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Nikon D5100 lenses

8 Best lenses for Nikon D5100 [updated 2024]

    Nikon D5100 is an entry-level camera used mainly by photographers starting their careers or doing it as a hobby. That camera is used often because it has an extended range of lenses to mount. More precisely, F-mount type lenses.

    But here, we will find the best lenses for the Nikon D5100! There isn’t only one correct answer because it depends on the photographer’s needs. Some like to shoot portraits, some wildlife, and others small objects. Luckily, many options and different lenses are available to shoot perfect images with the right lens.

    Read more: How to Choose a Camera Lens That Fits Your Needs.

    Disclosure: This article features affiliate links, including If you decide to buy through one of these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra expense to you. For more details, please see my disclosure policy.

    Best lenses for Nikon D5100

    Below, you will find the best lenses for the Nikon D5100. There, you will find information about different types of lenses, price ranges, and where to use them. The prices are categorized as follows:

    • 0 – 400$ – Budget $
    • 401 – 700$ – Average $$
    • 700+ $ – Expert $$$

    You will find here lenses for:

    > Portrait
    > Wide-angle
    > Zoom
    > Telephoto
    > Macro

    portrait lenses

    1. Nikon AF S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G

    • Price: Budget $
    • Best feature: Soft background
    • Dimensions: 80 x 73mm / 3.1 x 2.9in.
    • Weight: 350g / 12.4oz
    • Filter size: Ø67
    • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
    • Focal length: 85 mm
    • Image stabilization: No


    + Sweet bokeh with f/1.8
    + Super affordable for an 85mm prime lens
    + Excellent focusing


    – Does not have image stabilization

    What is the best lens for portraits? This has been a long discussion because there isn’t only one answer. Usually, the options are between 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm prime lenses for portraits. This prime lens for portraits will add new dimensions and spark while shooting your models.

    Build and handling: Although it’s a bit heavier than the other portrait lenses below, it’s still considered lightweight. Its build is professional and covers all the necessary buttons for shooting.

    Performance: Thanks to the large aperture (f/1.8), it will perform excellently in low-light conditions. Also, it has two focus modes: manual priority AF and manual focus. Due to fast and silent focusing (silent wave motor), it’s also a real deal when shooting videos.

    Best for: As mentioned, portrait photography is the best you will get out of it. But a good photographer can use this Nikon D5100 lens in many ways. It would also do a great job in product, event, and wedding photography. 

    It’s one of the best lenses for this camera, as it offers so much on portrait compositions. You will have a creamy background, shallow depth of field, and excellent contrast at a low cost.

    2. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

    • Price: Budget $
    • Best feature: Shallow depth of field
    • Dimensions: 72 x 52.5mm / 2.8 x 2.1in.
    • Weight: 185g / 6.6oz
    • Filter size: Ø58
    • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
    • Focal length: 50 mm
    • Image stabilization: No


    + Lightweight design
    + Affordable for the beginner
    + Excellent autofocus for the price


    – A bit of visual distortion

    Any lens with an aperture of f/1.8 would be an excellent fit for portrait photography, and this lens is also super cheap. A smaller price doesn’t mean that it produces bad quality. More than that, you will be surprised by this price-quality ratio.

    Build and handling: One of the greatest advantages of this lens is its lightweight and compact design. It weighs only 6.6 oz. (185 g). So that means you don’t need to hit the gym to shoot hand-held, it’s light enough to keep hands stable for a while.

    Performance: The maximum aperture is f/1.8, which will handle well under harsh low-light conditions. Another perk to a large aperture is that it will get you a blurry background; therefore, your subject will stand out from the noise. It also has a built-in autofocus motor that results in silent focusing and sharp images.

    Best for: It’s meant mainly for portraits, but again, like with previous lenses, you can use it also for different reasons. You can take it for a product, event, wedding, or landscape photography.

    It’s one of the best lenses for Nikon D5100 on a budget. You wouldn’t find any cheaper option for your camera. If you don’t want to spend much on a new lens but want to shoot better portraits, that would be an ideal option.

    3. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

    • Price: Budget $
    • Best feature: Large aperture
    • Dimensions: 70 x 52.5mm / 2.8 x 2.1in.
    • Weight: 200g / 7oz.
    • Filter size: Ø52
    • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
    • Focal length: 35 mm
    • Image stabilization: No


    + Wide aperture
    + Great autofocus
    + Compact design


    – Doesn’t have in-built image stabilization

    This portrait lens differs in focal length from previous competitors. On this occasion, you don’t need to shoot long distances so that you can work in tighter spaces. It’s a great lens to start with as a beginner, as it’s cheap.

    Build and handling: This lens is also very lightweight, like the previous lens. With a compact design and a weight of 7 oz. (200 g), it’s easy to capture visuals hand-held. It’s an essential feature because it doesn’t have built-in image stabilization. So, you must hold the camera and lens as steady as possible for sharp images.

    Performance: The greatest perk of this lens is that you don’t need to slow down shutter speeds to get sharp photos under low-light conditions. It has a large aperture of f/1.8, essential for portrait photography. Also, this budget lens has a silent focusing motor, so it will be great when shooting videos.

    Best for: Again, like the previous ones, this is mainly meant for portraits, but you can also use it on different shootings. This has a bit of an advantage over previous choices as it has a shorter focal length. That means you can work in tight spaces, for example, event photography. This is also a better option for street photography, shooting wide landscapes, and travel if you don’t have any other lenses.

    If you don’t want to break the bank and are still a beginner, this would be a great addition to your camera gear.

    wide-angle lens

    4. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

    • Price: Budget $
    • Best feature: Performs well in tight spaces
    • Dimensions: 82.5 x 87 mm / 3.25 x 3.42 in.
    • Weight: 458 g / 16.2 oz.
    • Filter size: Ø77
    • Maximum aperture: f/3.5
    • Focal length: 10-24mm
    • Image stabilization: No


    + Affordable zoom lens
    + Focusing motor
    + Excellent image quality throughout the zoom range


    – Doesn’t have image stabilization

    An affordable zoom lens that will cover all your needs. It has a wide-angle focal length, a smooth focusing motor, and an affordable price tag. It perfectly suits a beginner’s photography needs and produces excellent image quality.

    Build and handling: A compact and simple design will be enough to shoot the images you want. It weighs 16.2 oz. (458 g), so it will be enough to capture moments on the go hand-held. You will find a focusing mode switch (M/A and M) and zoom ranges on the lens.

    Performance: An aperture for a budget zoom lens is pretty decent. You can work under low light conditions. For focusing, it also has a Silent Wave Motor that enables it to shoot videos without noise from focusing.

    Best for: This lens will be useful when you have a tight shooting space and want to get as much action in the frame as possible. It’s best for indoor shootings like events, real estate, and wedding photography. Outdoors, it’s used for tight street photography, cityscapes, or wide-angle landscapes.

    It’s an affordable zoom lens and would be a perfect fit to try out wide-angle photography.

    zoom lenses

    5. Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM

    • Price: Expert $$$
    • Best feature: Large aperture for a zoom
    • Dimensions: 78 x 121mm / 3.1 x 4.8in.
    • Weight: 810g / 28.6 oz.
    • Filter size: Ø72
    • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
    • Focal length: 18 – 35 mm
    • Image stabilization: No


    + A large aperture for a zoom
    + Affordable pro-grade gear
    + Can be used in various photoshoots


    – A bit heavy

    This Nikon D5100 Sigma lens is something from a pro-grade level selection. It has a lot of superb benefits and is still a reasonable investment. It’s one of the most expensive lenses in this selection, but when you look at the specifications, you will be more surprised why it’s so affordable.

    Build and handling: This zoom lens is from the ART series, known for professional design. It looks and feels like a proper pro-grade lens. The only disadvantage is its weight – 28.6 oz. (810 g). But this will be compensated by its numerous advantages.

    Performance: You don’t find many zoom lenses with as large aperture as this lens. An aperture of f/1.8 is unique and rare, convincing photographers to invest. It also has a hypersonic motor that provides fast and silent focusing.

    Best for: This lens can be used in many ways and conditions. It will handle tight spaces, low-light conditions, and shooting in distance. So, it will be an ideal everyday lens. It would be a great partner for street, landscape, event, travel, and product photography.

    It has a large aperture, fast focusing, creamy bokeh, wide angle, and the price. Usually, with these specs, you would assume to pay at least double for this lens. It’s worth the investment!

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

    • Price: Budget $
    • Best feature: Optical stabilization
    • Dimensions: 83.5 x 91.8 mm / 3.29 x 3.61 in.
    • Weight: 565g / 19.9oz.
    • Filter size: Ø77
    • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
    • Focal length: 17-50 mm
    • Image stabilization: Yes


    + A large aperture for a zoom
    + Built-in image stabilization
    + Cheap for a zoom lens


    – Could be lighter

    It’s the best Nikon D5100 travel lens on the market. Like the previous one, this one also has a wide aperture and is ideal for shooting various objects from close range to far away. This all-in-one lens is ideal for beginners as it’s also super cheap.

    Build and handling: It’s lighter than the previous zoom lens but still a bit too heavy. It’s nothing serious, but you could feel heaviness after shooting hand-held. However, this is well compensated with built-in optical stabilization. One of the best features of this lens.

    Performance: It does not have as large of an aperture as the previous one, but f/2.8 is still impressive for a zoom. A wide aperture gives you much room to get quality visuals in shooting conditions, more precisely in low light. Also, there is a built-in multilayer coating to keep down high exposure. 

    Best for: It’s best for travel photography as you can shoot so many various objects and subjects. Also, as it has focal lengths of 17-50mm, it can be easily used for group photos, landscapes, streets, portraits, and many other photographs.

    If you are a beginner and don’t want to spend much, it’s a good option for your Nikon D5100. An aperture of f/2.8 for a zoom and optical stabilization for a budget lens is a bargain. The quality and price ratio are exceptional. 

    telephoto lens

    7. Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM

    • Price: Expert $$$
    • Best feature: Light and compact for a telephoto lens
    • Dimensions: 260 x 105mm / 10.2 x 4.1in.
    • Weight: 1,930g / 68.1oz.
    • Filter size: Ø95
    • Maximum aperture: f/5
    • Focal length: 150-600mm
    • Image stabilization: Yes


    + Lightweight for telephoto
    + Built-in image stabilization
    + Affordable price


    – Have some weaknesses after 500mm

    The most reasonable telephoto lens for Nikon D5100 you can find on the market. You have found your match if you are eager to be outdoors and capture wildlife or sports! It’s affordable, powerful, and even compact.

    Build and handling: The weight of this is 68.01 oz. (1,930 g). At first, it looks like massive and heavy gear for your camera, but in terms of a 150-600mm telephoto lens, it’s pretty compact and “lightweight”. Usually, these kinds of lenses are 35 oz. (1 kg) heavier. Still, it hasn’t lost any professional looks and feels like a pro-grade lens.

    Performance: Apart from a zoom range of 150mm to 600mm, it also has several other benefits. A large aperture of f/5 is excellent for a telephoto because it greatly boosts low-light conditions. It also has a hypersonic motor and built-in optical stabilization. The last feature will give this lens so many advantages over competitors.

    Best for: First and foremost, it’s used for shooting very long distances. It could be wildlife, sports, or details from landscape photos. You don’t need any other lens for these types of photography.

    It has many quality specifications, and it is cheap. If you are into wildlife or sports photography, you won’t find any better deals in that price range. 

    macro lens

    8. Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G

    • Price: Budget $
    • Best feature: Great sharpness from center to corners
    • Dimensions: 68.5 x 64.5mm / 2.7 x 2.5in.
    • Weight: 235g / 8.3oz.
    • Filter size: Ø52
    • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
    • Focal length: 40mm
    • Image stabilization: No


    + Cheap macro
    + Super lightweight
    + Excellent and detailed image quality


    – Focal length short for living objects

    This macro lens will be a great addition to your camera gear. It’s a consumer-level camera gear that is cheap enough to invest in without breaking your budget. 

    Build and handling: This one is compact as you would expect from macro lenses. It weighs 8.3 oz. (235 g) and it’s small enough to fit into any camera bag. The build is similar to other consumer-level Nikon lenses – quality is slightly higher than average. This allows you to shoot great images.

    Performance: One of the best features of this lens is an aperture of f/2.8 and Super Integrated Coating. A larger aperture is necessary for macro lenses because you will get less light into the camera when you get closer to the object. On the other hand, additional coatings are for dealing with harsh overexposure skies – so you can also shoot when the sun is highest.

    Best for: This macro lens is best for objects that can be shot at very close range. Non-living objects like the details of food, plants, or anything that doesn’t move are the best fit for this lens. Taking a capture of small living objects like insects would be hard to complete because, with a short focal length, you need to get closer to the object.

    Overall, it is a great addition to your Nikon D5100 camera gear that doesn’t cost much. Whether you want to try out something new or you are getting into macro photography, it would be an ideal choice to try it out.


    There was a list of the best lenses for the Nikon D5100. Now, you have to pick and choose your next lens. Any lens can make your photography outcome much better, but as they say, practice makes perfect.

    Read more: Best Nikon DX lenses.

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