Though not the best camera for video shooting, the D5200 is a decent enough camera for shooting stills and is the perfect getting-started camera for someone migrating from a point-and-shoot camera or a smartphone. Weighing only 505 grams, this is a lightweight shooting tool for someone who cannot resist having a camera on their person every time they leave home.
But on its own, the D5200 cannot reach its full potential – you need the right lens to complement and elevate your photography. In this discussion, we’ll look at some of the best lenses you can pair with your D5200.
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The Best Nikon D5200 Lenses of 2023
1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
This is an APS-C lens designed for the APS-C cameras made by Nikon, such as the D5200. This small, compact design offers a maximum aperture of f/1.8, allowing the photographer to capture a lot of light in any lighting conditions. As with all mirrorless camera systems, this lens can be quickly adapted to Nikon’s mirrorless Z-mount cameras. This is a DX-format lens, but it can also be used on Nikon’s FX or full-frame cameras. On full-frame cameras, the camera automatically switches to the DX mode to optimize for the smaller image circle of the lens.
Because the lens is optimized for the smaller image circle of crop cameras, when you mount the lens on a D5200, the effective focal length becomes 52.5mm on a 35mm format.
As the lens neither fits the wide angle range nor the telephoto range, it can safely be categorized as a standard focal length that offers a field of view close to what the human eye perceives. This is an excellent lens for shooting standard street photography, weddings, and the occasional portrait and travel photo.
The major USP of the lens is the fast wide f/1.8 aperture. This means you can shoot with a decent shutter speed no matter the kind of lighting you’re shooting in. Even in dimly lit conditions, you can get decent exposure without any issues.
Also possible with this aperture is a shallow depth of field. This is particularly useful for separating a subject from the background and capturing cinematic shots with background blur.
Autofocusing is powered by Nikon’s silent wave motor-powered technology. The lens features a full-time manual focusing override, ensuring that focusing can be manually tweaked when necessary, even when autofocusing is engaged.
2. Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
This DX-format lens has been designed for cameras like the D5200 and offers a focal length range of 10-20mm. The crop factor of the camera, considering the effective focal length, becomes 15-30mm. This is a beautiful focal length range to shoot landscape photos and other genres such as cityscapes, interiors, architecture, and group photos. The only thing that would be difficult to shoot is portraiture, though environmental portraits are a good alternative.
The aperture range of the lens is f/4.5-5.6. This is on the slower side and you will struggle to capture decent exposures in poor lighting conditions. In bright, sunny environments or artificially lit studios, however, this lens can produce stunning images. I feel the best area of use is in landscape photography and group shots, where bright lighting is often available and the wide angle of view comes into play.
Autofocusing on the lens is powered by a pulse stepping motor technology. This is a precise and quiet autofocusing mechanism. The lens is broadly compatible with your D5200, but some limitations come into play with focusing. One limitation is that the focusing ring on the lens stays active when autofocusing is active. There is no way to deactivate the focusing ring. Another limitation is that VR cannot be switched off.
A significant advantage of this lens is that it’s incredibly inexpensive. Entry-level photographers looking for a wider field of view than the traditional 18-55mm focal length will be more than happy with this lens – especially someone interested in landscape photography and other genres where a wide field of view is required.
3. Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR
This macro lens is designed for the smaller image circle of Nikon’s APS-C camera systems like the D5200. This is a true macro lens designed to give a 1:1 magnification. This means it’s possible to capture the life-sized reproduction of any small subject on the image sensor. The long focal length of 85mm ensures you don’t have to be very close to your subject to capture the macro perspective. You can stay back and shoot from a distance of 1 foot and still be able to capture breathtaking images.
The focal length of the lens is 85mm. When mounted on the D5200, the effective focal length becomes 127.5mm. This medium telephoto focal length ensures that the lens can capture more than just macro photography. You can shoot portrait and fashion photography as well.
The construction of the lens includes 14 elements in 10 groups. This includes one extra-low dispersion element that limits the effects of color fringing and chromatic aberrations. The result is better image clarity and color accuracy, resulting in natural-looking images.
The elements in the lens include a super-integrated coating that suppresses the effects of reflections, flares, and ghosting. This also helps with contrast and color accuracy, especially when working in difficult lighting conditions, such as when the light source is in the frame.
The lens features three stops of image stabilization. Macro photography is almost always done with the camera mounted on a tripod, so this might not seem necessary, but it’s a good feature to have when hand-held is your only option.
4. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR
The 18-300mm lens is an inexpensive option for someone looking for a primary telephoto lens to pair with their D5200. The lens’s effective focal length is 27-450mm, making this a perfect focal length for someone looking for an inexpensive telephoto lens for shooting wildlife and other subjects at long distances.
If you’re planning a wildlife safari or looking to shoot images on your kid’s annual sports day, the 18-300mm is ideal. Considering the effective focal length, you can get close to the action without disrupting the subject.
The construction of the lens includes 16 elements arranged in 12 groups. These include three aspherical elements that ensure the lens can withstand the effects of spherical aberrations and distortions. The lens also includes three extra-low dispersion elements, which ensure that the lens can counter color fringing and chromatic aberrations. This also affects the clarity of the lens and color accuracy.
On top of that, the lens incorporates a super-integrated coating. This coating suppresses internal reflections, flares, and glares. This ensures that the lens can produce better contrast and improve the color accuracy of the resulting images.
Unfortunately, the maximum aperture of the lens drops from f/3.5 to f/6.3. This can be a major downside, especially when working in poor lighting conditions. But the VR helps compensate for the loss of light. VR or vibration reduction offers up to four stops of image shake correction. This comes in handy when shooting hand-held.
Autofocusing on the lens is powered by silent wave motor-powered AF technology. Precise autofocusing is possible using the full-time manual focusing override.
5. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
The Sigma 18-35mm is a wide-angle zoom lens designed for the smaller image circle of APS-C cameras. This lens version is designed for the Nikon F-mount cameras and is compatible with the D5200. The D5200 lens offers an effective focal length of 27-52.5mm. This wide-angle lens still reaches the standard focal length at the tele-end. You can use this lens to shoot various everyday photography genres, including landscape photography, cityscapes, architecture, interior, weddings, street photography, and travel photography.
The construction of the lens includes 17 elements arranged in 12 groups. These include five particular low-dispersion elements designed to suppress the effects of color fringing and chromatic aberrations and help improve the overall clarity of the images and color accuracy. Along with that, four aspherical elements help limit the effects of spherical aberrations, improving the overall sharpness of the images. Plus, a super multilayer coating has also been applied to the lens elements to ensure that the lens does not suffer from flares and ghosting, which are very typical with wide-angle, wide-aperture lenses. This also helps improve the images’ overall color saturation and contrast.
Autofocusing is powered by an integrated HSM motor that offers internal focusing. This motor offers quick and precise autofocusing. A full-time manual focusing override is also available. You can quickly turn the manual focusing ring any time, even when autofocusing is engaged, to ensure precise manual focusing performance.
This Art series lens feels very solid in the hands. It is well-made and crafted out of thermally stable composite materials. This ensures that the barrel length and width of the lens do not change when exposed to extreme temperatures, ensuring consistent results across all environments.
6. Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
The Sigma 10-20mm is an inexpensive alternative to the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art I recommended above. The Sigma 10-20mm offers a lower focal length range, making it suitable for a slightly different range of photography than the above lens.
One of the USPs of this lens is the fixed aperture of f/3.5 across the focal length. f/3.5 isn’t the fastest in the business, but if you can use the lens to its strengths, it delivers good results regardless.
Also to be noted is that the fixed aperture is useful when you’re shooting videos. As you zoom in, the aperture does not drop down, and that’s a tremendous advantage for filmmakers.
The lens’s effective focal length becomes 15-30mm in the 35mm format when mounted on a crop camera like the D5200. Using this lens, you can shoot landscapes, cityscapes, weddings, street photography, and other genres. Because the broad angle aspect of the lens is vast, you can fit many elements from the scene you’re trying to capture into the frame. It captures wide-angle views of interiors and expansive landscape shots.
One of the disadvantages of this lens is that there is no image stabilization built in. However, if you use a minimum shutter speed that’s inverse to the focal length you’re using, you can shoot without the worry of getting image blur in your compositions.
7. Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR
This lens is the recently updated AF-P version of the older 2006 model. Just like many of the other lenses that Nikon has updated recently, the AF-P version is fully compatible with many newer cameras. With cameras like the D5200, there are a few limitations. One of the limitations is that you will not be able to turn off VR. Another problem is that the lens won’t retain a focus point when the meter powers off.
The construction of the lens includes 14 elements arranged in 10 groups. This includes one extra-low dispersion element that suppresses the effects of color fringing and chromatic aberrations. Additionally, the elements in the lens include a super-integrated coating that suppresses the effects of internal reflection, ghosting, and flares. This is useful when shooting in difficult lighting conditions, especially when the light source falls within the frame. The overall color contrast and accuracy are improved as a result of this.
I love the 70-300mm focal length range, which ensures that the lens can work in diverse situations across various genres. Thanks to the crop factor of your D5200, the effective focal length is 105-450mm. This makes the lens ideal for shooting wildlife, birding, and sports photography. The only thing I don’t like is that the lens has a maximum aperture of f/4.5 that drops down to f/6.3 when the lens zooms in.
Long lenses are difficult to operate without image stabilization, and in that regard, the 70-300mm has got you covered. The image stabilization on this lens is rated up to four stops. That means you can use up to four stops of slower shutter speed without any issues when hand-holding the lens.
8. Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
This is a third-party Tamron-developed wide-angle zoom lens optimized for the crop series cameras. There are versions available for both Nikon and Canon. This lens is compatible with the D5200.
The greatest USP of this lens is that it offers a focal length of 200mm, which becomes 300mm on a crop camera, at a very reasonable price. So for photographers looking to get out of the 18-55mm kit lens, this is an excellent lens to expand your horizons. You can use the tele-end of this lens to capture portraits and other genres. On the flip side, you can use the shortened focal length for shooting landscapes, cityscapes, and more.
The effective focal length is 300mm, meaning that you could technically indulge in wildlife, birding, and sports photography. However, the problem is that the D5200 does not have a high continuous shooting speed and it does not have an advanced autofocusing mechanism. If your subject is reasonably steady and not moving around too much, the D5200 can take sharp photos. However, sports photography would be a tad difficult.
I love the broad zoom ring on the lens. It allows you to precisely change the composition and shoot images by rapidly switching the zoom ring. The focusing ring sits in front of the zoom ring and is relatively thin.
The lens’s construction includes 16 elements arranged in 14 groups, one hybrid aspherical element, and one low-dispersion element. The first suppresses the effects of spherical aberrations, and the second takes care of chromatic aberrations and color fringing.
9. Tokina atx-i 11-20mm f/2.8 CF
This wide-angle lens has been designed for the smaller image circle of Nikon and Canon’s APS-C series cameras.
The lens offers an effective focal length of 16.5-30mm on a 35mm format equivalent. This makes the lens perfect for landscapes, cityscapes, weddings, group shots, and travel photography.
The lens’s construction includes 14 elements arranged in 12 groups and constitutes three aspherical elements. These elements take care of spherical aberrations, ensuring that the lens has better optical sharpness and color accuracy. The lens construction also constitutes three super-low dispersion elements that control the effects of color fringing and chromatic aberrations, improving overall color accuracy and sharpness.
Apart from these two elements, the lens has an anti-reflective multilayer coating that takes care of reflections and color accuracy.
Autofocusing is powered by a silent-drive focusing mechanism paired with a GMR sensor. The lens’s barrel length does not extend when focusing, thanks to the internal focusing mechanism. The lens features a one-touch focus clutch mechanism that ensures you can move from auto to manual focusing with a slight touch of your fingers. In reality, however, this can take some time to get used to.
10. Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
This is the latest version of Nikon’s DX-format powerhouse. The 18-55mm is one of the best lenses for usability, versatility, and price. Considering the price point at which this lens is available in the market, this is one of the best lenses you can own.
The lens’s effective focal length is 27-82.5mm on a 35mm format equivalent. That makes the lens ideal for capturing portraits, weddings, fashion, travel, landscape, and other genres—a truly versatile piece of equipment.
The optical design of the lens consists of two aspherical elements. These elements take care of the spherical aberrations and help improve the images’ color accuracy. A super-integrated coating has also been used to ensure that the lens does not suffer from the effects of flares and ghosting. However, some chromatic aberrations and distortions are noticeable in real-life situations.
The lens is almost entirely plastic-made in construction except for the glass elements. Even the lens mount is made of plastic. There is also no weather sealing on the lens. Ultimately, this lens does not offer the best build quality.
However, the lens does feature image stabilization (or VR, as Nikon calls it). Vibration reduction is rated up to four stops and ensures that the lens can be used hand-held without image shake creeping into your images. Low-light photography, especially with the f/5.6 aperture, is a little complicated in real-world situations. The presence of VR does help considerably.