Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR £325/$400

It’s new, but is it im­proved?

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

Like the 55-200mm VR II, this new DX for­mat lens is rel­a­tively light­weight, though it doesn’t fea­ture a re­tractable de­sign. You can save some cash by go­ing for the non-sta­bilised edi­tion, but that’s a false econ­omy if you want sharp hand­held shots.

Other sim­i­lar­i­ties in­clude a sin­gle ED (Ex­tra-low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ment, a four-stop VR sys­tem, and a front el­e­ment that doesn’t ro­tate dur­ing fo­cus­ing. The ‘AF-P’ au­tofo­cus sys­tem, though, is based on a step­ping mo­tor rather than a stan­dard elec­tric or ring-type ul­tra­sonic mo­tor. Plus points in­clude near-silent op­er­a­tion and smooth au­tofo­cus tran­si­tions for movies; a ma­jor mi­nus point is that the lens is only fully com­pat­i­ble with the D3300/3400, D5300/5500/ 5600 and D500, some of which will re­quire a firmware up­grade. With older Nikon D-SLRs, the lens sim­ply won’t fo­cus.

Per­for­mance

With com­pat­i­ble bod­ies, the AF-P au­tofo­cus is nippy for stills and nicely smooth for movies. Im­age qual­ity is quite good in most re­spects but it’s not the sharpest tool in Nikon’s box.

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