Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR review

    Sometimes called ‘price range telephoto zooms’, 70-300mm lenses with an aperture ranking of round f/Four-5.6 have been extremely in style because the days of 35mm movie. Extra just lately, the Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/Four.5-5.6G IF-ED VR has been the decide of the crop, combining glorious picture high quality with a high-performance ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system and VR (Vibration Discount) stabilization, all at a really enticing worth of round £430/$500/AU$850.

    That lens has now been discontinued, and changed by the AF-P 70-300mm f/Four.5-5.6E ED VR, priced at a considerably much less budget-friendly £750/$750/AU$1,300. So what’s the distinction, and is the information lens price the additional outlay?


    • AF swaps to an AF-P (Pulse) stepping motor system
    • Options electromagnetic diaphragm management
    • Uprated VR system

    Focal size: 70-300mm

    Mount: Nikon F-mount

    Filter measurement: 67mm

    Max aperture: f/Four.5-5.6

    Most magnification: zero.25x

    Dimensions: 81 x 146mm

    Weight: 680g

    To not be confused with Nikon DX-format 55-200mm, 55-300mm and 70-300mm zooms, for DSLRs with APS-C picture sensors, the brand new 70-300mm is an FX (full-frame) suitable zoom. As with its predecessor, you may also apply it to DX cameras, the place it provides an efficient zoom vary of 105-450mm, edging into super-telephoto territory.

    In contrast with the older FX-format 70-300mm VR lens, there are three essential variations within the new design. First, autofocus swaps to an AF-P (Pulse) stepping motor system. The excellent news is that it’s amazingly quick, even in comparison with the ring-type ultrasonic system of the earlier lens. As a substitute of being ‘whisper-quiet’, the brand new autofocus system is nearly silent in operation; certainly, it’s tough to listen to any autofocus noise even along with your ear pressed up towards the lens barrel. One other bonus right here is that the AF-P system permits clean slightly than jerky focus transitions when capturing films.

    Downsides to this are that you simply want battery energy from the digital camera for handbook focus in addition to autofocus operation and, not like within the earlier lens, there’s no focus distance scale. An even bigger disadvantage is that there are incompatibility points with older cameras: neither autofocus nor handbook focus is feasible with quite a lot of DSLRs, as much as and together with the D3200, D5200 and D7000.

    The uprated VR system within the new lens provides improved Four.5-stop efficiency, and comes with Regular and Sport modes

    Subsequent up is diaphragm management for the aperture. As a substitute of Nikon’s standard mechanically operated system, which depends on a bodily lever, the brand new 70-300mm is an ‘E’ kind lens with electromagnetic diaphragm management. Once more, there’s excellent news and unhealthy information right here. The upside is that publicity consistency is healthier on a shot-to-shot foundation, when capturing at quick steady drive charges. That’s an actual plus level in motion sports activities and wildlife pictures, to which telephoto zooms are nicely suited. The draw back is that, once more, there are incompatibility points with older cameras. Should you use this lens with a D1, D2, D40, D40s, D60, D70, D70s, D80, D90, D100, D200, D3000 or D5000 physique you’ll solely have the ability to shoot on the widest aperture.

    The third major function change is within the VR (Vibration Discount) stabilization system. The earlier lens had Regular and Energetic modes. The Regular mode was ultimate for normal capturing, and included computerized panning detection, whereas the Energetic mode was supposed for capturing from vibrating platforms, comparable to an idling automobile or a helicopter; both method, the VR system was solely price round 2.5 stops in effectiveness. The uprated VR system within the new lens provides improved Four.5-stop efficiency, and comes with Regular and Sport modes. The latter of those provides a extra steady picture within the viewfinder once you’re panning or monitoring erratically shifting topics.

    Construct high quality and dealing with

    • Full set of weather-seals is now fitted
    • Refined dealing with
    • Auto-priority or manual-priority AF modes

    The brand new lens is a little bit lighter than its predecessor, at 630g in contrast with 745g. Regardless of this, development feels equally sturdy and of excellent high quality all through. A change for the higher is full set of climate seals is now fitted, whereas the older lens merely had a sealed mounting plate.

    Dealing with is refined, with clean and exact operation of the zoom and focus rings. A 3-position slightly than two-position auto/handbook focus change has been added, enabling you to decide on both auto-priority or manual-priority AF modes. With the latter, you don’t want to attend till autofocus has locked onto a topic; as a substitute, you possibly can twist the main target ring at any time to override autofocus and use handbook focusing as a substitute. It’s a bonus in difficult circumstances, when autofocus could hunt and fail to lock onto a topic, and likewise allows you to interact handbook focusing in Steady AF mode.


    • Autofocus is extremely quick
    • Sharpness is excellent 
    • Colour fringing very nicely managed

    As we’ve talked about, autofocus is extremely quick. It additionally proved persistently correct all through our assessments, throughout which the VR lived as much as its Four.5-stop billing. Picture high quality could be very satisfying in all respects. Sharpness is sweet all through the complete zoom vary, and throughout the entire picture body. Most notably, it beats the older lens for sharpness on the lengthy finish of the zoom vary, and into the corners of the body. Colour fringing and distortions are very nicely managed, the latter switching from minor barrel at 70mm to negligible pincushion at medium-to-long zoom settings. All in all, there aren’t any actual criticisms concerning the brand new Nikon’s efficiency.


    Whereas efficiency is superb for a ‘price range telephoto zoom’, the brand new Nikon is an costly lens to purchase. For instance, the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/Four-5.6 Di VC USD gives efficiency and picture high quality which might be almost pretty much as good, however is far more inexpensive at round £330/$450/AU$600; the Tamron can also be suitable with older Nikon cameras, whereas Nikon’s personal lens isn’t. Placing the Nikon’s worth for cash in higher gentle, Canon’s range-topping EF 70-300mm f/Four-5.6L IS USM prices a hefty £1,250/$1,350/AU$1,800 though, in some ways, the Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS II USM is a extra direct competitor, and is slightly inexpensive at £500/$550/AU$750 (with ‘non-obligatory’ lens hood).

    A limiting issue of 70-300mm lenses is that their widest out there aperture is often f/5.6 in direction of the lengthy finish of the zoom vary, which implies you possibly can battle in boring lighting circumstances or, for instance, when capturing indoor sports activities; whereas the VR system could be very efficient, it might probably’t do something to ‘stabilize’ shifting topics. You don’t must spend very far more to get a quick telephoto zoom just like the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.eight EX DG OS HSM, at £900/$1,300/AU$1,400. With its f/2.eight aperture fixed all through the zoom vary you need to use quicker shutter speeds for freezing motion, with out having to bump up your ISO settings a lot; you’ll additionally get the bonus of a tighter depth of subject, if and once you need one.

    In a nutshell, the brand new Nikon is just the perfect 70-300mm lens available on the market to be used with present and up to date Nikon DSLRs, and that holds true for each DX and FX cameras. Nevertheless, it’s not notably good worth on the worth.

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