Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Sharpest Lenses for Nikon DX (APS-C) format

Are you wondering what are the sharpest lenses that you can use for your DX camera?  Here are the top 3, among those measured by DXO: the Sigma 35 1.4, Nikon 85 1.4G, and Nikon 85 1.8G!
Inline image 1
The 3 lenses above have resolution of 11 'perceptual megapixels' on the D7000.  (DXO hasn't posted tests of these lenses on the D7100 or any DX body with a higher resolution than the 16mp D7000.)

Hit the jump for the list of the other sharpest lenses...

Though these lenses aren't as sharp as the top 3, they are still very sharp.  Here are the lenses that have a resolution of 10 P-Mpix in DX on the D7000, arranged by focal length.

Samyang 14 2.8
Zeiss 28 f/2 ZF2
Nikon 35 1.4G
Nikon Micro 40 2.8G
Nikon 50 1.4G
Nikon 50 1.8D
Nikon 50 1.4D
Zeiss 50 f/2 ZF2
Tamron 60 f/2
Samyang 85 1.4
Zeiss 85 1.4 ZF2
Nikon 85 1.4D
Nikon 85 1.8D
Sigma 105 2.8 OS

Finally, there is one more lens that made it to 10 P-Mpix on the DX, in fact it is the only zoom lens to do so! Drumroll please.... the Sigma 17-50 OS!

Update: As pointed out by Xiaoli in the comment below, Sigma will be releasing a new DX-only lens soon that is part of the Art series (the same family as the Sigma 35 1.4): the 30 1.4.  Given that it is specifically designed for DX, I'm curious how well it will perform!

Samples of Sigma 35 1.4 on Nikon D7100 in our detailed real world D7100 review
Sigma 35 1.4 preview - with D600
Nikon 85 1.8G review - with D600


  1. I always thought Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is for FX, whereas 30mm f/1.4 is for DX, no?

    1. Hi Xiaoli. Yes you're right. What I meant is that these are the sharpest lenses that you can use with a DX camera, whether the lens was made for DX only or FX. In fact now that I think about it, among these lenses, it looks like only the Nikkor Micro 40mm and Sigma 17-50 OS were made for DX.

      Best regards,

  2. Samyang 35mm F1.4 AS UMC Nikon is pretty sharp too, with a score of 21 on D7000.

  3. Never mind. The Samyang 35mm has a fairly high score but the sharpness is only 8 P-Mpix.

    1. I understand DXO's individual score components (for lenses and cameras) but DXO's aggregate score is very strange to me. :)

      Best regards,


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