Recommended lens for Nikon D3200, D3100, and Nikon D5100

by Enche Tjin on September 21, 2012

Choosing lenses for entry-level Nikon DSLR camera can be a bit tricky. Nikon D3200, D3100 and D5100 do not have built-in autofocus, so you’ll need AF-S lenses. If not, the lens won’t auto focus. You may also want lens that affordable and not to heavy to carry. I assume you have 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR kit lens that is usually bundled with the camera.

If you see DX on the lens name, it means that the lens is compatible with Nikon DSLR with APS-C sensor. You can still use it on full frame camera such as Nikon D700 or D600, but image will be cropped.

Here are some of lenses that I recommend:

nikon-55-200mm-vrNikon AF-S 55-200mm VR DX f/4-5.6 Price: $250

This telephoto lens complement well with your kit lens. It is relatively lightweight and excellent for candid, outdoor sports and wildlife. It is equipped with VR (Vibration Reduction) which is effective to prevent blur due to the camera shake. There is Nikon 55-300mm version but I prefer this lens because it is lighter and more affordable. Image quality are about the same. Recommended for sports, wildlife, and candid.

sigma-10-20mm-exSigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 HSM DX Price $480

Wide angle lens are great to record three dimensional and dramatic landscape. Because it can cover a wide area, it is also widely used in photojournalism.  Nikon has its own version 10-24mm, but I think Sigma 10-20mm provides better value for money. Sigma also has f/3.5 version, but it is less sharp and more expensive than this version. Recommended for landscape, travel, photojournalism.

nikon-18-200mm-vrNikon AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6VR II DX Price: $850

This multipurpose lens is great for any circumstances. You can shoot wide or telephoto for far-away subjects. The problem is the weight (565 g) and the relatively high price tag. But if you only one to carry one lens, then this is the one. There is 18-300mm VR version, but I think it is too big and expensive.

nikon-50mm-f18gNikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Price: $219

Nikon 50mm is great for portraiture. It is very sharp at f/2.8 and render smooth out of focus blur (bokeh). The focal length is equivalent to 75mm in 35mm camera, it is not wide, but not very narrow either. The lens is compatible with full frame camera such as Nikon D600, so if you are going to upgrade, you can still use this lens. Recommended for portraiture.

nikon-35mm-f18gNikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX Price: $199

This is great for low light or to create a shallow depth of field (blur / soften background). The focal length is equivalent to 52.5mm, so it is very close to our eyes viewpoint. The lens is very small and light. The lens is great for environmental portrait, low light events, and general purpose. Recommended for environmental portrait, street photography

nikon-60mm-f28-microNikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8 micro Price: $549

If you like to shoot small subjects like insects, food, still life, then this macro lens is for you. It is quite expensive, but you will have a lot of fun with it. The other application for this lens is portrait. Although it might be too sharp for beauty portrait. Recommended for still life, food photography.

That’s all folks. You can get your lenses from Amazon.com, they have a very competitive price and great service. I hope this can help you and have fun making pictures with the lenses!

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