Best lenses for the 24-MPix Nikon D3200: Concise overview

By Kevin Carter - Wednesday December 11 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best prime lenses for the Nikon D3200 | Best zoom lenses for the Nikon D3200 | How does sharpness compare between the D3200 and the D5200 and D7100? | Best ‘all-in-one’ zoom lens for the Nikon D3200 | Best fast standard/portrait prime for the D3200

As the recent best performing lens in our database when analyzed on the Nikon D800 it is unsurprising perhaps to see the new $4,000 Zeiss Otus 1,4/55 sitting in the number one position on the D3200. As the equivalent to a 85mm on the D3200 (or any APS-C camera), the Zeiss Otus 1,4/55 looks attractive but the large size (around the same as the firm’s Apo Sonnar 2/135 (135mm f2)) and huge price mean it’s not for everyone. It’s also manual focus only.

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2 Nikon39993118
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Nikon8992915
Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 ZF.2 Nikon16002819
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G21992714
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G6902713
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED VR II58992616
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400mm F2.8G ED VR89992515
Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T 100mm f/2 ZF2 Nikon18402511
Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Nikon9692511
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2 ZF.2 Nikon17002414
Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM A Nikon4992414
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G1952410
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II59002314
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D3292312
Carl Zeiss Planar T 85mm f/1.4 ZF2 Nikon12802312
Samyang 85mm f/1.4 Aspherique IF Nikon3282312
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G17972312
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/2 ZF2 Nikon10052311
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/1.4 ZF2 Nikon18432311
Samyang 35mm F1.4 AS UMC Nikon599239

In second place is the Art-series autofocus Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM model, closely followed by the Zeiss Apo Sonnar 2/135 (135mm f2.0). It has the highest peak sharpness of 19-Mpix on the D3200, slightly higher even than the Otus. As a 210mm equivalent it would be promising for theatre and stage performances, but with no autofocus option it may be challenging for sports or action photography. Nikon’s AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f1.8 model stands out for value.

At $195 it’s modestly priced and yet achieves a good DxOMark score, though peak sharpness is behind the Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC HSM A offering at $499.