A Quick Preview
Best Overall - Editor’s Choice
Best for Sport Videography
Best for Low Light Conditions
Best Wide-angle option
Best Zoom Option
Our Reviews of the Best Lens for Nikon D3100 in 2022
Best Overall - Editor's Choice - Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens
Topping our list of the five best lenses for Nikon D3100 in 2022 is this 35mm f/1.8 Nikkor. With the D3100 being a DX-format camera with smaller sensor size, this lens’s equivalent focal length is 52.5mm, essentially becoming a nifty-fifty. And the best part is that it offers a lot of amazing features for a mere token.
With a minimum f/22 aperture and a maximum f/1.8 aperture, the lens is excellent for shooting in almost all lighting scenarios, including low light. It uses a rounded 7-blade diaphragm with impressive blur background, which is great for selective focusing and shallow depth of field use.
Furthermore, to reduce distortions, aberrations, and inconsistencies, the lens is equipped with one aspherical element that improves picture accuracy, and all lens elements are Super Integrated coated. This coating suppresses internal reflections, ghosting, flares, and other harsh light flaws, leaving the video picture perfect.
Another feature worthy of note is the lens’ focus. It incorporates a Silent Wave Motor and a rear focusing design that maintains overall lens length during focus to deliver a quick, silent, and precise autofocus. And, of course, there is the full-time manual override option for shoots that require a more hands-on approach.
Best for Sport Videography - Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens
Although coming in second on this list, this impressive lens from Nikon tops its category. An equivalent 105-300mm focal length range on DX-format cameras like the D3100, it is a portrait to telephoto zoom lens. Also, its f/2.8 maximum aperture is constant all through the zoom range, ensuring adequate lighting for close and far shots.
For sharper handheld shooting and reducing micro-jiggles that come as an effect of camera shake, the lens provides image stabilization for up to 4-stops. However, unlike other lens models on the market, this Nikkor offers specialized sports and tripod modes for optimized stabilization and producing the best shots.
Furthermore, to improve video quality while keeping aberrations and distortions attributed to zoom lenses to a minimum, the lens is equipped with an array of optical elements. It features six ED glass elements, one fluorite element, one HRI element, Nano Crystal and Super Integrated lens coatings, and fluorine coatings on the front and rear aspects.
Finally, the lens uses a standard SWM autofocus with an internal focusing design; coupled with the full-time manual override and AF lock button; a sublime autofocus performance is achieved. And with the lens being weather-sealed, it is usable in almost all conditions, even unfavorable weather.
Best for Low Light Conditions - Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens
A versatile everyday lens that both professional and amateur videographers can relate with, the 50mm (75mm on DX format) is excellent for shooting videos in a lot of scenarios. And to further make it appealing, it has been furnished with a maximum aperture stop of f/1.4, the lowest on this list.
The lens is excellent for travel vlogging, landscaping, macro/close-up shots, etc. Using a 9-blade circular diaphragm design, natural blur effects are created, especially at wider apertures like the minimum f/16, making it excellent for use in selective focus techniques and shallow depth of field.
In addition, to eliminate distortions, aberrations, and coma, the lens integrates one aspherical element into its lay-up. The aspherical lens element combined with Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating improves color consistency and picture clarity, and creates an overall more accurate rendition of shots.
And for focusing, it uses a Silent Wave Motor with internal design, known for delivering a quick, precise, efficient, and, most significantly, silent autofocus. This ensures that the focus noise does not cause distractions in videos made. However, a full-time manual override is also available for shots that are best taken with manual focus, and switching has never been easier as all you have to do is turn the appropriate ring for a no-lag focus.
Best Wide-angle option - Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM Lens
There are a lot of wide-angle lenses for Nikon D3100; however, this Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM Lens can be described as the most apt. Featuring an equivalent 27-52.5mm focal length range on DX-format cameras, it falls between wide-angle and standard human eye, increasing its usability in video production.
Coming from the Sigma Art series, videographers of all calibers would love this Nikon D3100 lens. It incorporates a high maximum constant aperture throughout the zoom range, allowing for shooting in low light. And its compatibility with the Sigma Optimization Pro software makes sure that it never goes out of style.
The optical elements used in the lens’ design include 5 Super Low Dispersion glass elements, four aspherical elements, and a Super Multi-Layer Coating of individual lens elements. These features work together in creating a video devoid of flaws and inconsistencies like curvature, ghosting, chromatic aberrations, etc.
A tech-filled lens, it uses an integrated Hyper Sonic Motor that delivers efficient and quiet autofocus through optimized AF algorithms and an internal focusing system. And, of course, there’s the expected manual override. However, despite the array of features included in the lens, it is still considered lightweight and highly durable, all thanks to its TSC material.
Best Zoom Option - Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
For fans of zoom lenses, this final lens on our list is a dream come true for fans of zoom lenses. Do you need a wide-angle lens for Nikon D3100? Or does the shooting condition require a telephoto lens? Locked in this lens are many styles that work for numerous categories and shooting features that benefit the videographer in various ways.
Even though its maximum aperture isn’t constant, it works incredibly well in low-light conditions. Aided by its four stops of VR image stabilization, video clarity is greatly improved with the reduction of camera shakes during handheld shots, especially when shooting in low light or at the maximum focal length.
The lens has a full-time manual focus override and uses a Silent Wave Motor autofocusing tech with an internal focusing design. This feature ensures that the overall lens’s length does not increase during use while promoting faster focus speeds.
In addition, to further increase video quality, the lens is equipped with one aspherical element and one extra-low dispersion glass element that combats spherical aberrations and chromatic aberrations, respectively. And then there’s the SIC coating of individual lens elements for reducing harsh light effects like ghosting and flares; all of these features work to ensure that videos produced are sharp and as accurate as possible.
Shot category ultimately determines the type of lens most suitable for use. For example, wide-angle shots are best taken with 35mm (and lower) focal lengths, while far off shots are best with 70mm (and above) telephoto lens.
Buyers Guide: What to Consider
To get the best value for your money and not end up with an unsatisfactory product, here are a few tips to consider when purchasing Nikon D3100 lenses:
Focusing comes in both auto and manual, but there are some older lens types that are only equipped with manual focus. Another important feature is the protrusion design, as internal designs maintain overall lens length during use while external designs elongate.
Also read: Best Nikon Lens for Video
It goes without saying that no matter how fantastic a lens is, it still needs to fit your camera. What to take into consideration here is the lens mount, sensor size, and camera type.
Lower crop sensor cameras can work with a full frame lens, increasing the focal length. On the other hand, using a lower crop sensor lens on a full-frame camera can ruin the expected outcome of your shot.
Simply put, aperture refers to the extent of illumination that the camera lens is able to process during shots. It is measured in f/stops, and lower numbers indicate higher diaphragm openings ideal for working in different lighting conditions. And then there’s the maximum variable aperture associated with zoom lenses; this means that the aperture changes according to your focal length.
- Focal length
The focal length of a lens is responsible for its angle of view, the field of view, and shot category. In addition, it is the distance between a camera’s sensor and the convergence point of light. Lenses with high focal lengths tend to see far (e.g., 200mm), while lenses with a lower focal count see broadly, although not quite as far.
- Image stabilization
Called vibration reduction in Nikon lenses, this feature aids in video clarity. Blur or camera shakes from micro-jiggles during handheld shooting are reduced, making them especially ideal for long-distance shooting. In addition, image stabilization also aids lens use in low light scenarios.
Ensuring that the lens is protected for use in harsh weather; points of joining that water or dust may leak through are sealed, and front elements are coated to resist smudge, stain, and dirt.
- Size and weight
Zoom lenses tend to weigh more than prime lenses as their construction requires more elements. However, the shooting category must be considered when talking about size and weight. Videos like wildlife or sports videography can afford heavy lenses that’ll be used on a stand, whereas travel vlogging requires a more nifty equipment that can be easily handled.
- Optical elements
Companies integrate some elements into their lens to deal with pictorial flaws like aberrations, coma, ghosting, etc. Spectra coating of individual lens elements to deal with harsh light, dispersion glass elements to improve color, and aspherical elements for picture accuracy.
Choosing the best lens for Nikon D3100 does not mean that you have to go overboard on cost; the aim is to get the best value for money. Although pricier lenses tend to have features that their counterparts don’t possess, they are sometimes not needed by the average person.
Also read: Best Nikon D7000 Lenses
Other Lens Information
To best understand your lens, here are a few more tips that you might find helpful:
- Lens mount
There are three options in this category; breech-lock, thread, and bayonet. The bayonet mount is the most used as it allows electronic coupling; however, compatibility still comes into play as lens mounts have specific cameras they can work with.
- Materials used
Materials used in construction are determined by their optical properties, and they influence the durability, size, and weight of lenses. Popular materials include glass, quartz crystals, acrylic plastics, etc.
- Lens type
All lens categories fall under these two types; prime and zoom lenses. Zoom lenses are easily differentiated by name and allow a change in focal length, while prime lenses have a constant focal length.
- Zoom lock
It is a handy feature found on some zoom lenses; it allows the user to lock the zoom position, ensuring that it does not revert and change the focal length during use.
This is the part of the lens reserved for add-ons and accessories. In addition, we have the lens hood thread and the filter thread, which are excellent for lenses that require modifications.
F. A. Q
The AF in Nikkor lenses stand for AutoFocus, while the extra S means silent (Silent Wave Motor). AF-S lenses are compatible with all Nikon digital cameras and are quieter during focus than AF lenses.
Being a DSLR camera, the Nikon D3100 is compatible with many lenses. It is a DX-format camera (APS-C), usable with a full frame and 1.5x crop sensors. In addition, companies like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, and Canon make lenses compatible with the Nikon D3100.
To wrap it up, there is no particular way to pick the best lens for Nikon D3100 because they are all subject to the cameraperson’s intended use and the category it falls under.
However, our favorite pick for this review is the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens. It is an everyday prime lens that works remarkably well in a lot of categories and lighting conditions. It is also cheap and user-friendly, therefore great for amateurs and professionals alike.
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- Jimmy Chin. (21 July 2021). Photography 101: Understanding Camera Lenses Basics. Retrieved from https://www.masterclass.com/articles/basic-photography-101-understanding-camera-lenses#what-is-a-camera-lens