Nikon D5100 is an entry-level camera that is used mostly by photographers who are starting their career or doing it as a hobby. That camera is used often because it has a long range of different lenses to mount on. More precisely F-mount type lenses.
But here we will find out what are the best lenses for Nikon D5100! Well, there isn’t only one right answer, because it depends on the photographer’s needs. Some like to shoot portraits, some wildlife, and others small objects. Luckily, there are many options and different lenses to shoot perfect images with the right lens.
Best lenses for Nikon D5100
Below you will find the best lenses for 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:
Nikon D5100 portrait lenses
1. Nikon AF S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G
+ Sweet bokeh with f/1.8
+ Super affordable for 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. Using this Nikon D5100 prime lens for portraits will add some new dimensions and spark while shooting your models.
Build and handling: Even though it’s a bit heavier than other portrait lenses below, it’s still considered lightweight. Its build is professional and it covers all the necessary buttons you need 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 already 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 do a great job also in product, event, and wedding photography.
Overall, it’s one of the best lenses for Nikon D5100, as it offers so much on portrait compositions. You will have a creamy background, shallow depth of field, and excellent contrast. When you want to level up your portrait photography then look nowhere else as it doesn’t even cost much.
2. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
+ 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 a great fit for portrait photography and this Nikon D5100 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: As the maximum aperture is f/1.8 it will handle well under harsh low light conditions. Another perk to a large aperture is that it will get you a blurry background and 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 with you for a product, event, wedding, or even for landscape shootings.
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, then that would be an ideal option to start with.
3. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
+ Wide aperture
+ Great autofocus
+ Compact design
– Doesn’t have in-built image stabilization
This Nikon D5100 portrait lens differs in focal length from previous competitors. On this occasion, you don’t need to shoot at a long distance and therefore you can work in tighter spaces. It’s a great lens to start with as a beginner as it’s super cheap.
Build and handling: As the previous lens this one is also very lightweight. With a compact design and a weight of 7 oz. (200 g), it’s easy to capture visuals hand-held. It’s an important feature because it doesn’t have built-in image stabilization. So you need to hold the camera and lens as steady as possible for sharp images.
Performance: The greatest perk for this budget Nikon D5100 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 which is 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.
It’s one of the best lenses for Nikon D5100 on a budget. If you don’t want to break the bank and you are still a beginner then this would be a great addition to your camera gear.
Nikon D5100 wide angle lens
4. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
+ Affordable zoom lens
+ Focusing motor
+ Excellent image quality throughout the zoom range
– Doesn’t have image stabilization
An affordable Nikon D5100 zoom lens that will cover all your needs. It has a wide-angle focal length, smooth focusing motor, and on top of that an affordable price tag. It will perfectly suit 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. On the lens, you will find a focusing mode switch (M/A and M) and zoom ranges.
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 come in handy when you have a tight shooting space and you 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.
Overall, it is one of the best lenses for the Nikon D5100 if you want to fit as many objects into the frame as possible. It’s also an affordable zoom lens and would be a perfect fit to try out wide-angle photography.
Nikon D5100 zoom lenses
5. Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM
+ 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 still, it’s a reasonable investment. It’s one of the most expensive lenses in this selection, but when you look at the specifications, then you will be more surprised why it’s so affordable.
Build and handling: This Nikon D5100 zoom lens is from the ART series that is 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 that have as large an aperture as this lens has. An aperture of f/1.8 is something unique and rare that convinces photographers to make the investment. 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 well in 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.
Overall, it’s the best lens for Nikon D5100 for many reasons. 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
+ 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, this one also sparks with a wide aperture and it’s just ideal to shoot 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, it’s a bit too heavy. Nothing too serious, but you could feel heaviness after shooting hand-held for a while. 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 amazing for a zoom. A wide aperture gives you so much room to get quality visuals in any 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. If you can go on your travel adventures with only one lens, then look nowhere else. Also, as it has focal lengths of 17-50mm, it can be easily used for group photos, landscapes, streets, portraits, and in many other photographs.
If you are a beginner and don’t want to spend much then it’s the best lens for 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.
Nikon D5100 telephoto lens
7. Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM
+ 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. If you are eager to be outdoors and capture wildlife or sports, then you have found your match! 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 from 150mm to 600mm, it also contains several other benefits. A large aperture of f/5 is great for a telephoto because it’s a huge boost to low light conditions. It also has a hypersonic motor and built-in optical stabilization. The last feature is something that will give this lens so many advantages over competitors.
Best for: First and foremost, it’s used for shooting at a very long distance. It could be wildlife, sports, or details from landscape photos. You don’t need any other lens for these types of photography.
Overall, it’s one of the best Nikon D5100 lenses for telephoto. It has many quality specifications and it is cheap. If you are into wildlife or sports photography then you wouldn’t find any better deals in that price range.
Nikon D5100 macro lens
8. Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G
+ Cheap macro
+ Super lightweight
+ Excellent and detailed image quality
– Focal length short for living objects
This Nikon D5100 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: As you would expect from macro lenses, then this one is also pretty compact. It weighs 8.3 oz. (235 g) and it’s small enough to fit into any camera bag. The build is also similar to other consumer-level Nikon lenses – quality is a bit 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 pretty necessary for macro lenses because when getting closer to the object you will get less light into the camera. 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 any other thing that doesn’t move are the best fit for this lens. Taking a capture of small living objects like insects would be a hard task to complete because with a short focal length you need to get closer to the object.
Overall, 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.
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