One feature that makes the D7200 a “better camera” is the increased buffer. This means it can continuously record a significantly greater number of loss-less RAW files than the older D7100. Long story short, if you’re a wildlife photographer, the D7200 is the camera for you.
Additionally, if you’re a low-light photographer, the D7200 has an extended ISO range from 100 – 25600. This is up from 100 – 6400 on the older D7100.
Nikon cameras are known for their excellent image quality and versatility, but finding the right lens can be a daunting task. To make your search easier, we’ve put together a series of comprehensive guides on the best lenses available for popular Nikon models like D7100, D7000, D5300, or D5100.
Although these are some great specs, you’ll need a similarly great lens to help your D7200 reach its full potential. We’ve covered the best lenses to complement this camera below.
BEST ULTRA-WIDE LENS
BEST WIDE-ZOOM LENS
BEST ALL-PURPOSE ZOOM LENS
BEST SUPER-TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS
BEST PORTRAIT LENS
BEST MACRO LENS
BEST STANDARD PRIME LENS
Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens
1. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
Wide zoom lenses are ideal for shooting landscapes, architecture, interiors, weddings, and events. If you are shooting with a crop camera like the D7200, going for a full-frame wide zoom lens makes little sense. First, there is the investment aspect. Full-frame lenses are more expensive than their crop brethren. And second is that having invested in all that premium quality glass, you will only use a portion of the image circle. A tailor-made wide zoom lens designed for the smaller image circle of crop cameras makes more sense.
That’s where Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED comes in. The lens’s effective focal length when mounted on a D7200 is 15-36mm. It’s a fantastic focal length range for shooting landscapes and nature photography but may be too wide in some situations, considering that the lens’s angle of view ranges from 109 degrees to 61 degrees. You must be careful not to capture unwanted elements in your composition, like your tripod legs!
As someone whose first love is landscape photography, I look at several attributes when I try a new lens to determine if the lens will suit me. One of those attributes is a non-rotating front element. This is important if you use a circular polarizer, which I do. I am happy to state that the NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED has a non-rotating front element.
In terms of performance, the lens is very sharp. The image is sharper in the middle of the frame than at the corners but stopping down the lens improves corner sharpness. Sharpness at the corners is best at f/8. There is, however, some amount of barrel distortion, which is understandable for a wide-angle lens like this. However, if you’re shooting with the D7200, you can enable in-camera distortion correction to tackle this issue.
Wide Zoom Lens
2. Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED
When it comes to DX-format lenses, they don’t get any better than this. This is one of the oldest lenses in this lineup. In the days of this lens’s release, Nikon’s DX-format cameras were the only DSLRs available from the Nikon stable. Nikon did not have a full-frame DSLR until 2007, when the Nikon D3 was launched. So, it made ample sense to invest in solid-quality DX lenses. Nowadays, the majority of DX lenses are made of plastic.
Wide zoom lenses offer a focal length ranging from wide-angle to a standard focal length. I love fixed aperture wide-angle lenses. A steadily fixed aperture across the focal length ensures that the exposure remains the same when you change the focal length.
The lens’s effective focal length is 25.5 – 82.5mm considering the 1.5x crop factor applied.
The lens is built like a tank. At 755 grams, it feels like a heavy metal chunk designed to last forever. This lens could take a few knocks and bumps along the way and still keep shooting, unlike some other kit lenses that Nikon has made for its DX system cameras. Note the gold ring around the lens’s barrel; this indicates professional quality. There is a weather-sealing gasket at the mount that ensures that the lens will be able to withstand harsh weather and dusty conditions.
The filter thread specifications read 77mm. This means that the lens takes large 77mm filters.
The lens performs admirably for an older design. Even at f/2.8, the lens produces sharp images across the focal length. Stopping down the lens improves sharpness slightly. The sharpest performance of the lens is at f/8. Stopping the aperture even further will not further enhance the image’s sharpness.
Chromatic aberrations are a problem at the widest aperture and the shortest focal length. This is longitudinal chromatic aberrations or color fringing, as it’s more popularly known. Stopping down the lens corrects this issue significantly. The same thing can be said about vignetting. Again, stopping down the lens and zooming in fixes the problem.
All-Purpose Zoom Lens
3. Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR
There are a bunch of options in the all-purpose zoom category. However, considering my preference for OEM lenses, I have chosen the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR as my preferred option. There are several reasons for this.
First, the lens offers a zoom range of 18-140mm, which, when translated into an APS-C DX format, means an effective focal length of 27-210mm. This allows the lens to be used for many photography purposes, including landscape photography, portraits, street photos, weddings, and everything in between.
The second reason is the lens offers a reasonable maximum aperture range of f/3.5 – 5.6 across the focal length. At f/5.6, however, the lens will struggle in poor light. So, this lens is at its best when you’re shooting in good lighting or when you can shoot with a tripod and a slower shutter speed.
In terms of construction, this lens does not have full weather sealing. At the rear of the lens on the lens mount, there is a rubber sealing that should prevent moisture and dust from getting inside the lens. Optionally, you can use a clear filter to avoid dust and moisture from seeping in through the front element.
The zoom ring dominates the barrel of the lens. Comparatively, the focusing ring is very thin. For someone who likes manual focusing, this thin focusing ring is a bit bothersome. But on the bright side, the focus throw of the manual focusing ring is long.
The D7200 does not have a built-in image stabilization system, but the 18-140mm f/3.5 – 5.6 comes with four stops of image stabilization built-in. This allows a photographer to shoot with a slower shutter speed to tackle low-light situations when shooting hand-held.
The autofocusing performance of the lens is surprisingly good. Even though you can’t compare the lens with some of Nikon’s pro offerings, the autofocusing performance is a real surprise. The lens’s front element does not rotate when autofocusing, which allows for the use of circular polarisers and variable ND filters without issues.
Let’s take a closer look at the optical image quality of the lens. The sharpness at the center of the lens is good. However, the corners of the frame show a significant amount of softness. The lens is sharpest when shot at 18mm and f/5.6. Sharpness tends to drop as the lens zooms in. A little pincushion distortion is visible at 18mm. Also, I have noticed some lateral chromatic aberrations. However, this can be corrected when editing your images.
Super-Telephoto Zoom Lens
4. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
I already mentioned that the D7200 is a better camera than the older D7100 when it comes to wildlife and sports photography. The camera’s maximum frame rate is six frames, which is limited in options. But if you can time your shots perfectly and in short bursts, you can shoot a significant number of keepers with the D7200. This is where the NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR brings so much value to your set-up.
The 200-500mm offers a cost-effective solution for capturing shots of subjects several hundred feet away. Due to the sensor’s crop factor, the effective focal length becomes 300-750mm, allowing for tighter framing of subjects. If you’re interested in boosting the focal length reach of the lens even further, it’s compatible with the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III. This teleconverter will push the effective focal length by 40% with a one-stop loss of light. Even without the teleconverter, if you wish to get a tight shot of your subject, the 200-500mm will not disappoint you.
Super telephoto lenses such as these are usually used hand-held. This lens can be hand-held in short bursts, even though it weighs about 2.3 kilos. This is not as heavy as some competitors, like the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports, which weighs more than 2.8 kilos. Additionally, between an OEM Nikon lens and a third party, I will always rely on an OEM lens because of simple things like autofocusing reliability.
Another critical reason for not choosing the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports is that at the longest focal length of 600mm, the maximum aperture drops down to f/6.3. Between f/5.6 and f/8, only one cross-type AF point works on the specific AF module that the Nikon D7200 has (Advanced Multi-CAM 3500DX II). That significantly drops the efficacy of the AF module at f/6.3.
The built-in 4.5 stops of image shake correction is a big bonus. When you’re hand-holding a lens so long and heavy, it must come with some image stabilization.
The lens also comes with a panning-friendly mode when tracking a bird or an athlete or making any panning movement.
The results show that the lens is beautiful. Because the lens is reasonably bright at f/5.6, you can capture a decent amount of light and make beautiful exposures in most conditions.
5. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
When it comes to portrait lenses, three focal lengths are widely popular. These are the 85mm, the 105mm, and the 135mm lenses. I prefer the 85mm focal length, which best captures facial features. The 50mm prime, when mounted on a crop camera, will produce an effective focal length of 75mm, close to that ideal 85mm.
The most significant USP of the lens is the fast wide aperture of f/1.8. Photographers looking to buy this lens are mainly interested in seeing what the lens can do wide open—especially the background blur and the quality of the bokeh.
The lens feels solid in the hands. However, the weight is on the lower side – only 185 grams. This is much lighter than the 50mm f/1.4 G lens. A significant part of the lens consists of plastic, which aids in keeping the weight down. There is a weather sealing near the lens mount. The lens should be able to withstand a bit of harsh weather, but this isn’t a fully sealed lens. I would recommend using a filter to protect the lens’s front element.
Autofocusing is the salient feature of the 50mm f/1.8G. It even overtakes the 50mm f/1.4G in terms of autofocusing speed. However, the 50mm f/1.8G is noisier than the 50mm f/1.4G. The lens features a full-time manual focusing override. Any time you need to adjust focus, you can simply grab the focusing ring.
The front end of the lens does not rotate. So, if you plan on using a circular polarizer or a circular variable ND filter, this lens allows you to do so without any issues. When shooting portraits outdoors in bright conditions, try using a two-stop, four-stop, or variable ND filter that allows you to choose the light-stopping strength. This will enable you to exploit the capability of the lens to produce a narrow depth of field. Also, note that even though the lens’s front element does not rotate, it does extend quite a bit.
Overall, I am very happy with the image quality that the lens produces. Sharpness is good at the center of the frame, wide open at f/1.8. However, corners are not as sharp as the center of the frame wide open. Regarding center sharpness, the lens is sharpest in the f/4 – f/5.6 range. At the f/5.6 – f/8 range, the central sharpness remains impressive. Corner sharpness also improves at this range. Stopping down the lens any further than f/16 encourages lens diffraction to set in.
6. IRIX 150mm f/2.8 Macro
Macro photography is a gear-heavy genre. Though there are many ways to shoot macro without a dedicated macro lens, with one, it becomes a lot more convenient. The results are stunning, especially if you have something like the IRIX 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1.
Traditional macro lenses tend to have a maximum focal length of 100mm. But as the name suggests, the IRIX 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 has a focal length of 150mm. A longer focal length is beneficial when you’re trying to photograph bugs and other subjects that may startle, as you can stay further away while capturing the perfect shot.
This is a true macro lens, meaning the magnification ratio of the lens is 1:1. It produces life-sized reproductions of subjects on the sensor.
If you’re wondering why there isn’t any mention of the autofocusing performance of the lens, I’ll clear that up now. This is a manual focusing lens only, as macro photographers usually exclusively shoot manual. And to make things easier, the lens has magnification ratios and distances marked on the barrel. That said, I would have also loved to see a depth of field scale on the lens.
The manual focusing ring is large and wide. The ring turns very smoothly, allowing precise manual focusing control. I love the focus throw on this lens. It turns quite far, 270 degrees, which brings a smile to my face every time I work with it. I’m sure general-purpose shooters don’t appreciate this feature, but for precise manual focusing for macro photography, this is just perfect. The minimum working distance of the lens is 1.1 feet.
I also love the fact that the lens is weather sealed. This is an often underrated feature for lenses meant for the outdoors. The IRIX 150mm f/2.8 Macro is a macro lens, and there will be moments when you want to take this lens outdoors and shoot bugs and creepy crawlies under the sun. Having weather sealing certainly helps to tackle the elements.
Do note that the Nikon version of this lens (as well as the Canon version) does not come with any image stabilization. I feel this is something that should have been added to the lens. Without image stabilization, you will be forced to use a tripod.
In terms of performance, the lens is decent at f/2.8. But stopped down, the lens sharpness improves. The lens also produces beautiful bokeh.
Standard Prime Lens
7. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
This is the most practical choice as a standard prime lens if you use the D7200 or any APS-C crop camera. The 35mm offers an effective focal length of 52.5mm on the DX mount cameras, close to the 50mm prime focal length.
The construction of the lens does invoke confidence. Even though it weighs just 200 grams due to its largely plastic construction, it feels solid in the hands. Speaking of plastic, I noticed that the front filter thread is also made of plastic, which means there is a good chance that you can potentially wear out the filter thread over time.
That said, the lens comes with a weather-sealing gasket at the lens mount. That means the lens would withstand a bit of bad weather.
Autofocusing and optical image quality are the primary considerations when selecting a lens. The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G is a splendid performer in those two departments. Autofocusing is powered by a snappy ring-type ultrasonic system. A full-time manual focusing override is also available.
The 44-degree angle of view that the lens offers still provides a broad view of the scene in front of the camera. A traditional 50mm prime is very versatile, as you can shoot street photos, weddings, and some portrait and travel photography.
The lens’s autofocusing is very fast due to the decreased focusing throw compared to other lenses. Also, autofocusing is significantly quieter compared to some of the older D lenses.
A good thing about the manual focusing ring is that it’s mechanically linked to the focusing motors. This gives the user better and more precise feedback when the lens is manually focused.
Coming down to the question of sharpness and optical performance, the lens is very sharp across the frame stopped down to f/2.8. The lens isn’t the sharpest when shooting at the widest aperture of f/1.8. Stopping down the lens further improves sharpness marginally. The lens is at its sharpest when you’re stopped down to f/4. Sharpness improves till about f/8, after which lens diffraction comes into play. Also, it must be mentioned here that there is a huge difference between the sharpness performance at the center of the lens and that of the mid-frame and the edges. Corners and mid-frame sharpness never quite match the sharpness at the center of the frame.