Some of the Amazon reviews say that Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D has less distortion than Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G?

The D is about $80 cheaper, is smaller, lighter, has less distortion, and has manual aperture control.

D is an older version, and G has got more blades, so on what basis is do they say that distortion is lesser on the older lens?

Is this factor a deal breaker? Why would anyone purchase G then?


Most lenses have some amount of distortion, it just may not be measurable or significant.

Thom Hogan says of the f/1.4G:

Linear distortion is low (though slightly higher than the f/1.4G) and barrel in nature. At under 0.5% it's not something I'd bother correcting unless I had software that did automatic correction based on EXIF data, in which case I'd just let that do its thing.

slrgear say this about the 50mm f/1.8

Distortion The 50mm ƒ/1.8 shows no distortion when mounted on the sub-frame D200. On the full-frame D3x, there is a negligible (+0.1%) amount of barrel distortion apparent in the corners.

Both lenses have 7 aperture blades, but that doesn't affect distortion. The f/1.8G blades are rounded, which will make the bokeh a bit more circular.

The more expensive f/1.8G has the following advantages over the f/1.8D

  • sharper in the centre at wide apertures
  • much sharper in the corners at wide apertures, most apparent with FX bodies
  • AF-S focusing motor


  • more expensive
  • lack of an aperture ring
  • bigger and heavier
  • 58mm filter thread (unusual for a Nikon lens - f/1.8D uses more common 52mm filters

So in summary, I don't think the distortion is a deal breaker. You would buy the f/1.8G if you needed an AF-S motor built in, or if sharpness was a big issue.


The biggest reason to buy the G version: it has an AF-S motor. If you're using a camera that doesn't drive the older screwdriver lenses, then the D version won't autofocus. That is, in the current body line-up the 3100 and 5100 can not focus the D version, while the higher end models can.

How much distortion is enough to be considered a deal breaker? How much distortion needs to be evident for you to notice it for everyday, real-world use? If you are shooting architecture (full of straight lines) then distortion is more important, and you should be looking at PC lenses; if you're shooting, well, just about anything else, you'll probably never notice it. Plus, distortion is so easily correctable in Lightroom that I never give it much thought.

Some distortion numbers to chew on.

  • if you have that lens can you post here a picture showing maximum distortion? – Aquarius_Girl Feb 18 '12 at 2:19
  • also, thanks for your link. I saw -0.82 on 1.4G? That means the distortion is worse on 1.4G as compared to 1.8G? – Aquarius_Girl Feb 18 '12 at 2:28
  • I have a pre-D 50 1.8 -- old! Yes, the 1.4G has even more distortion. – Dan Wolfgang Feb 18 '12 at 2:46
  • Dan, thanks. Difficult to believe. :) Didn't hear that in 1.4G's reviews on dpreview. – Aquarius_Girl Feb 18 '12 at 2:48
  • 3
    dpreview mentions it in their Studio Tests, noting that it's basically unnoticeable on DX and minimally noticeable on FX when shooting real-world subjects. – Dan Wolfgang Feb 18 '12 at 3:03

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