Best lenses for the Nikon D5200

By Kevin Carter - Thursday October 24 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Nikon D5200 results: Increased Sharpness levels from 24-Mpix sensor | Best prime lenses | Best Wide Angle Lens (Prime & Zoom) | Best Standard Lens | Best Portrait Lens | Best Zoom models

Best Wide Angle Lens (Prime & Zoom) for D5200:

Best Wide Angle Prime

As a DX format camera, the smaller sensor of the D5200 restricts the field of view of full-frame wide-angle primes, limiting their full potential and making them an expensive option. Further, like most other makers, Nikon has yet to offer DX format wide and ultra-wide equivalents. But, if you already own one of these models for use with a full-frame (FX) format camera, or you intend to add an FX body in the near future, then these lenses may still be very useful. 

Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2 ZF.2 Nikon17002412
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED22002211
Sigma 20mm F1.8 EX DG ASP RF Nikon6292013
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 21mm f/2.8 ZF2 Nikon1732189
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2.8 ZF2 Nikon10051810
Nikon AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D5701810
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZF.2 Nikon2950179
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 18mm f/3.5 ZF2 Nikon1395169

The best performing lens in our database on the D5200 was the manual focus only Zeiss 25mm f2, with a DxOMark score of 24. Somewhat surprisingly, given the shorter focal length, the sharpest was the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG.

If brand loyalty isn’t an issue, as an equivalent to a 30mm the Sigma is the more useful in this category, and $629 it’s modestly priced given the bright f1.8 maximum aperture. Nikon’s AF Nikkor 20mm f2.8D model is a solid performer, given its age, but bear in mind it lacks support for AF with the D5200.

Best Wide Angle Zoom

Rather than produce DX format primes with short focal lengths, Nikon and rival third-party makers have concentrated their R&D budget on zoom models instead. There’s a wide choice available at modest prices, but Nikon’s full-frame AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8G ED model remains the best choice for image quality and sharpness.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED20001911
Tokina AT-X 11-16 PRO DX Nikon659189
Tokina AT-X 12-24 AF PRO DX Nikon400178
Tokina AT-X PRO SD 11-16 F2.8 IF DX II Nikon655179
Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Nikon649169
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED800158
Tamron SP AF11-18mm F/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical [IF] Nikon499147
Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Nikon699138
Tamron SP 10-24MM F/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical IF Nikon499136
Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM II Nikon1400126
Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Nikon840115
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Nikon479115

More practical is Tokina’s AT-X 116 (11-16mm f2.8) PRO DX model. Not only is this zoom close in IQ overall it’s wider and cheaper and as constant-aperture f2.8 model it’s just as ‘fast’.

Slightly more modest in price and aspiration is the firm’s AT-X 124 (12-24mm f4). As the equivalent to an 18-35mm on a full-frame camera, at $400 its excellent value compared to the rest in the database.

As an own brand lens, Nikon’s AF-S Nikkor 10-24mm (16-35mm equivalent) f/3.5-4.5G ED is a solid performer and it takes full advantage of the D5200’s lens correction features (chromatic aberration, distortion and vignetting correction) for in-camera JPEGs, and Raw files with Nikon Raw software solutions.