What is the difference between Nikon’s “D” and “G” lenses?

written by Beckie of beckiegkengle.com

I am part of a lot of different photography groups/forums on Facebook, and this question has been asked more than once recently on all of the groups, so I thought I’d talk about it here.

What is the difference between a Nikon “D” lens and a “G” lens?
(Unfortunately, I don’t have any “G” lenses to take a picture of, and all of my local photog friends shoot Canon)

There is actually a fairly easy explanation to this question. (though I’m sure I could go into lots more detail, I’ll keep it simple for now)

The “G” lens does not have an aperture ring and some versions can only be used on Nikon’s digital bodies (the lenses that are DX specific). It is typically lighter than a “D” lens, and is made mostly out of plastic, making it a light lens.

The “D” lens has the aperture ring, and can be used on Nikon’s digital line-up as well as the older Nikon F series (film) bodies! It has a more solid build to it, including the mount being made out of metal making it a little heavier than a “G” lens.

Both of them, however, do send distance information to the camera to help set the flash exposure more accurately. (for WAY more detailed info on lens types, visit Ken Rockwell’s site)

Is there a price difference? Yes, there is, however, I am not entirely sure why. Take the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 for example. The “D” version is approx $329, whereas the “G” version is approx $439 (prices currently on amazon.com for new). Some will argue because the “G” lens is better quality (and also works on entry-level bodies), and that the “D” lens is “old” technology and because they don’t work on entry-level bodies.

Which one is actually better? I think it all comes down to a personal preference! Myself? I LOVE the feel and function of the “D” lenses, so that is all I have in my bag! They are nice and solid, and while they do have some weight to them, it doesn’t bother me. I am very happy with my “D” lenses! 🙂

If you enjoyed reading my post and would like to follow more of my journey through life in photography, feel free to visit my blog or follow my Facebook page!

About Beckie

I'm Beckie, a fun, think-outside-the-box mama to 2 miracle children.
I love all things photography, and being able to share in this art with others!


  1. I have the 35mm 1/8G. Just wondering how do you feel about the 35mm vs 50mm G lenses?

    • Sorry for my delayed response, Debbie. I actually have not tried either of those lenses as I do prefer (and own) the D versions. However, I suppose I would say in my opinion, the 50 is the most versatile of the two lenses (and that would probably be the same in both the D and G versions). Now that might be different if you are shooting with a cropped sensor camera. If that is the case, the 35 may actually be the better lens for you. I hope this answers your question. If not, feel free to email me at beckie {at} beckiegkengle {dot} com, and I’ll do my best to help you out! 🙂

  2. Hi there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site?

    I’m getting tired of WordPress because I’ve had problems with
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  3. Thanks for the info 🙂 Very informative
    and straight to the point .


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  2. […] which is in the ballpark of of $500-$600, new), but I love the D lenses (as you may remember from my “D vs G” post a while […]

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