Sam Kacey

Sam's expertise is in Landscape, Portrait, and Travel photography. He and his team also review the best Cameras and Lenses on the market in 2022 for B&H Photo.

If you want to make the most of your photography with your Nikon D5100 camera, it’s essential to have the best Nikon D5100 lenses. That will give you the ability to adapt to any environment around you and have versatile options with you for all types of photography. Here, you will find some of the best lenses for your Nikon D5100, from telephoto to wide-angle, that enhance the capabilities of this DSLR camera.

The lenses you will find on our list below are intended for use with your Nikon D5100 camera but will also work with other cameras in the Nikon lineup. If that’s your intention, you need to ensure the lens compatibility with your Nikon camera before buying one.

boat anchored on the beach shot using Nikon D5100 lenses

We have reviewed the best Nikon D5100 lenses that will give you the versatility to work within different environments and ensure you can adjust various elements to get the perfect shot. So, without further ado, let’s begin. Or you can jump straight to our number one pick here. (note – It has over 1,400 reviews)

What Should You Look for in the Best Nikon D5100 Lenses?

The process of buying a camera lens needs a lot of wisdom and knowledge about lens types. We know the struggles of searching for a durable camera lens with high-quality features. Our team has analyzed all the functionality, specifications, and parts of the best Nikon D5100 lenses in the market. Below, we have shared what you must look for when shopping for these lenses.

There are plenty of wide-angle D5100 lenses available that will bring out the best qualities of your camera and not burn a hole in your pocket. So, which Nikon lenses for the D5100 camera should you go for? You should look for certain things in the best Nikon D5100 lenses before buying them. These include the following criteria:

Criteria #1: Zoom Lens and Prime Lens

If you are shopping for multiple D5100 lenses, it’s best to get different options, so that you are ready for everything. Prime and zoom lenses are two camera lens categories, but both are distinct from each other. However, you should have both lenses in your camera gear.

water surrounded by rocks

Photographers find zoom lenses to be convenient because you can focus on subjects from long distances. You won’t need to change the lens, since with a zoom lens you can focus on your object by pressing a button on your camera.

Prime lenses offer you exceptional image quality overall and have wider apertures as well. They may not have the versatility of other lenses but will offer you stunning quality images.

Criteria #2: The Cost of the Lens

Photography is an expensive hobby, mainly because the equipment can cost you an arm and a leg. When you’re buying multiple lenses to suit various environments, you can expect to spend close to a thousand dollars or even more. Your total cost can climb up easily if you’re going after premium quality Nikon D5100 lenses.

Not everyone has massive budgets and bottomless resources, which is why you must create a budget and calculate the amount of money you can spend on camera accessories and lenses. It will help you stay within your means and not overspend when shopping for Nikon D5100 lenses.

Criteria #3: Weight and Size

The weight and size of the lens is a crucial factor you must consider, especially if you’ll be traveling with your camera or doing plenty of street photography. You want lenses that are lightweight and small so that you can easily store them in your travel bag and carry them with you anywhere.

If you’re primarily doing wedding photography, corporate events, or fashion shoots, you want to carry a large bag with your camera gear. That can be burdensome to carry around with you all day, and you’ll need to look after it as well. Therefore, look for lenses that are comfortable to carry and easy to use.

Here’s How We Have Determined the Best Nikon D5100 Lenses

It’s impossible to take the best pictures without high-quality lenses for your D5100 camera. Whether photography is your hobby or profession, you need to be careful about the best Nikon lenses for the D5100 camera you are using. It’s essential to consider the features and abilities of the lens to ensure they suit your photography needs and requirements.

We know there are many options available in the market regarding the best Nikon D5100 lenses, and even though that’s a good thing, it can make the entire process confusing and overwhelming. Now, knowing how vital lenses are, you wouldn’t want to buy anything but the best D5100 lenses without breaking an arm and a leg. So, check out our list of some of the top 5 Nikon D5100 lenses available in the market.

#1: Nikon 50mm Lens for D5100 Camera (Best Versatile Prime)

The Nikon 50mm Lens pairs a normal field of view with an, especially bright design. This prime lens is extremely versatile and suits an extensive range of photography types. The f/1.4 fast maximum aperture of the lens is excellent in low light conditions and allows you to isolate subjects using selective techniques for shallow depth of field and focus.

The Super Integrated Coating improves color accuracy and contrast by reducing ghosting and flare effects, and the nine-blade rounded diaphragm offers a smooth and excellent quality bokeh effect. In addition, the Silent Wave Motor offers accurate, fast, and silent performance during autofocus and you get full-time override during manual focus.

This prime lens has a normal length and is designed for Nikon FX-format F-mount cameras. However, you can use it for DX camera models, as you will get a focal length range of 75mm.

Reason #1: Fast f/1.4 Maximum Aperture

The f/1.4 fast maximum aperture offers an extensive depth of field control and allows you to use selective effects for focus. Its fast aperture also means it performs exceptionally well in low-light environments.

man playing golf taken using D5100 Nikon lens

Reason #2: Super Integrated Coating

The lens elements have a Super Integrated Coating applied to them for reducing surface and internal reflections and drastically minimizing ghosting and lens flare effects.

Looking at all the superb features offered by the Nikon 50mm versatile prime lens for the Nikon D5100 DSLR camera, you can see why it makes our list. We chose this Nikon lens because it uses three elements for aspherical errors and reduces distortions and spherical aberrations, so you can get accurate rendering and sharper images.

#2: Nikon 85mm f/1.8G Lens for D5100 (Best Short-Telephoto)

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G has an exceptional focal length that is suited for portrait photography and has an f/1.8 bright maximum aperture. The design of the lens is balanced between a compact and lightweight form fact, but it still has plenty of features that make it fast for controlling depth of field and working in different light environments.

sunset shot using D5100 lens

There is a Super Integrated Coating on individual elements of the lens that help in controlling ghosting and flare effect to produce excellent color fidelity and contrast when you work in low light environments. In addition, a Silent Wave Motor also offers accurate and fast performance for autofocus and has a full-time override for manual focus.

The lens has an internal design for focusing, which means that lens groups move internally when you focus and maintain the lens’s overall length while offering faster speeds for focusing.

This prime short-telephoto lens has been designed to be used for Nikon FX-format F-mount cameras, but you can use them with DX model cameras, which will give you a 127.5mm focal length range.

The f/1.8 bright maximum aperture allows you to use depth of field and ensures you don’t have any problems in low-light conditions. The seven-blade rounded diaphragm also helps deliver an amazing bokeh effect as well.

#3: Nikon Micro 105mm Lens for D5100 Camera (Best Telephoto Macro)

The Nikon Micro 105mm lens has a contemporary design and is an excellent close-range lens thanks to its 1-inch minimum distance for focusing and a 1:1 life-size maximum magnification. The cutting-edge optical design comes with a dispersion element that is extra-low and helps to reduce chromatic aberrations and achieve higher color accuracy and clarity.

The Super Integrated and Nano Crystal coatings are applied for suppressing ghosting and lens flare for better contrast when you work in low-light environments. The Silent Wave Motor autofocus system produces a silent and fast performance for focusing that is ideal for recording movies and shooting stills. You can also use the focus ring to manually override it.

You can expect sharp images thanks to the vibration reduction and image stabilization system, which ensures that camera shake effects are diminished by three steps. This telephoto prime lens has been designed for Nikon FX-format cameras with F-mount, but you can use it with DX camera models, and expect a focal length range of 157.5mm.

It’s the perfect lens for macro photography because of its 1:1 life-size maximum magnification. It also has a 1-inch minimum distance for focusing that helps you take close-up shots of subjects. There is an internal design for focusing, meaning the lens groups move internally when you focus, which maintains the lens’s overall length and promotes faster speeds for focusing.

butterly snapped using D5100 lens

#4: Nikon 10-24mm Lens for Nikon D5100 Camera (Best Wide-Angle)

Nikon 10-24mm lens

The Nikon 10-24mm is a wide-angle to ultra-wide-angle lens with a 15 to 36mm focal length range on DX camera models. The lens is perfect for architectural, interior, cityscape, and landscape photography. The design for the optics features three elements for aspherical errors and two dispersion elements that are extra-low for controlling distortions and aberrations and achieve higher sharpness and clarity.

Ghosting and lens flare effects are suppressed by the Super Integrated Coating, which increases color rendering and contrasts overall, particularly in low light environments.

In addition, the Silent Wave Motor offers silent, and fast performance for autofocus and you have full-time override functionality for manual focusing. That makes it one of the best Nikon D5100 lenses for video applications and stills.

house shot using Nikon lens

The Nikon 10-24mm zoom lens is a wide-angle and is meant to be used with sensors of the DX-format. It produces a 15 to 36 mm focal length range and comes with an internal design for focusing. That means the lens groups move internally when you focus the lens and maintain the lens’s overall length while producing faster speeds for focusing.

The seven-blade rounded diaphragm helps ensure excellent quality for out-of-focus images and allows you to use selective autofocus and shallow depth of field techniques. There are two dispersion elements that are extra-low, which help in reducing color fringing and chromatic aberrations and offer excellent color accuracy and clarity.

#5: Nikon 24-70mm Lens for D5100 Camera (Best Versatile Pro Zoom)

The Nikon 24-70mm is the best versatile pro zoom lens, also called the professional’s workhorse. This standard zoom versatile lens has a sophisticated and bright design and an f/2.8 constant maximum aperture that offers outstanding performance and consistent illumination in the zoom range. It also works better in low-light environments as you can use selective techniques for focusing on the focal length.

There are glass-molded elements for precise aspherical errors and three dispersion elements that are extra-low which help in reducing chromatic and spherical aberrations in the zoom range. That allows you to get higher clarity and sharpness in your images. The Super Integrated Coating and Nano Crystal Coat also help in controlling ghosting and flare effects and improve contrast and color accuracy.

shot of sunset using Nikon lens for the D5100 camera

In addition, the Silent Wave Motor enhances the imaging capabilities of the lens by allowing fast and precise performance for autofocus and full-time override functionality for manual focusing. That means you can use it for both video and stills applications.

We also, review the top 5 Nikon lenses for videography if you are interested in those types of lenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are hundreds of questions that run through your mind when you’re shopping for the best Nikon D5100 lenses. That is perfectly natural because, at the end of the day, you want the best lens for yourself. We have done our best to share some frequently asked questions here.

What Lenses Are Compatible with the Nikon D5100 Camera?

We have already stated above that the Nikon D5100 is a DX camera, which means it accepts both DX and FX lenses (FX stands for full-frame), so you don’t have to worry about a lens not fitting. Nikon has an extensive range of lenses, so finding compatible lenses for the Nikon D5100 camera won’t be an issue.

However, when shopping for the best Nikon D5100 lenses, you should keep in mind that you will not have all the functions with all lens types:

  • AF-S, AF-I: All Functions Supported

  • AI-P NIKKOR: All Functions Supported Except 3D Color Matrix Metering II
  • IX NIKKOR lenses can’t be used
  • Non-CPU:This can be used in mode M, but Exposure Meter doesn’tFunction; Electronic Rangefinder can be used if the maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster
  • Other AF NIKKOR (Excluding lenses for F3AF): All Functions Supported Except 3D Color Matrix Metering II
  • Type G or D AF NIKKOR: All Functions Supported Except Autofocus
  • Type D PC NIKKOR: All Functions Supported Except Autofocus and some Shooting modes

Before buying lenses for your Nikon D5100 camera, it’s vital to ensure that they are compatible so that you end up buying the best Nikon D5100 lenses on the market that suit your photography style.

duck on the water taken using Nikon lens

Why Should I Invest in a New Nikon D5100 Lens?

Investing in the right lens for your Nikon D5100 camera is crucial, but why is it so important? We want to be honest with you so that you can make the right investment. Here are some of the benefits you will gain by purchasing a new Nikon D5100 lens today.

  • Better Aesthetics

A new Nikon D5100 lens allows you to capture images with more clarity and beauty. Achieving better aesthetics is key to excellence in art, and if you’re a professional photographer, your clients expect you to capture the essence of their beauty in your images.

The best Nikon D5100 lenses allow you to do that, and the smaller focal length helps you achieve a good background blur that is vital for portrait photography.

  • Saves Time and Energy

Most of the Nikon D5100 lenses in this article come with a range of focal lengths, and this is great news, especially for people who want to save their time and energy. Having a diverse range of focal lengths will free you from changing your lens for different purposes. All you need to do is adjust the focal length and use the same lens for both indoor and outdoor photography.

  • Fosters Creativity

Most people don’t like photography for economic purposes, contrary to popular belief. There are a lot of enthusiasts who craft their art simply because they enjoy capturing scenes and preserving them. A good lens will foster your creative skills by playing with different focal lengths and different magnifications. It will also ensure that you don’t feel bound and constrained by a particular length.

Is the Nikon D5100 Camera Good for Beginners?

Yes. The Nikon D5100 camera is an excellent entry-level DSLR for people who are new to photography. It’s a compact, but an affordable camera and still comes with features that will satisfy the needs of any amateur photographer. It features a 16.2-million-pixel CMOS sensor, which is a bit low compared to new cameras on the market, and has ISO 100-6400 that can be extended to ISO 25,600.

The Nikon D5100 doesn’t shoot 4K video, and it’s not weather-sealed like higher-end DSLRs, so you must pay extra care and attention when photographing in rainy and dusty environments. Apart from that, there is nothing that the Nikon D5100 can’t do, which makes it an excellent camera for beginners.

Verdict: Your Best Nikon D5100 Lenses

Now that we have discussed everything vital that you should know about the best Nikon D5100 lenses, it’s time to bring the curtain down on our guide and review the article. However, if you’re still struggling to decide which is the best Nikon D5100 lens for your photography, we have shared our top picks below.

If you’re looking for the best versatile prime lens for your Nikon D5100 camera go with the Nikon 50mm lens.

This prime lens is versatile and pairs an intelligent design with a field of view that is natural to the human eye. The f/1.4 fast maximum aperture of the lens allows it to work brilliantly in low light conditions. You can use selective and shallow techniques to isolate subjects and achieve better depth of field and focus control.

If you want the best short-telephoto lens, get the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G Lens.

The lens is the perfect option for portraits and has an f/1.8 bright maximum aperture. The lens has been designed to be balanced between a compact and lightweight form factor that is fast enough to control depth of field effectively and works excellently in low light.

If you’re looking for the best telephoto macro lens go with the Nikon Micro 105mm Lens.

The contemporary design on this short-telephoto macro lens makes it an exceptional option for any photography type. The 1:1 life-size maximum magnification and 1-inch minimum distance for focusing makes it an excellent lens. The optical design of the lens is advanced and comes with one dispersion element that is extra-low, helping minimize chromatic aberrations and allowing higher clarity and color accuracy.

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