Best lenses for the 24M-Pix Nikon D7100: Best standard and portrait primes and zoomsBy Kevin Carter - Tuesday October 08 2013 Lens Recommendations
It comes as little surprise to see modern lens designs occupying the top slots in this group of focal lengths.
If autofocus and image quality are paramount the choice is a costly one; $2199 will secure you the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G, which also achieves the highest overall sharpness score of 16P-Mpix. If you’re looking for a bargain, the new f/1.8G version is promising.
Although it has a slower maximum aperture, obviously, it’s more compact, significantly cheaper and nearly as sharp. There are still some savings to be when compared to the modestly priced f/1.4 Sigma, and it’s sharper, and has less troublesome chromatic aberration.
The Samyang must also be worth considering. It’s not an AF model but it’s solidly made, has a bright f/1.4 maximum aperture and costs just $328. With that specification it would make a good choice for outdoor portraits and, as a manual focus lens, it will likely appeal to budding movie-makers as well.
Bear in mind on the D7100, 85mm lenses have a similar field of view to a 130mm focal length on a 35mm full-frame body, and are typically more suited to outdoor portraits than in a small studio. It’s one of the reasons why the shorter 50mm lenses (which approximate the field of view of an 80mm) are enjoying a renaissance.
At $329 the older AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D, if it can be found, is a (very) slightly better performer optically overall and marginally better at full aperture than the newer, more expensive SWM (ultrasonic motor) equipped AF-S Nikkor version. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM is another fine performer though, somewhat surprisingly; at $499 it’s the dearest of the three.
If the range of models offered wasn’t complicated enough, Nikon also offers a modestly priced ($229), lightweight AF-S 50mm f/1.8G model as well as an older film-era AF-D type at just $134. There are also some attractive macro lenses, which, if you don’t need the faster maximum aperture, can be a better all-round choice for their consistently high image quality. Of those, the Sigma 70mm is the best performer overall but the Tamron 60mm and the Nikon equivalent are both technically sharper.