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Top Recommended Lenses for DX Nikon DSLRs

Top Recommended Lenses for DX Nikon DSLRs.

Nikon’s DX  DSLR line up constitutes of Nikon D3200, Nikon D3300, D5200, D5300, D5500, D7000, D7100 and the latest Nikon D7200.

If budget is not an issue then D7100 and D7200 are great camera for any photographer who wants a DX body. DX bodies are crop sensor bodies which means the sensor inside is smaller than the fullframe FX bodies. They are cheaper than Full frames and are great value for money products.

Nikon D7100 is a 24MP mid-range, enthusiast-focused APS-C DSLR. [Check latest Price :  Nikon D7100 D7200]
It promises high resolution by making do without an optical low-pass filter in front of its 24MP CMOS sensor. It gains a more sophisticated 51-point autofocus system and a 7fps 1.3x cropped shooting mode that provides a 2x crop compared to a 35mm system.

#1 Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G

50mm is the first lens that most photographers invest in after their kit lens. It gives professional quality result at a entry level price. It is an inexpensive option and gives great result. The aperture opens wide at f1.8 and sucks in all the available light which helps to produce great images in low light. The sharpness is comparable to professional lenses in most cases. It will give you fantastic bokeh / background blur and is a lens of choice for portraits. The only limiting factor is the fixed focal length of 50mm which means you will have to move near or far from the subject as you can not zoom in or zoom out.

#2 Nikon Nikkor AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

This lens is an inexpensive option for shooting wildlife. It gives you the freedom of distance and you can zoom in or out between 55mm to 300mm. It is not as sharp as the 70-300mm VR  version but a great value for money. If budget is an issue and you still want to shoot wildlife images then settle with this 55-300mm lens. Note that the maximum aperture is f4.5 which means that you may have to boost up ISO in low light conditions such as late evening. In good lighting conditions there will be no problem.

#3 Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX

Those who want a wider lens which makes taking group portraits easier may settle for  this 35mm lens. This also opens wide at f1.8 and is a great light sucker meaning great low light images and fantastic bokeh. However the quality of bokeh & background blur will be just below the 50mm f1.8 lens. 35mm is a lens of choice for street photographers and those who mostly shoot in cramped spaces or indoors.

#4 Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D

This is the same as 50mm f1.8 G version except that there is no internal focus motor. This means the DSLR should have a inbuilt autofocus motor or otherwise only manual focusing will work on it. Cameras like D7000, D7100, D7200 do have an built motor while D3300, D5500 etc lacks it. If you have anything lower than D7000 then prefer G version. There is slight price difference between the two. D version is cheaper than G version.

#5 Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G VR II

The 70-300mm has a broad zoom range between 70mm to 300mm. Its a great option for wildlife and sports without breaking your bank. The Vibration Reduction (VRII) mechanism minimizes effects of camera shake to produce sharper images even at longer end for focal length. A nine-blade rounded diaphragm opening makes out-of-focus elements appear more natural. Closest focusing distance is 4.9-feet. It weighs around 750gm and may look bulky on entry level cameras like D3300. If you do some serious wildlife and sports photography and looking for an upgrade at reasonable price then this should be the lens of choice.


#6 17-50 f2.8 Lens 

This lens has constant aperture of f2.8 throughout which means great under low light as well as fantastic bokeh from 17 to 50mm. This is a must have lens if you are looking for a great walk-around lens with fantastic quality.

#7 Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art Lens

This lens has been a revolution for the advance amateurs as well as professionals. A constant aperture of f1.8 is something which is drooled for. The lens is one of the dream lens for any photographer. The best thing about this lens is it’s price. Check out the list of Dream Lenses.

#8 Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro

They are cheaper alternative for wildlife and sports compared to branded ones from Nikon but provides decent image quality under good lighting condition. The autofocus may be slow at times and but it does macro too. Here are the pros and cons of Tamron 70-300mm Non VC.


1. Decent built quality. Little plasticky but still does not do any disservice to your Nikon.
2. Looks good mounted at full telephoto. Gives you that pro feel!
3. Will at times surprise you with excellent photographs when the exposure is calculated right for the shutter speed you set.
4. Price – you cannot get 300 mm at this price.
5. This lens gives you minimum reach to start birding. (If you are confused between this and Nikon 55-200mm with VR, thinking stabilization will somehow compensate the loss of 100mm – just don’t. 300mm is MINIMUM you need unless you you want to do blinds, feeders etc).
6. Comes with a decent UV filter and hood that stays stuck to the lens.
7. 1:2 Macro Mode.
8. The biggest advantage it has is that it pushes you to work around challenges it poses. It forces you to come out of Auto mode right away. It teaches you balancing between shutter speed and other exposer affecting elements. Net, it will leave you a better photographer if not anything else, as long as you are patient. You will feel rewarded for good clicks.


1. Limits you to Shutter Priority or Manual Mode. Fiddling with ISO to balance high shutter will end up giving you noise even in daytime shots.
2. Lack of image stabilization (VC in Tamron’s terminology). In fact, Tamron VC is so powerful, it’s absence makes it all the more painful. VC version is expensive but a great alternate to Nikon’s 70-300mm VR II.
3. Purple fringing is conspicuous in high contrast edges – for example a silhouette. When shooting birds you will invariably have light blue sky as background, and will see purple fringes around feathers.
4. Not the sharpest lens around. Things go soft at 300mm. But its a value for money lens.

Other professional lenses to consider:

Dedicated Macro Photography:
Tamron 90mm f2.8 , Nikon 105mm f2.8


Shot on Nikon 105mm f2.8
Shot on 105mm f2.8

Dedicated Wildlife Photography:
Nikon 300mm f4 Lens
Tamron 150-600mm Lens

tamron 150-600mm sample
Shot on Tamron 150-600 at 600mm

Dedicated Portrait Lens:
Nikon 85mm f1.8G
Nikon / Tamron 70-200mm f2.8

85mm f1.8G sample
85mm f1.8G sample

Which is your next lens? Let us know in comments below and share your views.


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One comment

  1. I have the 18-140 Nikon on my D500. In is phenomenal. The 55-200 was not sharp. My experience.

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