Buying Guide Lenses

Best Nikon D3100 Lenses

Best Nikon D3100 Lenses

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Do you wish to learn which lens is the most suitable for the Nikon D3100? Do you need assistance determining which lenses are compatible with the Nikon D3100 in the year 2021?

If that is the case, you have arrived at the correct location because:

The definitive guide to the Nikon D3100 lenses is presented to you here, and it will show you which are the best Nikon D3100 lenses for each sort of photography category.

Intro for Nikon D3100 lenses guide
Because there are so many alternatives available in today’s market, selecting the ideal lens is not a simple process to do.

There are a lot of different things that might affect the lens quality and the overall look of the photographs you take. To what sort of photography are you planning to devote most of your time? Are you a professional photographer, or do you simply enjoy taking pictures in your spare time?

Because of the high cost of most lenses, it is imperative that you get all of your questions answered before you commit to making a purchase.

Don’t be concerned.

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We will address all of those questions and help you select the best camera lens for your Nikon D3100 in our purchasing guide.

Best All-Around Lenses for Nikon D3100

1. Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM

If you are searching for a camera lens that covers the wide to medium focal lengths, the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 is a terrific bargain all-around lens for the Nikon D3100. This is especially true if you are seeking a lens that covers the whole focal length range. The 17-50mm focal length has a full-frame equivalent of 25.5mm to 75.5mm, so it will be broad enough for most circumstances you find yourself in, and you still have a respectable zoom range if you need to get closer to your subject.

The 17-50mm focal length has a full-frame equivalent of 25.5mm to 75.5mm. If you are still using the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens, upgrading to this lens is one of the greatest choices you can make given the current price point of this lens.

When compared to other “all-around” lenses, the fact that this lens maintains a maximum aperture of f/2.8 over its entire range is the most impressive aspect of it.

It is a rather quick lens over the entirety of its focal length range thanks to its maximum aperture of f/2.8. Because I indicated before that the Nikon D3100 operates at its best when the ISO is kept below 3200, having a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 will be of great assistance to you if you find yourself taking a lot of photos in low-light conditions.

Not to add, the combination of aperture and focal lengths that are available in this lens makes it an excellent choice for portraiture or videography. With this lens, you will be able to blur the backdrop and produce a depth of field that seems like it was shot in the movies.

Additionally, the lens incorporates optical stabilization, which enables you to record smoother video footage and capture pictures that are crisper even when the shutter speed is set to a lower value.

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2. Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6G VRII

Although this is the lens that is often included in the box when you buy a Nikon D3100, I thought it would be helpful to include it in the package for those of you who either don’t have this lens or don’t use it very often.

Do not, under any circumstances, let the fact that this is a lens included in a camera kit lead you to believe that it is an inferior quality camera lens.

It’s possible that the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6G is one of the most undervalued Nikon lenses, but I believe it’s also one of the greatest, especially considering how inexpensive it is right now. Because this lens was initially made available to consumers in 2006, locating a brand new one has become somewhat more difficult; nonetheless, it is not uncommon to pay less than one hundred dollars for a secondhand lens of comparable quality.

You get a lens that is shockingly crisp throughout all of the focal lengths in the center of the image, and this quality comes at this price range. Check out the MTF (resolution) testing that was done on this lens by the fine folks at Optical Limits for proof of how sharp this lens can get. Normally, I don’t like to dive into technical charts, but if you want to see how sharp this lens can get, check out the testing.

The lens was evaluated at 18mm, 24mm, 35mm, and 55mm focal lengths, and at each of those focal lengths, it achieved a score that was either near to or over 2000. If you have a score of 1950, your resolution is regarded to be Excellent. The lens is also notable for its small size, low weight, and respectable autofocus performance, particularly in light of the reasonable cost of the product.

The image quality is not the best, it is more prone to flare than some of the more costly lenses, and it has a variable aperture. These are all drawbacks. Given all of this, it is difficult to find fault with the product when one considers how inexpensive it is.

3. Nikon AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5 – f/6.3 VR

The Nikon 18-300mm is a lens that can be used for a variety of purposes and has an impressive focal range of 18-300mm.

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Because this lens has a focal range that is comparable to 27-450mm when used on a full-frame camera, it will allow you to take photographs in any environment. If you set it to a lower focal length, it will have a field of view that is enough for capturing landscapes or architectural subjects, and if you set it to a greater focal length, you will be able to zoom in on virtually any subject that you are photographing.

For those of you who don’t want to lug about many lenses and for those of you who are searching for a lens that you can take with you when you travel, this is the ideal option for you because it has such a broad focus range.

One of the most significant drawbacks of this lens is that its aperture may be adjusted anywhere from f/3.5 to f/6.3. If you will be doing most of your shooting outside in strong lighting conditions or if you will be using a tripod, the variable aperture will not be a significant issue for you. However, it might be an issue if you are shooting in low light circumstances while hand holding the camera or if you are working on videos in any way.

However, the lens does offer a feature called Vibration Reduction, which makes it possible to take shots that are crisp even while using slower shutter speeds, such as 1/30.

4. Nikon AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6G VR

When you are out and about shooting pictures or videos, you will discover that you will find yourself in a variety of different scenarios. The Nikon 18-140mm is another extremely adaptable all-around lens that has a broad focus range that can accommodate most of these scenarios.

If you enjoy the results that you get with the Nikon 18-300mm but don’t necessarily want such a large zoom range or you want to save some money, this lens is an excellent option for you to consider.

This lens can typically be purchased brand new for a couple of hundred dollars less than the Nikon 18-300mm, and with the additional money you save, you might use it into purchasing a quality fast prime lens instead. Since both lenses feature a variable maximum aperture and Vibration Reduction, the primary distinction between them is the focal range that they offer.

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This lens, like the Nikon 18-300mm, has a variable aperture that ranges from f/3.5 to 5.6. This is the major drawback to using this lens. Again, if most of your photography will be done in well-lit environments, this won’t be much of an issue for you. However, it might pose some difficulties in low light if you’re filming handheld or if you try to zoom in and out when taking video.

Best Prime Lenses for Nikon D3100

5. Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G.6. Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G

On the DX-format sensor of the Nikon D3100, the primary lens for Nikon DX cameras is the Nikon 35mm f/1.8. This lens has a focal length of 35 millimeters, which is a very adaptable focal length. This lens has a full-frame equivalent focal length of 52.5 millimeters, making it the Nikon D3100 lens that comes the closest to becoming a “Nifty Fifty” lens.

The fact that this focal length is the one that is most similar to that of the human eye is what gives it the name “Nifty Fifty,” in addition to making it an excellent choice. When compared to a wide-angle lens, this type of lens will result in photographs that have a field of vision that seems more natural and will produce less distortion.

Given that it has a maximum aperture of f/1.8, this 35mm lens has one of the fastest maximum apertures of any prime lens that is compatible with the Nikon D3100. In most cases, you can purchase this lens fresh new for less than $200. If you have a faster lens like this prime, you will have more shooting options when the light is poor, and you will be able to blur the background and produce a lovely depth of field.

If you are searching for a general walk-around style lens or even a portrait lens, I believe that this lens would be an excellent choice for you if you are using a DX size sensor. It has this focal length. It will also have a field of view that is sufficiently broad for landscape photography in many different scenarios.

The fact that the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 does not come equipped with its own vibration reduction mechanism is the lens’s most significant drawback. Because of its shorter focal length and quicker maximum aperture, if photography is your major interest, this won’t be as much of a hindrance as you may think it will be. However, because the Nikon D3100 does not come with a built-in stabilization system, it may be challenging for you to record footage that is smooth if your primary intention is to shoot video.

6. Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G

The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 FX is another great value prime lens for the Nikon D3100 as you can usually find this brand new for just over $200. The build of this lens is nearly identical to the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 with the exception of its focal length and the that it’s a full-frame FX Nikon lens. 

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If you’re stuck between the Nikon 35mm or 50mm f/1.8 for the D3100 the biggest question you’ll have to ask yourself is what focal length you’ll benefit from the most. In my opinion, the 35mm focal length is a little bit more flexible on the Nikon D3100 after you take the DX size sensor crop factor into consideration.

With that said, everyone’s needs are different, so here is who I think would benefit most from the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens versus the Nikon 35mm f/1.8:

  • The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is a full-frame FX lens, so, if you’re thinking about upgrading to a full-frame FX camera anytime soon, this lens might be the better option.
  • If your primary focus is portrait photography. The additional 25mm in focal length is a nice boost to the zoom length and will allow you to compress the background and increase the depth of field even more. 
  • If you want a more intimate option for street photography. The additional 25mm in focal length will allow you to get closer to your subjects.

Similar to the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, the biggest downside is that it doesn’t have built-in vibration reduction. This won’t be too big of an issue if your primary focus is photography, however, it could make it difficult to capture smooth video footage since the Nikon D3100 doesn’t have built-in stabilization.

7. Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8

Because it can often be purchased brand new for just more than $200, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 FX prime lens is yet another excellent prime lens option for the Nikon D3100. The construction of this lens is quite similar to that of the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, with the primary differences being the focal length and the fact that it is a Nikon full-frame FX lens.

If you have to choose between the Nikon 35mm and the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lenses for the D3100, the most important question you need to ask yourself is which focal length will provide you with the most advantages. After taking into consideration the DX size sensor crop factor, in my opinion, the 35mm focal length on the Nikon D3100 offers a little bit more versatility than it did previously.

Having said that, the requirements of each individual will vary, and with that in mind, here are some examples of people for whom I believe the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens would be preferable to the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens:

Since the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is a full-frame FX lens, you should consider purchasing it if you are considering purchasing a full-frame FX camera in the near future. This lens has the potential to be the superior choice.

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if doing portraits is the major emphasis of your photography. You will be able to get even more depth of focus and background compression thanks to the additional 25mm in focal length that was added to the lens. This boost to the zoom length is a welcome feature.

If you are looking for an approach to street photography that is more personal. You will be able to approach your subjects from a more intimate distance thanks to the extended focal length of 25mm.

The major drawback, which is shared with the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, is that it does not have vibration reduction incorporated into the lens itself. Since the Nikon D3100 does not come with a built-in stabilization system, this won’t be much of an issue if your major interest is photography; nonetheless, it may make it more challenging to record footage that is smooth, especially when shooting video.

8. Nikon AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

If you’re searching for a prime lens that can do a little bit of everything, you probably shouldn’t go with the 85mm focal length. Because of the 1.5x crop factor included on the Nikon D3100, this lens has a full-frame equivalent focal length of about 127.5mm; hence, the field of vision you capture will be extremely magnified.

This lens, on the other hand, is a monster when it comes to portraiture. You’ll have the ability to generate very stunning depth of field and fantastic bokeh effects, both of which will make your subject stand out from any background. The fact that this lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 also makes it a highly quick lens, which will provide you with additional shooting options while you are working in low light.

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens does not offer vibration reduction, much as the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 and the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lenses. Again, if photography is your major interest, the fact that this camera has a quicker maximum aperture will make this less of an issue for you. However, because the Nikon D3100 does not come with a built-in stabilization system, it may be challenging for you to record footage that is smooth if your primary intention is to shoot video.

Best Telephoto Lenses For Nikon D3100

9. Sigma 150-600mm f/5 – 6.3 DG OS HSM

A superzoom telephoto lens, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5 – 6.3 has an incredible focal length range that goes from 150-600mm (full-frame equivalent 225-900mm). Because it is a full-frame FX lens, you won’t have to worry about changing it if you decide to move up to a Nikon FX camera in the near future as it is compatible with that type of camera.

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Because of its incredible focal range, this is an excellent lens to have if you want to take pictures of animals, the natural world, or even the athletic activities that your children participate in.

Aside from the focal range, the above-average optical image stabilization of Sigma 150-600mm is the most impressive feature of this lens. You may toggle between the two distinct modes of image stabilization on the lens with the flip of a switch that is located on the side of the lens.

Mode 1 is a general stabilization that works wonderfully for the vast majority of the images you take.
Option 2 is a panning stabilization mode that improves horizontal and vertical panning photographs by making use of the camera’s built-in accelerometer.

Keep in mind that the Nikon D3100 does not have any form of built-in stabilization, so it’s a big bonus that the Sigma offers two distinct stabilization settings to choose from. Even with a tripod, it would be quite challenging to shoot at the greater focal lengths if the lens didn’t have image stabilization.

This lens has a variable aperture that ranges from f/5 to f/6.3, which is the most significant drawback to using this lens. Because it has a variable aperture, this lens may be a bit less effective in low-light settings, and you won’t be able to get a depth of field that is as pleasing as you would with a constant aperture zoom lens. Having said that, considering the price, it’s hard to truly complain about anything.

10. Sigma 70-200mm F/2.8 Sports DG OS HSM

If you’re seeking a full-frame FX lens with a quicker constant aperture zoom, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 Sport might be a nice option for you. This lens is designed for use with full-frame cameras. Because of the constant aperture, you’ll be able to shoot at a maximum aperture of f/2.8 across the board, regardless of the lens length you’re using. This will allow you more leeway when working in low-light conditions and will also provide you with a bokeh-tastic depth of focus.

First, let’s speak about the significant drawback of using this lens. For a lens with a focal length of 70-200 millimeters and an aperture of 2.8, it is quite a beast, coming in at a weight of 4 pounds.

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Therefore, if you’re searching for a more compact zoom lens option and you don’t necessarily require a continuous aperture of f/2.8, then one of the all-around lenses that we discussed might be a better fit for your needs.

Having said that, this lens is fantastic to have provided you are willing to put up with its greater dimensions and more weight. It is exceptionally crisp at all focal lengths and apertures, and it comes in at a very affordable price point, coming around one thousand dollars cheaper than the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens. The image quality is outstanding.

When shooting at longer focal lengths, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 also features an integrated optical image stabilization system, which makes it easier to record smoother video footage and produce photos with more sharpness.

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