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

Although we’ve yet to see Nikon respond, Sigma’s new 18-35mm f1.8 DC HSM A was a disruptive influence in the market, and for very good reason. Not only is it the fastest zoom available for DX format models it’s also one of the best performers. In fact, of the models tested on the D5300 it’s the best corrected. Peak sharpness is 18-P-Mpix on the D5300 and an excellent performance for an ultra high-speed model.

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM A Nikon7992918
Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC APO OS HSM Nikon9992418
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II26992316
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Nikon16992316
Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM S Nikon35992117
Sigma APO 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Nikon24492116
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR13992114
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II Nikon9492113
Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Nikon12992111
Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM Nikon6692015
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED20002015
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM Nikon16992014
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED18002013
Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC Macro HSM Nikon4192012
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED7502011
Tamron SP 17-50mm F/2.8 Di II XR VC LD Aspherical IF Nikon6491914
Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] Nikon4591913
Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX DG HSM Nikon8991913
Tokina AT-X 11-16 PRO DX Nikon6591912
Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED13291910

Sigma also features in second place with the highly regarded DX format only 50-150mm f2.8 EX DC Apo OS HSM achieving a DxOMark score of 24 points, and the same peak 18P-Mpix sharpness as the 18-35mm. It’s quite possible to just buy these two lenses for the D5300 and cover 95% of what general-purpose photography requires.

In third place is Nikon’s AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR II, the full-frame equivalent to the previously mentioned Sigma 50-150mm f2.8. Although it’s a great performer you’ve really got to need the focal length range as it’s big and heavy. It’s also not cheap at $2,699, though as the equivalent to a stabilized 100-300mm f2.8, it’s certainly an attractive enough option.

If you have a new Nikon D5300 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.