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

Check out these deal from our supporters:

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.

How To Use A Carnet

How To Use A Carnet

Travelling overseas for your photography is super exciting, but taking a tonne of expensive camera gear with you can cause issues with customs when...

read more

3 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.

  3. Carlo Bingen

    Today was my first day shooting with the Nikon Z 180-600 mm lens at Spa Francorchamps, and I must say, I am thoroughly impressed. Despite the challenging weather conditions, the lens performed admirably.

    The image quality was great. The lens delivered sharp, clear images with excellent detail. The color rendition was accurate, and the contrast was just right, even in the less-than-ideal lighting conditions due to the overcast sky.

    Overall, my satisfaction with the Nikon Z 180-600 mm lens is high. It exceeded my expectations and performed exceptionally well under challenging conditions. I look forward to more shoots with this lens in the future. https://www.carlobingen.com/Galleries/Racing/2024/Spa-Test-Day/i-NcjkJWj/A

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This