Best lenses for the 24-MPix Nikon D3200: Concise overview

By Kevin Carter - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best prime lenses for the Nikon D3200 | Best zoom lenses for the Nikon D3200 | How does sharpness compare between the D3200 and the D5200 and D7100? | Best ‘all-in-one’ zoom lens for the Nikon D3200 | Best fast standard/portrait prime for the D3200
Best lenses for the 24-MPix Nikon D3200: Concise overview

We’ve now had the opportunity to assess the entry-level 24-Mpix Nikon D3200 with a wide range of lenses. We’ve analyzed a total of over 140 Nikkor and third-party prime and zoom models to assess image quality, and to discover which of those models perform best on the camera. Read on to find out the models you should be looking to use and which ones you should try to avoid.

As the entry-level APS-C model in the range the Nikon D3200 has a surprisingly upmarket capability with a high-grade sensor, one that is potentially similar in performance as the firm’s high-end D7100.

Like that model it has a 24-Mpix APS-C size CMOS with a wide sensitivity (from ISO 200-12,800 with expansion). It’s capable of stills up 4fps and Full HD video capture for NTSC/PAL regions at 30/25 fps and there is also a movie inspired 24 fps option as well.

However, with the exception of the aging 12-Mpix D300s, the D3200 stands out now (after the announcement of the new D5300) as the only APS-C model in the firm’s range to feature an anti-aliasing filter over the sensor; handy for budding filmmakers but potentially limiting the sharpness of the lens and sensor combination.

With this in mind our labs have evaluated the optical quality of over 140 different lenses on the camera from both Nikon and third-party makers. We’ve analyzed over 83 zooms in total, recently adding two new models from Sigma, the new high-speed 18-35mm f1.8 DC HSM standard and the professional-oriented APO 120-300mm f2.8 EX DG OS HSM.

Out of the remaining 63 primes, we’ve had the opportunity to include the new premium high speed Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f1.4G as well as well as the new Zeiss Otus 1,4/55 though at $4,000 this and some of the more recently analyzed lenses are at odds with the intended market of the Nikon D3200.

However at just $499 (complete with 18-55mm kit lens) this camera may also appeal to advanced users. Not only does it have a sensor with a high pixel density in a small form factor, it also has an optical viewfinder and phase-detection AF (the same AF module from the earlier Nikon D7000).

Best prime lenses for the Nikon D3200

Best zoom lenses for the Nikon D3200

How does sharpness compare between the D3200 and the D5200 and D7100?

Best ‘all-in-one’ zoom lens for the Nikon D3200

Best fast standard/portrait prime for the D3200