Nikon Lenses for DX Cameras like the D5200 and D7100

Primes – Non-zooming lenses that offer excellent value and low light capabilities – these are the lenses you want for those lovely blurred background photos.  Why you should own a prime.

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX

Great low-light walk-around lens, versatile focal length- Decent for portraits, street photography and general travel. If I was limited to just one lens this would be it. Amazing sharpness for the value.  Buy from Amazon | B&H
Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro

Sacrifice some light/maximum aperture (just over a stop which is not insignificant) but gain an excellent value macro that does 1:1 lifesize. I was blown away that this was less the $300.  Full Nikon 40mm Review. Buy from Amazon | B&H

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G AF-S FX

The 50mm focal length translates to 75mm on a DX sensor (D5200 and D7100 have DX sensors or crop sensors) 75mm is a lovely focal length for portraits. NOTE: D5200 users get the AF-S G version, linked here.  D7100 users have inbody focus motor and you can use the older D version without an issue.   Indie filmmakers with either camera may want to consider the D version with aperture control built into the lens.  Why Nikon movie makers want mechanical aperture control.   Buy from Amazon | B&H

Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED

Nikon 18-105 is not exciting but I mention it here as a decent value when purchased with a Nikon camera, better than the 18-55 which really holds back the potential of these newer Nikon cameras with excellent sensors. Buy from Amazon | B&H

Sigma 17-70 2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM for Nikon

Noticeably sharper than the kit and offers a nice f/4 at 70mm, this is great for portraits and the fact that you can be at 17mm and f/2.8 along with optical stabilization makes this an excellent low light zoom capable lens.  The Macro feature is not worth mentioning other than to say you can get as close as you can with the kit lens, but you do have those extra stops of light. Buy from Amazon | B&H

Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR Di LD

A little slow to focus, no image stabilization but SHARP and gives you f/2.8 across the range, 75mm and f/2.8 is beautiful for portraits and this lens is useable on full frame should you decide to upgrade cameras.  Buy from Amazon | B&H

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX

GOOD Value, gets a little soft out at 300 but for under $400 you get a decent zoom lens.   Buy from Amazon | B&H

A second option for Zoom, Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR, it is a sharper lens than the 55-300 and bought used from Amazon costs just $300.

Recommended Nikon Lenses for Video

I get lots of questions about shooting video with Nikon and the lenses I recommend for video work- personally it would be any of the lenses that offer mechanical aperture control, this gives you the ability to change the aperture without leaving live view, an annoying quirk of Nikon cameras. Watch this video on Manual Aperture Control in a Nikon D5200. Serious videographers are not worried about auto focus so the 50mm f/1.8D or the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 offer excellent quality and complete control for video work. These recommendations apply to your indie film/videographer, if you are a parent capturing your child any of the lenses mentioned above are just fine.

Buying used is an option for all of these lenses, you don’t save much on the prime lenses as they often keep very high resale value but the zoom lenses (any lens I mentioned that is not a prime) you can save enough to make it worthwhile.  I buy all my lenses (new and used) on Amazon or B&H these.

This was just a list of my value picks of DX appropriate lenses. There are other options too, leave a comment below with your favorite lens.  If you have questions about any of these lenses or another lens you are considering for your Nikon shoot me a message on Facebook, linked under the video.


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