The Best Nikon Lenses for Motorsport Photography

by Jan 6, 2024

It’s pretty common knowledge that I’m a Canon user. However, I am here to help all motorsport photographers, no matter your brand allegiance. And to be fair, Nikon makes some pretty good gear, too. Just don’t tell Canon I said that.

So, I’ve taken the time and tested out some Nikon gear to determine which lenses from their range Z mount glass are most suitable for motorsport photography.

In the past, I have tested out some of Nikon’s older DSLR gear as well, including their F mount glass, but I didn’t take as extensive notes with those to make any recommendations.

The Best Nikon Z Mount Lenses for Motorsport Photography

The Best Nikon Z Mount Lenses for Motorsport Photography

I know I mention this every time I write a post about lenses, but it’s true. Good lenses will last you way longer than any camera body will. So, spending a little extra on the right lenses is always a much better idea than trying to save money. That’s why I always recommend Nikon’s S-Line designation of lenses.

NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

The first lens I’m always going to recommend that you purchase for motorsport photography is the 70-200mm, and for Nikon’s Z mount, that’s in the form of the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S. It’s the go-to lens for most photographers for many reasons, which I’ve outlined in this post.

Check the latest pricing on the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S here: US (Adorama), UK (Park Cameras), Australia (DigiDirect)

NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S

Nikon has done a really good job of bringing their big prime lenses to the Z mount. However, given how expensive they are and their lack of versatility, I would actually recommend investing in the NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S. While it doesn’t have the reach of the NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR, the image quality and weather sealing make it a much better long term lens investment, especially in the unpredictable environment of motorsport photography.

Check the latest pricing on the NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S here: US (Adorama), UK (Park Cameras), Australia (DigiDirect)

NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

When it comes to shorter lenses, Nikon has a whole bunch of options. If you are looking for a lens that you aren’t going to outgrow, the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the highest-quality lens in the range. Just keep in mind that these shorter lenses from Nikon don’t feature Vibration Reduction.

Check the latest pricing on the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S here: US (Adorama), UK (Park Cameras), Australia (DigiDirect)

NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

In the same vein as the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, out of all of the wide-angle lenses Z mount range, only the NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S has been given the S-Line treatment, meaning that you won’t outgrow it. Yes, this lens is a premium investment over some of the other options, but you’ll definitely notice the difference over Nikon’s other options.

Check the latest pricing on the NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S here: US (Adorama), UK (Park Cameras), Australia (DigiDirect)

Nikon Lens Designations

What do those codes in Nikon’s lens names mean? Let me decode them for you:

  • VR – Vibration Reduction (Nikon’s version of Image Stabilisation)
  • S – Nikon’s premium S-Line lenses.
  • DX – Nikon’s designation for crop sensor lenses

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Rhys Vandersyde

Rhys Vandersyde

I've been working as a motorsport photographer in Australia since 2012, building up my business InSyde Media. I am very fortunate that I have been able to work at all sorts of motorsport events including Supercars, F1 and WRC all over Australia and New Zealand. Also, check out my personal website where I document my travels and a few other things.

2 Comments

  1. Carlo Bingen

    Since I’ve had the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 VR S, it’s always been with me on the race track because it’s light, has very good image quality and the optimum focal length. I prefer the 70-200 f/2.8S for races at night and in bad weather, which is often the case at Spa. My third lens for racing is the 24-120 f/4, which is very light compared to the 24-70 f/2.8. I usually have 2 Nikons and 2 of these lenses with me at races. I recently got the 180-600 f/5.6-6.3 but will have to wait until March/April for something to happen on the race circuit here in Europe.

  2. Rhys Vandersyde

    I’d be curious to know your thoughts on the 180-600 once you’ve had a chance to use it at the track.

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