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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Nikon lenses
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02/19/2008 12:25:34 AM · #1
Hello.

I have a Nikon D300. I am wondering what the sharpness difference is between the D, G, and ED type lenses. Are quality differences huge or marginal. What might the other differences in quality be?
02/19/2008 12:42:16 AM · #2
//www.photozone.de/
02/19/2008 01:16:00 AM · #3
In a nutshell D mean distance information is included in the comunication with the body, ED is Nikons best glass (extra low dispersion) and G means the lens is equiped with a computer chip.

See:

PDF File on Everthing You Wanted to Know about Nikon Glass

Message edited by author 2008-02-19 01:16:17.
02/19/2008 01:16:49 AM · #4
The prices usually reflect the quality. G series has no aperture ring, which is not a problem with electronic control in the camera body. The D series is good, and has the aperture ring. That allows the use of non electronic telextenders or extension tubes by using all manual shooting, which is not possible with a "G" lens. ED refers to the higher quality glass used in lenses with that designation. It means "Extra Dollars." There is a notable difference in sharpness and color contrast with the ED lenses.
The IF (internal focusing) lenses are generally better quality and easier to use because the front of the lens does not turn when it focuses.
There are many of the Nikon lenses evaluated, hands on, with real world field shooting instead of in a lab setting at this site; Bjorn Rorslett, Naturfotograf
You will see the difference with the ED lenses with the first shot, and never want to go back, except to possibly some of the older manual prime lenses, some of which are still just awesome, even on todays digital cameras.

Message edited by author 2008-02-19 01:18:22.
02/21/2008 03:49:05 PM · #5
Originally posted by ronnyt:

I am wondering what the sharpness difference is between the D, G, and ED type lenses. Are quality differences huge or marginal. What might the other differences in quality be?


You can not tell the quality of a lens just from the "D" or "G" designation. "D" simply means the lens relays distance information to your camera for 3D Matrix Metering, "G" simply means there is no manual aperture ring, aperture can only be set by the body...not an issue on DSLR since you use the body to control aperture anyway...only an issue if you want to use the lens on your old manual film body...or if you want to use Tubes or a TC that does not relay the body aperture controls. (I believe all G's are also D's by default...they all relay distance information)

There are extremely high quality "D" and "G" lenses. There are also cheep lower quality "D" and "G" lenses. You simply can not look at this designation to determine the quality...other factors such as design, build quality, etc. will impact performance for both D and G models.

ED simply specifies there is one or more ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements inside the lens. ED elements can be found in both D or G type lenses.

In the past ED glass was only used in Nikons highest quality lenses...now almost every new Nikon lens model has at least one ED element. Some of these lenses are the best you can get...others are entry level lenses. ED glass is intended to reduce chromatic aberations...and some claim better color and contrast too. However some of the cheaper ED lenses only use one small ED element that has minimal effect...while the professional lenses will use ED in multiple large elements, giving much greater ED impact. That means...with recent lenses at least...you can not use the ED designation to rate the quality of a lenses without taking into account other factors.

For example "18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S DX" is an entry level lens containing a single tiny ED element...it performs well for an entry level ~$100 lens...but it is not comparable to the professional >$1000 "17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED AF-S DX" in build quality or performance. (both are "G" and "ED" lenses)

My point...you can not use any of these three designations to determine the quality of a lenses...there are many other factors that have to be taken into consideration to determine the overall quality of a Nikon lens.

sh0rty :P

Message edited by author 2008-02-21 16:10:36.
02/21/2008 04:08:11 PM · #6
Thanks each of you for your links and your opinions. Very helpful to me, and hopefully to the OP, too. Waddy, you wrote:
Originally posted by MelonMusketeer:

You will see the difference with the ED lenses with the first shot, and never want to go back, except to possibly some of the older manual prime lenses, some of which are still just awesome, even on todays digital cameras.
I've been looking at some older fast primes on ebay and elsewhere, but I'm told many (the non-AI) won't fit on the D300.

02/21/2008 08:53:36 PM · #7
Re the last post,
The earlier lenses, until about 1970 are the "non ai" models. The difference is in the back of the aperture ring. On the "non" models, the ring is smooth and projects out just a bit. On the "ai" models, the back of the ring has notches in it to operate a little lever that projects from the camera body. Ai means aperture indexing.
Any camera shop should know someone who can make a "non" lens into "Ai'd" inexpensively. I pay $25 and shipping to have one changed once in a while. Some lenses from thrift stores that I sometimes get for almost nothing, I notch at home using a "dremel" tool, and a small file. If you do that, you need to make sure that the notch covers the entire arc where the ring would contact the lever at all settings so that the lens can be mounted or dismounted with the aperture ring set to any position.


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