Nikon 70-300mm AFP

f/4.5-6.3 DX ED (NO VR!)

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Nikon 70-300mm DX AF-P

Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 DX AF-P (58mm filters, 14.1 oz./400g, 3.7'/1.1m close-focus, about $347) bigger. I got mine at Adorama, who also offers it in kits with free goodies. I'd also get it at Amazon, at B&H or at Crutchfield.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Nikon does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

 

December 2016   Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses    All Reviews

Same lens with Vibration Reduction: 70-300mm DX AF-P VR.

 

Sample Images

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Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Palms, La Quinta

Palms, La Quinta, California, 12 December 2016. Nikon D3300, 70-300mm AFP at 110mm, f/5.6 at 1/500 at ISO 100. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer.

 

Introduction

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Performance   Compared   Recommendations

New   Good   Bad   Missing

Adorama Pays Top Dollar for Used Gear

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

I buy only from these approved sources. I can't vouch for ads below.

The Nikon 70-300mm DX AF-P is a lightweight plastic long telephoto lens for basic DX cameras.

It's ultra sharp, and super-fast focussing — the fastest focussing of any DX telephoto, along with the otherwise identical VR version.

The new AF-P system only works on the newest cameras, and it also allows for instant manual-focus override by grabbing the front focus ring at any time.

This version has no Vibration Reduction (VR) system and sells for $50 less than the otherwise identical VR version.

I wouldn't buy this non-VR lens unless I only shot it on a tripod. I'd spend the extra $50 for the 70-300mm VR version so that I can shoot handheld. The problem is that the extreme magnification at 300mm greatly amplifies any camera or lens shake, and the extreme light weight of this lens also does nothing to help damp it. Therefore while the VR version always produces ultra sharp shots hand-held, I usually get blurry shots at 300mm with this non-VR lens hand-held, even at 1/500 of a second —  and I'm very good at hand-holding.

 

Format

This lens is for DX cameras.

While it will work on full-frame cameras, it uses less than half the area of their sensor and therefore is generally a waste of time.

 

New

● AF-P autofocus stepper motor for fast, silent focus.

● Instant manual-focus override.

 

Good

● Sharp.

● Light.

● Small.

● Inexpensive.

● Fast and silent autofocusing.

● Super-close focussing to 3.7'/1.1 meters.

 

Bad

● Plastic lens mount

● Widest setting is 70mm; most people will love the wider setting of the 55-300mm lens.

 

Missing

● No Vibration Reduction making hand-held shooting iffy at best. You'll need a tripod for super-sharp shots at 300mm.

● No AF/MF switch; you now do that in your camera's menu system — but the instant manual-focus override makes this switch much less necessary.

 

Compatibility

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Specifications   Accessories   USA Version

Performance   Compared   Recommendations

It has a traditional mechanical diaphragm actuator, not an E diaphragm, so its diaphragm works on all Nikons.

It works great on my D3300, D500 and D810.

Nikon says forget it on any of the D1, D2, D3 or D4 series, the D800, D700, D610, D600, D300 series, D200, D100, D90, D80, D70 series, D60, D50, D40 series, D7000, D5100, D5000, D3200, D3100 or D3000. It also won't work on any 35mm camera.

Nikon cautions that you need to have the latest firmware installed for it to work on the D5500, D5300 or D3300.

The problem is that the new AF-P autofocus motor system only works on camera models originally introduced since about 2013. If your camera is too old, the focus system, even in manual mode, won't work at all, making the lens completely useless with no workaround.

 

Specifications

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Name

Nikon calls this the Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED:

    AF-P: Stepper autofocus motor for quiet and fast autofocus.

    DX: Only works on DX cameras; won't work well on film or FX cameras.

    NIKKOR: Nikon's brand name for all their lenses.

    G: Gelded for cost-reduction and removing compatibility with older cameras.

    ED: Magic Extra-low Dispersion glass for reduced secondary chromatic aberration.

 

Optics

Nikon 70-300mm DX AF-P Construction

Nikon 70-300mm DX AF-P internal construction. ED glass. bigger.

14 elements in 10 groups.

One extra low dispersion element.

No aspherical elements.

 

Diaphragm

Nikon 70-300mm DX AF-P

Front, Nikon 70-300 AF-P at 300mm. bigger.

7 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/22-32.

 

Focal length

70~300mm.

When used a DX camera, it sees the same angle of view as a 105~450mm lens sees when used on a 35mm or FX full-frame camera.

See also Crop Factor.

 

Angle of view

5.3° ~ 22.8º

 

Autofocus

Silent stepper motor, super-fast. If you're in a silent environment and hold your ear to the lens, you will hear a slight hum as it focuses.

Internal focus.

No external movement as focussed, so no air or dust is sucked in.

 

Close Focus

3.7 feet (1.1 meters).

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio

1:4.5 (0.22 x).

 

Filters

58mm filter thread.

 

Size

2.83" maximum diameter x 4.92" extension from flange.

72 mm maximum diameter x 125 mm extension from flange.

 

Weight

Measured 14.118 oz. (400.2 g).

Rated 14.1 oz (400 g).

 

Announced

17 August 2016.

 

Promised for

Early September 2016.

 

Included

Lens.

Good LC-58 58 mm snap-on front cap.

Translucent rear cap, This is a cheap flexible "transit" cap, not the usually hard black bayonet rear cap.

No hood and no case.

 

Nikon's Model Number

20061.

 

Warranty

5 years, USA.

Actually it has a 1 year warranty and a "4 year extended service plan."

 

Price, USA

$347, August~December 2016.

 

Optional Accessories

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Specifications   Accessories   USA Version

Performance   Compared   Recommendations

 

The HB-77 hood ($29) is optional. I never bother with hoods.

The CL-1020 sack ($15) is also optional; I never use those either.

 

Getting a Legal USA Version

(for USA only)

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Performance   Compared   Recommendations

In the USA, be sure your box has a round "5 Years" sticker on it:

Nikon 70-300mm DX AF-P

Box, Nikon 70-300 AF-P. bigger.

and that you have a USA warranty card in the box, usually packed with the folded instruction sheet:

Nikon 70-300mm AFP USA warranty card

USA Warranty card. bigger.

The serial number on the card much match the serial number on your lens, or it's worthless. The serial number on the box should match, too.

If the numbers don't match or you didn't get any USA warranty card, you got ripped off with a gray market version from another country. This is why I never buy anyplace other than from my personally approved sources. You just can't take the chance of buying elsewhere, especially at any retail store, because non-USA versions have no warranty in the USA, and you won't even be able to get firmware or service for it — even if you're willing to pay out-of-pocket for it when you need it!

If a gray market version saves you $150 it may be worth it, but for $50 or less I wouldn't risk having no warranty or support.

Always be sure to check your box while you can still return it, or just don't buy from unapproved sources or at retail so you'll be able to have your camera serviced and get free updated firmware as needed.

Get yours from the same places I do and you won't have a problem, but if you take the risk of getting yours elsewhere, be sure to check everything while you still can return it.

 

Performance

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Specifications   Accessories   USA Version

Performance   Compared   Recommendations

 

Overall   Autofocus   Breathing   Bokeh

Distortion   Ergonomics   Eyeblow   Falloff

Filters   Flare & Ghosts   Lateral Color Fringes

Macro   Mechanics   Sharpness

Sunstars   Vibration Reduction

 

Overall

Performance          top

It's ultra sharp, even wide-open, and focuses super fast.

This lens is ultrasharp, but don't expect ultrasharp photos at the long end of the zoom range unless you're on a tripod or shooting at well over 1/1,000 handheld. The VR version is way better for handheld shooting.

 

Autofocus

Performance          top

Autofocus is fast!

It's the fastest-focussing DX telephoto ever, along with the VR version.

 

Manual Focus

performance          top

Just grab the focus ring at any time for instant manual-focus override.

It's electronic; the ring instructs the camera's computer to drive the lens in and out to focus. The ring is not connected to anything else.

Manual focus only works when the camera is awake. Manual focus doesn't work after about a minute of not pressing the shutter button and your camera goes to sleep.

 

Focus Breathing

Performance          top

Focus breathing is the image changing size as focused in and out. It's important to cinematographers because it looks funny if the image changes size as focus gets pulled back and forth between actors. If the lens does this, the image "breathes" by growing and contracting slightly as the dialog goes back and forth.

The image from the 70-300 gets smaller as focussed more closely.

 

Bokeh

Performance          top

Bokeh, the feel or quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to how far out of focus they are, is neutral. Blur circles are just circles, which isn't particularly good or bad bokeh.

Since this lens has long focal lengths, it can easily make backgrounds way out of focus. For the best effects, shoot at 300mm and get as close as possible.

Here are some samples at head shot distance:

Nikon 70-300mm AFP Bokeh

Davis 6250 weather station, 18 December 2016. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolutions images properly).

 

Nikon 70-300mm AFP Bokeh

Davis 6250 weather station, 18 December 2016. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolutions images properly).

Notice also how crazy-sharp are the sections that are in focus, and this is shot wide-open! This is excellent performance.

 

Distortion

Performance          top

The Nikon 70-300 AFP has no visible distortion at the short end, and mild to moderate pincushion distortion in the middle and long end of its zoom range.

All the cameras on which it focuses properly are new enough to be set to correct this distortion automatically — so long as you have the newest firmware in your camera.

If not, it's easy to correct completely with Photoshop's lens distortion filter using these coefficients:

On DX at 10' (3m)

Correction factor with uncorrected images

70mm
+1.00
100mm
-1.00
135mm
-2.00
200mm
-2.00
300mm
-1.50

© 2016 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Ergonomics

Performance          top

Nikon 70-300mm DX AF-P

Nikon 70-300mm DX AF-P

Nikon 70-300 AF-P at 70mm. bigger.
Nikon 70-300 AF-P at 135mm. bigger.

Ergonomics are easy: most of the lens is one big zoom ring. The zoom feels like dry plastic and takes two fingers to turn. There is no creep or drift.

Focus is wonderful, one fingertip can move the front focus ring and manual focus feel is great.

 

Eyeblow

performance          top

The 70-300mm has some eyeblow; some air pumps in or out of the back of the lens as zoomed.

 

Falloff

Performance          top

As you can see at the wide-open shots at Sharpness, there's no problem with falloff. Corners never get dark when shot on DX cameras.

 

Filters, use with

performance          top

There's no need for thin filters. Any thick or stacked filters work fine with no vignetting; 58mm is a very generous filter size for this lens.

Go ahead and use your standard rotating polarizer and grad filters; no worries here.

 

Flare & Ghosts

Performance          top

I didn't spend much time shooting into the sun, but from what I did I see no ghosts worth worrying about. This isn't 1963; today these lenses are pretty much free from flare and ghosts.

 

Lateral Color Fringes

Performance          top

There are no color fringes, which by default are corrected automatically on the Nikon cameras which work with this lens.

 

Macro

Performance          top

Macro gets respectably close:

Nikon 70-300mm AFP Macro performance

Kienzle Flieger Automat 800/2843, 12 December 2016. Nikon D3300, 300mm at f/6.3 at 1/500 at Auto ISO 180. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).

 

Nikon 70-300mm AFP Macro performance

1,200 x 900 pixel crop from above. bigger or camera-original © file to explore on your computer (mobile devices rarely display full resolution images properly).

If this crop is about 12" (30cm) wide on your screen, then the complete image printed at this same extreme magnification would be about 40 x 60" (1 x 1.5 meters). In this case, you're seeing the texture of the silver paint and dust on the watch face.

See the slight vertical smearing? That's blur caused by handheld camera motion not corrected by a VR system. If you look this close, most of your shots at the long end will be like this. This is why I prefer the VR version.

 

Mechanical Quality

Performance          top

Nikon 70-300mm DX AF-P

Rear, Nikon 70-300 AF-P. bigger.

It's all plastic, a discount lens. The glass is glass and the contacts are metal and otherwise it's all plastic.

 

Front Bumper

None.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Hood Bayonet Mount

Plastic.

 

Gold ED Band

None.

 

Front Barrel

Plastic.

 

Focus Ring

Plastic.

 

Zoom Ring

Rubber-covered plastic.

 

Rear Barrel

Plastic.

 

Identity

Metal-look sticker around rear barrel.

 

Internals

Plastic.

 

Moisture Seal at Mount

No.

 

Mount

Plastic.

 

Markings

Paint.

 

Serial Number

Sticker glued into a recess on the bottom of the barrel.

 

Date Code

None found.

 

Noises When Shaken

Almost none!

 

Made in

Thailand.

 

Sharpness

Performance          top

Sharpness is superb. The only limitations will be your skill as a photographer and the fact that you'll need a tripod at 300mm. I'm a great handheld shooter, and even at 1/500 at 300mm I get slightly blurry results with this ultralight lens.

Nikon's MTF curves agree with what I see:

Nikon 70-300mm AF-P MTF
Nikon 70-300mm AF-P MTF
MTF at 70mm. bigger.
MTF at 300mm. bigger.

 

Sunstars

Performance          top

Its rounded blades don't give much of anything in the way of sunstars. Forget about it.

 

Vibration Reduction

Performance          top

There is NO vibration reduction, and a lens this long and this light desperately needs it for handheld shooting at 300mm.

Unless you plan to marry this to a tripod, please get the VR version instead.

 

Compared

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Specifications   Accessories   USA Version

Performance   Compared   Recommendations

The 55-300mm VR DX sells for the same price. It's an older lens that zooms wider, focuses about as close for macro, but focuses much more slowly.

 
Covers
DX only
DX only
DX only
FX and DX
VR?
Yes
NO!
Yes
Yes
Filter size
58mm
58mm
58mm
67mm
Maximum aperture
f/4.5~6.3
f/4.5~6.3
f/4.5~5.6
f/4.5~5.6
AF Speed
fast
fast
slow
fast
Instant manual focus override
yes
yes
no
Yes
Widest zoom
70mm
70mm
55mm
70mm
Close Focus
3.7'/1.1m
3.7'/1.1m
4.6'/1.4m
5'/1.5m
Max Repro
1:4.5
1:4.5
1:3.6
1:4
Ounces
14.7 oz.
14.1 oz.
18.6 oz.
26.2 oz.
Grams
415 g.
400 g.
529g
745g
Price, 8/2016

 

Recommendations

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Performance   Compared   Recommendations

 

Please forget this lens and get the otherwise identical VR version for $50 extra. This lens is only really suited for tripod shooting; its light weight, long zoom and lack of a VR system make handholding impractical.

The very best protective filter is the Hoya multicoated HD3 58mm UV which uses hardened glass and repels dirt and fingerprints, and is also multicoated.

For less money, the B+W 58mm 010 is an excellent filter, as are the multicoated version and the basic multicoated Hoya filters, but the Hoya HD3 is the toughest and the best.

Filters last a lifetime, so you may as well get the best. The Hoya HD3 stays cleaner than the others since it repels oil and dirt.

I got mine at Adorama, who also offers it in kits with free goodies. I'd also get it at Amazon, at B&H or at Crutchfield.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Nikon does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. I use the stores I do because they ship from secure remote warehouses where no one gets to touch your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken, Mrs. Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

 

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17 December 2016