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

For the intended market the Zeiss Otus 1,4/55 will be too rich but with a high quality 24-Mpix sensor, the D3200 could easily appeal to imaging pros for certain applications, where a small body is required.  Intriguingly, both the full-frame Otus 1,4/55 and Nikon’s new AF-S Nikkor 58mm f1.4G have an field of view equivalent to a 85/90mm lens on the D3200, whereas the standard 50mm is the equivalent to a 75mm and is often considered a little short for portraits.

 
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2 Nikon39993118
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G21992714
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G6902713
Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Nikon9692511
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D3292312
Carl Zeiss Planar T 85mm f/1.4 ZF2 Nikon12802312
Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Aspherique IF Nikon3282312
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G4482212
Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF12302212
Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D4602212
Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD Nikon7492212
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Nikon4992211
Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Nikon4992210
Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T 50mm f/2 ZF2 Nikon12802112
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G2192112
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G17002112
Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO Nikon4602110
Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D4602011
Tamron SP AF 60mm F/2 Di II LD [IF] MACRO Nikon4991912
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D1341911

Full-frame 85mm lenses, on the other hand, have a similar field of view to a 130mm and with an f1.4 or 1.8 maximum aperture are very attractive options for indoor sports or in the theatre, where ambient light levels may be low. Although still a relatively large lens, the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f1.8G performs very well on the D3200 with sharpness levels almost on a par with the far pricier f1.4 version. And, it’s sharp from the initial aperture.

A more affordable alternative is the Samyang 85mm f1.4 at $328. It has similar sharpness at full aperture to the Nikon f1.4 model but it lacks autofocus. Fortunately, this Nikon mount model is aperture coupled and has CPU contacts for compatibility with various exposure modes.

If you have a Nikon D3200 and a favorite lens, we would very much like to hear from you. Please leave a comment below, stating what lens it is and why you like it.