Best Lenses for Nikon D3100 in 2021 (Updated)

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Lenses are one of those gadgets that will significantly improve your camera performance when you use them in the right place. A variety of lenses are used for different reasons. The Nikon D3100 is a compact camera that can accommodate several lenses.

It can be a bit difficult to find the right lens for Nikon D3100. Working with a decent lens is much more important for picture quality than with a brand new camera. You can wish to hang on to a perfect lens if you wish to change your Nikon D3100.

The only thing to consider when selecting a lens is that everyone has different needs. What can be a strong lens for one person can be useless for you and vice versa. So take some time out to think before purchasing a perfect lens for your Nikon D3100.

Continue reading to know more about the best lenses for Nikon D3100.

List of Best Lenses for Nikon D3100

  • Nikon 50mm F/1.4G AF-S Prime Lens
  • Nikon 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6G All-purpose Lens
  • Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4.0-5.6 Telephoto Lens
  • Nikon 85mm F/3.5G AF-S Micro Lens
  • Sigma EX 10mm F/2.8 FISHEYE Wide Angle Lens
  • Nikon AF-S FX 50 mm F/1.8G Daytime Lens
Brand
Best Overall
Nikon 50mm F/1.4G AF-S Prime Lens
Best for the Money
Nikon 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6G
Best Cheap Pick
Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4.0-5.6 Telephoto Lens
Product
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens Base Bundle
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED...
Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro...
Lens Type
Standard
Wide Angle
Macro
Maximum Focal Length
50 Millimeters
140 Millimeters
300 Millimeters
Rating
-
Best Overall
Brand
Nikon 50mm F/1.4G AF-S Prime Lens
Product
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens Base Bundle
Lens Type
Standard
Maximum Focal Length
50 Millimeters
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Nikon 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6G
Product
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED...
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Maximum Focal Length
140 Millimeters
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4.0-5.6 Telephoto Lens
Product
Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro...
Lens Type
Macro
Maximum Focal Length
300 Millimeters
Rating
-
Price

Nikon 50mm F/1.4G AF-S Prime Lens

The Nikon 50mm F/1.4G AF-S Prime Lens is sharp, light, and helps to capture rich and vibrant images. This is a professional lens suitable for professionals and fans looking for a premium lens for everyday photography or portrait images.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens Base Bundle

The lens aperture is f/1.4 and fits well, even when the light is poor. The lens field depth is superficial and makes it possible to distinguish the objects on the horizon and to make impressive background marks.

The lens has a fine, sturdy construction, a plastic exterior, and a metal mounting. Compared to the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G, the lens is a bit smaller and weighs just 95 grams. The filter size is improved, as it is increased from 52mm to 58mm.

The focus area is positioned on the front of the lens barrel, making it possible to focus manually on the fingers and thumb of the index. The lens has a Silent wave engine, but the focus is a little slow compared to Nikon 50mm f/1.4D or f/1.8G.

Hence, Nikon 50mm F/1.4G AF-S is a slim and creamy lightweight lens that is rich in color which gives sharp images at extreme angles.

Pros

  • Perfect for low light photography
  • Silent Wave Motor
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Slow Autofocus
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens Base Bundle
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens
  • F-Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Aperture Range: f/1.4 to f/16

Nikon 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6G All-Purpose Lens

Nikon 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6G is the perfect complete lens for Nikon D3100 because of its wide range of applications.

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED...

It goes from a width of 18mm to 140mm which is the best way if you need a strong zoom without curves. Nikon lenses are also built with certain extra features that are not available in other businesses. This automatic focus lens has many advantages and the silent wave motor for silent, fast autofocus, the vibration reduction for stabilization, and the Extra-low dispersion that minimizes chromatic aberration.

This is a modern lens, largely due to the ideal focal length because only one lens can be used at a time. It’s a great pick for beginners and is plenty easy to take some random shots on holidays. It has superior optics and sharp clarity in colors.

It is great for you if you don’t want to invest a lot more in an all-in-one lens. It is solid, and the metal mount provides extra protection. It is one of the best all-in-one lenses available due to the performance, advantages, and build quality offered by this lens.

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Lightweight
  • High-quality metal mount

Cons

  • Few distortion issues
  • Stiff zoom ring
Sale
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED...
  • Goes from wide-angle (18 millimeter ) to telephoto (140 millimeter ) for great snapshots and videos...
  • Nikon Silent Wave Motor (AFS) enables fast, accurate and quiet autofocus, Minimum focus distance...
  • VR image stabilization for sharper handheld photos and videos in low-light situations and at...

Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4.0-5.6 Telephoto Lens

Tamron AF is famous for its incredible optical performance and acts as an outstanding lens for Nikon D3100. This can be your choice if you are looking for a lens that has a fine balance of value and zoom.

Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro...

The Tamron AF 70-300mm comes with a built-in motor that helps to maintain highly mute autofocus. The lens works well if you take quick shots like sports or cycling. The lens also supports a manual focus that is helpful if you want to change your shot or adjust it to the whim.

It is easy to shift from autofocus to manual focus and can be achieved without shuffling the keys. If you want to achieve the highest zoom, the lens offers it between 180mm and 300mm. The set is often labeled as a gold stripe on the lens which allows photographers to move quickly.

The lens body contains a shutter to enable users to turn from Macro mode to use the lens to focus closely. This will fit best if the gap is about 3 to 4 feet. The compact, high-quality TV zoom lens is also easy to manage. This lens is lightweight and even a beginner can perform the mechanical operations easily.

The lens is suitable for outdoor photography and the photographer can use the 300mm portfolio to full advantage and take some amazing shots with focal lengths between 70mm and 135mm. The Tamron lens has a digitally integrated architecture, and the lens is fitted with “inner surface coatings” with the use of multi-layered elements.

Thus, users should avoid thinking about the ghosting and/or flaring that usually happens because of reflections, when the lens is reduced to a minimum. Users can also catch the image with the macro effect by simply switching on the macro button. Photographers can grab photos in the range between 180mm to 300mm using the focal length and take full advantage of the ‘telephoto effect’.

The lens has a magnification of 1:2 with the possibility to modify the composition by zooming. The Tamron AF 70-300mm will surely not disappoint you if you want to find the right lens for your Nikon D3100.

Pros

  • Accurate Autofocus
  • Excellent vibration control
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Loss of sharpness
Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro...
  • 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens
  • Minimum focus distance as short as 37.4"

Nikon 85mm F/3.5G AF-S Micro Lens

The Nikon 85mm F/3.5G is economical as a tele macro from Nikon with outstanding characteristics such as internal focusing, reducing vibrations, and a decent reproductive ratio.

Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens...

The lens is also fitted with a silent wave motor that provides quick and quiet focus during operation. Options such as manual full-time override and Nikon DSLR compatibility makes it one of the best lenses in the industry today. This lightweight lens is approximately 354 grams and is one of Nikkor’s compact lenses.

The lens is well equipped with the VR II Image stabilization feature. This is useful because the camera cannot be placed on a tripod. The Silent wave motor is an outstanding feature because it improves the autofocus of the lens.

This is one of the lenses which can be used on an “in-body focus motor camera. The Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G features a small front part, a 52mm filter thread, and a curved large focus ring. The focus ring is paired with the lens components, which make it easy to use.

The length uses an internal focusing system and the length of this lens does not shift by changing the focus. The lens also has a rubber gasket mounted around the cap of the lens, which makes it suitable to use with “weather- proofed bodies”.

The lens can be used in dirty or not-so-perfect weather conditions without any hesitation. The lens has a Silent wave engine that provides autofocus that is fast and silent. The automatic focus of the lens is quick and unusual for other macro lenses. The manual focus is also very seamless and reliable.

The Nikon 85mm F/3.5G can also be used as a portrait lens due to the focal length of the lens and its view angle. The the lens opens slightly slowly at F/3.5 and the characteristics that can be used as a telephoto lens to their greatest extent.

But you must have a practical tripod and make sure you use manual focusing for best performance if you want to use the lens as a macro. Nikon has also warned that if the replication ratio is high, the VR efficiency can be reduced and many users have found that it is accurate.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Quick autofocus

Cons

  • Slight chromatic deviations
Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens...
  • Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Lens
  • F-Mount Lens/DX Format
  • 127.5mm (35mm Equivalent)

Sigma EX 10mm F/2.8 FISHEYE Wide Angle Lens

Sigma EX 10mm F/2.8 Wide Angle Lens can be the best choice if you are in search of a perfect fisheye lens. A fisheye lens is important if you have a special way to look at the globe. Shooting with a fisheye lens can be a whole new experience with a 180-degree view.

Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Fisheye Lens for Canon...

Fisheye lenses are no longer those new items of equipment that are not much taken out of the package. The lens has a solid construction and is recognised for being one of the best lenses from Sigma. The length is made of high-strength plastic and metal. The lens is thin but very heavy.

Users can feel the lens comfortably and claim it’s high-quality, with a lot of glass. Many users find the lens is not especially hard, but you might feel a little exhausted if you want to shoot it with only one wrist strap all day.

The top of the lens has a distant axis that helps to concentrate. This is one of the unusual features not seen on all lenses today. The focal length of the lens is only 10mm and can be configured to be infinite when you shoot an object at a distance of 10 feet. It can be rather difficult to examine the optics when it comes to fisheye. The distortion is extreme in the best possible way.

The Sigma 10mm is a lens that is real and fulfils the commitment. This can be the best choice if you want to choose a the fish lens of an average price.

Pros

  • High image quality
  • Lens hood
  • Autofocus motor

Cons

  • No image stabilization
  • Not sealed against dust
Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Fisheye Lens for Canon...
  • Fisheye lens designed specifically for APS-C digital SLR cameras
  • 13.5cm minimum focusing distance and 1:3.3 maximum magnification allows close up photography
  • Equipped with HSM allowing full-time manual focus override

Nikon AF-S FX 50 mm F/1.8G Daytime Lens

The Nikon AF-S FX 50mm F/1.8G is the one for you if you are looking for an all- the in-one lens that is suitable for your needs.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens

The lens is a good addition to professional and seasonal photographers’ camera gear whose only objective is to capture perfect images. The lens has a large F/1.8 aperture, making it ideal in low-light conditions. The field depth is shallow so that users can separate some undesirable topics from the backdrop. This also helps take beautiful pictures.

The Nikon 50mm F/1.8D is replaced by its old version. Nikon 50mm F/1.8G is the first Nikon lens to use aspherical objects not apparent in lenses like 50mm F/1.4G. The lens is very robust and the lens portion does not rotate or stretch during operation due to the use of a long lens barrel. The lens is also equipped with a silent wave engine, which enables quiet autofocus.

The lens can be combined with input-level cameras such as the Nikon D5100. The lens is built with a Nikon Super Integrated Coating to reduce motion blur and flaring. The lens fits well for both Nikon’s FX and DX sensors but can be used for daytime shooting with FX sensors.

The lens is sturdy with an exterior of plastic. It weighs about 187 grams and is just 31 grams heavier than its predecessor, The Nikkor F/1.8G is a fantastic lens that offers sharp, balanced colors, and skin tones in the frame.

Though the lens is opened in June 2011, its current position is still high online, which demonstrates that many photographers still want to use it for day-to-day pictures.

Pros

  • Fast Autofocus
  • Silent Wave Motor
  • Reduced flaring

Cons

  • The portrait is a little high when the lens is used at maximum aperture.
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
  • Fast, upgraded f/1.8, compact FX format prime lens. The picture angle with 35 millimeter (135)...
  • Focal length 50 millimeter, minimum focus distance 1.48 feet (0.45 meter)
  • Newly developed optical system with aspherical lens element, exclusive Nikon silent wave motor (SWM)

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Nikon D3100 Lens

The most important thing to consider when selecting a Nikon D3100 is how it fits with the present device and how you normally take images and videos. Here are some of the factors to consider before purchasing the next lens for Nikon D3100:

  • Price – The more costly the lens is, the better the glass. It’s not necessarily right, but it holds relevant most of the time. Given the price, consider how valuable the lens is to you, the level of ability, and how you use your camera.
  • Photo and Video Lenses with fixed aperture and vibration control can be versatile if you take images and videos.
  • Full-frame Consistency – You should take an FX lens if you want to update into a Nikon FX full-frame camera shortly as it works well with the Nikon D3100.
  • Speed of the lens 3200 is the highest ISO you can use to get the best quality pictures and images. This means you can benefit from a quicker lens if you shoot a lot in low-light Conditions.
  • Prime Vs Zoom Each of these lenses has its advantages and Disadvantages. So it’s good to learn what lens style you’ll appreciate and what suits your current gear.
  • Fixed or Variable Maximum Aperture 3200 is the maximum ISO you can use. This will give you a faster aperture zoom. They are typically very costly and bulky at the bottom.
  • Lens Stabilization Distortion reduction in the lens is useful because there is no stabilization of the the camera body of Nikon D3100.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Aperture Matter When Shooting a Video vs Shooting a Picture?

The Nikon D3100 is a DSLR camera that is capable of recording 1080p full HD resolution videos and high-quality pictures. 

If you think you will be focusing more on photography, then all of the lenses that were covered will be very helpful. Each lens has an aperture and zoom length that is meant for a certain genre. 

However, if you are also thinking of filming videos, there are a couple of lens features that you need to look for that will help you capture high-quality videos. 

Lenses have two types of aperture, they are wider maximum aperture and constant maximum aperture. The wider aperture maximum aperture works well when there is a lot of light. 

Due to its limited ISO range, a lens with a wider maximum aperture will allow you to have more flexibility especially in low light areas. You will also be able to get a better depth of field and effectively separate the subject from the background. 

Meanwhile, the constant maximum aperture allows you to keep the exposure of a scene consistent when shooting videos with a zoom lens. 

Lenses with constant maximum aperture usually have the lens stabilization feature so you can confidently zoom in and out without having to worry about a blurry video. Also, since the Nikon D3100 is not equipped with lens stabilization, pairing it up with a lens that has one will make it easier to capture sharp and smooth videos. 

Is Full-Frame Capability Important for Nikon D3100?

If you are thinking about upgrading to the Nikon D3100, it is best to invest in an full-frame lens so you don’t have to frequently change lenses when you swap cameras. 

Full-frame lenses work really well with Nikon D3100 and a lot of the full-frame lenses are ideal for beginners and those who are not keen on spending a lot on camera equipment. 

However, there are cons that you still need to consider. full-frame lenses have a 1.5x crop factor especially when attached to D3100. This means that a 35mm full-frame lens is equivalent to a 52.5mm lens when you connect it to a Nikon D3100. You may not get the whole scale of the subject that you want, so you will need to make certain adjustments. 

What Makes Prime Lenses Different From Zoom Lenses?

Prime lenses are smaller, faster, lighter, and has the ability to produce better pictures than zoom lenses. However, zoom lenses are equipped with a flexible range of focal lengths. It gives you a chance to zoom in and out so you can cover more angles and more reach. 

Basically, the main difference between prime lenses and zoom lenses is their focal length range. 

Prime lenses have a limited focal length range. The range is between 12mm and 5200mm and it will remain the same, which means you can’t have more angles. 

On the other hand, zoom lenses are equipped with zoom rings that allow you to use different ranges of focal lengths. It gives you a better advantage because it removes the need to change lenses when you take pictures, you just need to zoom in and out easily. 

Another advantage of having the choice to switch focal lengths is that it lets you add variety to your pictures easily and quickly. You can adjust your framing as well, so you don’t have to waste any precious time and risk losing the picture-perfect fleeting moments. 

While prime lenses do not have flexibility and versatility unlike zoom lenses, they have better apertures because they offer wider ranges. 

With prime lenses, you can expect an aperture range between f/1.4 to f/2.8, which means you can get more light pass through your camera’s sensor. It can help you get clear images even if you are doing a photoshoot in low light places. It also lets allows for faster shutter speeds. 

Also, prime lenses have more control over the depth of field and it can produce better bokeh through the use of shallow depths of field. 

Some camera brands build zoom lenses with wide apertures, but they are not ideal for beginners. Most entry-level zoom lenses such as the kit lens that is included with your camera purchase have an aperture of f/3.5. The aperture is not that bad, but it does get smaller and usually ends up at f/5.6 especially when you move towards the end of the lens. 

Both prime lenses and zoom lenses are available in different sizes. Although prime lenses tend to be shorter and smaller in size than zoom lenses, that is not always the case. 

The most common prime lenses compact and lighter, given that most genre of photography do not need focal lengths that are above 200mm and the focal length of prime lenses do not change anyway. 

Zoom lenses can also be small especially at the widest focal length. However, it extends when you adjust the focal length towards the end of the lens, adding to its size. 

The use of massive zoom lenses look more professional. However, it can affect the output if you struggle to hold it due to the weight. The advantage of having smaller lenses is that they are easier to pack, user to use, better for travelling and it is great for shooting pictures and videos discreetly. 

Another important difference between prime lenses and zoom lenses is their weight. Zoom lenses are known to have more special glass elements than prime lenses. When you have a lot of zoom lenses, the combined additional weight could make a massive difference to shoot with and travel with. 

Although prime lenses only have one focal length, you will discover that having two prime lenses that have different focal lengths can be lighter and easier to travel with than having one zoom lens that offers the focal lengths of the said prime lenses. 

However, if you are shooting in one location, like a studio, you can attach the camera to a tripod to stabilize it. In this way, the weight of the lens is no longer an issue. 

The current zoom lenses can capture some of the best high-quality images. However, prime lenses have been around for decades, and it has allowed brands to improve the features of the lens and even maintain its slight edge. 

One of the reasons why prime lenses are preferred among photographers when it comes to taking pictures is because zoom lenses are prone to distortion, blurs and chromatic aberration especially when you use wider and tighter aperture.

What is a Constant Maximum Aperture and How Is It Different From Variable Aperture

Having a zoom lens equipped with a constant maximum aperture is known to be the most flexible one. However, they can be heavier compared to variable aperture zoom lenses. 

What is important to know is how you will use the zoom lens and whether the benefits of having a constant aperture zoom is worth the additional weight of the lens. 

If you are planning on shooting portraits, using the lens in low light areas, or if you want to shoot more videos, having a zoom lens equipped with a constant aperture is beneficial. 

For portrait photography, having a constant aperture will let you throw out the background and build a depth of field that can separate the subject from its background. 

In low light conditions, the constant aperture zoom is faster and they provide more flexibility especially in what shutter speeds you can use while keeping the lens’ ISO low. For videos, the aperture means that you won’t have to switch exposures whenever you zoom in and out. 

Conclusion

The best feature of photography is to experiment with new ideas with your camera. Nikon D3100 is the right camera for you to check your abilities. All you have to do is select the right lens to use and capture images.

You will find yourself taking impressive pictures with great care in the right dimensions. Hence, we hope the above guide will help you to find the best Nikon D3100 lens according to your requirements.

Jared Bauman has spent more than twenty years in the professional photography profession. He founded Bauman Photographers in 2001, which is a wedding and commercial photography studio in San Diego, California. The company has been in business for 20 years, and has a stellar reputation in the community. In 2007, Jared co-founded ShootDotEdit, the premium post production company for professional wedding photographers worldwide. The company has edited millions of images for photographers around the world. Jared has spoken and presented at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference 9 years in a row. He has also given several multi-day courses on Creative Live, in addition to two national speaking tours.