Nikon 50mm 1.8 D vs. 1.8 G Lens Comparison [Review and Buyer’s Guide]

I have been using the same Nikon DSLR camera for the last 12 years. When I first bought it, I thought it had everything I would need for my photography. However, within a short time, I realized that I couldn’t shoot in low light and secondly, I couldn’t get sharper images at a shallow depth-of-field.

What irked me the most is that I could take images, but the subjects wouldn’t stand out from the background. So I did a bit of research and narrowed down my options to two almost similar models. I compare the two in this Nikon 1.8 D vs. 1.8 G Lens review.

As well as covering their features, I will tell you what I like and What I Don’t Like about these lenses. I will also highlight their pros and cons, and at the end, give my verdict. I hope you’ll finally be able to make a firm buying decision. Let’s get started, shall we?

Short on time?

The Nikon 50mm 1.8 G is quieter, faster, and provides sharper images, but it also costs significantly more. The 1.8 D is better on a budget, otherwise, go with the 1.8 G.

Individual Product Reviews

Nikon 50MM 1.8 D

The older of the two, the Nikon 1.8 D has been around since 2001. It can shoot well in dim conditions and autofocus on DSLRs. It’s easy to operate and lends itself to different uses, including day-to-day-photography and professional shoots.

Key Features

  • 15 optimum reproduction ratio
  • Focus distance of 1.5 ft
  • 50mm focal length
  • 31-degree angle of view

What I Like

The f/1.8D is a versatile and straightforward lens that can function in a variety of lighting conditions. The other good thing is that it provides greater control over the depth of field when isolating your focus.

It also comes with a Super Integrated Coating that reduces lens flare and ghosting that delivers better contrast and color accuracy in both bright and dimly-lit conditions.

What I Don’t Like

Unfortunately, the 1.8D isn’t compatible with some of Nikon’s cameras, and this can prevent you from working with your favorite camera. The f/1.8D lens has a noisy focus motor, too, so it might not suit your wedding photography needs or any private event where stealth or silence is required.

Standard Nikon lenses are known for their fitting and durable standard rear lens caps. F/1.8 D’s doesn’t match up. It has a loose, flimsy, and non-durable white rear lens cap.


  • Exceptionally sharp images
  • Light and compact design
  • Multi-layer coating
  • Good for low-light shooting
  • Easy to carry around


  • Manual focusing
  • Not compatible with many cameras

Nikon 50MM 1.8 D might suit you if you’re looking for a compact lens with excellent image rendering capabilities even in dim conditions. The major downside is that it doesn’t work with all Nikon DSLRs.


Nikon 50MM 1.8 G

A DSLR’s best friend, the 1.8 G lens is a step up from preceding models. It comes with many features that make it efficient and easy to use.

Key Features

  • 50mm focal length
  • F Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Filter thread of 58 mm
  • f/1.8 to 16 aperture range
  • Silent Wave Motor AF System
  • Seven-blade diaphragm
  • Manual Focus Override

What I Like

When shooting portraits, you will be able to capture minute details as it comes with the Super Integrated Coating that enhances light transmission and color consistency besides reducing flare.

The Aspherical Lens Element eliminates aberrations when you’re shooting with the widest aperture available. You can get astonishing results even in low light conditions such as cloudy weather or rainy conditions.

The lightweight construction of this lens also makes it an excellent travel accessory for someone who wants to shoot outdoors.


  • Long thread size
  • Works with most Nikon cameras
  • Reversible lens hood
  • Light but sturdy construction
  • Super Integrated Coating
  • Ultrasonic focus type


  • Bulkier than older models
  • Compatible with specific cameras

If you’re looking for a solid lens with a fast aperture and the ability to capture sharp pictures in low light, the 50mm f/1.8G is easily the best choice for you.


About the Lenses

When you go through the features of the Nikon 1.8 D and those of Nikon I.8 G lens, you will realize they have a lot in common. You might even be tempted to think they are the same thing, but with different names. However, when you look deeper, and more so at the specs, you will notice they’re quite different. The big question is, what are these lenses meant for and whom do they suit?

The Nikon 1.8 G with a modern AFS-System is an incarnation of the older 50mm f/1.8 lens. On DX cameras, it can achieve a 100% magnification, which makes two-eyed shooting possible. The 1.8G is suitable for FX digital and 35mm film. Since it comes with better optics, the 1.8G will come handy in your professional shoots. 

The fast f/1.8 aperture enables it to capture outstanding images even when the depth of vision is shallow. When mounted on a DX camera, it gives an angle of view that’s similar to what a 75mm lens gives on a 35mm camera.

On the other hand, the Nikon 1.8 D is a compact lens that offers natural image rendering and remarkable sharpness. It weighs a paltry 155g, so it is convenient for day-to-day photography. It comes with a versatile aperture control ring that allows you to make smooth manual adjustments when shooting live videos. The 1.8D uses the FX in DX crop Mode 35mm film. You get to enjoy a focus distance of up to 1.5 ft when using it, which results in sharper close-focus photos.

About the Category

Nikon has a range of modern camera lenses which are compatible with different DSLR cameras. These lenses have undergone several upgrades since they were first released. Every upgrade aims to improve the focus and image rendering ability, which is pretty much what a photographer wants with their lenses.

By now, you are probably asking yourself, why do many photographers hold Nikon lenses in high regard?

The answer is simple. These lenses enable them to capture and process high-quality pictures. Secondly, they’re compact and easy to use, meaning a beginner won’t struggle to mount them on their DSLR cameras while a professional can use them in most light situations without a flash.

Though both lenses seem small, they pack many advanced and robust features. They are also light, and compact meaning you can carry them around with ease. Handling shouldn’t be a problem. As we’ve said, you can mount it on your Nikon camera and dismount without any problem.

Since the first model was released, the shape and design of the Nikon 50mm 1.8 lenses have remained pretty much the same. The changes have been more internal than external. Nikon has been improving specific attributes of its zoom lenses.

The most notables changes are in the angle of view and the reproduction ratios. The other aspect that has been touched up is the adjustability of its lenses resulting in easy to adjust lenses with more adjustment options.

About the Brand

Founded in 1917, Nikon is a market leader in the camera and lens manufacturing industry. Its line of cameras and lenses are popular among beginners, amateurs, and professional photographers.

The company is known for creating and selling quality cameras, chips, and photographic equipment. It has the capacity and resources to compete with other giant tech companies in the market effectively. As of 2017, it was the eighth largest chipmaker in the world.

Leading photographers around the world use Nikon’s cameras and lenses as they’re reliable and durable. Since their lenses are versatile, they are suitable for portrait photography, day-to-day photography, outdoor photography, and more.

The management and shareholders of this giant company also play a role in giving back to society. A good example is the $10,000 academic scholarships they offer known as Nikon Storytellers Scholarship. The scholarships target needy students who can tell stories using images.

Just like the Nikon cameras, lenses include a 1-year warranty. However, you can get a 4-year extension of the warranty. Nikon’s warranties only cover defects in craft and material, and not accidents, loss, or theft.

Product Variants and Models

Nikon 50mm 1.8 D and the Nikon 50mm 1.8 G have a lot in common when it comes to individual features. Their focal length is at 50mm, and their lenses are not zoomable. Because of this, you can only use the magnification levels of both lenses without having any additional strength.

Other matching features of these lenses include:

  • Maximum aperture of f/1.8
  • Standard lens types
  • Compatible with Nikon F (FX)

Nikon 1.8 G lens is compatible with more DSLR cameras than the 1.8D. It also uses a modern optical system that comes with a spherical lens element, which isn’t available with Nikon D lens. Additionally, the f/1.8 G boasts of a modern edge to edge sharpness which is lacking in the f/1.8 D.

The Nikon G also has a silent wave motor that makes it super quiet. Since it is silent, the engine allows you to concentrate better while using your camera. On the other hand, the f/1.8 D is noisy. You can’t use it in shooting situations where silence is paramount, such as with wildlife photography.

 Head to Head Comparison


Nikon 50mm 1.8 D

Nikon 50mm 1.8 G

Focus speed


Noticeably faster



Noticeably sharper across the range



Sleek and easy to handle


155 g

185 g



Marginally longer and wider

Focus Speed

Wide aperture fans lenses let you shoot from the hand even in low light conditions without having to enhance the ISO.


Both lenses are compact and lightweight in construction, so they’re easy to carry around.


Overall design, shape, and grip affect handling. If you’re shooting daily, you want to get a camera that’s easy to handle.

Final Thoughts

For us, the Nikon 50mm 1.8 D vs. 1.8 G Lens is a close battle. Both are compact and lightweight walk-around lenses with some impressive imaging capabilities. They also have similar build styles, no lens hood, and seem to work well on full-frame cameras.

Overall, though, we strongly recommend the Nikon 50mm 1.8 G. It is slightly more expensive than the 50mm f/1.8 D, but it has better optical quality, a silent-wave motor, rounded-aperture, and blades typical of most top-of-the-line lenses. Handling is comfortable thanks to its excellent ergonomics. The best part is that it can capture stunning images, even in dim conditions.

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