Ok so I just bought Nikon D3200, kinda loving it, kinda not. What kind of lenses do I need for it? What does the lens need to say on it or on the description for it to work properly with this camera?

  • 4
    FWIW, every Nikon DSLR since the D1 has had a section in the manual that describes what lenses are compatible (sometimes down to ranges of serial numbers) and what camera features will be available with each type of lens. – Blrfl Mar 24 '15 at 14:10
  • Thank you guys for all your help, I posted this question the other day I guess I should have been a bit more clear. I Worked with film for years and finally made the move to digital. Back when I was using film in high school I didn't pay attention to anything except shutter speeds and composition. So I guess I'm a total beginner really. The things that confuse me the most are the mm. So basically I'm trying to do portraits cos I love talking portraits. Also with my current camera the d3200 Im kinda confused by the af or afs portions. Been reading a lot on the mms part and need some pointers wi – user38700 Mar 25 '15 at 20:15

The kind of lenses you need depend a lot on what and how you like to shoot, and how limited you are by your budget. Basic features, like focal length, maximum aperture, and stabilization will be determined by your usage. See this basic guide to lenses for explanations of lens features and what they mean in practical terms.

You may also want to see Lens upgrade paths (sub $1000) for the EF-S 18-55mm IS kit lens for Canon APS-C cameras even though it's couched specifically for Canon, a lot of the lenses mentioned have parallels on the Nikon side of the fence.

But if you're looking at 3rd party lenses as well as those offered by Nikon, the main thing is that you need a lens in the Nikon F mount that is Ai or later. While you can use a pre-Ai lens with a D3200, if you eventually upgrade to a prosumer body, pre-Ai lenses can damage the camera body. With 3rd party makers like Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, or Samyang/Rokinon, "for Nikon" is probably sufficient. This means the lens will mount on the camera and work.

Because the D3200 is a "crop body" (i.e., has an APS-C sized sensor in it, not a "full-frame"), you can use either DX or FX lenses on it. DX lenses project an image circle that only covers an APS-C sensor; FX lens image circles are much bigger and can cover a full-frame sensor, too. You can use DX lenses on an FX body, but you'll get black corners in your images, or your camera will crop the image down to the APS-C area, at which point you've kind of negated the point of having a full-frame sensor.

If you want a lens to autofocus on your D3200, you also need to have a lens with a focus motor in it. In Nikon terminology, this means "AF-S", not "AF". 3rd party lenses will typically mention if they have the autofocus motor for Nikon or not.


Use an F-Mount AF-S or AF-I lens to get the most from your camera.

The AF-I is the older version of the current AF-S. This means the lens has an internal auto-focus motor, which the D3200 needs if you want auto-focus.

You can use other lenses, but with some kind of limitation depending on the lens. A good place to check if the lens is fully compatible is Amazon. On the US site, go to the lens and there will usually be a "Will This Work with Your Camera?" box. Enter your camera info and it'll tell you if it's compatible.


If you want all around lens and don't want to change the lens then you can buy Nikon 18-300mm or 18-200mm lens.

Kit lens 18-55mm is good general purpose lens with good quality.

For portrait and landscape you can buy Nikon 16-85mm lens.

For telephoto you can buy 70-300mm if you are on tight budget or you can buy 70-200 f4 or f2.8 if you can afford it.


If your looking to upgrade ur kit lens then sigma do a 18-50 2.8 a really good affordable lens.

A thing I alwas look for in a lens is auto focus af of af-s using a 3200 af lenses will not autofocus with ur camera so u will be looking for af-s lenses

If you need a help handholding or you like a bit of video you can look for image stabilisation manufactures call it all different things the only ones I know are nikon "vr" sigma "os"

  • Could you please elaborate on why you think these lenses would be good. – damned truths Mar 24 '15 at 5:43

There is 21 suitable camera lenses for Nikon D3200:

Share of photos for 5 the most popular lens for Nikon D3200

  1. 18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 - 65.73% of photos
  2. 35.0 mm f/1.8 - 19.23%
  3. 50.0 mm f/1.8 - 5.24%
  4. 16.0-85.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 - 1.75%
  5. 55.0-200.0 mm f/4.0-5.6 - 1.05%
  • 2
    This doesn't really tell us anything. Can you please interpret this data for us. Also, there are many more lenses that are available that can work with a D3200. – damned truths May 28 '15 at 13:55

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