Best Lens For Nikon D3100
Nikon D3100 is my all-time favorite DSLR; its 14MP camera and 1080p resolution are superb! I can't believe it's been almost 11 years since the launch of this product. Well, do you own a D3100? Then I must tell you this. Purchase a lens that will complement the image and video quality of this fantastic camera.
I'm Xavier, a professional photographer for 15 years. In this article, I will provide a list of the best lenses for Nikon D3100. I will also give an idea about the different types of lenses and their area of concern.
You will also find a column at the end of the article listing the factors to consider while purchasing a lens for your Nikon D3100. Well, let's get started.
Table of Contents
- 8 BEST LENS FOR NIKON D3100 REVIEW
- 1. SIGMA 17-50MM F/2.8 EX DC OS HSM - BEST ZOOM LENS FOR NIKON D3100
- 2. NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140MM F/3.5-5.6G - BEST LOW LIGHT LENS FOR NIKON
- 3. NIKON AF-S FX 20MM F/1.8G ED - BEST NIKON LENS FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
- 4. NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 70-200MM F/2.8E FL ED VR LENS - BEST LENS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY
- 5. NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 50MM F/1.8G LENS - BEST LENS FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
- 6. ROKINON 14MM F/2.8 - BEST WIDE ANGLE LENS FOR NIKON
- 7. TAMRON 70-300MM F/4.0-5.6 DI LD MACRO ZOOM LENS
- 8. SIGMA 18-35MM F1.8 ART DC HSM LENS
- TYPES OF LENSES AND THEIR USES
- FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHILE PURCHASING A LENS FOR NIKON D3100
8 BEST LENS FOR NIKON D3100 REVIEW
1. SIGMA 17-50MM F/2.8 EX DC OS HSM - BEST ZOOM LENS FOR NIKON D3100
FEATURES: A great zoom lens for everyday shots. The lens uses a DX mount and can be used for shooting high-quality images and videos with your Nikon D3100 camera. Thanks to the Optical Stabilization feature and a fixed-wide aperture of f/2.8.
DESIGN: I should appreciate the build quality of the lens. The lens mount is primarily made of metal and has a black matte finish. The focus and zoom rings are sturdy and also easy to rotate.
While focusing, the lens barrel doesn't move because it's got an internal focusing mechanism. However, the zoom is not internal.
For fast AF, there's a Hypersonic motor present. And as the lens has an OS feature, you don't have to worry about camera shakes disrupting the performance.
Now moving onto the internal optics: the lens consists of 7 rounded blades for delivering quality bokeh. In addition to it, there are 5 FLD glass elements, two glass molds, and one hybrid aspherical element, coated with a Super Spectra coating to reduce lens flare and distortion.
PERFORMANCE: If you're a person like me who wishes the subject to be in sharp focus while the background remaining blurred, then you will fall in love with this lens. The reason for the lens to deliver this shallow depth of field is because of the lens's wide aperture.
Generally, a lens with a minimum focal length of, say, 17 or 18mm works as a great general-purpose lens that can be used for your everyday shots. And as this lens satisfies this criterion by providing a focal length of 17 to 50mm, it can be used for any purpose like portrait, landscape, and night-time photography.
I generally like my pictures to have soft corners; however, this will not suit environmental photographs, but it does work for portraits and product photography. If you wish to achieve these soft corners, set the aperture at 2.8 with any focal length.
Lastly, as this is a zoom lens, you may hear slight noise when focused in low-light situations. Also, some amount of light-fall off and distortion is noticeable when used at 17mm, but don't worry as you change the distortion characteristics using the Defocus (DC) control. Also, the d3100 DSLR has the ability to correct distortions by itself provided a suitable firmware is installed in the camera.
The only two features that could have been added to the lens are a VR feature and a Full-time manual focus override. However, for a price range of $340, it delivers high contrast images and exceptional bokeh quality, making it one of the best lens for Nikon D3100.
2. NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140MM F/3.5-5.6G - BEST LOW LIGHT LENS FOR NIKON
FEATURES: The AF–S DX NIKKOR 18–140mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR is certainly claimed as the best wide-angle telephoto lens suitable for wildlife and landscape photography. It can also be used as a macro lens as it's got a minimum focusing distance of 45cm.
The lens maintains end-to-end sharpness throughout the focal range. Don't worry that your Nikon D3100 does not provide any image stabilization function, as this lens has got a VR (Vibration Reduction) feature. This is the reason behind including the lens in this list of best lenses for Nikon D3100.
DESIGN: The lens is primarily made of plastic, but one thing to be focused on is that the lens has got a separate focus ring for manual focus, which is much needed while shooting videos!
Like the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8, this lens also has an internal focusing mechanism. When it comes to AF, there is a Silent wave motor included in the lens design that enables fast and accurate AF.
Moving on to the internal optics: A 7-bladed diaphragm is all set to give you that breathtaking bokeh. To correct the effects caused by chromatic aberrations, there is an Extra-low dispersion glass along with an aspherical element.
PERFORMANCE: I noticed that the lens had got a high–resolution DX-format image sensing, which ultimately helps in delivering to you admirable ultra-sharp pictures or videos. You will also experience a slightly blurred but aesthetic background when used at 140mm..
Next, the lens has a quite flexible zoom range of 7.8x (18mm to 140mm). This versatile feature impresses me for satisfyingly shooting images in any environment, be it a wide-angled friend group picture or even a close-up shot of an insect.
The vibration reduction in the lens has four stops that result in sharper and steady, well-held photography and videography. This is especially helpful when the surrounding shooting area is not bright but is low-lit or when the focal length is at its maximum.
Overall, I believe this lens is essential for most wildlife photographers and those who are confused completely to choose their ideal lens in the photography world. It will be a thrilling experience for you, I guarantee.
3. NIKON AF-S FX 20MM F/1.8G ED - BEST NIKON LENS FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
FEATURES: This wide-angle prime lens is supreme for landscape, environment, building photography. People who wish to enjoy the shallow depth of field should definitely have their hands on this lens.
DESIGN: For those of you who want to enjoy a lighter version of the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G can go for this lens. Both almost have the same optical performance, but I prefer the former one as it is easy to carry, making my handheld shooting easier.
The lens uses an Ultrasonic silent wave motor for fast and quiet autofocus. The rest of the internal optics is almost the same as that of the above mentioned-lenses, so I don't want to stress that.
NOTE: Though the lens comes with a rubber gasket, it is not properly weather-sealed, so take utmost care while using the lens.
PERFORMANCE: This lens is far improved in terms of optical performance and speed(1.3 stops quicker) when compared to its predecessors Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 Ai-S and Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D. The lens can absolutely be stated as a splendid performer when it comes to picturing high-quality images.
This ultra-wide-eyed angle promises to offer you maximum visual quality, ideal for when you wish to capture magnificent landscapes, play around with new environments, or even create something of your own imagination.
As the lens has got a maximum aperture of f/1.8, it can very well be used for your low-light photography and videography.
Developed as up-to-date designed technology, I can call it a flawless companion to your Nikon DSLR camera and the best lens for Nikon D3100 that helps to click outstanding portraits.
4. NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 70-200MM F/2.8E FL ED VR LENS - BEST LENS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY
FEATURES: This super extraordinary quick telephoto zoom lens is an ideal lens choice for your Nikon D3100 camera, given its shutter speed of 4.0 stops faster in its normal mode. I was looking for a lens that has the ability to tackle focus breathing, and I'm glad this satisfies that. You will hardly notice a change in image size, even at longer focal lengths.
DESIGN: The feature that I find the best that this ultra-modern NIKKOR optics is made using magnesium alloy making it solid in terms of construction. The fluorite lens element features a light-specific gravity causing the focus to be shifted at the side, resulting in a stable holding. But, note that the lens is slightly heavy (3 pounds) when compared to other lenses.
The lens has got a separate ring for manual focus, and both the focus and zoom rings are sturdy and ensure perfect holding during any shoot. I loved the outstanding bokeh effect of this lens, and the reason is the presence of a 9-bladed circular diaphragm included in its construction.
Moving on, the lens comes with the much-needed feature for shooting videos. Yes, you guessed it right. I'm speaking about the VR feature. Sadly, the camera doesn't offer any stabilization but luckily this lens has it, making it one of the best lens for Nikon D3100.
PERFORMANCE: NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is a revised lens that is unparalleled and unmatched in its optical excellence and flexibility, is beyond my expectations completely, and I wish I was able to get a hold on this way before.
The sport mode enhances your picture quality while being stable in any randomly fast-moving subject. This lens model helps to give you effective subject tracking and even great auto exposure control easily, even in a fast and continuous moving atmosphere. I would definitely claim this to be the perfect and best lens for Nikon D3100 if you want to take your sports photography to the next level.
Having a minimum focusing distance of 1.1m, this lens will awe you to be closer to your subject with accuracy and precise focus. Overall, this AF-S NIKKOR lens model is the best that you and I can always look forward to depending on.
5. NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 50MM F/1.8G LENS - BEST LENS FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
FEATURES: All portrait photographers out there! Don't miss this excellent combo of a 50mm prime focal length and a wide aperture of f/1.8. With this lens on your D3100 camera, you can capture excellent waist-level portrait shots and videos.
DESIGN: Ergonomic and weather resistant! The lens mount is made of metal, while the lens barrel is made of high-quality plastic, giving it a smooth finish. The manual focus ring is made of rubber, providing a good grip. And as the name itself states, it's got a Silent wave motor for silent AF.
The common design features include a 7-circular bladed diaphragm and one aspherical glass element. The only disadvantage I found is that as this is a G lens, it does not have an aperture ring, so it cannot be used in old manual focus DSLRs. However, this wouldn't be an issue while using it with Nikon D3100.
PERFORMANCE: I used this lens on my d3100 to capture a picture of my wife. I bet you will not find an equal performer that can take beautiful shots both indoors and outdoors.
You get everything needed for your portrait in this single lens. Portrait photography is all about making the picture look natural with blurred corners and a blurred background isn't it? I received the same with this prime lens.
I did not notice any lens flare or ghosting, even in my daytime shoots. The reason behind this is the Super Integrated coating given to the lens.
Overall, a great lens that will complement the D3100 entry-level DSLR!
6. ROKINON 14MM F/2.8 - BEST WIDE ANGLE LENS FOR NIKON
I believe that the Rokinon lenses and optics since 1979 have been unparalleled for supreme quality and integrity and continue its reputation. The Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lens is an automatic aspherical lens for Nikon with a focus confirm chip.
The lens is designed to work on a full-frame, and along with the feature of the ultra-wide-angle lens, it provides a dramatic 115.7°view. It works well with DSLR and mirrorless cameras and provides a view of 94° with APS-C cameras, 90° Canon APS-C cameras and 76° with Micro 4/3 cameras.
The advanced 14 elements 10 group design primarily focuses on a close 0.28mm to produce sharply defined images with minimum distortion and chromatic departure.
It uses 2 ED elements, 1 Hybrid Aspherical element, 3 High Refractive Index elements and 1 glass Aspherical element for sharply defined rectilinear images. The ultra-multi coating and a built-in petal-type lens hood and comes in mounts for Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, MFT, Sony A, Pentax K and Fuji X.
The full-frame ultra-wide rectilinear view is ideal for landscape photography, street photography, astrophotography and real estate photography.
Overall, I would certainly go to the extent of calling this the best lens for Nikon D3100.
7. TAMRON 70-300MM F/4.0-5.6 DI LD MACRO ZOOM LENS
This lens promises a compact, high-quality imagery, with an improved multi-coating designed to function well with most cameras.
Chromatic aberration is quite feasible and especially visible at 300mm at the corners. It is an absolutely splendid one stop down from maximum aperture. The model is impressively solid and operates sufficiently smooth.
8. SIGMA 18-35MM F1.8 ART DC HSM LENS
Sigma introduced Sigma 18-35 mm F1.8 DC HSM in April 2013. The first wide-angle to a standard zoom lens with an aperture of 1.8 is considered absolute and reformist. It has APS-C camera sized sensors. It incorporates a wide glass molded aspherical lens with Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass to compensate for aberrations and curvature.
The functionality increases internal focusing. The HSM (Hyper Sonic Meter) enables smooth, fast and accurate autofocus. A beautiful blur for the background is created by this. The thermally composite material (TSC) increases the durability of the lens.
TYPES OF LENSES AND THEIR USES
You have to know what kind of shots you're going to take as each lens has its own area of specialization. Here I'll explain them in detail.
Are you planning to take landscape shots and videos with your Nikon D3100? Then, this lens will suit you. You can go for a lens that has a focal length of less than 24mm.
This lens will work great for product photography, food photography and captures close-up shots like insects, birds in detail. Why it is termed as the macro lens is because it has a magnification ratio of 1:1, meaning the subject in real life is of the same size when viewed through the sensor. These lenses have a minimum focusing distance of 30cm and a focal length of around 40 to 65mm.
If you want to shoot a picture of a monkey from the safety of your car or shoot a video of a soccer game from a distance you can go for a telephoto lens. Basically telephoto lens (minimum focal length of 60-70mm) will allow the subject to look closer than it is, allowing you to shoot pictures from a distance.
With this lens on your D3100 DSLR, you can take street photography, wildlife photography, sports photography a notch higher.
If you want to capture beautiful portrait shots, you can go for prime lenses. These have fixed focal lengths in the range of 17 to 50mm. They are also lightweight and affordable when compared to zoom lenses.
The best part about a prime lens is that it gives a shallow depth of field and bokeh, making the portraits look very natural.
A minimum focal length of 17 to 18mm is considered a general-purpose zoom lens that is apt for taking everyday shots. This lens gives you variable focal lengths but is slightly heavy and bulkier when compared to a prime lens.
Make sure you purchase a standard zoom lens that has a VR feature in it; otherwise, you may hear some static noise when shooting handheld.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHILE PURCHASING A LENS FOR NIKON D3100
Now, that you've understood the different types of lenses and their uses also consider these features before taking a final decision.
I would say this factor mostly depends on your shooting style rather than a lens. If you are choosing a lens for your Nikon D3100 for taking landscape shots, like pictures of buildings, mountains and family group photos see if the lens has the ability to make all objects inside the frame look razor-sharp.
If you're choosing a lens for portrait or wildlife photography, you needn't worry if the lens does not ensure end-to-end sharpness throughout the focal range because this kind of shot will look natural only if the corners look blur.
This will tell you how wide the lens opens, so the wider the aperture more light enters the lens resulting in brighter images and videos. If low-light photography/videography is your area of interest, then you can go for prime lenses because they have wide apertures of greater than f/2.8. Note that the max ISO value for taking good quality photos and videos is around 3200. See if the lens allows this ISO setting.
Secondly, for those of you who like the subject to be in sharp focus while the background is looking blurred, you need to go for wide-apertures greater than f/1.8 because the smaller the f-number, the shallower the depth of field, resulting in a shallow bokeh (quality out-of -focus blur).
This feature is a must-have feature for Nikon D3100 because the camera does not have a stabilization feature.
You will not have any blur or shakiness while shooting videos or taking pictures if the lens has this VR feature.
If you want to purchase a single lens for D3100 to capture images and videos, go for a lens with a fixed aperture and a VR stabilization feature. Also, while shooting videos, manual focusing is the best to see if the manual focus ring is sturdy.
NOTE: Lenses with constant aperture settings are generally expensive and heavy compared to variable aperture lenses.
Nikon D3100 uses an APS-C sensor format, so if you're going for a Nikon lens, see if it's mentioned as a Nikon DX mount.
After gaining experience in the field of photography, everyone will plan to possess a Full-frame DSLR. In that case, see if the Nikon lens has an FX mount. This will also work in the D3100 DSLR.
Do you notice that the lens you've selected shows some amount of distortion? Happy news for you! Nikon D3100 has the ability to correct distortions by itself only thing you have to do to install a suitable camera firmware to it.
This brings you to the end of the article. I hope you've found this list of the best lens for Nikon D3100 useful. Please go through the factors to consider before you purchase a lens for your Nikon D3100 DSLR. I hope to see you in my next article. Thank you for reading!