Choosing the right lens is not always an easy task. There’s so many to choose from and it’s hard knowing which one performs well. That’s why we’ve picked 5 lenses for the Nikon D7200 that are worthy of space in your kit bag. So with the kit lens quickly put on the second hand market or put into use as a paperweight, let’s get stuck in with the selection.
1. Prime Selection – Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
It will come as no surprise to anyone to see the Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G in the selection. This beautiful walk around lens on a full frame body turns into a lovely portrait lens with the 1.5x crop factor on the DX format body. There is of course the cheaper Nikon Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.4D also available for consideration but I am sure you will find that the G lens is worth the extra money. There will be some of you who feel that the upcoming Nikon Nikkor AF-S 35mm F1.4G should also be included but given that I am only selecting 5 lenses, I will be depending on my choice of the standard zoom to cover the 50mm equivalent focal length.
2. The Standard Zoom – Nikon Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
As nice as the Nikon Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom is, I find its price a bit too steep for a DX lens even for its amazing performance and had to choose the Nikon Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR. The addition of VR in the 16-35mm also helped make the choice. Since most of my shooting in this range is done hands free, I find that vibration reduction to be something which is highly preferable even though most shooting in this range does not need it so much. The limited focal range means that anything over 35mm (52.5mm in 35mm equivalent) and less than 70mm (105 in 35mm equivalent and the focal length of the next selection) will have to be taken on by the 50mm prime though. Of course, if you can afford to splash out, either the 17-55mm DX lens mentioned above or better still getting both the Nikon Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF-S Zoom and the Nikon Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED could be options.
3. The Telephoto Zoom – Nikon Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
This choice is really a no brainer. The Nikon Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and its predecessors and smaller aperture brethrens are the most popular zoom for both DX and FX bodies alike. With a large aperture of f/2.8, you can use teleconverters without suffering much from the 2-stop penalty, especially if you choose a good one like the Nikon TC-20E III Teleconverter. Of course, you are also benefitting from the new VR II technology from Nikon which offers better performance.
4. The Wide-angle Zoom – Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom
With DX format bodies, there is really no choice than a DX lens if you want to achieve proper wide-angle focal lengths. In the Nikon range of lenses, the best option has got to be the Nikon Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom. The lens delivers a satisfactory wide-angle range of 18-36mm in the 35mm equivalent and while the focal length is not the widest option, it is certainly the best for the job. The alternative would be the Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED but the image quality would be inferior.
The Super Telephoto Zoom – Don’t bother…
To be honest, if money was no object, I would definitely pick the Nikon Nikkor AF-S 200-400mm F4G ED VR II as the lens of choice but given the high cost of the lens, it has got to be considered a luxury option unless you have a highly specialized use and don’t mind the weight of this beauty. However, lesser mortals like myself will most likely content with the Nikon Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF Zoom. However, if you consider the significant overlap with the 70-200 and teleconverter combination, you may be tempted to ask yourself why bother with it? Of course, this is given that you have the 70-200mm lens I mentioned above?
5. The Macro Prime – Nikon Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR Micro
The best macro lens from the Nikon range has got to be the Nikon Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR Micro. Don’t get me wrong the Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX Micro 85mm f/3.5G ED VR is a very good option for the DX body but the 105mm just offers more in terms of both short term performance and long term possibilities (as in if you wish to shoot with a FX body as well in the future). If you are into shooting the creepy crawlies around your garden the 105mm stands out even more; try it and you will love it.
Why just Nikon lenses??
Some of you may question whether third-party manufacturers may offer additional options and I will provide some answers in a follow up article to give both Canon and Nikon users of cropped sensor bodies some extra options such as Sigma, Tokina and Tamron. For those who don’t mind trading the autofocus feature for better image quality, there are some really nice lenses out there from manufacturers like Carl Zeiss, Leica and Voigtlander. Stay tuned for the follow up article and do comment on this article’s selection as well as what you would like included (whatever the brand).