Best Nikon D3200 Lenses of 2020 – Reviews, Buyer’s Guide & FAQs

Best Nikon D3200 Lenses
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The Nikon D3200 is a beautiful entry-level camera that is capable of sharp and clear images. But you do need a variety of lenses for photography outdoors and indoors. Unlike a cheap point and shoot, there is no one perfect lens for a DSLR

Nikon sells a wide array of lenses under the Nikkor brand name. There are also fantastic lenses from Sigma and Tokina. We tested all of the compatible lenses and have narrowed down the list to a select few we feel provide the highest value for money. It is essential that you at least buy one prime and one telephoto lens from this list.

Best Nikon D3200 Lenses 2020 – Comparison

ImageProduct NameFeaturesCheck Price
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto FocusType: Prime
Max Aperture: f/1.8
Max Focal Length: 35 mm
Min Focal Length: 35 mm
Buy on Amazon
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto FocusType: Prime
Max Aperture: f/1.8
Max Focal Length: 50 mm
Min Focal Length: 50 mm
Buy on Amazon
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto FocusType: Prime
Max Aperture: f/1.8
Max Focal Length: 85 mm
Min Focal Length: 85 mm
Buy on Amazon
NIKON AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II LensType: Telephoto Zoom
Max Aperture: f/4
Max Focal Length: 200 mm
Min Focal Length: 55 mm
Buy on Amazon

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus
Type: Telephoto Zoom
Max Aperture: f/4.5
Max Focal Length: 300 mm
Min Focal Length: 55 mm
Buy on Amazon
Sigma 30mm F1.4 Art DC HSM LensType: Prime
Max Aperture: f/1.4
Max Focal Length: 30 mm
Min Focal Length: 30 mm
Buy on Amazon
Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM LensType: Macro
Max Aperture: f/3.5
Max Focal Length: 300 mm
Min Focal Length: 18 mm
Buy on Amazon
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II Digital Zoom Lens (AF-S Motor)Type: Wide Angle
Max Aperture: f/2.8
Max Focal Length: 16 mm
Min Focal Length: 11 mm
Buy on Amazon
Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up LensType: Prime
Max Aperture: f/2.8
Max Focal Length: 40 mm
Min Focal Length: 40 mm
Buy on Amazon

Best Nikon D3200 Lenses to Buy in 2020

1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus

Since its arrival in 2009, Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens has been fulfilling the needs of photographers around the world with its unique features and performance. 

It is compact, has a non-heavy sturdy body, and fits with every Nikon SLR camera that comes with a DX sensor. When we tried it with the FX body, it automatically captured images with reduced resolution, which proved it’s suitable only for DX bodies.

The lens does not have an aperture ring on the barrel. It is designed with 8 elements in 6 groups and a 7-blade diaphragm. The silent wave motor of this lens made us very much satisfied with almost no noise while focusing. 

We experienced quick focusing and quite good AF. Even in low light, it captured excellent shots. The M/A switch allows it to shift from AF to manual very swiftly. However, we were not very happy to find the lens has no zooming feature. 

If used only with the DX body, it results in almost zero vignetting and insignificant light fall-off. Switching to an FX camera will lead to dark corners and field-relevant light fall-off. So, it is better that you stick to DX bodies, which the lens is meant for. 

The wide aperture and standard focal length are two significant features that make this lens appropriate for the present market. Well-controlled CA and beautiful bokeh made us content.

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Pros
  • Pocket-friendly
  • Silent AF
  • Good angle of view
  • Great resolution 
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Cons
  • No zooming
  • Plastic filter-thread

2. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus

First announced in 2011, Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm is the lens for professionals as well as amateurs. The lightweight, affordable and fixed portrait lens gives great results even in low-light situations. 

This lens replaces its former version which was released in 2002. The older one had 6 elements in 5 groups instead of 7 elements in 6 groups as found in the latest one. This new version also comes with one aspherical element, enabling it to reduce CA and coma.

The lens barrel is also better designed than the previous model. We like its AF-S feature which allows almost noiseless operations while focusing, it is pretty fast too. Its ability to run Autofocus with the manual focus override made us like the lens even more.

Being a member of the G-series lenses, this one comes with no aperture ring, but that doesn’t degrade the performance of the lens unless you’re using it with a very old body. We were pleased to discover the great angle of view of this fixed lens.

When we used it with a DX body (D7500), we found that the angle view was decreased to 31 degrees from 47 as noted while used on an FX body. Now, that’s what proves the lens’s highest compatibility with FX cameras.

The Super Integrated Coating on the lens makes it produce images with reduced ghosting and lens flare. Chromatic Aberration is also well-managed in this lens.

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Pros
  • Easy to handle
  • Budget-friendly
  • Great for portraits
  • Wide-angle view
  • Quick autofocus
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Cons
  • Zooming unavailable
  • Filter-thread made of plastic

3. Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus

The Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85 mm is one of the sharpest 85 mm lenses sold by Nikon. Even though the body has many plastic elements, it is built to last. The plastic body structure also helps in making the lens a lot lighter than previous versions.

This low aperture lens with Internal Focus allows for quick shutter speed and an attractive depth of field, giving your pictures a sharp foreground and impressive blur in the background. 

It is a perfect lens for those wishing to use autofocus and not spend too much time worrying about manually adjusting focus. The sharp image quality is the main selling point of this lens and its lightweight design coupled with wide compatibility gives it an edge over other lenses.

The low aperture lens allows you to take very sharp pictures when you focus on objects or people. So, this is great for portraits or product photography where the central theme is the object being photographed, and not so much the background.

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Pros
  • Great consumer-grade lens
  • Sharp image quality
  • Impressive depth of field
  • Wide compatibility
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Cons
  • Plastic body structure
  • Not suited for group photographs

4. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II Lens

The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR lens is the perfect consumer-grade telephoto lens. It is easy to use and really lightweight due to the mount being made out of plastic. Although the plastic lens mount reduces overall weight, you need to handle it carefully to make it last longer.

One of the biggest reasons to choose this lens over the previous versions is that this one retracts when not in use saving you space. The picture quality is impressive given the price and the sharpness is top-notch. It has Super Integrated Coating technology which reduces flares and ghosting ensuring crisp image quality.

A great addition in this lens is the Vibration Reduction technology which makes sure that your telephoto photography is not blurry and captures sharp images. This lens is compatible with almost any Nikon camera and is perfect for travel and sports photography. Its autofocus is fast and reasonably accurate, especially for still photography.

Overall, for the price, this lens is great for the value-conscious photographer.

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Pros
  • Lightweight plastic mount
  • Retractable lens saving space
  • Superior lens coating reducing flares and ghosting
  • Competitive price
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Cons
  • Plastic body requires extra care during handling
  • Auto focus requires time to focus

5. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens with Auto Focus

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR is a telescoping lens that works best from 200 mm to 250 mm range. At 300 mm, the sharpness fades a little, though it’s still clear. If you’re a novice photographer and looking to expand your lens range, this is a good starting point.

The lens is quite handy if your focus is on wildlife. You can shoot skittish animals from a distance with the long zoom facilities. It doesn’t mean you could take pictures from too far, but a 5 feet distance is good enough for the lens to focus on the subject. The autofocus isn’t particularly fast and takes its sweet time hunting the subject. Once it does, it latches on with great accuracy. 

We wouldn’t call it ideal for low light environment photography, but twerking the ISO higher does get good shots. It isn’t particularly visible on digital devices either. 

The VR on the lens is fantastic. On the handheld, the vibration is barely felt. Further, tripod detection helps keep the reduction when you release the shutter on a tripod. 

The lens is compatible with a number of camera bodies from different companies, but it works best with a Nikon. The difference in the camera’s own focus speed and the lens’ focus speed could cause some issues, so we would recommend pairing it with one of at least the D3300 range.

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Pros
  • Long zoom range
  • Great color contrasts
  • Amazing clarity from f8 to f11 range
  • Almost no chromatic aberration
  • Sturdy metal mount
  • Stable VR
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Cons
  • Loses Sharpness at times
  • A slower zoom than lens of same specs
  • Not good for indoor shoots

6. Sigma 30mm F1.4 Art DC HSM Lens

Sigma 30mm F1.4 lens works best with camera bodies with crop sensor. In indoor settings, you can take mugshots or close-ups which imitates what one sees with their eyes. The realistic imagery is supported by the fast autofocus which helps you take beautiful shots like one of a moving, crying baby.

In low light, the autofocus has proved to be a hit or miss type. The sharp images are created by a quiet lens that produces almost no sound. We’ve noticed minor vignettation but it only appears if the f stop is under 2.0. 

If you’re picky about lens build, you will be happy to know it’s solid metal and light in the hands. The lens hood is made of the same material. Once twisted and secured, it prevents light from entering a certain angle. This worked great for achieving certain contrasting colors. 

The chromatic aberration is obvious when the pictures are taken at a place with high contrast colors. It’s not a regular occurrence but the lens does acts up at certain color combinations at certain times. 

While we haven’t faced such problems ourselves, we’ve encountered reviews that suggested the autofocus stops working for a while. If you’re under warranty, that shouldn’t be a problem. Regardless, we will advise proceeding with caution.

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Pros
  • Good Focal Length
  • Smooth Bokeh
  • Tack sharp center
  • Good Color rendition which takes realistic images
  • Strong metal body and rubber focus ring
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Cons
  • Slight Inaccuracy in focus
  • Visible chromatic Aberration
  • Coma Issues

7. Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM Lens

Sigma 18-300mm Macro lens comes with a superzoom, which is the main attraction. Throughout the 18mm to 300mm range, the lens stays tack sharp. In fact, the sharpness increases at the longer focal length, which was a surprise since it’s usually the opposite with most lenses.

Despite the long zoom range, the distortion is only there at 18 to 20 mm. While we couldn’t call the optical stabilization particularly spectacular, we have yet to encounter a blurry photo. We didn’t come across much of a chromatic aberration either. 

We wouldn’t recommend trying for flash photography with the zoom lens, as the flare becomes high in this case. The zoom can be stiff at first, but it loosens up after regular use. The lens also has a zoom lock so you don’t need to worry about zoom creep when you have the camera around your neck. 

The autofocus is dead silent. The accuracy is one to be praised and so is the speed at it which locks on the subject. In low lights, it could lead to some premature shots though. 

If you own a Canon, you will be pleased to know the lens ring moves the same way Canon’s does. The lens cap isn’t of the best quality and has a plastic body. We can’t expect much with how inexpensive it is compared to other lenses with the same specification in the market. 

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Pros
  • Powerful Zoom
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet focusing due to the hypersonic motor
  • Zoom lock
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Cons
  • Slightly stiff zoom ring
  • Full-time manual focus isn’t possible

8. Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II Digital Zoom Lens (AF-S Motor)

The Tokina 11-16 mm AT-X116 Pro DX II Digital Zoom Lens is a great bargain in this category. It is solidly built even though it is made out of plastic. The II version of this lens adds an autofocus motor so you don’t have to spend too much time adjusting the focus if you don’t wish to. 

It is compatible with many cameras but since it is not a lens from a camera brand, you need to check to make sure it will work with your specific model. Optically, the lens makes for crisp and clean images although it might feel a bit clunky due to it requiring pushing and pulling the focus ring for manual focus mode.

The autofocus is not as fast as similarly priced models but has good accuracy and the manual focus is impressive. The sharpness improves towards the center of the picture and becomes softer towards the corners. Overall, this is more solidly built than the lenses made by Nikon and is a good alternative to buy at this price.

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Pros
  • Solid build quality
  • Great price
  • Accurate autofocus
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Cons
  • Low image quality
  • Compatibility issues

9. Nikon AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G Close-up Lens

The Nikon Af-S DX MICRO NIKKOR 40 mm close up lens is a versatile lens for a great price. It is the perfect all-purpose general photography lens which allows you to focus in really close. The MICRO lens is a lightweight and compact addition to the 40 mm lens family. 

The lens produces sharp and high-quality images given the price. This lens is compatible with almost any Nikon cameras but be sure to check the compatibility to be absolutely certain this will fit with your model. The MICRO lens has an M/A mode to allow you to switch between manual and autofocus easily.

The addition of the Silent Wave autofocus motor is also a key selling point allowing quiet operation of the lens. Its plastic build is something that detracts from the overall build quality but makes it lightweight and easy to carry around. Overall, considering the cost of the lens, this is ideal for general photography.

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Pros
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Sharp image quality
  • Silent operation
  • Wide compatibility
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Cons
  • Plastic Build
  • Delicate construction 
  • Lens not zoomable

Also Check:

Nikon D3200 Lenses Buying Guide 

  • Autofocus – It allows your camera lens system to bring the object into focus without the need for manual intervention. The feature is handy for sports photography when there is no time for twisting the focus ring.
  • Low Dispersion Glass – Lenses produce a certain level of distortion. This affects the image quality. Low Dispersion Glass allows you to take photos from far away without any color or shape distortion.
  • Telephoto vs. Zoom – A telephoto provides close-ups of a distant object. A zoom lens provides a better angle of vision alongside the close-up. The two characteristics may be combined in more expensive telephoto lenses.

FAQs regarding Nikon D3200 Lenses

1. What is bokeh?

Bokeh means out of focus background. It is always going to be blurred, but the quality of the blur and how attractive it looks often makes or breaks an image.

2. Which is better – Autofocus and Manual Focus Lenses?

Nikkor AF, AF-P, and AF-S are autofocus lenses. These lenses have sensors that detect the sharpest focus and select it automatically. While it is useful, many purists like to use manual focus with a focusing ring. There is a slight shutter lag when you use autofocus. All Nikon lenses have an AF/MF button for switching between auto and manual modes.

3. What is the f-number?

f stands for aperture. The smaller the f-number, the larger the aperture. Large apertures are useful for shooting in poorly lit places. That happens more often than you can imagine. That is why an f/1.4 lens must, at some point, become a part of your lens selection.

4. How to read a lens description?

Let us take the example of – Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED

  • AF-S signifies autofocus with Silent Wave Motor
  • 55 mm is the smallest focal length. 300 mm is the largest focal length.
  • At 50 mm, it is capable of f/4.5 aperture
  • ED means Extra-Low Dispersion glass

5. What is mount type?

Mount means the socket through which the lens fuses with the camera body. The Nikon D3200, like most Nikons, uses the F mount. When you buy a third-party lens like Sigma, check that it is the model meant for Nikon and not Canon. 

Verdict 

Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary DC Macro is probably the most exceptional lens we have tested at a medium price range. It is capable of extreme close-ups as well as working as a telephoto. If you want one single lens, this is the best all-rounder ever. 

If you need a second lens, go for the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens. It is a superb prime lens that is not too expensive but really delivers. The images we took were crisp and vivid. It was easy to carry around because of the compact and lightweight design.

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