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Maybe I'm wrong, but I notice that Nikon's newer lenses don't have an aperture ring. For example, an older AF 35 mm f/2D is now replaced by AF-S DX 35 mm f/1.8G, or AF 50 mm f/1.8D is replaced by a newer AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G.

I never used a D-type lens, but I believe that it is much easier to rotate the aperture ring on the lens than pressing a specific button then rotating the wheel on the DSLR body when you need to adjust the aperture (and it always annoyed me to do it this way, since I often change aperture and I can't do it while keeping the camera at my face with a finger on a shutter button).

So why is the aperture ring removed more and more from the Nikon lenses?

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Note that if you have a more high-end camera body, you will have two control dials available, so you don't need to press a button in combination. –  mattdm Feb 18 '11 at 19:46
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The 35/1.8 DX is not a replacement for the 35/2 AF-D as it doesn't cover the imaging surface of a small format DSLR or film. –  gerikson Feb 18 '11 at 22:39

4 Answers 4

up vote 22 down vote accepted

It's now more common to control aperture through the camera.

The mechanical aperture ring adds cost, mechanical complexity which can lead to equipment breaking, and it can be confusing to users (if it's set to something other than the smallest aperture many cameras will give a confusing error on a lot of modes).

It also prevents Nikon from putting a seal on the lens mount, which helps weather sealing.

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The aperture is controlled via controls built into the camera these days so it has become redundant.

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well, like I explained, it's still useful to have the aperture ring, since it's faster to move the ring than to change the aperture through the controls. –  MainMa Feb 18 '11 at 19:17
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I am not disputing your explanation for why you want it there, but the reason is still the reason - they moved the control to be in camera, not on the lens due to redundancy and possibly cost as mentioned by RedGrittyBrick. Sorry! –  JamWheel Feb 18 '11 at 19:18
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I disagree that the ring is faster, I have a few old manual lenses I use from time to time, and I find the ring slower than adjusting aperture in aperture priority mode on a DSLR, or even a good compact. Although it's fun to be able to set it manually I don't miss that at all. –  Kendall Helmstetter Gelner Feb 19 '11 at 4:35
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On some DSLRs the controls for aperture may be fiddly, but the more professional/enthusiast bodies have an extra dial or control of sorts to control both shutter speed and aperture separately, especially useful in manual exposure. My Canon 50D uses the quick dial for aperture and the shutter dial for shutter speed. –  Nick Bedford Feb 20 '11 at 3:19
    
@NickBedford It depends on shooting mode. Unless the custom menu has been used to swap them, in Manual mode the Tv is controlled by the Main dial behind the shutter button and the Av is controlled by the Quick Control Dial on the back. Shutter Priority mode is similar, since the Quick Control Dial changes EC which effectively changes the Av. In Aperture priority mode, though, the Av is controlled by the Main Dial and the Quick Control Dial controls the Tv via EC. In Program Mode the Main Dial shifts both Tv and Av in opposite directions, and the QC dial affects either or both via EC. –  Michael Clark Aug 12 '13 at 9:38

It is cheaper to omit the aperture ring.

Nikon's higher end DSLRs have front and back control wheels, so you can have one dedicated to aperture (no need to press a button first) Even on their lower-end DSLRs, in aperture priority mode you can vary the aperture using the rear thumbwheel without pressing a specific button.

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I see. Thanks. (By the way, concerning your last sentence, a AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED VR II costs around US$ 5 000, and it is a G-type lens; also, the most expensive fixed-length Nikon's lenses today are of type G). –  MainMa Feb 18 '11 at 19:19
    
@MainMa: Thanks for the comment, I've removed that part of my answer. –  RedGrittyBrick Feb 19 '11 at 19:39

I am pretty sure that the initial motivation was cost reduction. Note that Canon has made that transition years ago (about 20), when the current EOS system was released with the EF lens mount.

As mentioned before, except for the entry level DSLRs, there is a small wheel control next to the shutter button that lets you change aperture pretty fast and conveniently. One probably gets used to it very quickly, and it looks like it is actually easier to operate than an on-lens ring.

That said, a few times in the past I really wished Canon had left the aperture ring in place. This was when shooting macro using some of the cheap lens reversal/extension techniques. With these, the lens is not directly mounted on the EF mount, but rather mounted using non-electrical extension tubes, or even reversed. This way, there is no control on the aperture and the DoF is minimal and extremely difficult to work with.

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Although it is a little tedious, you can set a mounted Canon EF lens to any aperture with the camera and remove the lens while holding down the DoF Preview button and the removed lens will maintain the aperture it was set at when removed. You can themn add a reverser or extension tubes. Of course to change the setting, you have to turn the lens back around again and connect it to the camera in the conventional way. –  Michael Clark Aug 12 '13 at 9:21

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