Last Updated on January 13, 2021 by Dion Lewis
If you want to take perfect and stunning images with your Nikon D3100, you need to have the best lens that suits your photography needs. Different lenses are compatible with this camera, but the selection of the most suitable one should be done after thorough research. Consider the specs and features of each lens before settling for one.
Nikon D3100 Lenses Reviews
1. Nikon AF-S 35mm
This lens is a must-have for any DX-format DSLR shooter, and the compact, lightweight nature of this prime lens helps in shooting quality images at any skill level. It has a 35mm focal length ideal for a classic “natural” angle of view. This lens has a fast f/1.8 aperture for autofocus, so you can take sharp images and videos, even in low light, and create a beautifully blurred background. The fast aperture provides complete depth-of-field control for isolating your subjects to create stunning portraits.
Design: The 35mm F1.8 follows Nikon’s new design with the build quality and finish standard, considering the relatively low price. The lens barrel is made from black plastic. It has a metal mount and an ‘O’ ring around it to prevent dust and water in the camera. The lens is not weather-sealed, but it feels sturdy and well put together.
Performance: An f/1.8 maximum aperture is for creating blurred backgrounds, and it’s the key to exceptional low-light performance. One genuinely desirable aspect of this lens’s performance is its ability to produce images that are smoothly blurred even in out-of-focus regions. The 35mm F1.8G can produce substantially blurred backgrounds, and even though they can be a bit hard-edged in character, their Bokeh is very appealing.
Why we liked it: This lens is smaller, lighter, and an inexpensive, large aperture option for users of the DSLRs entry-level series. Its angle of view doesn’t allow any of the ‘perspective distortion’ linked to wide-angle or telephoto lenses. The fast F1.8 maximum aperture admits enough light for shooting in low light where you are required to keep the shutter speeds sensibly high. The ‘Silent Wave Motor’ permits autofocus in images, so you can use focus manually in AF mode.
Why you should buy: It has an Aspherical lens element that minimizes coma and other types of lens aberrations. A Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) enhances the efficiency of light transmission and quality image integrity by offering color consistency and reducing flare. The exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables fast, accurate, and quiet autofocus of images. This lens has a close focusing to 1 foot to create different perspectives and versatility in images.
2. Sigma 17-50mm
The 17-50mm f/2.8 is a fast and nearly silent lens, but it doesn’t allow full-time manual (FTM) override in one-shot AF mode. Manual focusing on this lens is delicate because of the particularly short focus path. This lens is characterized by its versatile zoom range and bright design, and it covers a wide-angle to portrait-length range.
Design: The lens features a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, which ensures sharp and quality images in the available light conditions. The optical design includes Two F Low Dispersion (FLD) elements to reduce color fringing and chromatic aberrations. Included in the optical design is a trio of aspherical elements, which effectively reduce various aberrations and promote more outstanding image sharpness and clarity.
Performance: This lens features HSM autofocus, a wide f/2.8 aperture, and OS (optical stabilization). Its wide aperture is advantageous to stop camera motion in low light by allowing a faster shutting speed. The 17-50mm focal length range makes it suitable for landscape shots, around-the-house shots, close sports photography, and full-body and head-and-shoulders portraits.
Why we like it: This lens has a Super Multi-Layer Coating used to suppress flare and ghosting for improved contrast and color accuracy when working in any setting. It has a Hyper Sonic Motor, which ensures quick and quiet autofocus performance, and an Optical Stabilizer to minimize the probability of camera shake and sharper handheld shooting. Additionally, this lens has a sleek profile, which makes it ideal for walk-around and travel shooting.
Why you should buy it: It is well-suited for working in low-light conditions as it provides greater control over the focus position regardless of the field techniques you use. A significant new feature of this lens is the OS (“Optical Stabilizer”), which has been efficient and performs impressively. The maximum aperture available on these lenses is not wide enough, so if there is any movement from the subject and if shooting in low light, the images are motion blurred.
3. Nikon AF-S 50mm
This lens is an important one for photographers who love standard portraits and for everyday use. It has a modified optical design with six groups, each containing seven optical elements. This design minimizes chromatic aberrations and coma in images. The 50mm focal length with a fast f/1.8 aperture allows capturing striking portraits with a shallow depth-of-field. This lets the subject stand out in the background,
Design: This lens features Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology, which transforms “traveling waves” into rotational energy to emphasize the optics. SWM ensures high-speed autofocusing, which is exceptionally precise. It allows near-silent auto-focusing on all Nikon DSLR cameras. Additionally, Silent Wave Motor (SWM) guarantees accurate, fast, and quiet autofocus for sharp images. This lens is an invaluable partner to help push your creativity to the limit and the right choice for shooting different outdoor scenes.
Performance: It has a M/A focusing mode, which allows you to switch from automatic to manual focusing quickly by simply turning the focusing ring on the lens. It comes with an improved optical design and a larger lens barrel, which hinder the front lens element from shifting during autofocus operations. This makes the lens more durable and easier to use. The lens incorporates a silent wave motor (AF-S), which in addition to providing near-silent focus operation, it allows full usage of the lens on entry-level DSLRs.
Why we like it: This lightweight standard lens is a great travel companion, as it can be carried around for picnics and day out events. It has a fast f/1.8 aperture that allows you to capture stunning images even in low-light situations with dazzling brilliance. This lens will enable you to achieve a more natural depth of the field. Whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors, food, nature, or portraits, you have assured a beautiful and very natural background blur.
Why you should buy it: This lens allows you to shoot tack-sharp portraits all the time with its advanced features. It has Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC), which enhances light transmission efficiency. SIC offers a consistency of color and reduces flare. It has an Aspherical Lens Element (AS) virtually eliminates coma and other types of aberrations, so you don’t have to worry even when.
4. Sigma 18-300mm
This all in one zoom lens is designed to achieve a balance between convenience and performance. It is compact and lightweight in build, and it is designed for DX-format Nikon F-mount cameras. This lens covers a useful wide-angle to super-telephoto range, and it is a flexible, all-in-one zoom lens with a sleek design. This lens prioritizes versatility and compactness, and so it is suitable for travel photography and everyday use.
Design: This lens is designed to match the image sensor found in consumer SLRs, but it’s much smaller than similar superzooms for full-frame bodies. It was designed with a state of the art Sigma technology that makes it amazing. It has an enhanced stabilizer that makes up for camera shake and an optimized hypersonic motor for fast and quiet autofocus. This lens is designed with four FLD paired with SLD glass elements for capturing sharp and contrasted images of high quality.
This optical design helps to reduce color fringing and chromatic aberrations, which improves color accuracy and clarity. The Three aspherical elements of this lens minimize distortion and spherical aberrations. They are also responsible for the greater overall sharpness and accurate rendering.
Performance: This lens’s optical design uses a series of low dispersion and aspherical elements for reduction of spherical and chromatic aberrations and chromatic throughout the zoom range. It is designed with a Super Multi-Layer Coating, which aids in controlling lens flare and ghosting. This is vital for shooting images with high contrast and color accuracy. Balancing its other great optical capabilities, this 16.6x zoom also has a Hyper Sonic Motor. Hyper Sonic Motor is responsible for fast and precise autofocus performance, and it also ensures full-time manual focus control.
Why we like it: This lens takes images with a great Bokeh quality as a result of its seven-blade Diaphragm. It has an Optical Stabilizer that ensures the images taken are sharp by reducing camera shake’s appearance. This lens minimizes flare and ghosting to shoot color-neutral and contrast-rich imagery even in low light conditions using the Super Multi-Layer Coating on the lens elements.
Why you should buy it: This lens has an Integrated HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) and a rear focus system, which helps realize quick and quiet autofocus. There is a complementary optimized AF algorithm to give you a smoother focusing performance. If you want a lens with full-time manual focus control, the HSM feature of this lens allows you to focus your subject simply by rotating the focus ring at any time.
5. Nikon AF-S 85mm
This lens is a light and compact choice that’s ideal for portraiture. It’s quite sharp and equally affordable, and it is designed for use on Nikon’s FX-format D-SLR cameras. With a fast maximum aperture, this lens is suitable for shooting still or HD videos under ideal lighting, in low light, head and shoulder portraiture.
Design: The lens aperture is a 7-blade design, with rounded blades to ensure that out-of-focus highlights are somewhat circular when the lens is stopped down. However, it has a close focus, which is limited to 2.6 feet. This can be a challenge if you are used to working with wider angle lenses that give you a closer focus. The build quality of this lens is very decent, with an outer barrel made from high-quality plastics.
Performance This lens is designed with a rubberized focus ring that is nicely damped and operates smoothly, allowing the focus unit to follow the focus ring immediately, even when altering the focus direction. There is a Silent Wave ultrasonic drive that permits near-silent autofocus and, sometimes, manual override. Thanks to an IF (inner focus) design of this lens, the length stays constant regardless of the focus setting. The front element does not rotate either, so using a polarizer is not an issue.
It is designed with a Silent Wave Motor technology that converts “traveling waves” into rotational energy. If you want to achieve shallow depth-of-field in your portraiture, this is the best lens choice for you.
Why we liked it: This lens is undoubtedly attractive to photographers due to its considerably low price. It comes with a reversible bayonet lens hood, which acts as a soft carrying case. This lens lacks an optical stabilization system, so it’s not the best choice for handheld video recording. The only control switch changes between manual and autofocus.
Why you should buy it: If you want to get astonishing low light results, this medium telephoto portrait lens is great for use in any setting. If you want a shoot in the studio, on set, or in any available light, this lens produces stills or HD videos with beautiful background blur. Its fast f/1.8 aperture allows it to capture images even in low-light situations with stunning brilliance.
6. Nikon AF-S 40mm
This lens is a macro lens, and Macro photography brings about fun and unique ways of capturing the things that amaze you most. The 40mm f/2.8G offers a high resolution and contrast from infinity to life-size (1X). This helps you better focus on your subjects so that you can capture even the finest details. This macro lens has a slightly longer than the regular angle of view, a stunning image quality, and life-size magnification at its closest focus range.
Design: This lens is designed with a CRC (Close Range Correction) System, which ensures a superior image quality by increasing the focusing distance when you focus at close range. CRC keeps the lens elements configured in a “floating element” design to achieve focus. This accounts for superior lens performance when shooting in any setting. Besides, it has a Silent Wave Motor technology responsible for converting “traveling waves” into rotational energy.
Performance: At its asking price, the performance and image quality that this lens delivers is staggering. Macro lenses are expected to have a close focus, and this particular one isn’t any different. It can lock onto objects that are just 6.4 inches from the camera’s sensor. This 40mm lens an impeccable job as a longer but still standard-angle prime. It has a focus limiter switch, which hinders it from hunting for focus at short distances. The only other switch this lens has is located between autofocus and manual focus.
Why we liked it: This standard close-up lens is great at what it does. It captures the finest details at any distance, including details virtually impossible to notice with the human eye. This lens is a preferred choice for photographers who take enticing food photography or detailed product shots. It has a continuous autofocusing from infinity to 6.4 inches, which ensures sharpness and clarity in every shot taken. This lens is perfect if you want to marvel at the details you can capture, as it is excellent at capturing natural surroundings and super close-ups. It can render fine details in images, which makes it a standout for landscape work.
Why you should buy it: This lens allows you to isolate your subjects and give your images a natural background blur (Bokeh). Whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors, the lens offers a beautiful, natural background blur at its wider aperture settings. It has a Selective focus, which helps alienate the subject from the background, create out of focus backgrounds, and capture very fine details. This lens can also be carried around for convenience as it is lightweight and versatile enough for daily photography.
7. Nikon AF-S 18-140mm
If you’re looking for an outstanding grab-and-go lens for everyday photography, this lens is perfect. It is designed to perform exceptionally and produce stunning images using Nikon’s high-resolution DX-format image sensors. This lens delivers beautiful, stunning, and ultra-sharp photos that have a soft blurred background. It is also versatile with a 7.8x zoom range that allows you to shoot everything. You can shoot beautiful wide-angle family portraits and telephoto close-up images.
Design: The 18-140mm is a solid lens. It is designed with polycarbonate plastic, and it has a textured black matte finish. This lens is slightly longer and wider than its competitors and a little heavier too, which helps in the accommodation of the VR system. This lens lacks the fit and finish of previous kit lenses, and as there is no distance scale, there are no depth-of-field markings. This lens is designed with two control switches: one for enabling or disabling autofocus modes (A or M), and the other enables or disables vibration reduction in images.
Another key feature in this lens design is the zoom ring, which is mounted forward of the focus ring. The zoom ring is made with a thick ribbed rubber texture that makes it easy to grip. The lens’s focus ring is made of plastic, and it is significantly smaller than the zoom ring. This lens also comes equipped with VR image stabilization.
Performance: This lens puts in a pretty impressive performance all around. It has a high image achieved mostly towards the wide end. The 18-140mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 provides very sharp and consistent results. If you want improved performance, consider stopping down by just one aperture setting. This lens does not have a big issue with Vignetting as well.
Why we like it: As an AF-S lens, this lens’s autofocus operation is quick and virtually silent, making it a good lens choice for you. The 18-140mm lens works on all Nikon cameras supporting SWM (silent wave motor) lenses. Should you want to override the autofocus results, simply turning the focus ring will do.
This lens is small and light in design, and it represents a field of view of approximately 27-210mm in 35mm terms. This lens is designed with a variable aperture to economize and create a more efficient design,
Why you should buy it: This lens has four stops of VR image stabilization, which means sharper handheld photos and videos, regardless of whether you’re shooting in low light or at maximum focal length for macro-stay or even close-ups!
8. Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mm
This is a very special lens made for APS-C crop-sensor DSLR cameras. It has Astro Photography, which allows Smooth focusing ensuring precise control and production of sharp images. It is an ideal choice for indoor and night shooting. Featuring eight rounded blades, this lens is perfect if you want to create a sense of dimension with incredible Bokeh. It can be suitable for out-of-focus backgrounds when shooting portraits and night city landscapes.
Design: Like all previous Rokinon lenses, this lens feels well-constructed and rock-solid. The focus on its design is buttery smooth, which is advantageous for photographers who enjoy the manual focus. The lens has great overall construction; you need to keep an eye on the integrity of the internal optics and be careful with it.
Performance: When it comes to Vignetting, it is tough to scale on the Rokinon 16mm. This is because the lens vignettes are so bad wide open affecting almost the entire image frame, or there is almost no vignetting at all.
Why we like it: The distortion of this lens is not bad, and the Chromatic Aberrations are extremely low to begin. However, these are a non-issue with Adobe’s incredible tools for removing CA. when it comes to flare & Sunstars, the flare is, thankfully, pretty well controlled. You can achieve that pretty type of flare if you want to, and the sun-stars are beautiful thanks to the Rokinon’s usual aperture blade design. This lens is a macro lens; it allows quite close focus and produces incredible sharpness at different focus distances.
Best Lens for Nikon D3100: Buyer’s Guide
If you own a Nikon D3100, you are aware it is a very powerful and fantastic DSLR. Taking the perfect photos and making magic requires a good lens for your camera, so it is essential to know which lenses are compatible with your Nikon D3100 and which aren’t. There are many lenses for comparison in the market today, and each has its specialties, advantages, and disadvantages.
Buying a lens for your camera can be very challenging, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Some factors come into play when buying a suitable lens for your Nikon D3100, such as aperture, focal length, the desired usage of the lens, and the budget you have.
Budget: You should have a certain budget to help you narrow down your options. The right lens might be a bit costly, but if the specs and features are suitable for your photography needs, then go for it.
Usage: the purpose of your camera determines what lens is suitable for it. If you are, it helps you determine if you need a fixed prime lens or a telephoto zoom lens.
Aperture: the aperture is the hole through which light enters the camera, and the bigger it is, the lighter it lets in. a lower aperture number, however, signifies a higher hole, so if you want to shoot in low light conditions, consider a lens with a higher aperture.
Focal length: this is the range between the lens and the zoom, and it Is very important when choosing a lens for your Nikon D3100.
Frequently Asked Questions (F. A. Q.s)
Q1: Is Nikon D3100 still a good camera?
Ans: The Nikon D3100 is an entry-level DSLR with many features and functionality suitable for those who want to get into photography and professionals. It has a 14.2 MP DX CMOS sensor that ensures excellent image quality and full HD video recording capabilities. This camera has a reliable autofocus system, making it a good camera and one worth considering.
Q2: What is the best image quality setting for Nikon d3100?
Ans: The “best” image quality setting for Nikon D3100 would be NEF (RAW), but it requires additional steps to process the image. If you want to process NEF files in-camera, go to your MENU, highlight the ‘Retouch Menu’ and choose ‘NEF (RAW) processing. If you don’t want to process your images, the best option is ‘JPEG Fine’ with the image size set to ‘Large’.
Q3: Is Nikon D3100 a professional camera?
Ans: This camera can be used for professional photography. The D3100 turns in a pretty good performance, with 100, 200, and 400 ISO performing exemplary. The 400 shows just the least hint of some graininess creeping in, but the overall image of the Nikon D3100 is quite good.
Q4: What is the best ISO setting for portraits?
Ans: For portraits, you should use the highest image quality possible. This means that you should set the ISO as low as possible to avoid excess noise in your photos. The recommended ISO is somewhere between ISO 100 and 400, but you also need to maintain a usable shutter speed during your shoot.
Any camera or subject movement can cause the image to be blurred, and it doesn’t matter if it is noise-free or not. The quality is automatically affected. To prevent this from happening, you should start at ISO 400 and adjust as necessary. If you’re shooting in low light, the shade, or indoors using window light, you can increase the ISO, and don’t be afraid to use a higher ISO if you need to.
Q5: Does Nikon D3100 have Wi-Fi?
Ans: Nikon has recently started incorporating Wi-Fi capability into its cameras, but Wi-Fi capability has been available for a while in the form of the WU-1a adaptor. This setting is not available in the D3100.
Many features make these lenses a great choice. Deciding on the best lens for your Nikon D3100 needs a lot of research to ensure you make an investment that will give your photography the quality you need. When buying a lens for your camera, it’s advisable to go over the tech details, reviews of pros and cons, and other zooms, wide-angle, and telephoto lens aspects.