As great as the Nikon D3100 is, an incredible lens can make it even better. The camera has a lot of utility, but it’s easy to expand upon its features if you want extra depth, effects, or angles in your pictures. You just need the right accessory.
When it comes to choosing a camera lens, picking out a single model from the pack is never easy. Luckily, this article gives you the best models for the D3100 by breaking them down on key traits like weight, ease of use, look, and style.
- The Nikon AF-S DX 35mm is a great option for users who need to shoot in different types of light. It has excellent low-light performance and can create interesting backgrounds thanks to the solid bokeh.
- The Nikon AF DX 10.5mm is a great versatile lens for people who want something unique. The fish-eye lens shoots up close, has good autofocus, and comes with a 180-degree diagonal viewing angle.
- Those looking for a solid telephoto lens will love the Nikon 70-300mm. This easy-to-use model is versatile, lightweight, and has plenty of useful features.
Who Should Get This?
Every proud owner of the D3100 should invest in one of the following lenses. While it’s easy to think the camera is good enough on its own, there’s nothing wrong with enhancing your shots. All photographers, regardless of their skill or experience level, will be able to make good use of what’s listed below.
Also note that the following models are compatible with many different cameras. Though this guide focuses on one model, don’t be afraid to try them with other devices if you have a wide collection.
Best Lens for Nikon D3100: What to Consider?
A good lens should stand up to the elements. While you may not always take your camera into tough conditions or rough weather, you never know when an accident might occur. Rather than spending extra money down the line to replace a cheap lens, it’s better to get a sturdy one upfront. Look for models that come from reputable companies and trust metal shells over plastic.
Weight and Size
Your lens, like any part of a good camera kit, adds extra weight to your bag. Though one accessory might not be a big deal, it can get tricky when it’s everything all at once. When possible, get a sturdy-but-light lens that’s easy to maneuver and won’t take up too much space. Lightweight metals are your best bet here. Compact and smaller lenses go a long way as well.
In a perfect world, every shot you take would be perfectly lit. Unfortunately, that’s almost never the case. Rather, you need a camera that can handle both light and dark areas. Though you can easily control your lighting when inside, once you go out into the elements, you never know when the clouds might shift or the sun might disappear. A versatile lens means you’ll never get caught off guard.
Best Lens for Nikon D3100: Our Picks
When getting a lens, it’s hard to find a more well-rounded option than the Nikon AF-S DX 35mm. This model gives you the ability to create beautifully blurred backgrounds thanks to the wide maximum aperture. In line with that is the ability to shoot in both light and dark conditions. In fact, this is one of the best D3100 lenses for people who take a lot of photographs outdoors or in shifting conditions.
The AF-S DX 35mm is a lightweight lens that’s incredibly compact. Anyone can toss this directly into a bag or easily take it on the go. If you like to travel, it’s a good option. Another reason to pick this lens over similar models is the Nikon Super Integrated Coating that enhances color consistency and reduces flare. It has a fast and quiet autofocus as well. From there, the rounded 7-blade diaphragm is icing on the cake.
What We Like:
- Good aperture range
- Great in low-light
- Silent wave motor
- Amazing background effects
- Aspherical lens cuts down on aberrations
- Nikon Super Integrated Coating
- Rounded 7-blade diaphragm
What We Don’t Like:
- Nothing. An incredibly solid lens
If you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path, the Nikon AF DX 10.5mm is a good way to go. This is a fisheye lens that, while not zoomable, is lauded for its compact design, fast aperture, and quick autofocus through Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor. There are a ton of features packed into this shell, including a good close range focus of 5.5-inches, DX-Nikkor, and a 180-degree diagonal viewing angle.
The biggest reason to pick this model is if you’re someone who likes to take close up shots. Besides the range of focus, this also comes with Nikon’s special Close Range Correction (CRC) that gives you sharp, clear images no matter how tight your frames get. In addition, the rounded diaphragm makes your shots much more natural and the extra-low dispersion elements cut down on aberrations.
What We Like:
- Unique perspective
- Compact shell
- Good autofocus
- Reduces diameter of lens image circle
- Fast aperture
- Solid autofocus
- 180-degree diagonal viewing angle
- Close range focusing
What We Don’t Like:
- On the expensive side
- Lens not zoomable
If you need a powerful lens that can give you excellent or high-level quality time and time again, the Nikon 70-300mm is the one for you. This is a strong zoom option that’s both lightweight and versatile, two aspects that make it a must-have for D3100 owners who value options. Being able to take it with you anywhere is quite nice, and the excellent aperture works to give you good lighting no matter where you shoot.
This lens is good for candid shots, but it excels with both travel and action pictures as well. It covers a wide range and enables you to mess around with different focal lengths. In addition, the manual and autofocus are both buttery smooth. It also comes with excellent vibration reduction, which gives you extra stability and reduces blur in your final product.
What We Like:
- Easy to use
- Vibration reduction
- Great autofocus
- Manual focus works at any length
- Good for action shots
- Minimum focus distance of 4.9-feet
What We Don’t Like:
- Zoom could be better
Useful Tips and Information
No matter how great your camera or accessories are, they won’t give you exceptional results unless you properly take care of them. Always be careful with your kit, and do what you can to follow basic care tips to ensure it lasts for a long time.
Using any lens at any level can be tricky. While they enhance your photography, there is a learning curve when you’re first getting started. Tips like these make that process much easier.
Never underestimate the power of a good lens. There are quite a few out there, but none work better for the D3100 than what we’ve listed above. As long as you know how much you want to pay, as well as what works for your shooting style, you’ll get amazing results.
What lens or lenses do you use with Nikon D3100? Are there any great models we missed? Let us know below!
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager here at AnySoftwareTools. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.