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Nikkor D-series Vs. G-series Lenses  
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5407 times:
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I'm thinking of purchasing a 50mm f/1.4 lens for some low-light shooting, and would like to hear some thoughts on the D versus G lenses.

The G-series lens appears to be about twice as expensive as the D-series lens. One thing I like about the G is that it appears to be better sealed and more suitable for shooting outside in inclement weather. I should mention that with my D90, it doesn't matter to me whether or not the lens has a built-in motor.

Any thoughts and/or recommendations would be most appreciated.


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15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinecaptainstefan From United States of America, joined May 2007, 433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5397 times:

The D lenses have an aperture ring on them. Personally I like their look better.

However, the G model has something the D can't shake a stick at - the SWM. Autofocus will be much, much faster (and quieter), accounting for the difference in price.

I don't know how they perform in weather but I assume they are roughly the same.



Long Live the Tulip!
User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5389 times:

Jason,

I have the 1.4G (I use it on my D700) and I have been mostly happy with it. I decided on it over the D version as it's probably a bit more future-proof (i.e., in case I get a lower end back-up body with no screwdrive).

I generally shoot it at f/2 as a compromise between sharpness (very good in the center), fast shutter speed, and background blur (I have to say I don't notice a huge different in background blur between f/1.4 and f/2). I've shot it at f/1.4 in situations of very low light and the results were pretty good (a bit "dreamy", but this is standard for such wide aperture lenses). By f/2.8 it gets very sharp corner to corner.

Interestingly, despite the built-in motor, the G does not seem to AF faster than the D. In fact, it's apparently slower in some cases. I can confirm that, from personal experience, the AF on it is a bit "lazy". But I rarely use it for action shots so this doesn't matter to me.

The biggest complaint I have is the non-trivial amounts of focus shift it has: as you stop down, focus moves towards the back. It was quite frustrating trying to calibrate it (I optimized it for f/2 as that's the aperture I shoot it at most often). And, yes, at such shallow apertures, any small shift in focus does matter.

BTW, are you sure it's sealed? I was not aware that it was. Most of the new primes Nikon recently released are, but I don't think the 1.4G is as it's lower end (but much more affordable than the rest!!!).

Here's a 1.4 G vs. D comparison (the former looks better in the corners, but this might be less of an issue on DX):

http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/441-nikkor_afs_50_14_ff
http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/442-nikkorafd5014ff

Here's another review of the 1.4G here, which covers the slow AF issue:

http://mansurovs.com/nikon-50mm-f1-4g-review

If you don't need the extra 2/3 stop of the 1.4G, you should consider the 1.8G which was released recently. It's half the price of the 1.4G, apparently focuses a bit faster, and looks a bit sharper than the 1.4G at the wider apertures (even though it's not quite as good in the corners; but again this is less important on DX). I have to say that, even if the 1.8G was available when I got mine (and it was not), I would have still gone for the 1.4G to get f/1.4.

Compare the 1.4G results above with those of the 1.8G:

http://www.photozone.de/nikon_ff/631-nikkorafs5018ff

Additional review of the 1.8G:

http://mansurovs.com/nikon-50mm-f1-8g-review

and some data from DxO (with a comparison with the 1.4G at the bottom):

8G-review-of-the-famous-50mm-1.8D-successor" target="_blank">http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/New...-of-the-famous-50mm-1.8D-successor

Finally, as you're shooting DX, are you looking for a short tele / portrait lens (which is what a 50mm will be on DX) or more of a standard lens? If you're looking for the latter, I can highly recommend the 35mm f/1.8 DX:

http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...-aps-c-lens-tests/628-nikkor3518dx

I have actually used it on my D700 (!!!) and I got good results with it. On DX, for the price, it's excellent.

Anyway, hope this helps,

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5387 times:

The DxO link above got screwed up I'm afraid, google for:

dxo nikon 50mm 1.8g

and it's the first hit.

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5330 times:
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DATABASE EDITOR

Quoting SNATH (Reply 2):

Wow Tony, that's great info. Thanks very much for taking the time to compile it!



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User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5311 times:

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 4):

Wow Tony, that's great info. Thanks very much for taking the time to compile it!

You're very welcome, if you have any related questions feel free to ping me.

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently offlineiamlucky13 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5280 times:

There's two things I really like about the older D lenses:

1.) They have aperture rings. I shoot a little film on an older camera, so I need this.
2.) They're substantially more compact than the G lenses.

As a bonus, the D lenses have straight-bladed apertures, which aren't so good for certain bokeh situations, but make awesome diffraction spikes from lights when doing night shots on a tripod and stopped down.

However, from the samples I've seen, I'm pretty sure I'm going to replace my 1.8D that I lost with a 1.8G.

The reason, which applies to the 1.4 versions also, is the improved performance when shooting wide open.

The D versions of these lenses suffer from moderate coma when shot wide open. This makes ugly halos around high contrast areas away from the center of the frame.

The G versions have added an aspherical element that largely eliminates that effect. From the samples I've seen, wide open performance is very much improved.


User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5269 times:
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Quoting iamlucky13 (Reply 6):
the D lenses have straight-bladed apertures, which aren't so good for certain bokeh situations, but make awesome diffraction spikes from lights when doing night shots on a tripod and stopped down.

Wow, indeed:


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Photo © Jussi Seppala - flyFinland
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Photo © Jussi Seppala - flyFinland




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User currently offlinecaptainstefan From United States of America, joined May 2007, 433 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5266 times:

Quoting SNATH (Reply 2):
Interestingly, despite the built-in motor, the G does not seem to AF faster than the D. In fact, it's apparently slower in some cases. I can confirm that, from personal experience, the AF on it is a bit "lazy". But I rarely use it for action shots so this doesn't matter to me.

Hm, good info! Silly salesman at Wolf Camera trying to snow me over...



Long Live the Tulip!
User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3247 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5257 times:

Quoting iamlucky13 (Reply 6):
The G versions have added an aspherical element that largely eliminates that effect. From the samples I've seen, wide open performance is very much improved.

Sorry for being a bit pedantic: the 1.8G has an aspherical element (which was a surprise as it's the cheaper of the two!), the 1.4G does not.

Quoting captainstefan (Reply 8):
Hm, good info! Silly salesman at Wolf Camera trying to snow me over...

To be clear about something: I have not personally used the 1.4D. I just stated what all reviews of the 1.4G that compared it to the 1.4D said re: AF speed. Also note, and I should have explicitly mentioned that in my original post, that the AF speed of the G seems slow when it moves from one end of the focus range to the other. If it's already close, it focuses fast enough. And it is silent.

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
User currently offlineseachaz From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 221 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5217 times:

AF speed on D vs G lenses is really a dependent on a number of things. On D lenses the camera body will play a big role in how fast it focuses - the AF motor on my D70 is pretty slow compared to my D300s and the DX line is even faster - so same D lens will focus on different speeds on different bodies.

With the G lenses it really depends on the lens as there are 2 versions of the SWM - the original as found on pro lenses and the Compact SWM found on the cheaper consumer and super zooms models. The Compact version is probably not much if any faster then the equiv D model lens on the same body - main benefit is silence and manual override. My 16-85 has the compact swm and isn't any faster then my body driven Tokina 12-24. On the other hand those in the pro telephoto lenses are very strong and fast. On a lens like the 300 f/2.8 the amount of torque generated is very impressive. I can't imagine the older D version of that lens on a D3 body being equally as fast.


User currently offlineiamlucky13 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5213 times:

I don't see it as pedantic. That's a useful correction.

My mistake. I assumed the 1.4G did simply because the 1.8G does.

Quoting SNATH (Reply 9):
Sorry for being a bit pedantic: the 1.8G has an aspherical element (which was a surprise as it's the cheaper of the two!), the 1.4G does not.


User currently offlinegeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 5037 times:

2H4;

You mentioned you were going to use the lens with a D-90; and you mentioned that the "G" version was more $ than the "D"; Obviously, there is a lot of experience represented by all the people on the forum, but if I may, I'll suggest just one thing........I'm sure there are probably no two people on this forum (or any place else for that matter), who are in the same set of "circumstances", when it comes to spending money on camera equipment; some people make their living with their equipment; for others, it's just a hobby, ( and sometimes becomes an "obsession")

Sure, the lens used is very important as we all know; but it's NOT the only "important" consideration; I'll use my own "situation" to make my point; I was enjoying shooting with the very top of the line camera body, and some pretty good lenses when "digital" came along; I was probably one of the last to "make the big, expensive switch"; before I decided on which camera body to buy, I decided to "learn about digital photography" first, so for a year or so, I used an inexpensive little Fuji mega-zoom while I was "learning". When I was ready to buy a camera, I attempted to weigh how much photography I do, in relation to a whole list of "other" things I tend to spend money on.

I settled on........a D-90; did a lot of research, talked to a lot of people, etc. About this time, Nikon had just came out with the D-7000; which has many advantages over the D-90, etc. so I did a really concentrated search of "best places to buy" a new D-7000; one thing became increasingly clear; the best time to purchase ANY camera, and get a SUPER DEAL, is NOT when the camera is first introduced ! But my time spent searching really paid off; while looking for a "deal" on a D-7000, I happened to find an even BETTER "deal" on a brand new D 300s; ( for very little more money than what I would have spent for the D-7000, which was not much more than a D 90. I ended up buying the D 300s; (am I ever glad I took all that time to "look around ! )

For MY situation, my usage, the D 300s is a superlative camera. Had I just won the lottery, I would probably have bought a D3s; (not much chance of me ever winning a lottery though, as I've never in my life bought a lottery ticket) besides, I probably can't afford to be running around on down-town Chicago streets with a $5,000 camera and a $1,500 lens; (at least until, of "if" Illinois ever gets around to passing a "carry" law, so I don't have to leave my "equalizer" at the state line when I drive up to the windy city. )

I just thought I'd plant a little "seed" where it might "take root" !

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 13, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5032 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR

Quoting geezer (Reply 12):
Sure, the lens used is very important as we all know; but it's NOT the only "important" consideration

Yes, a very good point, indeed! My purchasing decision is driven by two main things. First, I have fallen in love with prime lenses. I love their sharpness, and I love how the fixed focal length results in the discovery of new perspectives that might not otherwise have been found with a zoom lens.

Second, I like the idea of spending a bit more money (within reason) on a higher-quality lens that will be worth hanging onto for a long time.

Quoting geezer (Reply 12):
besides, I probably can't afford to be running around on down-town Chicago streets with a $5,000 camera and a $1,500 lens; (at least until, of "if" Illinois ever gets around to passing a "carry" law, so I don't have to leave my "equalizer" at the state line when I drive up to the windy city. )

Up here in Madison, Wisconsin, concealed firearms are allowed to be carried into our state capitol building...but cameras are forbidden.



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User currently offlinegeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (2 years 10 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5009 times:

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 13):
Up here in Madison, Wisconsin, concealed firearms are allowed to be carried into our state capitol building...but cameras are forbidden.

Amazing! You can carry your pistol but not your camera ! I suppose they have a reason for that, but it does sound rather ridiculous.
I love to photograph the interiors of notable buildings; so far, I haven't been thrown out of any yet. My favorite building in Chicago is the Cultural Center on Michigan Ave, between Randolf and Washington; they actually welcome photography, even allow the use of a tripod, and even flash if there are not too many people present at the time.

The big problem any more in downtown Chicago is street crime; it's getting worse by the day; I like to roam around on the street, but with what I have been reading lately in the Chicago Trib, I'll probably just grab a cab at Union Station and avoid the walking.

I know what you mean about primes; I have an older model Nikkor 300mm f4 manual focus that I picked up on eBay when I was shooting film with my F5; the thing is sharp as a tack; for much of what I like to do, I'm always on a tripod, and for photographing birds and wild life, the manual focus is no problem at all. Now that I'm using the D 300s, the 300 gives me 450mm, so with a TC, I can get some pretty good close ups using a blind.



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlineAlexC From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 60 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 10 months 1 day ago) and read 4781 times:

I like to take architectural subjects (I've got a shift lens) from time to time which can be quite difficult here in the UK now when photographing iconic buildings in London for instance. It's probably going to get even more difficult this summer with the Olympics coming up and the terrorist threat that we face. Thinking about it, it may just be best to give it a miss this year and stay well away from London!

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