Best Nikon D3100 Lens – Portrait, Telephoto, Macro, Wide Angle

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.

Best Lens For Nikon D3100

I'm Xavier, a professional photographer for 15 years. In this article, I have compiled a list of the best camera lenses for Nikon D3100. It will include both the top Nikon lenses for d3100 as well as lenses from other brands like Sigma and Rokinon. I will also give an idea about the different types of lenses and their area of concern.

At the end of the article, you will find a topic concerning factors to consider while purchasing a lens for your Nikon D3100. Please read it carefully before making a purchase. Well, let's get started.

REVIEWS OF THE BEST LENSES FOR NIKON D3100

BEST PORTRAIT LENSES FOR NIKON D3100

1. NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 50MM F/1.8G LENS - BEST NIKON D3100 PRIME LENS

nikon 50mm - best nikon d3100 lens

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Standard prime lens
  • Minimum focusing distance of 0.45m.
  • Equivalent focal length of 75mm on a DX format DSLR.
  • Excels in low-light conditions.
  • Switches from manual to auto-focus with no time lag.
  • Corner shading for these lenses is far from negligence.

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. That's why this lens takes 1st place in this list of the best lens for d3100.

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 50mm lens for Nikon D3100! 

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS LENS

  • Minimal noise during AF.
  • Autofocus is fast.
  • Sturdy build.
  • Solid performance.
  • Lens is very sharp.
  • Gives a creamy bokeh.

2. SIGMA 17-50MM F/2.8 EX DC OS HSM - BEST ZOOM LENS FOR NIKON D3100

Sigma 17-50mm - best lens for nikon d3100

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Fast fixed aperture of f/2.8 
  • Equivalent focal length range of  27.2-80mm lens on a full frame DSLR 
  • IF (Internal Focusing) that helps to focus without changing lens depth
  • Sigma's HSM  motor for a speedy and quiet autofocus
  • Rugged design, zoom and focusing rings for comfortable operation

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 another best lens for Nikon D3100.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS LENS

  • Focuses relatively fast, even in low lit atmospheres.
  • Delivers very sharp images
  • Reasonably-priced
  • Solid performance.
  • Lens is very sharp.
  • Delivers high-contrast images.

BEST TELEPHOTO LENSES FOR NIKON D3100

3. NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140MM F/3.5-5.6G - BEST NIKON D3100 LENS FOR SPORTS

NIKON AF-S DX - BEST LENS FOR NIKON D3100

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • VR image stabilization
  • A multi-purpose lens.
  • Zoom Ratio 7.8 x
  • Its Vibration Reduction System improves image stability.
  • Fully automatic diaphragm.
  • Nikon super integrated coating reduces flares.
  • Impressive bokeh quality

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.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS LENS

  • It has a solid and impressive metal mount.
  • Its size and weight are moderately bearable.
  • Great optics, resulting in its sharpness in color.
  • It is great for everyday videography and blogging.
  • Focusing is stable and smooth.
  • The lens is great for beginners in photography, especially wildlife..

4. NIKON AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300MM F/4.5-6.3G ED VR LENS - BEST LENS FOR WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Lens type: Telephoto lens
  • Equivalent focal length of  105-450mm  when used in a full-frame camera. 
  • Minimum Focus Distance of 1.1m.
  • Weather resistant 
  • Pulse type stepper motor for quick and silent AF.

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. 

You can use the lens for various purposes, be it sports, wildlife, wedding, or any event photography. That's why I claim it to be the best telephoto lens for Nikon d3100.

DESIGN:

The build quality of this lens is to a mediocre level. It is made of plastic. But for the price of 400$, this product is worth buying only that you have to handle the lens with a little more care. The fluorite lens element features a light-specific gravity causing the focus to be shifted at the side, resulting in a stable holding.

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 creamy bokeh this lens gives me. Thanks to the 7 rounded blades included in the design.

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 Nikon D3100 lens.

PERFORMANCE:

NIKKOR 70-300mm 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.

So, that's about it; if you were searching for a 300mm lens for Nikon D3100, you've already found it.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS LENS

  • Maintains sharpness throughout the focal length range.
  • Brilliant in low -light as it's got a wide aperture of f/2.8.
  • High-quality bokeh
  • The VR does its job pretty well, especially when shooting moving subjects in sports.
  • Also, supports latest DX cameras like D3300 and D500.
  • Cheap lens.
  • Fast AF

BEST MACRO LENS FOR NIKON D3100

5. Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Lens format: Full-frame
  • Filter thread measures 62mm.
  • Close-focusing ability - 1"
  • The built-in motor that ensures fast focusing.
  • Extra Low-Dispersion (LD) glass for greater sharpness.

FEATURES:

This 105mmG lens from Nikon is expensive but an excellent choice for macro photography. You can also use the lens with your Nikon D3100 camera for taking portrait shots at normal distances. Other best features of this lens include four-stop image stabilization, good out-of-focus background capability, and fast autofocusing.

DESIGN:

This lens is completely made of metal making it highly durable. For a price point of 800$, the company has done justice by including top features in the lens.

The lens mount also is made of metal, and you also get a weather sealing gasket around it. So, you can use the lens in the rain, snow, or any adverse conditions.

I should definitely speak about the autofocus system of this lens; it's splendid. The Silent wave AF motor makes sure that you have a fast, accurate, and noiseless AF. If you're sure that you need an AF system, then this Nikon d3100 autofocus lens is a good buying option!

PERFORMANCE:

If you want your close-up or macro shots to look razor-sharp with a complete background blur, then this is the lens for you. The f/2.8 maximum aperture allows you to enjoy this provision.

Also, the 9 bladed diaphragm aids in enhancing the bokeh quality. If you're a product photographer, then trying using this lens; trust me, you'll love it.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS LENS

  • Excellent image quality
  • The focus ring has a smooth rotation of 160 degrees.
  • Impressive bokeh quality.
  • The lens's build quality is supreme.

BEST WIDE ANGLE LENSES FOR NIKON D3100

6. NIKON AF-S FX 20MM F/1.8G ED - BEST NIKON LENS FOR LANDSCAPES

NIKON AF-S FX3 - BEST LENS FOR NIKON D3100

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Compatible with FX and DX format DSLR.
  • Internal focusing.
  • Advanced Extra-low- dispersion (ED), resulting in high-quality, sharp pictures.
  • The front of the lens has a small flute that makes it easier to hold.
  • Nano crystal coating to reduce lens flare and ghosting.
  • 94 degree angle of view.

FEATURES:

My first pick for the best wide angle lens for Nikon d3100 is this AF-S FX 20MM F/1.8G ED from Nikon. 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 D3100 that helps to click outstanding portraits.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS LENS

  • Bokeh at f/1.8 is quite pleasing, out of focus highlights appear round without much outlining.
  • The manual focus ring is sturdy and allows fine tuning.
  • Being wider, lighter and less expensive, it is a good choice.
  • On a close-up, the subject still remains focused.

7. ROKINON 14MM F/2.8 - BEST WIDE ANGLE LENS FOR NIKON

Rokinon

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Focal Length -14 mm
  • Aperture ranges from f/2.8 to F/22
  • Minimum Focusing Distance of 10.8 inches
  • Optical Construction
  • Ultra-Multi Coating (UMC) reduces flare and ghosting 
  • The low coma and low CA results in excellent sharpness.
  • Ultra-wide-angle lens compatible for all Nikon cameras.
  • Built-in petal-type hood.

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.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS LENS

  • The low coma is ideal for shooting the night sky.
  • Sharp image quality
  • Portable and light-weight
  • Perfect for astrophotography
  • Minimizes curvature of straight lines and optimal performance for a specific focal length.

8. ROKINON HD8M-N 8MM F/3.5 HD - BEST nikon d3100 fisheye lens

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Sensor format: APS-C
  • Has a minimum focus distance of 0.3m. 
  • Aperture range of F3.5-23
  • 7 blade rounded diaphragm
  • Internal focusing.

The top brand that comes to our mind for purchasing a fisheye lens is Rokinon. Their ultra-wide and fisheye lenses have also been on demand because they perform well and are also affordable.

The ultra-wide focal lengths combined with barrel distortion make fisheye lenses superior for taking panorama pictures and videos. And this Rokinon 8mm lens is no exception.

Many people mistake the HD tag in this lens to be - High Definition, but it is not. It means the lens comes with a detachable hood; that's it.

But as per my usage with this APS-C lens, I also got high-quality pictures and videos, so worthy of being called a high definition lens!

When I received this lens, I only expected its build quality to be cheap as it costs only $219. But this lens broke that myth; the lens is sturdy, being made of metal.

Also, the focus ring is big and runs smoothly only that you have to set the aperture and focus by yourself, other than a simply splendid lens!

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS LENS

  • It is budget friendly.
  • Auto Aperture Chip available.
  • Sturdy build.

9. SIGMA 18-35MM F1.8 ART DC HSM LENS

Sigma

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Wide angle lens
  • Focal range is equivalent to 27mm-52.2 mm in a 35mm camera.
  • Fast aperture of f/1.8 to f/16
  • Focal Length -14 mm
  • 9 blade rounded diaphragm
  • 17 lens elements in 12 groups with 4 Aspherical and 5 low dispersion elements
  • Filter/Attachment size of 72mm

The 10th product in this list of best lens for D3100 is this 18-35mm lens from Sigma. The Company  introduced this lens 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.

I highly recommend beginners to purchase this zoom lens for Nikon d3100 camera as it will allow you to explore more about photography.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS LENS

  • Chromatic aberrations are very minimal.
  • Less noisy AF.
  • Gives a wide field of view so useful for night city photography.

TYPES OF LENSES AND THEIR USES

Every lens is unique; not all the Nikon d3100 lenses need to suit your purpose. You have to know what kind of shots you're going to take as each lens has its area of specialization. Here I'll explain them in detail.

Wide-angle lens

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.

MACro lens

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.

TELEPHOTO LENS

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. 


PRIME LENS

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.

ZOOM LENS

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.

SHARPNESS

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.

APERTURE

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).

VIBRATION REDUCTION 

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.

FOR VIDEOS

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.

COMPATIBILITY

This is the most important feature to be noticed in any lens. What if the lens you're purchasing is not a Nikon D3100 compatible lens? To avoid this confusion, first, understand the sensor format of the camera.

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.

distortions

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.

FAQs

1. What is a Nikon d3100 kit lens?

The Nikon d3100 kit lens refers to the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens that comes along with a Nikon D3100 camera. 

2. What d3100 wide angle lens do professionals use?

Professionals photographers prefer the SIGMA 18-35MM F1.8 ART DC HSM LENS if they need a wide-angle zoom lens. In the case of a good wide-angle prime lens, pros prefer using the NIKON AF-S FX 20MM F/1.8G ED for D3100 DSLRs.

CONCLUSION

This brings you to the end of the article. I hope you've found this list of the best Nikon d3100 lenses 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!

Xavier
 

I'm Xavier. I am a professional writer and blogger. It all started when I fell in love with my camera, which was presented to me when I was ten as a birthday gift. Since then, I wanted to become a cinematographer and also succeeded in that. So I am here researching and reviewing the filmmaking gadgets and giving out my top gadgets from the market.I hope you find my review articles interesting and helpful.

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