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I just purchased a Nikon D7000 with an 18-105 f/3.5-5.6 AF-S lens. I'm also looking at purchasing a lens around the 200-300mm focal length range, and I found the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 AF lens. As far as I know (and I'm completely new to DSLR photography, so bear with my lack of proper terminology), my D7000 can autofocus with this lens as the body has an autofocus motor.

I've seen two different models of this particular lens: AF-D and AF-G. It seems as though the AF-D is a lot harder to find and more expensive than the G because of the G's lack of a physical aperture adjustment ring. I haven't quite become accustomed to the controls on the camera, so I've found myself manually adjusting the aperture a few times. However, from what I've read (and I would assume this is the case), it's possible to adjust it with one of the two dials on the camera.

I'm just wondering whether it's worth spending the extra money on the AF-D, or if the AF-G will provide me the same quality pictures and will have the same functionality for a lower price. (I'm on a student's budget, so price is quite important to me).

Thanks, and greetings from SU!

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Related: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/11444/… –  mattdm Jun 23 '11 at 0:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In most cases, the "G" lenses are newer designs that perform better than the older, "D" varieties (all other things being equal -- like the max aperture, etc.). They tend to have better lens coatings, better use of low dispersion, anomalous dispersion and aspherical elements, and more rounded apertures (which provide better bokeh). For use on DSLRs, the "D" lenses only have an advantage when you "freelens" or use the lens reverse-mounted or on a "dumb" tube for macro work, since there's no easy way to control the aperture on a "G" lens when it's not electrically connected to the camera.

"D" lenses, though, can be used on older, non-AF film cameras, where using manual exposure (or aperture-priority AE) means using the aperture ring -- there's no control over the aperture setting on the camera body other than what comes from the AE system in Auto, Program or shutter-priority mode.

If you have no plans to use an older Nikon film body, then the "G" lens is the way to go, particularly if the price differential is in your favour. But check the reputable reviewers before opting for "cheap for cheap's sake" -- there may be a very good reason why one particular lens is more expensive than another.

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Thanks for your answer! I'll only be using this lens on my D7000 body, and it's cheaper, so I guess I'll get the G. :) –  squircle Jun 23 '11 at 0:03
    
@squircle, I'd recommend to compare the copy of the D version you found against the newer 70-300mm f4.5-5.6G VR bythom.com/70300vrlens.htm. Take some shots with both, i.e. on the long end (200-300) where the D version, at least the one I own (and use on a D7000), is very soft and low-contrast. To get some proper shots between at 200-300mm I need to use a tripod. However the D version works well with the D7000, but I guess you'll not see what your D7000 is capable of. D Version reviews bad: kenrockwell.com/nikon/70300af.htm good: bythom.com/70300lens.htm –  el_migu_el Jun 23 '11 at 7:09

I have also found that the aperture ring is essential when you use the D lens on other camera bodies other than a Nikon. For example I have an Oly EPL-2 and an adapter for my Nikon lenses but to my horror I realised that my G lenses didn't work as it had no way to control the aperture and so was useless on my Oly. If you have no intention of using your lenses with another non Nikon body then it doesn't matter and you should get the better G lens. However, I never intended to play around with adaptors and other bodies when I started 2 years ago but I sure love playing around with them today.

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