Best lenses for the 24M-Pix Nikon D7100: Best standard and portrait primes and zooms

By Kevin Carter - Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best short telephoto for the D7100 | Best standard prime lenses for the D7100 | Best Standard zoom models for the D7100

As for the best performing standard prime lenses on the APS-C format Nikon D7100, the full-frame Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM A continues to lead the way with it achieving the best overall image quality score of those tested, followed by the modestly priced AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G (and best value of the group). 

 
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Nikon8993216
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G1952612
Samyang 35mm F1.4 AS UMC Nikon5992611
Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM A Nikon4992615
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/2 ZF2 Nikon10052513
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/1.4 ZF2 Nikon18432513
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G17972514
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 28mm f/2 ZF2 Nikon12832414
Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM Nikon4402210
Sigma 28mm F1.8 EX DG ASP Macro Nikon4492214
Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G2802115
Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D3652113
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G6992113
Tokina AT-X M35 PRO DX AF 35mm f/2.8 Macro Nikon5992013
Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D2801911

In third place is another full-frame f/1.4 lens, though like other models from the South Korea based firm it lacks autofocus. At $599, it’s a $1200 cheaper than the equivalent full-frame autofocus f/1.4 model from Nikon. That said, while the high-end Nikkor lens achieves a lower DxOMark score of 25 points overall, it has higher levels of sharpness at wider apertures.

Sigma’s full-frame 35mm f/1.4 Art series lens leads the way in optical quality, but the Nikon DX format 35mm f/1.8 is a good all-round performer even if it’s not as sharp as the majority listed in our top-15 models.

The Sigma performs exceptionally well throughout the aperture range, but the Nikon DX model is a good performer at the price. Full aperture performance of the Samyang is somewhat disappointing but it’s a good performer when stopped down.

If choosing a slightly faster f/1.4 model based on price, the new upgraded APS-C format Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM A at $499 is very close in sharpness to its bigger, pricier full-frame sibling.Although it sits in fourth place in our rankings, it’s one of the sharpest models in this range of focal lengths.

Macro lenses are attractive for their versatility and there are nearly always very high performers optically. Nikon offers a wide range of models for both FX and DX format cameras. As the joint second sharpest lens in the group (scoring 15P-Mpix), the AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G is both small and light in weight and it‘s accessibly priced at $280.