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

We also chose to compare the performance of one lens (the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 HSM A) on various Nikon DX format models dating back to 2004 to see just how the different sensors perform and influence. Back in 2004 the pro-oriented 4-Mpix D2H was still current, and was joined that year by the 6-Mpix Nikon D70 (indicated by the first plot) and later in 2005 by the 10-Mpix D200 and the 12-Mpix Nikon D2X in 2006.

The penultimate dot is that of the D7000, with the D7100 being the last shown (2013) reveals that the improvement in image quality has been substantial. Whether such large gains are to be seen again over the coming months and years is anyone’s guess.

graph3

We also thought it would be interesting to compare the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens on Canon APS-C bodies (and the best performing model across both mounts) dating back over the same period.  While there have been steady improvements over the years, often with the two makers leapfrogging each other, the results are somewhat sobering for Canon users when comparing models against the D7100. The new Nikon D7100 is quite clearly ahead in image quality but there’s much more to a camera than that.

graph4

However, while Canon are innovating in sensor technology they do appear to be lagging in absolute performance terms, though who can say what new models lie ahead.

In part II of this guide, we’ll be looking at the best performing primes and zooms covering wide-angle and telephoto focal lengths.

If you have a Nikon D7100 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.