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The Battle of Nikon Lenses: D vs G – Which One is Right for You?

Introduction to Nikon D and G Lenses

Photography has come a long way over the years and with the advent of digital cameras, it has become more accessible to everyone. However, in order to take high-quality photos, you need more than just a camera.

Among the most important elements in photography are lenses. The lens you choose can be the difference between an average photograph and a stunning masterpiece.

If you’re a Nikon camera user, then you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to lenses. Nikon boasts an impressive collection of lenses, each designed to cater to specific photography needs.

Two of the most popular types of Nikon lenses are the D and G lenses. But what sets them apart?

Well, that’s what we’ll explore in this article.

Difference between D and G Lenses

Age difference

Nikon D lenses were introduced to the market in 1992 and became very popular with photographers for their compatibility with older Nikon cameras. D lenses have a manual aperture ring that allows the photographer to set the aperture of the lens manually.

They are also compatible with newer Nikon cameras that do not have a built-in motor. This means that these lenses can autofocus on cameras that have a motor built into the camera body.

On the other hand, G lenses were introduced later. They are modern and sleeker than the D lenses and were designed to be used with newer Nikon cameras.

G lenses have an electronic aperture control, which means that the aperture is controlled by the camera’s electronic circuitry. G lenses do not have a manual aperture ring and therefore can only be used on cameras that have a built-in motor.

Complimentary features

When it comes to choosing between D and G lenses, a lot depends on the photographer’s personal preferences and the features of their camera. Some Nikon cameras work better with D lenses, while others prefer G lenses.

Let’s explore some of the complimentary features of both lens types:

– Camera features: As mentioned earlier, D lenses were designed to be compatible with older Nikon cameras. If you own an older Nikon camera, then you may want to consider a D lens because it will work better with your camera and provide you with more control over the lens settings.

If you own a newer Nikon camera, then you may want to consider a G lens because it will take advantage of the camera’s advanced features. – Aperture: Both D and G lenses have different aperture settings, which can be important when it comes to controlling the amount of light that enters the lens.

D lenses tend to have wider aperture ranges than G lenses, which means they can capture more light in low-light conditions. However, G lenses have a faster and more accurate autofocus system that can be particularly useful in situations where speed is of the essence.

– Manual Manipulation: D lenses tend to be more hands-on and require you to manipulate some of the settings manually. This can be useful if you like to have full control over your photography.

G lenses, on the other hand, are designed to be more automatic and take advantage of the camera’s handling. – Backwards compatibility: D lenses are designed to be backward compatible with older Nikon cameras.

This means that you can use D lenses with both newer and older Nikon cameras. G lenses, on the other hand, can only be used with cameras that have an electronic aperture control system.


Photography is an art form that requires time, effort, and the right tools. The right lens can improve your photography skills significantly.

Nikon boasts an impressive range of lenses, each designed to cater to different photography needs. Ultimately, choosing between D and G lenses comes down to personal preference and the features of your camera.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights that will help you make an informed decision when selecting lenses for your Nikon camera.

Focus Mechanisms

When it comes to taking great photos, it’s essential to have the correct focus on your subject. The focus mechanism used in lenses can vary, with each mechanism having its advantages and disadvantages.

Nikon offers two primary focus mechanisms in its lenses: D and G focus mechanisms. Let’s explore them in more detail.

D Lens Focus Mechanism

D lenses have been around since the early 1990s and have set a standard that has influenced many current photographic lenses. These lenses feature a focus ring that allows the user to manually adjust the focus of the lens.

This mechanism provides several benefits, such as more precise focusing and finer control over depth of field. Additionally, D lenses have an autofocus motor that operates on cameras with a greater motor that can detect the focus point and adjust the lens accordingly.

Many photographers appreciate the manual focus ring of D lenses and the creative control it provides. However, it can be challenging for new photographers to handle this mechanism due to their unfamiliarity with the manual ring.

Some users also feel that the old-style effects produced by D lenses are too outdated for modern use.

G Lens Focus Mechanism

In contrast to D lenses, G lenses usually do not have a manual focus ring, and instead rely on autofocus. These lenses lack a mechanical mechanism for manually adjusting focus and aperture, utilizing electronic components instead.

As a result, many photographers consider G lenses to be more convenient and faster to operate than D lenses. G lenses are also quieter and offer smoother autofocusing due to their focus motor’s high-speed operating frequency, which can create faster and more precise focus.

However, it can be challenging to make precise changes to focus on G lenses, and the fine-tuning control of the lens may be limited.


Compatibility of D Lenses with Modern Cameras

One of the major advantages of the D lens is its backward compatibility with older Nikon cameras. While G lenses are not backward compatible, D lenses can be used on both older and more recent bodies; nevertheless, the functioning of the lens can vary depending on the camera model.

D lenses often provide the most significant functionality on older film cameras but may have a few limitations on more recent digital cameras, such as slower autofocus in live view mode. Moreover, some G lenses that lack an autofocus motor can still focus as long as the camera they connect to has a built-in motor.

Still, many modern cameras do not have a lens motor and cannot be used with such lenses. Therefore, establishing which lens is the best fit for your camera model is a crucial factor when selecting a lens

Manual Focus with D Lenses on Modern Cameras

While manual focus on modern cameras may seem obsolete, there are several explanations why you might prefer using a manual lens. For example, manual focus can give you greater creative control over the depth of field.

When using a D lens on a contemporary camera, the focus ring will remain operational. This means that you can still manually focus, although the experience might be different from using a traditional manual lens.

To focus manually, the camera will need to be set to “manual focus,” and the focus will be displayed in the camera’s electronic viewfinder or display. When using D lenses, ensure to read the user manual to understand how to use the lens’s manual focusing mechanism.


Choosing between D and G lenses depends primarily on preference on focus mechanism and compatibility with your camera. D lenses excel in situations where manual adjustment can be extensively used while G lenses include convenience, causing smoother operation and easier use in rapid-fire shooting.

However, backward compatibility gives D lenses an edge, as they can usually be used on older cameras with minimal effort. Conversely, G lenses offer faster operation thanks to their electronic components and provide more ease of use when shooting.

Careful deliberation thus should be made when picking lenses to invest in to ensure it matches one’s needs.


In conclusion, choosing the right lens for your Nikon camera greatly affects your photography quality. The focus mechanism and compatibility are two significant factors to consider when making a decision.

D lenses provide more creative control with their manual focus ring, can be used on older cameras with backward compatibility, and offer more extended aperture ranges. At the same time, G lenses offer more convenience with their electronic components providing smoother and faster autofocus.

G lenses are also more suited to newer cameras. In our recommendation, we suggest that a G lens is a better option for most photographers.

These lenses offer faster and more precise autofocus, which helps capture the perfect shot in rapid-fire situations. They also work seamlessly with newer Nikon cameras, making it easier for photographers to take advantage of the latest camera features.

Though D lenses offer more manual control, the fact that G lenses are taking over both cameras and lens technology points towards a time where manual control becomes unnecessary. G lenses offer improved performance with less effort in a broader variety of situations thanks to its sleek design and modern tech.

While some traditional manual control enthusiasts may opt for D lenses, new photographers should focus on G lenses for optimal results. However, ultimately, the choice between D or G lenses boils down to the photographer’s individual needs.

If you’re a seasoned photographer who prefers working in manual mode, D lenses may be a better fit. On the other hand, if you’re an amateur or professional photographer who prioritize speed of work, convenience, and high-quality images, the G lens might be the perfect choice for you.

In conclusion, we hope that this insightful article provides you with meaningful insights about Nikon lenses that help you make an informed decision about your choice of lens. In conclusion, the choice of lenses in photography cannot be underestimated.

Nikon offers two predominant options – D and G lenses, each with different focus mechanisms and compatibility. D lenses offer more manual manipulation and can be used on older cameras while G lenses provide faster autofocus, electronic components, and reliability for newer cameras.

The recommendation is to choose G lenses if possible due to their convenience and better performance. Ultimately, the choice between the two relies on personal taste as the quality of both technologies has continued to improve significantly over the years.

Therefore, despite the differences between both lenses, the most crucial factor will be one’s preference and gaming needs.

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