The Nikon D7200 offers 24MP resolution in a DX (APS-C) format sensor. The high resolution and pixel density is very demanding on lenses. The camera can use F-mount lenses produced as far back as 1959, but the best performing lenses will be the modern ones featuring AF-S silent wave auto focus and advanced coatings to reduce flare and ghosting. Modern lenses can also incorporate vibration reduction (VR) technology that allows for sharp images to be taken with up to 4 stops of additional exposure when shooting handheld.
When discussing lenses there are some terms that are important to understand. The first is focal length. This is the amount of magnification provided by the lens. A longer focal length will provide more magnification. A 50mm lens is considered a “normal” lens on a 35mm camera, but the same lens on the D7200 will provide the magnification and field of view as a 75mm lens, which is a slight telephoto . This is because the DX sensor is smaller than a 35mm “full-frame” film or digital sensor, so the effective focal length will be 1.5X larger. The closest “normal” lens for the D7200 would be a 35mm. Lenses with a shorter focal length will be considered wide angle, and longer lenses are considered telephoto.
Because of the crop factor of DX, wide angle lenses will not be quite as wide on the D7200 as they would be on a full frame camera. Whereas 24mm is considered “wide-angle” on a full frame, the DX D7200 wide angle lenses are around 18mm. Ultra wide lenses for the D7200 would be lenses below 18mm.
Telephoto lenses for DX generally start around 50mm, and the DX sensor in the D7200 has an advantage with its 1.5X longer reach. A 200mm lens will give the magnification and angle of view of a 300mm on a full frame. This is one reason DX may be preferred by wildlife and sports photographers. It also carries over into macro applications, where greater magnification is an advantage for shooting small subjects.
Zoom Lenses vs Prime Lenses
There are two types of lenses, zoom and prime lenses. Zoom lenses provide the ability to change focal length so that the lens can cover an entire range of focal lengths. Prime lenses have only one fixed length. Because of the design of zoom lenses, their maximum aperture is usually smaller (a larger f-number) and may change throughout the zoom range. With the high ISO capabilities of cameras like the D7200 this is usually not an issue, but it can have some creative limitations.
Prime lenses may offer a larger aperture (a “faster” lens) and can give a more shallow depth of field that is pleasing for portraits and useful for low light photography because a larger aperture captures more light for a given shutter speed. Perhaps the most notable difference can be the size and weight: prime lenses can be made much lighter and may cost significantly less than a zoom lens.
Many choose zoom lenses because of their versatility, while prime lenses can be thought of as specialty lenses used for a specific purpose. Modern zoom lenses are designed to provide excellent sharpness and can even rival the technical image quality of a prime lens. And with options for f/2.8 and now even f/1.8 zoom lenses for DX cameras like the D7200.
Wide Angle Lenses for D7200
Sigma 18-35mm – This wide to normal zoom is specifically made for DX (APS-C) cameras like the D7200. It covers the range from wide to normal and gives an amazing f/1.8 maximum aperture that is constant throughout the zoom range.
Nikkor 10-24mm – This is an ultrawide specialty lens to give am amazing angle of view for unique and stunning photographs. The lens will suit landscape photographers, but it will appeal to anyone wanting to give their photography a unique look.
Normal Range Lenses for D7200
18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G VR – This is the “kit” option for the Nikon D7200. It starts out at a f/3.5 aperture but drops to f/5.6 throughout the telephoto range. It would be a good single-lens option for many.
18-300mm VR – This is a do-it-all lens option that goes from wide to telephoto. It is not small or inexpensive, but if you only carry one lens, this will provide the most versatility. It pairs nicely with the size of the D7200.
16-85mm VR – While the extra 2mm on the wide end may not seem much different from 18mm, the extra 7 degrees of angle of view can make or break a shot. It doesn’t offer quite the telephoto range as the 18-140mm, although it would pair nicely with the 70-300mm for a two-lens combo.
17-55mm f/2.8 DX – This is the professional DX option, covering wide angle to slight telephoto with a wide f/2.8 constant aperture throughout the range. For travel, events and photojournalism this is a great lens for the D7200.
Telephoto Lenses for D7200
50-200mm f/4-5.6G VR II – This is an entry level telephoto lens but it holds up quite well on the D7200. While its aperture is slow especially toward the long end, it is light weight and offers VR for steady shots at long range. It would be a good travel option or first telephoto lens.
70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR – This is a full frame lens but it really shines on DX. Since it covers a larger area than the DX sensor on the D7200, the corner and edge performance is outstanding. The 300mm reach and fast AF-S motor can help capture wildlife and action. It is still somewhat limited by apreture on the long end, but to overcome that would add considerable weight and cost.
70-200mm f/2.8 VRII – This is the professional zoom, for no-compromise image quality and the very best you can buy for the D7200. This is the top choice of wildlife and sports photographers.
Macro Lenses for D7200
85mm f/3.5 DX VR macro – This lens is a good option for the DX D7200 with 1:1 magnification and 0.9 foot close focusing distance. The VR is good for further subjects and can mean the difference between getting a shot handheld that would otherwise require a tripod, but for very close subjects a tripod may still be necessary.
Prime Lenses for D7200
35mm f/1.8 DX – This is the go-to lens for many because of its light weight, small size and stunning sharpness. It is also one of the least expensive options.
50mm f/1.8G – This may be one of the lowest cost Nikkor lenses but on the D7200 it is still very sharp and gives a pleasing angle of view for portraits. The maximum aperture offers a nice shallow depth of field for smooth background blur as well as the ability to capture night scenes in very low light conditions.