Best Zoom Lenses For Nikon D5100 (Ultimate Buying Guide)

I am a fan of taking photos of things from a distance, so i went down the rabbit hole of zoom lenses to try to find which one is the best. After testing around 17 different ones, i was able to shortlist 5 of them. Out of those 5, the most versatile one was the Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED lens, and in the budget category the Nikkor AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED VR lens seemed to be the most suitable for my needs.

The Japanese giant Nikon has set a benchmark with its products and D5100 is a mid-range APS-C DX DSLR camera that has won millions of hearts with its advanced features.

D5100 was launched in 2011. After 9 years from its release date, it is still considered one of the best in the industry. Although the company launched 5200 and 5300 in the following years, the demand for D5100 is still quite high. If you too are a proud owner of Nikon D5100 and looking to buy the best zoom lens for it, this article is for you.

Here you can read about some useful tips to buy the best lens for Nikon D5100 along with top 5 zoom lenses for D5100 that can take your photography to a whole new level.  So, let’s begin.

Top 5 Best Zoom Lenses For Nikon D5100

5. 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED Nikkor Vibration Reduction Lens 

If you are looking for a versatile lens for capturing everyday shots, the 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED Nikkor Vibration Reduction Lens will be a great choice. Users can use it for capturing landscapes, portraits, or close-up shots from time to time.

The range of focal length makes it a perfect choice for all types of photography, and when you invest in 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED Nikkor Vibration Reduction Lens, you won’t have to think about investing in other lenses to specific requirements.

The lens features 16.7X zoom and the minimum focus distance is 1.48 feet at 300mm zoom setting. Manufacturers have focused on the requirements and they have included a silent wave motor that helps to operate it smoothly.

Whether you prefer capturing landscapes or close-up portraits, this versatile lens is something different from the ordinary lens. If you are about to invest in a lens for D5100, you should take a look before coming to a decision.

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4. AF-P 70-300mm Nikkor Lens f/4.5-6.3 ED VR

Choosing the best zoom lens is often seeming to be an arduous task for the newbies. If your interest lies in capturing long-distance subjects like wildlife, you should invest in a good quality zoom lens. AF-P 70-300mm Nikkor Lens f/4.5-6.3 ED VR is a decent choice for buyers who look out for the best quality zoom lens under a tight budget.

Many professionals who use this lens for their work, and the performance will surely amaze the users. The image quality produced by the telephoto lens is way better than other lenses that make it truly unique.

The aperture range is f/45-63 to F/32 and it comes with VR image stabilization which will give you stunning quality even you capture an in-motion subject. The low light performance is brilliant, and if you are planning to invest in the best zoom lens for Nikon d5100, you should not miss it.

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3. Sigma 70-300mm Telephoto Zoom lens f/4.5-5.6 DG 

Sigma is a reputed brand in the world of photography and if you are looking for the best lens for Nikon d5100, 70-300mm Macro Motorized Telephoto Zoom lens f/4.5-5.6 DG from Sigma will be a great choice.

The lens offers 34.3 to 8.2 degrees of angle of view and F22 is the minimum aperture. The lens supports macro mode and you can experiment with macro photography. The minimum focusing distance is 95cm when you are using the macro mode, and it is amazing.

Buyers will get lens hood and front, and rear caps in the package, and if you are searching for the best zoom lens for Nikon D5100, you should not overlook this product.

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2. 55-200mm Nikon ED IF AF-S DX VR Zoom Lens 

The Nikkor lens remains a favorite option for buyers for its simplicity, compact design, and capabilities. The 55-200mm Nikon ED-IF AF-S DX VR Zoom Lens is one of the best options available in the market if buyers are looking for the best zoom lens for d5100, and people should not miss it.

The maximum focal length is 200mm, and it comes with extra-low dispersion glass elements for superior optics and chromatic aberration. The lens silent wave motor is very efficient, and it is known for accuracy in autofocusing. Buyers will get a 1-year warranty on the lens and it is a great choice.

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1. 85mm f/1.8G AF S Nikkor Fixed Lens  

A lot of photographers prefer using a prime lens for stunning details and convenience. The prime lens helps to dive deep in creativity due to the limitations of fixed focal length.

The New 85mm f/1.8G AF S Nikkon Fixed Lens comes at an affordable price, and it can be a right choice for your purpose. The fast aperture telephoto lens features internal focus and the minimum focus range is 0.80 meters, and therefore, it comes in the list of the best zoom lens for D5100.

The lens is built-in with a silent wave motor, and there are 7 diaphragm blades. Similar to many lenses, Nikon has used super integrated coating and the highest reproduction ratio is 0.12x.

The best thing about this lens is the flexibility. Although it has auto-focus, users can over-ride the focus using rotating the focus ring. By investing in this lens, you can easily capture beautiful images with natural background blur, and you can even use it for covering various events from time to time.

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Things to Look for Before Buying A Zoom Lens for Nikon D5100 

To buy the best zoom lens, you must do some research and read the buying tips by experts as listed below. One must never rush into buying such things with half-knowledge only to repent later. So do consider the buying tips below.

Focal Length

The higher the focal length the more zoom it will have. Also, the use of focal lengths is different. So, you will need to study about the uses of focal lengths, evaluate your needs and buy your lens accordingly.

Aperture Range

The job of aperture is to control the amount of light. If the aperture is small the light is less; and if aperture is big light will be more. The aperture range is an essential factor because it allows camera to perform better in low light conditions.

Sensor Compatibility

The sensor in digital cameras records the image as you push the shutter. In DSLR cameras sensors are bigger, therefore, they produce much clear and real images. CCD and CMOS are two types of sensors. CMOS are bigger than CCD and thus they produce better images. However, the size of sensor can affect the functionality of the camera. Therefore, it should be compatible to your camera.


If you consider the factors listed above while buying the best zoom lens, you will make a good choice. Moreover, the list of 5 zoom lenses have been handpicked by experts. You can check their details and pick the one that suits your needs the best. With this guide, you can save time while choosing one of the best lenses available in the market.

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