Best lenses for the Nikon D5300: Part 1 - concise overview of primes and zooms

By Kevin Carter - Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Nikon D5300 and kit lens option – How good is it? | Comparing the Nikon D5300 with the earlier D5200 | Comparing the Nikon D5300 with D7100 | Best prime lenses for the Nikon D5300 | Best zoom lenses for the Nikon D5300
Best lenses for the Nikon D5300: Part 1 - concise overview of primes and zooms

Following the lens recommendations for Nikon D7100 and entry-level D3200, we’ve now turned our attention to the new mid-range D5300. We’ve tested the camera with more than 140 Nikkor and third-party prime and zoom models to assess image quality. Read onto find out which of these lenses have the best image quality when paired with the new camera.

Nikon’s consumer grade models follow a fairly consistent annual upgrade with the upper entry-level D5300 introduced almost exactly 12-months after the D5200. Along with a few external design changes, including a new larger 3.2-inch articulated display panel and some upgrades to the video spec, the new model is the first to feature built-in WiFi and GPS. However, it retains the same shutter and focus modules of the earlier D5200, including the 39-point Multi-Cam 4800DX AF module and 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor. Both the AF module and RGB meter were the same units used by the earlier 16-Mpix Nikon D7000.

Like the previous D5200 model that’s built around a 24-Mpix APS-C CMOS sensor, the updated D5300 uses a related sensor with the same pixel count but sees the AA filter removed. Without the blur filter in place, the D5300 promises an increase in both sharpness and contrast, though that will ultimately depend on the quality of the lens in use.  

Our labs have carefully analyzed the optical performance of over 140 models on the Nikon D5300, from both Nikon and third-party makers, ranging from the ultra-wide DX format Sigma 8-16mm (12-24mm equivalent) f4.5-5.6 DC HSM and Nikon AF-S Nikkor 10-24mm f3.5-4.5G ED through to the popular Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC APO OS HSM and full frame Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR.

New models assessed include the new high-speed Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 DC HSM A and full-frame Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR, as well as the recently revamped Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-140mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR – the official kit lens to the Nikon D5300. We’ve also added the data from the new full-frame ultra-high end Zeiss Otus Distagon T* 1,4/55 as well as the upgraded Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC HSM, and Nikon’s new fast standard AF-S Nikkor 58mm f1.4G.

Nikon D5300 and kit lens option – How good is it?

Comparing the Nikon D5300 with the earlier D5200

Comparing the Nikon D5300 with D7100

Best prime lenses for the Nikon D5300

Best zoom lenses for the Nikon D5300

See also: Best lenses for the Nikon D5300: Part 2 - portrait and landscape