Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR £325/$400
It’s new, but is it improved?
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.
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.