying out Tamron’s, the price just isn’t worth it unless you need top build quality.

The Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 is built very well and feels sturdy as a $1,500 lens should, but we couldn’t find anything better about the Nikon other than better construction if you often shoot in rain and harder conditions and don’t want to risk your equipment. Quality, sharpness and colors are the same, and their Vibration Compensation (VR at Nikon) works flawlessly as well.

70-200mm is ideal for portraits, events, concerts, weddings, sports and even landscape, on both DX and FX cameras. You can also use it for animals in the zoo, some wildlife but nothing extreme like small birds.

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

3. Sigma 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 DG OS HSM


Want to photograph wildlife, the moon or anything far far away? The Sigma 150-600mm DG OS HSM, released back in 2015, is your cheapest way of ever reaching 600mm with acceptable quality.

It features Optical Stabilization which is a must for something so long, HSM for fast and accurate focusing and also fits on FX models. As far as focusing goes, it’s super quick and doesn’t hunt. You can have the best image quality in the world but if the AF system sucks, what’s the point if everything is out of focus. Oh, the field of view of this lens is equivalent to 225-900mm on the D7500. That’s nine hundred! Hmm…the price is also nine hundred bucks, so you’re literally paying a dollar for every millimeter.

Construction wise, the lens feels solid and is something you can use outdoors in tougher situations with no stress.

Anything bad? The f/6.3 makes it unusable for indoor sports, and it’s relatively heavy to carry around at over 6 pounds (1930g). If you’ve got a cheap tripod, you definitely have to buy something that can carry way more weight. Because of the weight you’ll definitely have to rest every hour or so if you’re not used to carrying around such a big lens (assuming you shoot hand-henld).

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

4. Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR


Released in late 2015, the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 is Nikon’s answer to superzoom telephoto lenses from other brands.

Image quality and colors wise, it’s almost identical to the Sigma above. Jared Polin (video here) compares it to the Sigma above and finds little to no difference in quality, but Nikon’s biggest advantages are the slightly bigger aperture at 500mm and a lighter weight. You do lose 50mm at its widest length, and 100mm on the far end.

Vibration Reduction helps up 4.5 stops, more or less a standard today and a must for shooting above 400mm. The lens is a little bit more expensive, but if the advantages it offers are important to you, it’s definitely worth it.

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

Best Nikon Lenses for Landscape, Wideangle, Architecture and Indoor Photography

beautiful view of moraine lake
Photo by Jaime Reimer on

Best wide zoom – Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro DX IIBest but expensive – Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM

As we talked about above, the D7500 is a DX camera (1.5x crop factor) which means that any lens you put on acts as if it was 1.5x longer than it actually is (ANY lens, even those made for FX models). This happens because the sensor is 1.5x smaller than full frame and is a standard for all DSLR cameras under $1,500.

How does this affect you? Well, telephoto photography is awesome with the 1.5x factor because you can get closer without buying more expensive lenses, but for wideangle this isn’t good because extreme wide angles become… not so extreme. You can try Nikon’s lens simulator to see the difference.

To counter the crop factor, Nikon and third-party companies make super wide lenses with the 1.5x in mind, so when you put them on they’re still wide enough for whatever it is that you require. They’re also cheaper and lighter than comparable FX lenses. The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 is our favorite affordable wideangle lens, because it’s still wide when mounted on the D7500 (11-16mm acts as if it’s a 16.5-24mm lens, just multiply the numbers by 1.5x).

1. Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro DX II


It looks cool, it feels solid, it’s got an f/2.8 aperture and most importantly, gives good results for wideangle photography. The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 Pro DX II is a popular choice, mostly for Nikon because their wide zoom is more expensive and slower. No issues with auto focusing or anything on the D7500.

Not only is the lens good for nature, real estate and indoor photography, the f/2.8 also allows you to use it for long exposure photography at night. It features two aspheric and two low-dispersion elements to reduce the amount of ghosting and flare, a common issue with wider lenses.

You might experience some distortion at 11mm but it’s still well handled. If you need absolute straight lines (usually architecture), consider correcting in post process and if it would fit your work style.

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

2. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM


To have a zoom lens with f/2.8 is awesome. To have f/1.8… that’s just asking for too much. Luckily, Sigma listened.

The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM is designed for DX cameras like the D7500 and gives you a length that’s excellent for any wide to standard situation, even in low light. That includes weddings, traveling (still good as a kit lens), streets, indoor and general photography.

Instead of owning 3 separate lenses that might not even have f/1.8, you’re able to zoom through all in less than a second. Best part, the max. aperture doesn’t get smaller at 35mm. This Sigma fine piece of glass also delivers optically excellent images with top colors and sharpness, and has a HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) to make it better for focusing on moving targets as well.

The only downside is that it’s relatively heavy at 28.7 oz (809g). Price? $800. It’s worth far more though.

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

Best Nikon Lenses for Traveling, Walkaround, Zoom and Everyday Photography

brown concrete cathedral
Photo by David Jakab on

Best 1 all-around choice – Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM
Less zoom better aperture – Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 OS HSMBetter quality, less zoom – Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM

An all-around lens does exactly what you think; it’s something you can take with you and just shoot regardless of where you are. A lot of people prefer owning one do it all lens, and sometimes that’s a better choice if you often travel and can’t carry around a bunch of different gear. When traveling, you might not always have the time to switch between them, and you can also risk getting your gear wet/dusty.

But there’s one drawback; the quality of do it all zoom lenses is not as good as primes. We’re not saying they suck or anything, but their apertures are nowhere near as big and quality differences can be seen when viewing bigger prints. A zoom lens needs to have so many different elements inside, even for moving, that you can’t expect to get the highest quality.

However, we found a lens that simply tops every other Nikon all-around lens! That’s the Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM. Check out the ePhotozine review that also for more detailed charts, but to give it to you short, the lens is worth every dollar.

1. Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM


Continuing from above, the Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 DC OS HSM is the perfect travel lens. Take it out for walks, or use it as your only lens when travelling all over the world.

It does get softer at 300mm as expected, but stopping down to ~f/8 greatly improves sharpness. Unfortunately this means it’s not good indoors at ~300mm because you have to shoot with really long shutter speeds. This can be “fixed” by enabling the Optical Stabilization or using a higher ISO speed, but yeah….noise and all, you know. If only life was that easy.

We used to really like Nikon’s 18-140mm lens, but for the same price you don’t nearly get as much value. This is one of those lenses that really make your day easier, seeing as it’s not expensive and really works as advertised.

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

2. Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DG OS HSM


If you’re willing to trade less zoom for better quality and way bigger aperture sizes, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 offers the most bang for the buck.

For DX cameras you want your all-around lens to stay below 20mm, otherwise it’s just not useful on the wideangle part. You do lose quite a bit at the telephoto end, especially if you’re currently using the Nikon 18-140mm, but it all comes down to what you prefer.

If you find the 18-140mm (or whatever kit you have) to be good enough in terms of quality and weight, you shouldn’t upgrade. However, if you often wish you had f/2.8 and improved optics, and aren’t willing to go over $500, you’ll be happy with it. The Sigma also uses 72mm filters and has a minimum focus of 8.66″/22cm.

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

3. Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art DC HSM


A walk around lens doesn’t always equal a long zoom. Sometimes, all you need is a small, fast prime with excellent optics. The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 has a field of view equivalent to 50mm on the D7500, which is an excellent length for day to day stuff, traveling and taking pictures when it gets dark.

Yes, you can’t zoom but in return you get amazing quality, better bokeh, a large f/1.4 aperture and tack sharp shots. Having a fixed lens also forces you to be more creative and you sort of already know what to expect, even before taking a shot. You start moving better, you think more, you take better pictures. Not to mention, you stand out less with a prime lens compared to a superzoom (in certain countries, you really don’t want to stand out) with your camera).

You can buy it at Amazon or see more reviews here.

Which lens to buy first?


Our goal is to simplify photography, so if you’re unsure what lens to buy first it all comes down to whether your current gear allows you to take pictures like you want.

These are the 4 most important factors to consider before buying a new lens:

  • Better quality
  • Better low light performance
  • Wider or longer focal length
  • Price

If you own the 18-55mm kit lens, there’s no reason to buy something new with just a little bit more zoom range and same aperture sizes. However, if you’re looking for a good entry level zoom that will give you more range then the image quality and build of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G is your best option.

You should get a lens when you want better performance at what you’re already shooting (sharpness, length, zoom, aperture etc.), or to start taking pictures that excite you but are hard to get with current equipment.

Don’t have the Nikon D7500 Yet?

Nikon D7500

We checked out everything available, and selected the 2 best Nikon D7500 bundles that give you the most for your money.

Useful Nikon Lens Sites:

Looking for something else?

If you’re wondering what the best Nikon lens for other types of photography is check out our sister site, Best Photography Gear. In addition to covering recommendations for specific situations they also cover lenses for a lot of different Nikon Cameras.

Or need more than than just a lens?

While the right lens is the most important thing to complement your camera, remember that the speed of your memory card is also extremely important. There are a lot of memory card brands out there so it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out which one is compatible with your camera.

Our partner site, Best Photography Gear, has written guides for other gear you might need for your D7500. Check out our recommendations for accessories and memory cards.