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The Best Nikon D3200 Lenses

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Best Lenses for the Nikon D3200

If you know the focal length of Nikon lens you need, have a look at the best lenses for the Nikon D3200 below.

  1. Best Zoom Lens - Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
  2. Best Wide Angle Lens - Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II
  3. Best Telephoto Lens - Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G
  4. Best First Prime - Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G
  5. Best Macro Lens - Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G
  6. Best All in One Lens - Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR

Best Zoom Lenses for Nikon D3200

The most affordable and good zoom lens is the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G, a kit lens originally sold with the Nikon D3200. The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G is going to be omitted as the majority of people likely already own it.

Wide zooms are discussed further down the page.

Telephoto zoom lenses are perfect with the Nikon D3200 for portraits, action,wildlife, sports, or any distant subject.

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

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Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G
  • Silent Wave Motor for Fast and Quiet Autofocus
  • Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization for Superb Handheld Shots
  • Gives You a Massive Focal Length Coverage
  • Excellent Focal Length for Wildlife Photography with the Nikon D3200
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The biggest draw of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G is the range the lens has combined with image stabilization. It’s going to be an excellent choice anytime you find it challenging to move closer to what you would like to photograph. Like the other zooms, the aperture of f/5.6 at the far end of the zoom range is a little small, wider aperture alternatives are much more.

You won’t have to break the bank to get this zoom lens. There are a bunch of pre-owned copies on the market as it was included with the Nikon D5500, D5600, and D3400.

The considerable zoom range of the lens is constructed of 17 elements in 11 groups. Two of the elements are extra-low dispersion and one is a high refractive index element to ensure sharp images.

It weighs in at 580g (18.7 oz), with dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 3.0 in. (76.5 mm) x 4.8 in. (123 mm). While not small, it can still easily be carried around on the camera or in your bag.

Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR

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Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G
  • Excellent Value When Purchased Second hand
  • Silent Wave Motor for Accurate Autofocus
  • Fantastic for Wildlife, Sports, Action, & Portraits
  • 2 Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Lens Elements
  • (VR) Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5. 6G was quite often sold with the D3200, D3300, and D3100 dslrs. It’s a outstanding deal when purchased second-hand.

A copy in decent cosmetic condition is found for not even half the going rate a pre-owned Nikon 55-300mm.

The only drawback of the 55-200mm is the 100mm reduction in reach. It still has VR image stabilization and to help you get sharp images when shooting hand-held.

One positive aspect of the lens is that carrying it around won’t be a problem. It weighs 335g (11.8 oz) with dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 2.9 in. (73.6 mm) x 3.9 in. (99.5 mm).

Tamron 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD

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Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6
  • Ultra Silent Drive (USD) Autofocus Motor
  • Extra Low Dispersion (XLD) Glass Element
  • Broad-Band Anti-Reflection (BBAR) Lens Coating
  • 9 Aperture Blades for Beautiful Bokeh
  • Minimal focus distance 59.1"
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Tamron 70-300mm is a very good choice if you want 300mm of reach, but don’t want to pay for the 55-300mm from Nikon.

One big shortcoming is the lack of image stabilization. This will make it challenging to get sharp images hand holding the lens.

Similar optical image stabilization is integrated in the Tamron as found in the Nikons. All of them have extra-low dispersion elements and anti-reflective lens coatings.

The lens weighs 16.1oz (458g). It has a length of 5.6" and diameter of 3.2".

Best Wide Angle Lenses

A wide angle lens is very useful for landscapes, astrophotography, architecture, group photos, real estate photography, and more.

One thing to watch out for is the wide angle causing strong distortion. Portraits can be a problem as noses or any body part close to the camera lens will appear deformed.

A benefit of a wide angle is that image stabilization is less essential. Little vibrations of movements are not as likely to be noticed in a photo.

Having a fast maximum aperture is critical for astrophotography. {To get the most impressive photos, you want at least a f/4, if not f/2.8 aperture|For the best images, you want the maximum aperture to be at least f/4.

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II

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Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
  • Perfect selection for night photography
  • Fast f/2.8 Maximum Aperture
  • 77mm Front Filter Threads
  • Focus Clutch Style M/A Selector
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 is fast and sharp. With a large aperture, this lens is a good selection for astrophotography.

One key feature of the lens is the focus clutch that controls changing between manual focus and autofocus. To switch focus, the entire focus ring is either pushed forward or pulled back.

The built-in autofocus motor is loud. This often is a big problem if you need quiet operation when shooting at an event.

The lens is rather large, weighing 550g (1.21 lbs) with dimensions of 4.02 x 4.02 x 4.02 in (L x W x H)

Be careful when you look to shop for the lens. Tokina also makes versions that use a different lens mount like the Canon EF or Sony A mounts. Check to make sure the lens you get is compatible with Nikon cameras.

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical

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Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5
  • Hyper-Sonic Motor (HSM)
  • Ultra-wide angle lens
  • Internal Focus and Excellent Build Quality
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Built with Aspherical Elements that Reduce Distortion
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 falls into the same price range as the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. It has a larger zoom range, but a slightly smaller maximum aperture.

At 10mm the lens is going to produce an exaggerated distorted perspective. You’re likely going to see distortion, which you can reduce through post-processing.

4 aspherical elements have been used to help reduce distortion and aberrations. In total there are 13 lens elements in 10 groups to ensure the best image quality possible.

All that glass doesn’t make the lens too heavy, coming in at a weight of 520g (18.3 oz). Dimensions are diameter of 3.4" (87.3mm) and length of 3.5" (88.2mm).

Be careful if you are looking to purchase this lens. Sigma also made copies of the lens for other DSLR camera mounts including, Canon EF, Sony A, and Pentax K mounts. Make sure the one you buy uses the Nikon F lens mount.

Best Telephoto Lenses

The 55-300mm & 55-200mm lenses covered in the zoom section are also the lenses to look for first if you need a telephoto lens.

This section is going to take a look at telephoto prime lenses for sports, action, wildlife, and portrait photography. There is no shortage of these lenses available for the Nikon F-mount.

However, telephoto prime lenses tend to be expensive because the amount of optics that need to be implimented. The weight of the lens and ergonomics when mounted on a camera body need to be taken into account. The right lens the one that is easy to handle and use so you can capture memorable pictures.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G

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Nikon 85mm f/1.8G
  • Best Lens for Portraits
  • Internal Focus (IF)
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Superb Color Reproduction
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G is one of the best Nikon lenses for professional photographers. It is a fast lens that delivers excellent images and pleasing bokeh.

The 85mm 1.8G is a full frame lens. You’ll notice two differences when comparing it against a DX lens.

First, full frame lenses are usually more expensive than DX lenses. They have larger lens elements, which translates to additional cost.

Second, the lens is larger than many DX lenses. While not a huge issue, if you plan to carry it around with another lens, you’ll definitely need a bag.

Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G

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Nikon 50mm f/1.8G
  • Outstanding Lens with a Fast Aperture
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Small and Lightweight
  • Excellent Pick for Low Light Photography
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

Taking the crop factor focal length multiplier into account, this lens could be thought of as a short telephoto lens. It is a low cost fast prime that can be employed for portraits and indoor photography.

The FX 50mm f/1.8G provides more reach than the DX 35mm f/1.8G, while still having a similar price.

There won’t huge differences between the lenses. With the 50mm, you’ll get a bit more reach and have a less difficult time blurring the background.

It weighs 185g (6.6 oz) and has dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 2.83" x 2.01".

Best First Prime

Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G

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Nikon 35mm f/1.8G
  • Very Accurate Autofocus Performance
  • Takes Great Pictures in Challenging Lighting Situations
  • Excellent Nikon D3200 lens for street photography
  • High Build Quality
  • Best option for an all around lens
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G is the best first prime lens to get for the Nikon D3200.

A maximum aperture of f/1.8, means you’ll be able to isolate your subjects and create beautiful bokeh. Indoors the lens is fast enough to where you will not need to use flash.

With a 35mm equivalent field of view of 52.5mm, you’ll have a “standard” field of view. Your photos will have a perspective that is similar to what is seen by human eyes.

Weighing just 200g (7oz), there’s never a reason not to have the lens with you. With dimensions of (Diameter x Length) 2.8 in. (70 mm) x 2.1 in. (52.5 mm), you can easily keep it in a coat pocket or bag.

Macro Photography Best Nikon D3200 Lenses

Macro photography starts with a reproduction ratio of 1:1. That 1:1 ratio can also be referred to as life size or 1X magnification.

Those terms all mean that the subject being photographed is the same size as the camera’s sensor. Popular subjects are insects, coins, flowers, copy work and academic subjects.

There are other ways to achieve macro magnification, such as extensions tubes. Personally, I find that a macro lens easier to use and gives better results. That’s because a macro lens has a large minimum focus distance.

As a quick note, Nikon branded their macros as Micro-Nikkor lenses. This is a constant source of confusion as micro and macro have opposite meanings.

Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G

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Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G
  • Close-Range Correction System (CRC)
  • Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio of 1X
  • Well Built with a Rubber Sealing Mount Protects Against Dust and Moisture
  • Excellent option for Close Ups
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The Nikon Micro-Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G is the best selection for getting started with macro and close-up photography with the Nikon D3200.

As far as modern macro lenses go, the lens is relatively inexpensive. It also has a high-quality autofocus motor and uses current optics.

This means the lens can also be utilized for general photography. That’s not the case with older macros, as their image quality only becomes razor sharp after the aperture has been stopped down.

The lens weighs 235g (8.3 oz) with dimensions (diameter x length) of 2.7 in. (68.5 mm) x 2.5 in. (64.5 mm).

Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR

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Nikon Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G
  • Super Integrated Coating (SIC) to reduce Chromatic Aberration
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio of 1X
  • Built with Internal Focus (IF)
  • VR - Vibration Reduction Image Stabilization
Check prices on: Amazon, eBay, Adorama or KEH

The primary benefit of the 85mm macro lens over the 40mm is a longer working distance. That’s the distance from the front of the lens to the subject.

At 1X magnification, the front of the lens is going to be close to the subject. If you are trying to photograph an insect, this may cause them to try to get away.

Another issue could be properly lighting a subject. Depending on your light source it could be laborious to get it setup without the lens blocking it.

The downside is that a little more working distance adds to the cost of the lens.

While not the primary purpose of the lens, it can be used for portraits, but the f/3.5 maximum aperture might not create the best background bokeh.

Lens Selection Criteria

  • Overall Image Quality
  • Price to Performance
  • Focal Length Range

Having a high-quality lens is of more importance for image quality than an expensive camera. Lenses don’t wear out, you will be able to keep your lenses if you ever decide to upgrade your Nikon D3200.

That doesn’t mean that price is not a factor. It would not make sense to suggest thousand-dollar lenses, even if they are the highest quality.

All the most commonly used focal lengths have been covered.

Niche or professional lenses such as mirror, perspective control, macro, and fisheye lenses were not covered. Those are high-priced enough to also advise a camera upgrade.

When to Upgrade Your Camera

The Nikon D3200 was released in 2005. It should be come as no surprise that there are many Nikon D3200 upgrade options available. One of the nice things is that you can still use the same lenses with a newer camera, the majority with seamless compatibility.

Having access to different focal lengths, a fast prime, or a recently released lens will do more for you than a just released camera. However, it is very difficult to overlook the high resolution available from a recent APS-C camera body as well as fast continuous shooting speed and more white balance options.

The price of a used Nikon D3200 replacement is a fraction of the price when the camera was just released. That same drop in price also applies to more recent camera models.

An upgrade that is perfect for the needs you have is most likely cheaper than you imagine if you are prepared to sell your D3200 camera shortly after you have an upgrade.

Types of Lenses

Focal Lengths

  • Wide Angle - Captures a large angle of view of a scene. These have a short focal length.
  • Standard - Has a field of view that looks "natural" when viewed by people. Any focal length between 35mm to 50mm.
  • Telephoto - Lenses with a narrow field of view, effective for subjects that are far away or small. Wildlife photos are a popular use for this type of focal length.
  • Macro - Has the ability to take images close up to a subject at a 1:1 magnification ratio of subject to sensor size.
  • Fisheye - Ultra wide-angle lenses that produce distorted circular images.

Zoom vs Prime

  • Zoom - The focal length spans a range. The zoom range coverage will be different, but manufacturers are always trying to make lenses with larger zoom ranges.
  • Prime - Lenses with a fixed focal length. Usually, they have larger apertures than zoom lenses. Larger apertures are better for low light condition and creating blurry backgrounds with a telephoto lens. Better ones will have razor sharp image clarity.

Compatible Lenses

Nikon F Mount

The D3200 camera is compatible with Nikon F-mount lenses. The F-mount was first utilized on Nikon cameras in 1959. There are a number of variations of the lens mount as it has been changed over time to work with DSLR cameras.

Early autofocus lenses used a focus motor built into camera bodies. The Nikon D3200 is one of the only entry level digital SLR cameras to have the focus motor built-in. As a result, autofocus will work with early autofocus lenses.

The Nikon D3200 does not have a meter coupling ridge or EE servo coupling post. Light metering won’t work correctly for manual lenses without electrical contacts. AF lenses with physical aperture rings will likely need to be stopped down to their smallest aperture.

Nikon D3200 Kit Lens

The Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX VR was originally included with the Nikon D3200. This was most commonly bundled with pre-owned D3200’s for sale on eBay or Amazon.

It is in a growing crowd dx nikkor lenses that have been included with cameras through the years. These make up the right lens pick for a large percentage of the predicted needs of a Nikon D3200 owner.

In difficult low light conditions using fill flash from the camera will help. Compatible lighting equipment like Nikon’s creative lighting system will be useful if you can purchase second hand speedlites that are inexpensive enough.

If you don’t have this lens, it is a very good first pick for the camera. The focal length, image stabilization, and performance is decent, especially considering the low cost of a used copy. The one undesirable aspect is the f/5.6 aperture at the long end.