The Nikon D7100 is certainly not the newest DSLR around, but it’s still an amazing camera body. That’s why it remains so popular with both semi-professionals and serious enthusiasts around the world.
There are many reasons to love this camera: its 51-point AF system and 24 megapixel DX sensor, to name a couple. My no-nonsense guide explores some of the best lenses for Nikon D7100 camera owners.
To get the best out of this respected body you need a quality glass. The type of lens you choose will depend on your photographic styles and expectations.
The six choices here cover a broad range of optics at different price ranges. They are not all Nikon-branded, either. But they are all worthy chunks of premium glass from the widest end to telephotos.
Your Nikon D7100 deserves the best lenses you can afford, and you deserve to know what they are. This guide can’t cover them all, but we do cover a few of the most remarkable lenses across six categories.
Top 6 Lenses for Nikon D7100
|#1||Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G||Prime Portrait||F/1.8||12.03 oz.||85mm||67mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#2||Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G||Micro (Macro)||F/2.8||8.03 oz.||40mm||52mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#3||Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM||Wide-Angle Zoom||F/1.8||28.64 oz.||18-35mm||72mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#4||Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR f/4.5-5.6G ED 55-300mm||Action/Wildlife||F/4.5-5.6||20.48 oz.||55-300mm||58mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#5||Sigma 35mm F1.4 ART DG HSM||Standard Prime||F/1.4||23.5 oz.||35mm||67mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#6||Nikon AF DX NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8G ED||Fisheye||F/2.8||10.6 oz.||10.5mm||N/A||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
- Type: Prime Portrait
- Aperture: f/1.8
- Weight: 12.03 oz.
- Focal Length: 85mm
- Filter: 67mm
- The high points: Tack sharp, beautiful bokeh, lightweight, IF, M/A focus mode switch, SWM
- The not-so: Plastic construction, slowish AF, a little chromatic aberration
Every portrait photographer wants a lens that can produce the sharpest images possible. Well, it didn’t take me long to decide on the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 G — Nikon’s sharpest 85mm ever made for DSLRs.
You won’t find better optics from Nikon, though it does fall short in a few less important areas. The focus ring is plastic for one—a first for a Nikon 85mm lens. They also make it in China, rather than Japan.
Don’t let that last point put you off. China has come a long way in recent years and is no longer the world’s factory of cheap, substandard products. Nikon couldn’t offer 5-years protection if it were.
Mounted on the D7100, it becomes obvious why so many love it. You’ll get portraits with the most amazing bokeh. It’s a fast high-quality lens that won’t ever let you down, not even in low light shooting.
What Reviewers Say
Lenses don’t sell well because they’re cheap – they sell well because they’re good. Even budget-end lenses have to meet various quality requirements before anyone will buy them.
Nikon’s AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G isn’t cheap, but users agree it offers exceptional value. Its sharpness is one of the most talked-about attributes, backed up by a plethora of samples.
Despite its versatility, most uploaded samples are of people and pets, which highlights its portrait appeal. You want beautiful bokeh in most portraiture work, and this lens doesn’t disappoint.
Over 90% of online reviewers have nothing but admiration for the NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G. The few complaints it gets are minor and don’t deter people from buying this quality glass.
There’s some talk of chromatic aberration at the wider end, though it’s easy to clean post-processing.
If you’ve read everything thus far you’ll know by now that this lens is tack sharp. In fact, it’s hard to imagine it being any sharper. Professional results at an amateur price sum it up nicely.
I’d say the image quality hit’s its sweet spot around F8, but it’s impressive across the focal range. The lens checks all other boxes too from beautiful bokeh, contrast, image rendition, and resolution.
The lens is lightweight despite its mechanics. And Nikon’s Internal Focus (IF) provides users with fast, quiet AF, thanks to the Silent Wave Motor (SWM).
And the manual focus override is effortless thanks to the M/A focus mode switch. This lens is a serious consideration for serious portraiture. It goes with the D7100 like crusty bread goes with real butter.
What Could Be Better
You will hear a few moans about the plasticky look and feel of the Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G. Well, the plastic helps to keep it light, and it’s virtually unbreakable, so it’s not as bad as it seems.
Some people perceive plastic + China = trouble, but it’s really not the case. If it were, we’d see a lot of reviewers complaining about the build, but we don’t. That should tell us everything we need to know.
A more valid drawback is the chromatic aberration (CA) at wider apertures. It’s only really obvious in areas of high contrast. The thin purple line is most visible around the edges when zooming in.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (known as ‘Lightroom’ for short) effortlessly ameliorates any CA.
- Type: Micro (Macro)
- Aperture: f/2.8
- Weight: 8.03 oz.
- Focal Length: 40mm
- Filter: 52mm
- The high points: Razor-sharp, nice bokeh, versatile, compact & light, SWM
- The not-so: AF hunting at close range, need to get close to the subject, no VR
My choice of close-up lens for the Nikon D7100 is the AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G. This piece of glass provides photographers with amazing macro photographic opportunities.
The lens delivers exceptional contrast and high-resolution images from infinity to life-size. The 40mm focal length makes it a great choice for everyday photography too, thus adding to its overall versatility.
I found it particularly pleasing for people shots as well as stunning landscapes. But unlike its non-macro counterparts, this puppy lets you get up close and personal.
One moment you may be photographing a forest as majestic sunrays break through its trees. A minute later you’re capturing the eye of an insect resting on a new leaf. You get the idea.
This lens is also super light and compact which further adds to its appeal. It’s not perfect, but it’s close.
What Reviewers Say
Macro photography is a niche style of close-up work. It’s also something that impresses even those who haven’t tried it. Photographers who bought this lens give it an almost perfect rating—almost.
There’s praise for its general appeal despite most buying it for its macro capability. The lens’s sharpness, razor-thin depth of field (DOF), and beautiful bokeh are among the most admired features.
You can find lots of uploaded samples to support the reviewer’s claims. Those who take the time to leave feedback love their purchase and can’t say enough good things about it. That tells us plenty.
Some folks complain that the AF is a tad sluggish at the extreme close-up ranges. To be honest, most serious Nikon macro lens photographers prefer manual focus for high-magnification macro work.
The 40mm focal range doesn’t work for all photographers either. We’ll look more into that shortly.
The Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G is razor sharp. The amazing bokeh enhances image clarity still further with an almost pastel-like out-of-focus effect.
Another advantage worth a mention is the lens’s versatility. There are fewer restrictions than with a telephoto macro. The latter is bigger and heavier, and thus requires more thought before shooting.
Let’s take Nikon’s AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED as an example. It’s an amazing lens but doesn’t fit the typical budget DSLR user’s price range. That lens costs at least three times as much and weighs around 28 ounces. That’s a whole 20 oz. more.
There are other pros and cons for each product, but for the money, the 40mm f/2.8G takes some beating. And at just 8 oz., it’s a no-brainer if you demand a compact lightweight product.
And Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology provides fast, quiet, precise focusing every time.
What Could Be Better
Most macro photographers prefer to manually fine-tune the focus at the extreme close-up end. This is just as well because there can be a little too much AF hunting at closer ranges with this lens.
AF hunting is not unique to Nikon, or this particular lens, in low light and high contrast situations. That doesn’t make it okay, but it is something to note when making a buying decision.
Another disadvantage is the 40mm focal length. It means you need to get really close to the subject in macro mode. This can be a particular disadvantage when trying to focus living things that fly.
There’s no vibration reduction (VR) either, and a few photographers complain about this. But then this lens is small and only weighs 8 ounces, so VR is not a major hardship.
- Type: Wide-Angle Zoom
- Aperture: f/1.8
- Weight: 28.64 oz.
- Focal Length: 18-35mm
- Filter: 72mm
- The high points: Sharp, superb bokeh, internal focusing (IS), solid build, nice feel
- The not-so: Noisy, awkward lens cap, heavy, AF hunts a little in certain conditions
The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM is an oldie but goodie. It’s been around since 2013 but still demands a lot of attention—for all the right reasons. That’s why it’s my pick for a wide-angle zoom.
This was the world’s first ever-constant f/1.8 zoom lens for digital-SLR cameras. The constant fast aperture is no small detail, not least because it lets you shoot by hand in lower light situations.
I like this lens because of how much bang it offers for the buck. It oozes quality and state-of-the-art technology—features more typical to costlier prime lenses. The hypersonic motor (HSM) is just one.
The complex optics consists of 17 glass elements within 12 groups. Aside from the technology and lens ability is the build. There’s the all-metal mount and a composite thermally-stable barrel.
The rest of this review looks at some of these fine features and the reviews of other users in more detail.
What Reviewers Say
Sigma’s ART series is popular among photographers as a serious third-party lens. The 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM is a versatile lens that suits all types of photographic styles.
The fast constant aperture is one of the key selling points, so there are no complaints on that score. A few reviewers feel a little intimidated by the lens’ bulk at first but most people soon get used to it.
Photographers talk fondly of the lens’s versatility. It works for portraits, landscapes, close-ups, still life, and casual photography. The solid construction gets a lot of mention too, as does the feel of the lens.
Sharp image quality and pleasing bokeh get plenty of feedback as well. Reviewers like the fact that you can shoot wide open and still enjoy bright crisp images with minimal chromatic distortion.
Almost all critics agree that this lens feels, looks, and performs well on all fronts.
There are lots of good things to report here. It’s hard to pick fault the sharpness, contrast, and the color rendition for a chunk of glass in its class. It performs well throughout its entire focal range.
All photographers love those out-of-focus backgrounds when a shot demands them. The bokeh at f/1.8 is beautiful at the longer focal lengths and still pleasing at the wider 18mm.
The internal focusing and lens zoom mechanism are major advantages. They maintain a consistent length and prevent the front ring from rotating. That’s particularly useful for using circular polarizers.
The craftsmanship Sigma put into this lens is second to none for a third-party product. There’s a brass mount that connects to the all-metal barrel. Even the rubber focus ring has a high-quality feel to it.
The materials used also help to make this lens resistant to temperature extremes.
What Could Be Better
The AF is quiet to the point where no one but the photographer can hear it. I would think it’s on the noisier side of quiet for recording video with your DSLR though. The workaround would be to use an external mic.
The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM is not the easiest lens to keep clean. Therefore, the lens cap should be welcome. The problem is it can be frustrating just trying to snap it into place at times.
At nearly 29 ounces, this is a heavy piece of glass, especially for those not used to heavier lenses. Alas, heft is a price to pay when using high-quality metal parts and technology in the construction.
The last of the “major” downsides is the AF hunting in challenging light conditions. This is something that quite a few people talk about, but it’s often not serious enough to affect their buying position.
- Type: Action/Wildlife
- Aperture: f/4.5-5.6
- Weight: 20.48 oz.
- Focal Length: 55-300mm
- Filter: 58mm
- The high points: Versatile, nice build, VR, tripod detection mode, SWM, long warranty
- The not-so: Audible focus motor, hunts in low light, plastic construction
My pick for capturing wildlife and action shots is the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR f/4.5-5.6G ED 55-300mm. I like this lens because it has the kind of Nikon telephoto reach that’s ideal for this style of photography.
Another deciding factor for me was how well this product sells. Any photographer knows that a budget-priced lens will only be popular if it meets certain performance requirements, too. This one does.
It has nice image quality across its focal range with a few sweet spots for optimal results. And the invaluable 4-stop stabilizer helps with those otherwise impossible handheld shots.
This puppy is surprisingly light and compact for a telephoto zoom. If you need this kind of reach, at this budget, you’ll want to add the AF-S DX NIKKOR f/4.5-5.6G ED 55-300mm to your shortlist.
For me, it has many more pros than cons, but will you agree? Keep reading to find out.
What Reviewers Say
Like any lens that sells well, there are always plenty of buyers happy to share their thoughts—good or bad. One thing a lot of reviewers share in common is that this lens offers great value.
Most talk of the solid build and many say it’s superior to the older Nikon 55-200mm. The high-quality plastics and metal lens mount help to keep the weight down and the price competitive.
The Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX AF-S NIKKOR is a popular walk around lens. It provides sharp images, smooth backgrounds, and consistent results in normal daylight.
The telescoping body is not the lens’s best feature, but folks know this before they buy it. The slow-ish focus is a more valid gripe. The AF hunting is another complaint, mainly in low-light conditions.
If this lens fits your style and budget, then it’s a versatile piece of glass that’ll serve you well. A greater aperture range would be nice, but then it wouldn’t be the same lens at the same price.
It’s a great lens for action and wildlife photography. It can work just as well for many other styles too, once you get comfortable with it.
The build is amazing for the price. It consists of a tough polycarbonate matt black plastic and a metal body-mount. Don’t fear these plastics. They are robust and flexible and will last for many years.
The VR allows photographers to capture handheld shots that would otherwise not be possible. And when things get too slow there’s always the handy tripod detection mode.
The SWM is fast and quiet which adds another layer of smooth shooting convenience. And to top it off: the long 5-year warranty (four years extended).
What Could Be Better
There’s not a lot to complain about if you compare this lens to others in its class. All lenses have their pros and cons, and your job is to determine which things matter to you most.
The major gripes with the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR f/4.5-5.6G ED 55-300mm relate to focusing. The first is the noise. It’s not excessive, but it’s loud enough to interfere with the lens’s internal mic.
If you’re into videography you can always use an external mic to overcome this problem. You can also choose an alternative lens that has quieter focusing if it checks enough of your other boxes.
The autofocus also hunts in high-contrast and lower light. Whether it’s a buying factor depends on your style and the conditions you shoot under most.
The lens is mainly plastic. It’s robust enough, but some still think it makes the lens look and feel cheap.
- Type: Standard Prime
- Aperture: f/1.4
- Weight: 23.5 oz.
- Focal Length: 35mm
- Filter: 67mm
- The high points: Sharp images, beautiful colors, smooth bokeh, solid build, fast quiet AF
- The not-so: Heavy, some vignetting at F1.4
My penultimate pick is the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art standard prime lens. This is a professional-level product and was the first Sigma to ever fall into the company’s ART category.
I would say this is a perfect choice for a whole variety of photography needs. Travel, portraiture, landscapes, you name it – this lens will fit the purpose.
Sigma lenses have long since shaken off that “second rate” image and that’s great news. I chose it for its fast accurate autofocus, nice color rendition, and barely noticeable chromatic aberration.
The sharpness is impressive and it’s consistent from maximum to minimum apertures. You’ve also got the lovely bokeh effect. We’ll look at that in more detail further down the page.
What Reviewers Say
There are lots of reviews for the Sigma 35mm F1.4 ART DG HSM. Some are simple one-liners that praise the lens for its quality, performance, and value. Others go into a lot more detail.
What I picked up most about this lens was its small learning curve and versatility. Many of those who write about this glass think they got a lot of lens for the money and certainly plan to keep it.
I agree. You wouldn’t want or need to trade this in for an equivalent product. Reviewers love the quality feel, image sharpness, and the ability to take handheld shots in low-light conditions.
The biggest gripe from reviewers is the weight of this lens. Many complain that it weighs more than their camera body though this will differ between models. It’s about 4 ounces lighter than the D7100.
The Sigma 35mm F1.4 ART DG HSM produces images that are tack sharp. And the best thing of all is that you don’t need to stop down to get the ultimate sharpness. This in itself is quite unique.
The color reproduction and contrast are also excellent. These things combined result in photos that exceed the expectations of many photographers. That brings me on to the bokeh.
The bokeh is stunning, but not everyone agrees. Some think it’s too onion-shaped; a common criticism of other sigma lenses. I think it’s a minor issue, and most people love the out-of-focus effect.
These quality results derive from a quality constructed lens. The all-metal barrel accounts for its heft but it feels marvelous in the hands and better than its rivals.
The autofocus operation is fast and quiet thanks to the high-quality hyper-sonic motor, or HSM.
What Could Be Better
This lens is a beast at 23.5 ounces – the cause of some complaints. Some photographers will often like lightweight lenses yet frown upon the plastic materials that produce such products.
To lighten this lens would mean altering its construction to thinner or alternative materials. That would lessen its high-quality look and feel which are a few of its key attributes. You see my point.
Some photographers notice a little vignetting or light fall-off at F1.4. This is mostly noticeable with a critical eye and certainly not enough to deter people from buying this lens.
These two issues aside, there’s little else to fault with this premium ART lens by Sigma.
- Type: Fisheye
- Aperture: f/2.8
- Weight: 10.6 oz.
- Focal Length: 10.5mm
- Filter: N/A
- The high points: Sharp, compact & lightweight, fast aperture, close-range focusing
- The not-so: Limited use, cannot protect with filter, high price tag
There’s ultra-wide, and then there’s a fisheye. My final pick for the Nikon D7100 belongs to the latter group. Fisheye photography might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly fascinates a large cadre of us.
It’s true—a fisheye lens renders our world in a somewhat fun, and often surprising way. But aside from the creative aspect, a super-short focal length like this has a lot of practical uses.
The Nikon AF DX NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8G ED is not cheap, so you’ll want to get plenty of use out of it. Our beauty here provides a 180-degree diagonal angle-of-view and a close focus range of just 5.5″.
The usual Nikon traits are also there, like the fast aperture, fast AF, and compact lightweight design. And yes, there’s also Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor – or SWM – to smooth things along.
Let’s see what reviewers use it for and what they have to say about this unusual piece of glass.
What Reviewers Say
This is one of those lenses that photographers are likely to rent before they buy. It’s a sensible approach, and a good way to test whether you’re likely to get enough use out of it—or not.
From what I could see, around 95% of all reviewers are happy with their purchase. It’s popular for taking close-ups of food and restaurant interiors, creative landscapes, and nature shots.
This is one of those lenses where its only limits are the photographer’s imagination. The more you shoot with it the more there is to shoot. That’s also the impression I got from a lot of reviewers.
It’s a popular choice for extreme sports, too. We’ve all seen the shots, right? It’s fast, fun, serious, and it’s light. The only disappointment is the lack of sample images from user feedback pages.
The Nikon AF DX NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8G ED is what photographers refer to as tack-sharp. It has nice contrast and colors, too, in all reaches of an image – especially the central areas.
Weighing just 10.6 ounces, this lens is super light and compact. You won’t have to worry about aching body parts carrying this puppy around on a long shoot. That’s always a bonus.
The fast f2.8 aperture lets you capture plenty of indoor and low light shots without a flash. The blurred backgrounds and close-range focusing add further to the lens’s versatility and the photographer’s creativity.
It’s probably fair to say that those who do buy this lens wished they’d bought it sooner.
What Could Be Better
Not everyone has a use for fisheye lenses because the downside is their limitations. It makes a great everyday lens—with a twist. Not every photographer has or wants that type of creative twist in their work.
Another downside is that it’s not possible to attach a front UV filter to protect the lens. The convex shape and non-removable flower-type lens hood prevent this. It’s a common problem with fisheyes.
And finally, this is not a cheap lens. That means you need to be absolutely sure you’ll get enough use out of it to justify the cost. This is why it’s always a good idea to try it before you buy it.
Lenses for Nikon D7100 FAQ
The Nikon D7100 remains one of the most popular choices for semi-professionals and a camera body that still holds up to the test of time, even years after its release.
If you own one of these trusty DSLRs or are thinking of investing in one, you need to be prepared and know how to make the most of it.
We’ve answered some FAQs about the D7100 that can give you a push in the right direction and teach you the basics of this famous camera body.
What Lenses Are Compatible with Nikon D7100?
The Nikon D7100 is compatible with many types of lenses including macro, wide-angle, telephoto, and superzoom, giving you a greater range of use.
However, some of the lenses that are compatible with the camera body might not be well-matched with every feature, so you may lose things like autofocusing if not using the right one.
Certain types of lenses work better than others with the D7100 and without losing any of its most famous features and capabilities.
For the most accurate styles, look for Type G AF Nikkor, Type D Nikkor, AF-S Nikkor, and AF-I Nikkor.
The best sellers that work specifically with this body are the Nikon AF FX Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G, Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G, Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM, and Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor f/4.5-5.6G ED 55-300mm lenses.
For the most accurate data, check the manual that came with your Nikon D7100 as this should have the comprehensive list of lenses that are compatible for mounting on your camera.
This will also highlight if any of the camera’s features will be lost because of incompatibility but it will still work otherwise, so that’s helpful to consider as well.
Is the Nikon D7100 A Good Camera?
The Nikon D7100 was released in 2013 but is still a popular choice for budding photographers who have some experience working with DLSRs and are shopping at a lower price point.
The D7100 is known as a versatile camera body that works in all settings and produces excellent images without being regarded as a professional model.
The camera does have some downsides like lack of Wi-Fi connectivity, a heavy body, and no image stabilization, but its other features make up for this.
The D7100 is affordable, has 1080p video resolution, good battery life, 51 focus points, 1/8000s shutter speed, and has been weather-sealed for all kinds of outdoor use.
Although some features are outdated and it can feel a little bulky, it’s great value for money and a step up from an entry-level camera for those wanting to upgrade.
As long as you have some photography experience and can utilize the range of compatible lenses, the D7100 is a great option for a DSLR.
Does Nikon D7100 Have Built-InWi-Fi?
Nikon has not implemented built-in Wi-Fi on all of its range yet, including the D7100, however, it does have a smartphone app that works with the WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter accessory for this specific model.
This plugs into the camera body to act as a wireless connector and gives you all of the features a Wi-Fi-enabled model has.
The D7100 and older Nikon camera models use the Wireless Mobile Utility app in conjunction with the WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter.
This app is free to download, lets you control the camera remotely and instantly transfer photos to your tablet or phone, which you can then share with friends or edit them with your chosen software.
If you want a Nikon camera that has built-in wireless connectivity, look for their Z series mirrorless cameras, COOLPIX compact digital cameras, and the newer releases of their DSLRs.
These models don’t require an adapter and use the more modern Snapbridge app to enable remote control, image sharing, and other features available on your smartphone or tablet.
What Is The Shutter Life Of A Nikon D7100?
To determine how much a camera has been used, you should be able to read metadata that indicates this based on the mechanical shutter count, or how many shots the camera has taken so far.
For a Nikon D7100, this information is readily available using an EXIF-reader and is useful when buying second-hand cameras as well as assessing one you already own.
The average shutter lifespan of a Nikon D7100 is 150,000 actuation, according to Nikon, but this should only be viewed as a guide.
The standard lifespan is around 50,000 for basic and entry-level cameras and up to 500,000 for professional cameras but this can vary dramatically from brand and model. It’s important to note also, that just because a camera has a certain shutter life rating, it may not always meet this number, but in some cases, can even exceed it.
Do It All With Your Nikon D7100
The right lens can make all the difference when you’re talking about a DSLR, so it’s important to know what’s what.
The simple shift in focal length will create a completely different image with the same camera body, and when you have something like the Nikon D7100 behind it, you’re bound to get a professional result
Whether you want a wide-angle, prime portrait, macro, or something different altogether, you can guarantee there’s the perfect fit out there for your Nikon D7100.
Our recommendations tick all of these boxes and offer only the best in price, features, and objective evaluations from other budding professional photographers out there.
We’ve reviewed some of the best sellers in the D7100 lenses category with something to suit every photographic style and expectation of the user, as well as your Nikon.
Whether you invest in one or kit your camera out with all of them is up to you, but you can guarantee a unique shot with whichever one you choose to use.