Nikon ED Lenses versus G Lenses

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Sandy Bloom, Ph.D., Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Do you think the quality difference between Nikon "ED" and "G" lenses are
    worth the price difference? The ED lenses are touted to be better, and they
    are certainly heavier. They seem to have more glass. I am leaning heavily
    toward buying the "ED"'s.


    Sandy Bloom, Ph.D., Jan 24, 2006
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  2. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    ED means that the lens uses extra-low-dispersion glass. G means the lens
    has no aperture ring and is not fully AI-S backwards compatible. The two
    are not related or mutually exclusive and really have nothing to do with
    each other.
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 24, 2006
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  3. And some lenses are both.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jan 24, 2006
  4. The question is really only relevant to, I think, one lens- the 70-300, of
    which there are G and ED versions- the G lacks an aperture ring and ED
    elements, whereas the ED has both. I've seen some awful results off of the G
    lens- then again, the ED doesn't seem too stellar either. Nikon don't have
    "series" lenses- the top-end 70-200mm is both ED and G and I don't think
    anyone is suggesting that lens is a budget item. That said, the 85 f1.4
    isn't touted as ED or G, and is a phenomenal lens.

    Martin Francis, Jan 24, 2006
  5. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Sheldon Guest

    Sheldon, Jan 26, 2006
  6. Can anyone suggest another AF brand Nikon mount lens that would be better

    Sandy Bloom, Ph.D., Jan 27, 2006
  7. Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Jan 27, 2006
  8. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    george Guest

    The older Nikon 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF was better than the current 70/75-300
    george, Jan 27, 2006
  9. Thanks for the tip. My research would seem to substantiate your opinion.

    I was told that using the AF older Nikon lenses requires one to "shut off"?
    something on the aperure ring so the DSLR can use it accurately. Use of the
    AI Nikon lenses requires setting the Nikon DSLR to "M", and getting your
    light reading independently.

    Sandy Bloom, Ph.D., Jan 28, 2006
  10. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    On a lens with an aperture ring, you set the lens to its minimum aperture
    and leave it there, which allows the aperture to be set by the camera body.
    Most (all?) of the autofocus lenses with aperture rings have a "lock" on
    the ring to keep it in that position. On the lower-end bodies that require
    the aperture to be set by the camera, you must do this in order for the
    lens to work. On the D2-series (and possibly the D200?) you can use the
    aperture ring itself in A or M mode if you want.

    On the G lenses, with no aperture ring, which unfortunately seems to be
    what Nikon is making now, this obviously doesn't matter. Those lenses
    are always set at minimum aperture.

    If you're curious, the reason the lenses have to be set at minimum aperture
    for automatic operation is this: when you take a picture the camera has to
    stop down the lens to the chosen aperture at the time of exposure. It does
    this mechanically, with a lever. The lever will only stop down the aperture
    to the point that the aperture ring is set, but no further, which enables
    manual operation where the camera doesn't know what aperture the lens is set
    for -- it can say "stop down to whatever is selected" by moving the lever
    all the way. So, the only way the camera has the ability to stop down to
    any aperture is if the lens is set at the minimum aperture. Then, the
    camera can select any aperture according to how far it moves the lever.

    The new (D2, D200) cameras can't do this with AI and AI-S lenses; with
    those, you must set the aperture from the lens aperture ring. This is
    because the new cameras don't differentiate at all between AI and AI-S,
    and the aperture levers work differently. So you can't use P and S
    modes, but then, who uses those anyway?
    This is not necessary with the D2-series and D200; they can meter with
    AI and AI-S lenses. With the others, yes, you lose the light meter due
    to having no mechanical coupling and no electrical communication with
    the lens -- the camera has no way of knowing what aperture the lens is
    set for, or how far it's stopped down, so it can't determine exposure.
    (It could use stop-down metering with DOF preview if Nikon wanted to,
    but they evidently don't.)
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 28, 2006
  11. Excellent exposition of information, Jeremy. Thanks.

    Sandy Bloom, Ph.D., Jan 29, 2006
  12. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Paul Furman Guest

    The D200 allows metering with old unchipped lenses by manually entering
    the widest f/stop in the menu, as I understand. I think aperture &
    shutter priority modes should work with that information. I'm not clear
    about lenses that require stop-down metering.
    Paul Furman, Jan 29, 2006
  13. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Aperture priority works; shutter priority and programmed auto are not
    available because the camera cannot set the lens aperture.
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 29, 2006
  14. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Paul Furman Guest

    So then you are stuck with wide open as the only aperture? As I
    understand, unchipped AI lenses need the chip to tell what the max
    aperture is being stopped down (and the focal length?) from but the D200
    allows you to enter that in the camera.
    Paul Furman, Jan 29, 2006
  15. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Robert Brace Guest

    You're not stuck at wide open, because once you've set the lens info into
    the menu (the D2-series and, apparently, the D200) you set the aperture on
    the lens normally and the camera sets the shutter speed (in A mode) as it
    normally would. As an example of this, the D2 will tell you the number of
    stops away from wide open you are (in the top info LCD) as you vary the
    aperture on the lens.
    Robert Brace, Jan 29, 2006
  16. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    No. The camera can't set the lens aperture, but you can set the aperture
    on the lens. The camera needs to set the lens aperture for shutter priority
    and program modes, and since it can't, you can't use those modes.
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 29, 2006
  17. For center-weighted exposure and for the spot meter, the camera doesn't
    to know the actual aperture. The camera only needs to know the relative
    position of the aperture ring compared to wide open. This is the way Ai
    has always worked.

    The only exception is that some low-end cameras, including the F80, and
    the digital cameras derived from it, the D100, D70 and D50, cannot sense the
    position of the aperture ring, but try to control the lens using the chip
    inside the lens. Most Ai lenses don't have chip so this is not going to work.

    However, for matrix metering, the camera does need to know the actual aperture.
    Some of the early cameras with matrix metering, such as the FA and the F4
    can get the aperture from a small bump in the lens mount.

    Starting with the F5, Nikon doesn't do that anymore.

    However, starting with the F6, you can enter the aperture manually.

    So, if you can live with center-weighted or spot, don't need to enter the

    (At least that is the theory. I don't own an F6, D2X, or a D200).
    Philip Homburg, Jan 29, 2006
  18. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Father Kodak Guest

    So, how does a G series lens work on a non-auto body? In computerese,
    what is "the default setting?" Wide open? Completely stopped down?
    Whatever setting it got last from an auto-body?

    This is probably a way-out question: Can you short out two of the
    metal control contacts that connect the lens to the body, as a way to
    instructing the lens to use a given f-stop?

    Father Kodak
    Father Kodak, Jan 30, 2006
  19. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    If you mean a body that can't set the lens aperture, I don't know (I don't
    have one to try it) but my guess is that, since those lenses are basically
    just always set at minimum aperture, that they would be completely stopped
    down at the time of exposure.

    I get the feeling, though, that there may be some confusion here. Assuming
    a normal AI or later lens, and a camera that supports them, the lens can
    always be stopped down at the time of exposure to whatever aperture is
    selected on the lens aperture ring -- even if the camera doesn't know what
    aperture is selected. What the new bodies can't do is *select* the aperture
    on an AI-S lens; that is, you can't dial in f/8 on the control dial on the
    camera and have it work, and you can't put the camera into programmed auto
    and have it work. You must set the aperture on the lens aperture ring.

    This was *not* the case with older film bodies that were made for AI-S
    lenses. They could have shutter-priority and programmed auto modes and
    were able to set the lens aperture on AI-S lenses, provided that the lens
    was set at minimum aperture. The new, digital cameras, despite being able
    to use AI-S lenses and meter with them, cannot do this. The reason is
    that the new cameras do not know the difference between AI and AI-S lenses,
    and treat them the same.
    No. The electrical contacts aren't used for aperture setting.
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 30, 2006
  20. Sandy Bloom, Ph.D.

    Andrew Haley Guest

    D1 series too. All of the pro cameras AFAIK.

    Andrew Haley, Jan 30, 2006
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