Best lenses for the 24-Mpix Nikon D7100: Wide-angle and primes and zooms

By Kevin Carter - Friday October 11 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best wide and ultra-angle primes for the D7100 | Best wide angle zooms for the D7100

Full-frame wide-angle lenses aren’t quite as appealing on DX format bodies thanks to the crop factor of the smaller sensor, but they can still be useful. On the Nikon D7100, of course, the 24mm lenses that occupy the number one and number two positions have the equivalent field of view to 35mm lenses (which are only moderately wide).

Be that as it may, if you have a full-frame body as well, the lenses become very versatile indeed.  The Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 25mm f/2 is the best performing wide-angle lens on the D7100, with a DxOmark score of 27 points.

 
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2 ZF.2 Nikon17002715
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED22002413
Sigma 20mm F1.8 EX DG ASP RF Nikon6292216
Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Aspherical Nikon4092117
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 21mm f/2.8 ZF2 Nikon17321910
Nikon AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D5701912
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZF.2 Nikon29501912
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2.8 ZF2 Nikon10051812
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 18mm f/3.5 ZF2 Nikon13951711
Sigma 14mm F2.8 EX Aspherical HSM Nikon749138

The Carl Zeiss Distagon 25mm f/2 has high levels of sharpness and very low chromatic aberration.

The widely respected Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 is placed second at 24 points due in part to slightly lower levels of sharpness and some wayward CA (at least when compared with the Zeiss).

In third place is the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG Aspherical RF, another full-frame model and with a slightly wider field of view, approximating a 30mm on a full-frame camera. It has slightly higher sharpness levels than even the Zeiss but it has less homogeneity in the field (sharpness in the corner is pretty low, higher vignetting, distortion and CA).

At $629 it’s already modestly priced, given the brighter than average f/1.8 maximum aperture for this focal length. But, if brand loyalty is important, Nikon has a AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D model from the film era that performs well, with a DxOmark score of 19 points and a 12P-Mpix rating for sharpness.

While the Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 is actually a good performer optically, the Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/2.8 is as good and it’s far more flexible.