Best lenses for the 24M-Pix Nikon D7100: Part I

By Kevin Carter - Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Anti-aliasing filter: How useful is it? | Nikon D7100 results: ultra high performance | Best prime lenses for the D7100 | Best Zoom models for the D7100 | A decade of evolution in sensor design and image quality
Best lenses for the 24M-Pix Nikon D7100: Part I

This is part one of our lens recommendations for the Nikon D7100 where we’ve tested over 120 Nikkor and third-party prime and zoom models to assess image quality. Read onto find out which of these lenses are perform best when paired with Nikon’s 24M-Pix APS-C format semi-pro model.

Introduced in February this year, the D7100 is the update to the maker’s mid-to-upper range 16.2M-Pix D7000 DX (APS-C) model from 2010. Outwardly it shares a similar (but not identical) design and control layout but it’s on the inside where several key enhancements over its predecessor have been implemented.

First, the D7100 adopts a 24Mpix CMOS minus the optical low-pass filter, which promises even finer detail at low ISOs than previous offerings with the same pixel count. 

Second, as well as a pentaprism viewfinder with 100-percent coverage, the D7100 also benefits from the 51-point Multi-CAM 3500DX AF system of the D300s with sensitivity down to -2 EV and a center cross-type sensor capable of AF at f/8.

This ensures AF compatibility with the recently announced AF-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 fluorite-based telephoto lens with its matched 1.25x converter, as well as the existing AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4 with a 2x converter.

Maximum continuous shooting is 6fps at maximum resolution (6000x4000 pixels) or 7fps with a 1.3x crop mode. Capture at 14-bit is limited to 5fps, but that’s a significant increase in processing power over the 1.5fps of the D300s at the same bit-depth. Besides that, the key points for our lens evaluations, of course, are the effects on image quality of the new 24-Mpix CMOS sensor and the absence of an‘anti-aliasing” filter or optical low pass filter (OPLF). With the blur filter removed, we’re interested to see just what the benefits are, and perhaps if there any downsides besides moiré or color artefacting.

Nikon D7100 lens database: 126 models from both Nikon and third-party makers measured!

The labs have carefully analyzed the optical performance of nearly 130 models from both Nikon and third-party makers, ranging from the ultra-wide, yet relatively compact DX format Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM through to the full-frame stabilized Nikon AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4G ED VR and expensive Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II.

Other new models DxOMark have analyzed include the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED and the Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM A.

We’ve not yet tested the new high-speed Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 in Nikon mount (it was produced in Canon mount first) or the recently announced Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, but both those models should be available soon and they will be added to our database.

Anti-aliasing filter: How useful is it?

Nikon D7100 results: ultra high performance

Best prime lenses for the D7100

Best Zoom models for the D7100

A decade of evolution in sensor design and image quality