Best lenses for the 24-Mpix Nikon D7100: Wide-angle and primes and zooms

By Kevin Carter - Friday October 11 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best wide and ultra-angle primes for the D7100 | Best wide angle zooms for the D7100

Nonetheless, due to its high image quality, the AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED model has mostly made all the older full-frame wide and ultra-wide angle prime lenses redundant from the maker, though there are other, more suitable options for the smaller sensor D7100.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED20002013
Tokina AT-X 11-16 PRO DX Nikon6591911
Tokina AT-X 12-24 AF PRO DX Nikon400189
Tokina AT-X PRO SD 11-16 F2.8 IF DX II Nikon6551811
Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Nikon6491711
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED8001610
Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Nikon699149
Tamron SP 10-24MM F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical IF Nikon499147
Tamron SP AF11-18mm F/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical [IF] Nikon499148
Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM II Nikon1400126
Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Nikon840126
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Nikon479116

Most Nikon (and rival) users will have heard just how good the AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED actually is, and it comes as little surprise to see it top our rankings. You’ll also notice with a DxOMark score of 20 points, it actually outperforms the $1,732 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm f/2.8, one of the most respected wide-angles in the business.

As the equivalent to a 21-36mm on the D7100 though, the Nikkor lens may not be the best option as it’s large, heavy, and expensive and can’t take filters easily. 

This is one of the reasons why there’s a proliferation of DX format zooms, some even wider than the Nikkor zoom. While the firm makes an AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, which is a good performer, both the Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8), a 17-25mm equivalent and the slower Tokina AT-X 124 AF Pro DX (equivalent to a 18-37mm f/4), are better optically and occupy the second and third places in our rankings, respectively.

Both the Tokina DX format models show competitive sharpness compared with the full-frame Nikkor, even at full aperture. Overall though they can’t quite match the image quality, having slightly lower averaged sharpness throughout the zoom range, higher distortion and higher levels of chromatic aberration (for more information please follow the links here to the field maps). Even so, the two Tokina models are excellent performers and are both smaller and lighter and offer tremendous value.

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.