Nikon D3200 is a dated camera with obsolete features and functions. Isn’t that right? You couldn’t be more wrong if you think on these lines. D3200 is still a terrific entry-level DSLR that offers better or comparable performance than the latest DSLR in its class. On top of that, you can further improve its performance and take beautiful pictures using a host of compatible lenses. Therefore, we are going to review the best lens for Nikon D3200 in our guide.
What makes Nikon D3200 a great lens for beginners is the impressive 24.2 megapixels DX CMOS sensor and Full HD 1080P video capability. It also has an excellent tutorial mode, helping you understand how the camera works and start your photography journey on the right note. The creative control presets and several other intuitive features mean Nikon D3200 is still a force to reckon with. It is also one of the easiest cameras to use.
Above all, it is available at a much lower price than the later Nikon models such as Nikon D3300 and Nikon D3400 as well as similar cameras from other brands. Therefore, all you need to get the best out of this camera is a good lens.
Best Lenses for Nikon D3200
The following are the ultimate lenses for Nikon D3200 according to our experts. We have tested these lenses against parameters like image stabilization, focal range, low light performance, aperture range, vibration reduction, and price, etc.
|Image||Lens Name||Focal Length||Aperture Range||Image Stabilization||Check Price|
Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF-S 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G
Nikon Micro 85mm f/3.5G
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5.6-6.3
So, let’s start with the first lens on our list.
1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G: Editor’s Choice
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G is the best prime lens for Nikon D3200 by far. Available for just $150, it is an affordable lens that offers brilliantly sharp images without costing you a fortune.
It is an ideal lens for general-purpose shooting with Nikon D3200. Originally designed for Nikon full-frame cameras, you can pair it with D3200 because it is equivalent to 50mm on DX cameras with 1.5x crop factor.
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G offers great rewards for your efforts by delivering vibrant, sharp, and crisp images that no kit lens can match. Similarly, it really ‘goes out of the way’ to help you learn the art of photography by doing more than what’s asked.
It features a very fast and accurate autofocus system to track and focus the objects quickly. You can manually override the focus as well. It excels in low light due to the fast f/1/8 aperture, allowing you to take superb handheld images in the dark. Similarly, it also creates beautiful bokeh to isolate the subject for a dramatic effect.
The lens comes packaged with a bayonet-style lens hood, a good cap, a carrying case.
You should never avoid Nikon 35mm f/1.8G firstly for its low price and secondly for its amazing set of features. You don’t have any good reason to pass this lens up nor do you have any better alternative in sight.
2. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G: Best Zoom Lens for Nikon D3200
Nikon AF-S 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G is the most versatile lens and one of the best zoom lenses on the market. With its focal range, you can capture superb landscapes and take beautiful pictures of distant objects. The lens has impressive 16.7x zoom and 1:3 macro stabilization.
The vibration reduction lens comes with excellent image stabilization. However, IS struggles to minimize shakes at maximum zoom range. It is also where the images have a fair bit of edge softness that is disappointing considering it is a super-telephoto zoom lens.
It is a comparatively cheap lens with decent built quality. It is quite small and lightweight, making it easier for you to take it anywhere you want.
The lens has very good autofocus but once again, it fails to focus objects properly towards 30mm of the telephoto range. As expected, the overall autofocus quality is nowhere near the premier lenses.
The images are sharp throughout the focal range. They do have some softness on the side but you can resolve the problem by using the smaller apertures. The images are the sharpest on f11 in our experience.
The lens has the least distortion at 200mm and 300mm and most at 18mm. However, Nikon D3200 has superb built-in correction technology to handle distortion. The lens controls chromatic aberration particularly well.
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm F/3.5-5.6G is not a perfect lens but offers exceptional versatility. Similarly, it is a great lens for beginners who want to get going in photography without spending a fortune.
3. Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G: Best All Round Macro Lens for Nikon D3200
You should consider Nikon Micro 85mm f/3.5G if you are looking for a great lens for macro photography. It focuses close enough to capture tiny details with beautiful and vivid colors.
The lens combines with Nikon D3200 sensor to take 1:1 images. Therefore, it enables you to reproduce life-size pictures of critters, tiny plants, insets, and whatever you are shooting. The closest focusing distance of 0.9 feet only is hard to find at this price range.
The lens is reasonably priced at $550 that is neither too cheap nor too expensive. Therefore, the built quality is not as great as more premium counterparts. However, it compensates for poor build quality with excellent manual focusing and ergonomics.
NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G features Nikon VR II image stabilization, allowing more flexible handheld shooting. Nikon’s exclusive Silent Wave Motor and Internal Focus deliver smooth and accurate autofocus performance and thus, you can get pretty close to your subjects.
The lens minimizes chromatic aberration even at wide apertures thanks to the Extra-low Depression element. The color consistency is also good due to the SIC coating.
All in all, Nikon 85mm f/3.5G is not the best macro lens you can find. However, it is economical and practical to pair with Nikon D3200, given the features the camera has.
4. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G: Best Portrait Lens for Nikon D3200
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G is the absolute best yet the cheapest portrait lens you can find for Nikon D3200. It delivers sharp images even in low light, enabling you to capture stunning portraits with superior details in all conditions.
The compact and small body packs many great features such as fast, accurate, and quiet autofocus. The exclusive Silent Wave Motor also comes in handy while focusing on the objects.
The very fast /1.8 aperture and the shallow depth of field create superb bokeh or background blur, helping your object stand out. The fast aperture also allows you to take stunning images in low light.
The minimum focusing distance of 1.48ft allows you to get particularly close to your objects. The pictures have end-to-end sharpness while taking photos from both FX and DX-format DLSR cameras.
The lens is mostly made of plastic but the overall build quality is quite good. The Super Integrated Coating (SIC) by Canon reduces flares and delivers fantastic color consistency. It also handles chromatic aberration quite well courtesy Aspherical Element Lens (AS).
In short, Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G is the best lens for Nikon D3200 if you want to capture spectacular portraits.
5. Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF VR: Best Lens for Vibration Reduction
Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G is yet another fantastic zoom lens, making it a great choice for action and wildlife photography.
The lens has Internal Autofocus (IF) with two modes that are auto and manual. Unfortunately, you cannot use auto mode with Nikon D3200 but you can always shift to manual focus to get even better results. The images are sharp with nice and balanced colors.
The images have no vignetting at all besides negligible blurs on the corners. The lens controls distorting quite effectively as well.
The excellent focal range of 70-300mm opens doors to countless possibilities. You can take outstanding images of faraway objects as well as excellent close-ups thanks to a minimum focusing distance of 4.9 feet.
The lens has a sturdy body made of polycarbonate plastic. You will find a zoom ring at the end and a focus ring near the mount, unlike most lenses that have opposite configuration. It helps you easily reach the zoom ring that you mostly use.
There are also buttons for vibration reduction and autofocus near the mount. The lens truly shines when it comes to vibration reduction because of the terrific built-in optical image stabilization.
The main problem with the lens is controlling flaring and ghosting under the sun and in bright locations. However, you can easily solve the problem by attaching a lens hood.
Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G could easily become the best lens for Nikon D3200 if not for the lack of autofocus. It is still a great lens for wildlife, portraits, and action photography though.
6. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR: Best for Sports and Wildlife Photography
Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED is another terrific zoom lens that you can buy for Nikon D3200. It is an extension of an 18-55mm kit lens, offering a wider focal or zoom range.
The 18-55 kit lens is an excellent choice for travel and landscape while 55-300mm would take good care of wildlife and portraits, making Nikon D3200 a truly versatile camera.
NIKKOR 55-300mm is one of the lightest lenses in its class. The body and mount are made of plastic and metal respectively. The ergonomic rubber grip makes it very easy and comfortable to hold the lens.
The external autofocus is fast and accurate but not the fastest while catching moving objects at 300mm. You would find the buttons for both vibration reduction and autofocus near the mount, allowing you to easily access both of them. Unfortunately, you cannot manually override autofocus, an essential feature for many photographers.
Images are quite sharp overall but they start fading if you move towards higher apertures. However, images are still good even at f22 which you rarely use to take pictures.
One thing that might concern you is vignetting which is visible even with the naked eye. But – you can easily remove it in post-production using Photoshop or any other photo editing software.
The lens keeps both chromatic aberration and distortion well under control, like most lenses in our guide. Nikon D3200 has built-in distortion control technology as well.
Once again, Nikon 55-300mm is a versatile lens offering good image quality for portraits, wildlife, close-ups, sports, and a wide range of genres. It has most of the features which a beginner wants to have in a lens.
7. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed: Best 85mm Lens for Nikon D3200
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G is an awesome prime lens for Nikon 3200 for many reasons. It has been designed for full-frame cameras but it also works well with DSLRs like D3200 where it has an equivalent focal length of 127.5. As a result, you can capture objects beautifully even if they are far away from you.
Nikon 85mm also creates beautiful portraits without making your subjects uncomfortable as you can shoot from quite a distance. Moreover, the portraits tend to be sharper, more attractive, and realistic because of a higher focal length.
The lens creates quite an amazing bokeh too because of its f/1.8 aperture, exquisitely isolating your subjects from the surroundings.
85mm f/1.8G is the sharpest 85mm lens by Nikon, even better than the pricier 85mm f/1.4G. Similarly, such a wide aperture enables you to take wonderful low light photographs without increasing the ISO of the camera.
The lens has a sturdy body despite being mostly made of plastic. It has a fast, and quiet autofocus for tracking objects as well.
Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G is pricy as well as affordable depending on your budget. However, it offers great value for money because of all the above features. You will always find some use for it if you happen to buy it.
8. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR: Best D3200 Lens for Portraiture and Landscapes
Nikon NIKKOR 16-85mm is a versatile lens offering a sweet focal range for making landscapes as well as close-up portraits.
The images are sharp in general with fast autofocus. On top of that, it has less distortion compared to the 18-55mm kit lens. The vibration reduction feature is one of the best among all the lenses for Nikon D3200. It offers longer exposure times for in-focus shots, making it a perfect lens both for portraiture and wide-angle images.
The only thing going against the lens is its price because the Nikon D3200 already comes with a similar lens. However, Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G offers better performance than the kit lens.
9. Sigma10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM: Best Wide Angle Lens for Nikon D3200
Sigma10-20mm f/3.5 is the option if you want to have a terrific wide-angle lens for your D3200 camera. It is an ultra-wide-angle lens, enabling you to cover more area and put in more people in the frame compared to a standard wide-angle lens.
The lens delivers excellent image quality in a sturdy body. The variable focal length also makes life easier for you if you have to capture landscapes of different sizes and from different distances. The 102.4° angle of view means you can easily take indoor, architectural, and landscape photos.
The minimum focusing distance of 24cm throughout the entire zoom range is also impressive. It allows you to take high-quality images of both surrounding and foreground subjects.
The f/3.5 aperture is also good enough for low light photography. Similarly, the autofocus is relatively fast, smooth, quiet, and sharp, and therefore, it is a great lens to capture fast-moving objects as well. However, it may pick up some sound if you are recording videos using the onboard microphone. The easiest solution to this problem is to use manual focus.
The lens has slight barrel distortion at 10mm but you can handle it with Lightroom Lens Correction.
The lens ensures excellent colors and superior images quality by employing Two ELD and one SLD glass.
Al in all, Sigma Sigma10-20mm f/3.5 is the ideal wide-angle lens for Nikon D3200. It offers both standard and ultra-wide-angle capabilities besides superior image quality across the zoom range.
10. Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5.6-6.3 Di VC: Best Nikon D3200 Telephoto Lens
Finally, we have Tamron SP 150-600mm super-telephoto zoom lens on our list. It has a lot of features that make it a must-have for your camera, provided you can afford it.
First of all, it boasts super image stabilization, enabling you to take remarkable handheld photos. The Vibration Compensation (VC) is equal to 4.5 stops, helping you to take steady and sharp photos in all kinds of situations.
The lens also has very fast autofocus with accurate tracking performance. The autofocus becomes even faster and more responsive while tracking moving objects. You can also lock the zoom at any position thanks to the FLEX ZOOM LOCK MECHANISM.
The lens is moisture resistant as the fluorine coating further protects the glass from various elements. It is also lightweight and easy to hold.
The main shortcoming of the lens is the poor edges both at maximum and minimum zoom ranges. You have to reduce the aperture substantially to avoid this problem. Fortunately, the image quality is matchless between the telephoto and wide ends.
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 has more merits than demerits. It is a premium lens for Nikon D3200 with unrivaled image quality, superior image stabilization, and very fast autofocus.
Best Lens for Nikon D3200 – Buyer’s Guide
You need to look for certain features while buying a new lens and same is true for Nikon D3200 lenses.
Pick Up Nikon D3200 Kit
First of all, you need to get either of the two Nikon D3200 kits. The first option includes the older VR 18-5mm kit lens. The other is dual-lens kit including non-VR 18-5mm and 50-200mm. The second kit is much cheaper than the first but it has significant drawbacks. The first problem is the lack of vibration reduction besides they are also not that fast. You especially need vibration reduction for telephoto range when it becomes difficult to take handheld photos. Therefore, we recommend avoiding these lenses and buying only a VR lens.
Zoom vs. Prime Lenses
Most of the lenses for Nikon D3200 on our list are zoom models for a solid reason. Zoom lenses offer incredible versatility when it comes to focal range. Prime lenses are not versatile but they offer sharper and faster performance. However, you have to buy a separate primer lens for every focal length and that is what most beginners cannot afford. A single zoom lens will not only solve your problem but will also help you learn the tricks of the trade without spending a lot of money.
The aperture determines how much light can enter the lens and reach the camera sensor. It is denoted by F-stops where smaller F-stops mean a wider, bigger, and faster aperture. For example, f/1.4 is wider than f/1.8 whereas f/1.8 is wider than f/2.6. It is advisable to buy a lens with a smaller aperture number for Nikon D3200. Some lenses also have two aperture numbers such as f/5.6-5.6.3. In this case, the first number represents maximum aperture and the second figure is for minimum aperture.
You also need a smaller aperture number for good performance in low light. However, most lenses for Nikon D3200 have aperture numbers of f/3.5-5.6 which are not good enough for low light conditions and that is where vibration reduction comes to your rescue. It helps you take decent pictures in low light irrespective of aperture size.
Lenses with apertures of f/2.8 or less enable you to take brilliant photos in low light besides creating a fantastic bokeh to isolate your subject. But – these are mostly professional models and will cost you some extra money. The fastest prime lenses have apertures of f/1.8 and even f/1.4 but they are considerably expensive.
Nikon D3200 is an old model and therefore, it may not be compatible with some of the newer lenses. Most of the Nikon’s full-frame lenses can work with Nikon D3200 and other cropped sensor DSLR cameras. However, these lenses are costly and it doesn’t make sense to pair them with a camera like D3200. You won’t be using the part of the lens larger than the cropped sensor anyway. You should not buy a new full-frame lens for D3200 but can pair them both if you already have one.
Nikon D3200 is a terrific entry-level camera but you will upgrade to newer or more advanced models in the future. All the Nikon crop-sensor cameras would still be compatible with any DX-format lens. They would also work cameras like Nikon D7200.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Kit lens for Nikon D3200?
The Nikon D3200 comes with an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55 zoom lens that is a decent and versatile option for a beginner. The lens offers good performance with image stabilization. However, you need to buy a better lens once you have learned the basics of photography and want to expand your repertoire.
2. Is Nikon D3200 still good?
Nikon D3200 is still one of the best entry-level DSLRs on the market. It offers a 24.2 megapixels sensor, Full HD 1080P videos, an excellent tutorial mode, a lightweight body, and a myriad of other features for beginners to get going in photography. Above all, it is significantly cheaper than most modern DSLRs.
3. What lenses are compatible with Nikon D3200?
The following are some of the best lenses compatible with Nikon D3200.
- Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G
- Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G
- Sigma10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
- Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5.6-6.3 Di VC
- Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
4. Is Nikon D3200 a DX or FX?
Nikon D3200 is a crop-sensor DX-format DSLR camera with Nikon F-mount. The entry-level camera was released in 2012.
5. What is the best image quality setting for Nikon D3200?
The best image quality setting for Nikon D3200 is 1920 x 1280 pixels. It can record Full HD 1080P movies in MOV format at 24 frames per second at the highest quality setting.
Nikon D3200 is quite a capable camera even by today’s standards. It is still a competitive beginner DSLR camera and can hold its own against modern DSLRs in its class. It also comes with an 18-5mm kit lens but you cannot really count on it. Therefore, you have to get the best lens for Nikon D3200 to make most of the camera.
Investing in a good lens would not only enhance your camera’s performance but will also enable you to learn the basics of photography in a relatively quick time.