📸 5 MUST-OWN Lenses For Nikon D5100 In 2024 [Guide]

Jan 12, 2024 | Buying Guides

Thinking about boosting your photography skills with the best lenses for the Nikon D5100, but feeling lost in the sea of options? We get it.

Finding the right lenses for Nikon D5100 is like finding a needle in a haystack.

That’s why we’ve put together this invaluable guide to cut through the clutter and help you make the perfect choice for your budget and needs.

Ready to focus on what truly matters?

Nikon D5100 Lenses

I personally spent over a week testing all the different lenses for the Nikon D5100 camera, so you will find this ultimate guide very valuable.

But if you are in a hurry and want a quick answer, here are the top 3 lenses for the Nikon D5100 camera.

Editor's Choice
Best Runner Up
Best Budget

Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G Lens

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G Lens

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G Lens

With an impressive zoom range, this lens covers a wide variety of focal lengths, allowing photographers to capture everything.

Designed for capturing distant subjects this lens enables photographers to get closer to their subjects without compromising image quality.

This compact and lightweight lens delivers exceptional sharpness and clarity, making it perfect for various photography genres.

5.0
4.9
4.7
Editor's Choice

Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G Lens

With an impressive zoom range, this lens covers a wide variety of focal lengths, allowing photographers to capture everything.

5.0
Best Runner Up

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G Lens

Designed for capturing distant subjects this lens enables photographers to get closer to their subjects without compromising image quality.

4.9
Best Budget

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G Lens

This compact and lightweight lens delivers exceptional sharpness and clarity, making it perfect for various photography genres.

4.7

Now that you have your answer let’s dive more deeper into this guide.

Since you either own a Nikon D5100 camera or looking to buy one, are you wondering, if this camera is even worth it today?

Well, here is your answer:

Black Nikon D5100 lens with a closed lid on a blue background

Upon testing the Nikon D5100, I found it to be an excellent DSLR that still shines in 2024.

Its articulating LCD screen provided a versatile approach to composing images, and the detail captured by its 16.2MP sensor was genuinely impressive.

The camera’s ease of use, along with its performance in low-light situations, truly highlighted its worth.

In the current market, the Nikon D5100’s blend of features and affordability makes it a fantastic choice for budding photographers and experienced hobbyists.

Now that you know this camera is worth your time, here are the best Nikon D5100 lenses in 2024.

#1 Editors’s Choice: The Perfect All-in-One Lens for Nikon D5100

Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G Lens

This all-in-one lens from Nikon is known for its versatility, good autofocus and providing you with excellent results in almost any photographic situtation.

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  • Lens Type: Telephoto
  • Mounting Type: Nikon F (DX)
  • Focal Length Range: 18-300mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 16 feet (0.48 m)
  • Weight: 1.21 pounds
  • Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.11 x 3.11 inches

If you are looking for one lens that will perform great in most situations, or if you don’t have time to change between lenses in a middle of a shooting, you need an all-in-one lens.

Our winner for this category is Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G, which offers enormous versatility. As you can see, the focal length range is between 18 and 300mm, which is more than enough for all sorts of photography events.

You might read complaints from some people about the image quality of this lens, but I didn’t experience any issues while testing it with Nikon D5100.

In fact:

The image quality was excellent, and besides minor ghosting issues you might encounter if you zoom out, there aren’t any issues as far as image quality is concerned. You need to understand that this is not a lens designed for a specific type of photography but a lens suitable for all-around situations.

Build quality is excellent, the focus is fast and accurate, and it is even lightweight, which are benefit most people neglect when shopping for a new lens. I also find out that it works great, even in low-light conditions.

One aspect of this all-around Nikon lens that positively surprised me was the ability to capture amazing macro photos. On the downside, I did feel a minor lens creep, but since this lens has a lock, it won’t be a big issue.

Listen:

If I could own only one lens, it would be Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G. Overall quality, performance, and versatility are excellent, and in my honest opinion, they should be part of your collection.

Pros

  • Minimal and lightweight
  • It is very convenient
  • Fast autofocus
  • Macro focusing even at 200mm

Cons

  • Poor vignetting at close to 18mm
  • It needs to be locked

#2 Best Runner-Up: Must-Have Telephoto Lens for Nikon D5100

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G Lens

A telephoto lens from Nikon that has good build quality, compact body that feels comfortable in hand while providing steady and precise images.

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  • Lens Type: Telephoto
  • Mounting Type: Nikon F (FX)
  • Focal Length Range: 70-300mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 4.9 feet
  • Weight: 1.64 pounds
  • Dimensions: 5.67 x 3.15 x 3.15 inches

Choosing the best telephoto lens can be tricky, as it depends on the focal length range you need.

There are lenses over 600mm on the longer side of the spectrum, and hardcore professionals mostly use those for recording series such as planet earth from BBC. If that is what you are looking for, Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 is excellent.

However:

For most photographers looking for a more ordinary telephoto lens, I highly recommend Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E.

It offers high performance while maintaining a relatively moderate price tag. This telephoto lens from Nikon has many benefits, and while I was testing it, I found out that it focuses pretty fast, even in low-light conditions.

At first, I thought that the focus was entirely silent, but after carefully listening, I noticed it made some clunky sounds, but nothing that would distract you.

One thing I loved about this lens is the image quality, which was superb to almost any other telephoto lens I have tested. It produces ultra-sharp images with clear details and precise colors.

If you are looking for that, don’t hesitate to buy this new model from Amazon.

The drawback of this lens is that there is not enough reach, so if you are looking for something for wildlife photography, especially for taking photos of birds, I am afraid this lens won’t be the perfect choice for you, and you might want to check out the lens from Sigma.

But for more stock photos, it offers many benefits, and its performance is excellent; it just might be the perfect telephoto lens for your Nikon D5100 camera.

Pros

  • Sharp through the full zoom range
  • Vibration reduction is excellent
  • The image results are amazing
  • The zoom mechanism works great

Cons

  • It is a pretty large
  • does not come with a hard case

#3 Best Budget: Uncover Hidden Beauty with the Top Macro Lens for Nikon D5100

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G Lens

Unleash your creative potential: Nikon 40mm f/2.8G Lens captures mesmerizing details with precision and clarity, perfect for macro photography enthusiasts.

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  • Lens Type: Normal
  • Mounting Type: Nikon F (DX)
  • Focal Length Range: 40mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.53 feet
  • Weight: 8.3 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.56 x 2.72 x 2.72 inches

If you are looking for macro Nikon D5100 lenses that offer excellent images when it comes to macro photography, you might want to check out the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G lens.

While performing testing in real-world conditions, I found that this macro lens is competent in most situations.

One place where this lens lacks a little bit of performance is in low-light conditions, but if you consider the fair price of this product, you will quickly realize that it offers fantastic value.

It is an excellent lens for beginners as it has a great focal length, which makes it suitable not only for macro photography but in other areas as well.

You will also appreciate the ability to get close to your subject, as that will allow you to capture even better-looking photos.

This is a perfect choice for photographers who are looking to upgrade to a high-quality macro lens but don’t want to spend too much money.

If you are looking for a more dedicated macro lens, check out Nikon 105mm. It does deliver higher performance.

However:

For most photographers, Nikon 40mm will be enough quality-wise, and that is the reason it takes the top spot for best macro lenses for Nikon D5100.

Pros

  • Great manual focus feel
  • The macro feature works like a charm
  • Lens is lightweight
  • f/2.8 is great for general photography

Cons

  • Auto-focus performance in low-light
  • You must get close to the subject for 1:1

Elevate Your Photography Game with the Best Prime Lens for Nikon D5100

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G Lens

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G is a versatile prime lens has beautiful bokeh effect and it is amazing for any kind of weddings, portraits or general photography.

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  • Lens Type: Telephoto
  • Mounting Type: Nikon F (FX)
  • Focal Length Range: 85mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.80 m
  • Weight: 12.3 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.87 x 3.15 x 3.15 inches

Prime lenses are usually cheaper than other types, as they have a fixed focal length, so they don’t require any moving parts.

However:

That is not the case with a Nikon 85mm f/1.8G, as you will have to pay a premium. But considering the quality you get with this prime lens, it will be worth it in the long run.

It is a fantastic lens for photographers who are just starting, as well as for professionals who are demanding high-quality images from their cameras.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G is great for shooting weddings, family gatherings, sports events, and much more. While testing different prime lenses, this lens proved the most useful for overall photography.

It delivers excellent sharpness, and when you combine that with superb bokeh, the results are beautiful photos that will make you happy you paid more for this masterpiece from Nikon.

Sure, there are more expensive options, such as 85mm 1.4 or the Nikon 85mm 1.4, and there are also cheaper options, such as Nikon 50mm 1.8, but considering the value/price ratio you are getting with this prime lens, it deserves to be called the best prime lens for Nikon D5100.

I also noticed that it offers excellent performance in low-light situations, which makes for more comfortable shooting if conditions are not perfect.

There are minor issues with this lens, such as some corner softness at wide apertures, and even though the build quality is excellent, it still feels plasticky.

However, if you consider all the benefits you are going to get with Nikon 85mm f/1.8G, it is clear why it is regarded as one of the best prime lenses for the Nikon D5100.

Pros

  • Beautiful and smooth bokeh
  • Focus is fast and silent
  • Ridiculously sharp from 1.8
  • Amazing value for the cost

Cons

  • Slow focusing speed
  • Corner softness at wide apertures

Discover a New Perspective with the Top Wide-Angle Lens for Your Nikon D5100

Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G Lens

Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G is a wide angle lens that ofers superior sharpness and it produces beautiful photos with stunning effects.

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  • Lens Type: Wide Angle
  • Mounting Type: Nikon F (DX)
  • Focal Length Range: 10-24mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.8 feet
  • Weight: 1.01 pounds
  • Dimensions: 3.43 x 3.27 x 3.27 inches

For a photographer whose primary focus is landscapes, interiors, or nature photography, the best wide-angle lens is Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G.

In fact:

You will use this lens for any outdoor activity when you see the image quality that this wide-angle lens delivers.

One thing I like about Nikon 10-24mm is the unique perspective you will get with a 10mm. There is some distortion at the complete end spectrum, but considering that you will be able to correct it in post-processing, it is not an issue.

On the other side, I consider 24mm to be very close to a standard focal length, making it more practical for general photography.

As far as the lens itself goes, the build quality is excellent, and I was surprised by the quality of the images I got while testing it. Contrast and color reproduction are on the spot and, combined with Nikon D5100, provides a fantastic photography experience.

Look:

I recommend Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G as it performs excellently when combined with Nikon D5100.

But if you are looking for a cheaper option, I recommend Sigma 18-35mm F1.8, as it also showed excellent results and is slightly less expensive than the Nikon one.

Finally, if both Nikon and Sigma lenses from above are out of your budget, your next option should be Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. It does offer excellent image quality, but considering the short focal length(11-16mm) you get with it, it doesn’t provide much versatility.

Pros

  • Easy to carry all-day
  • Great image quality
  • Excellent wide angle
  • More than adequately sharp 

Cons

  • There is some chromatic aberration
  • A little bit bulky

6 Tips To Help When Buying a Nikon D5100 lenses

Tip #1 – Ask yourself what type of photography you are going to do the most

One of the most important things when it comes to choosing the best lens for you is knowing what type of photography you will mostly do. Different lenses work better in different situations, so knowing your future goal when it comes to photography can help you make the right decision.

Tip #2 – Find out what is the right lens type for your needs

As I already mentioned, there are six main lens types. Make sure you know what the suitable model for your photography preferences is.

Tip #3 – Decide what is the correct aperture for you

Every lens has a specific gap size measured in f-stops such as f/1.4, f/1.8, etc.
A camera with a larger aperture usually performs better in low light conditions as it allows more light to come through the lens. This is not a crucial thing to look for, but try to get lenses with lower f-stops numbers, such as f/1.8 and f/2.8, if you need excellent low-light performance.

Tip #4 – Check to see if the lens is compatible with your camera

You must ensure that the lens you buy will work correctly with your camera. If you don’t have the required knowledge on the topic, make sure to browse the internet to check if the lens you want is suitable for your camera. Or you can buy the lenses I suggested, as they are explicitly tested on the Nikon D5100 camera.

Tip #5 – Read reviews from other users

One thing that is very useful when choosing the right lens is to read reviews from photographers who have already bought that lens and wrote about their experience. You can usually find a lot of pieces of information if you check online reviews. I highly suggest you check Amazon reviews for the lens you are interested in before buying it.

Tip #6 – Check your local lens shop

If you have a lens shop near your area, I highly suggest you check it out, as you are the person who will take thousands of photos with the desired lens. For this reason, make sure you like the camera lens and that you are happy with the quality you get compared to the price you have to pay.

FAQ: Choosing the Ideal Lenses for Nikon D5100 Photography

What is the best lens for Nikon D5100?

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR is a versatile lens suitable for various types of photography, making it an excellent general-purpose lens. For portraits, consider the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G. If you’re interested in wildlife or sports, the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR would be an excellent choice.

What lenses will fit a Nikon D5100?

The Nikon D5100 uses the Nikon F-mount, meaning it’s compatible with a broad range of Nikon lenses and third-party lenses that use the same mount, such as those from Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina. This includes DX (crop sensor) and FX (full-frame) lenses, though using an FX lens on the D5100 will result in a 1.5x crop factor.

Can I use an AF lens on a Nikon D5100?

You can use AF (Autofocus) lenses on a Nikon D5100. However, please note that older AF lenses without a built-in motor will not have autofocus capabilities on the D5100 because this camera model does not have a built-in autofocus motor. AF-S and AF-I lenses, which have their autofocus motors, will autofocus without issues on the Nikon D5100.

Is the Nikon D5100 compatible with all Nikon lenses?

The Nikon D5100 is compatible with AF-S and AF-I lenses. However, AF lenses (without an ‘S’) would require manual focusing on a D5100.

Is the Nikon D5100 compatible with all Nikon lenses?

The Nikon D5100 is compatible with AF-S and AF-I lenses. However, AF lenses (without an ‘S’) would require manual focusing on a D5100.

Can I use full-frame lenses on the Nikon D5100?

Yes, full-frame lenses, also known as FX lenses, can be used on the Nikon D5100, a DX-format camera. However, remember that you’ll experience a 1.5x crop factor, effectively increasing the focal length.

Can I use vintage lenses with the Nikon D5100?

You can use vintage lenses with the Nikon D5100, but autofocus and other automated features may not work. You’ll also need to ensure the lens is physically compatible; in some cases, an adapter may be necessary.

Nikon D5100 Ultimate Guide – Wrapping Up

I hope this ultimate Nikon D5100 lens guide helped you make the right decision and get the best lenses for Nikon D5100 in 2024.

However:

If you are still unsure what is the right lens for you, I highly recommend you check out this option.

Please further read our other guides and tutorials, such as the Nikon D3000 lenses and the Nikon D3500 lens guide, to expand your knowledge about photography and camera equipment.

You can email us on our contact page or comment below for any questions or inquiries.

Good luck in finding the best Nikon D5100 lens!

Best Recommendation:

Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G Lens

This all-in-one lens from Nikon is known for its versatility, good autofocus and providing you with excellent results in almost any photographic situtation.

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Disclaimer: "As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."

Stacy WItten

Stacy WItten

Owner, Writer & Photographer

Stacy Witten, owner and creative force behind LensesPro, delivers expertly crafted content with precision and professional insight. Her extensive background in writing and photography guarantees quality and trust in every review and tutorial.

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14 Comments

  1. Hello! What can I use, beyond a 300mm lens, for birds in flight and the night sky? Is there such a lens that won’t break the bank?

    Reply
    • If you’re looking for a lens that can handle birds in flight and night sky photography, you may want to consider the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens. This lens has an impressive range of long focal lengths so you won’t miss out on any details when taking shots of faraway subjects like flying birds – plus, it includes image stabilization technology that keeps your images crisp even when your hands are slightly shaky due to weather conditions or something else entirely! Although pricier than some other lenses on the market, this one still gives great performance when considering its price tag; if money is an issue however, then opting for the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 instead could be more suitable as it offers similar features but at a cheaper cost overall!

      Reply
  2. Hey! I have a Nikon D5100 and I’m still learning as I go. I shoot food photography with my Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens that came with my camera. I’m wondering if you could recommend a lens that would be better for up close shots that basically make it like there is no lens between me and the subject.. if that makes sense? OR do you think the lens I’m working with is perfect for what I’m doing? My shots are getting better the more I learn, I’m now shooting in semi manual. I haven’t learned how to shoot fully manual yet.. also if you have any articles or videos to share for tips and tricks on that please let me know 😀

    Reply
    • Remarkable that you’re learning and improving your Nikon D5100 skills! For those looking to get closer to food photography, try a macro lens – the Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G is a great pick that gives you a 1:1 reproduction ratio, so the food shots can be highly detailed and crisp even if taken up close. But if you’re content with what your current 18-55mm lens is giving you, there’s no need to switch – it’s still flexible enough to provide excellent photo results!

      Reply
  3. I’m assuming to stay clear of AF-P lenses and only looking at AF-S. I don’t think that the D5100 is compatible with the pulse lenses but I could be wrong.

    Reply
    • Correct indeed – the D5100 camera body doesn’t offer compatibility with any of those lenses; therefore, when looking for lens types, it is better to focus more on getting those that require AF-S mounts, as you won’t have any worries regarding compatibility, etc. While a couple of specific models might still work, these can also possibly come with certain limitations even if they do work at all, so in this case, it’s better off avoiding them entirely!

      Reply
  4. Sir, can I use my Nikon D5100 for travel Vlogging? If so, which lense is better for this? I have 18-55 kit lense and 70-200 zoom lense.

    Reply
    • I would definitely advise you to try it and see if it suits your needs. In my opinion, you will be happy with the 18-55 kit lens.

      Reply
  5. Can you recommend good lenses for shooting lightning bugs (fireflies) at night for the D5100?

    Reply
    • I didn’t really have experience with shooting fireflies at all, and now when I think about it I will surely try that.
      I would suggest Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G, or Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E.

      Reply
  6. Thank you man

    Reply
    • 🙂

      Reply
  7. Thank you very much Sir, That is very good info for D5100 owner to buy lenses
    Sincerely,
    B. Pham

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot!

      Reply

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