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

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Introduction

The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens was announced in August 2017, and is mainly aimed at full-frame camera users. DX (APS-C) format users can also use it, but it gives an equivalent focal length of 105-450mm. As an AF-P lens, it features Nikon’s stopper motor technology, which is designed to lock onto subjects quickly and accurately. It’s important to note that AF-P lenses are not compatible with some older Nikon camera bodies – make sure you check yours is before buying. Other improvements to the previous 70-300mm lens include an improvement to the minimum focusing distance, which is now 1.2 metres throughout the lens’ focal range. There’s also Advanced Vibration Reduction, which enables you to shoot at speeds up to 4.5 steps slower than otherwise. Additionally there’s a SPORT VR mode, which is designed to deliver a more stable viewfinder image, which can be useful when shooting fast-moving subjects, such as sport or action. The lens is weather-resistant, being protected from dust and moisture. If you use it with a weather-resistant camera, such as the D850, you have a complete weather-sealed package. Constructed from 18 elements in 14 groups, there is 1 ED Glass Element. At the time of writing, the AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR retails for around £750 / $750. It compares with the AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G lens which is cheaper and geared more towards DX format users.

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR

Ease of Use

Unlike the smaller 70-300mm AF-P lens currently in Nikon’s line-up, the AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR features a couple of switches on the side. You can switch between different focus modes (autofocus with manual override, manual focus with autofocus override and manual focus), and you can also switch the vibration reduction on or off, or activate the Sport VR. You may want to switch off vibration reduction if you’re using the camera on a tripod.

The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR uses a two ring design. The larger ring at the front controls the focal length of the lens. It features a ridged coating to help you get a good grip on it when twisting it. Various focal lengths between 70 and 300mm are marked along the bottom of the ring, helping you see quickly which focal length you’ve got the lens set at.

When the lens is extended, it’s pretty much double the size. It retracts into itself relatively neatly – it’s perhaps a good alternative to something like the much bigger 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, if you need something smaller and lighter for travelling.

A much thinner ring is found towards the base of the lens. It too is ridged, and you can use it to control manual focus. It’s a smooth ring, but there’s just enough resistance to make fine adjustments quite well. There’s no hard stops at either end of the ring though, which is less useful for quickly determining whether you’ve reached focus infinity.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

The Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D850 camera

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

The Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D850 camera

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

The Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D850 camera

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

The Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D850 camera

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

The Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D850 camera

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

The Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D850 camera, extended to 300mm

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Side of the Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Side of the Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens, extended to 300mm

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Side of the Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Side of the Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR, extended to 300mm

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Side of the Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Side of the Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR, extended to 300mm

Focal Range

At the widest point of the lens, the focal length is 70mm. The angle of view is 34 degrees. If you’re using it on a DX format camera, the equivalent focal length is 105mm, with an angle of view of 22 degrees.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Field of view at 70mm

At the telephoto end of the lens, the focal length is 300mm. The angle of view at this point is 8 degrees. On a DX format camera, the equivalent focal length is 450mm, with an angle of view of 5 degrees.)

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Field of view at 200mm

Focusing

This lens uses a stepper motor design, which means that it locks onto most subjects quickly and easily. It’s also good for using as a sports and action lens to track subjects. Focusing is very quiet, making it good to use in discreet situations, or when filming video. Even in dark conditions, the AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR is able to lock onto the subject with relative ease in the majority of cases.

Distortion and Vignetting

As we’d expect from a lens using these focal lengths, problematic distortion is not a particular issue, no matter which focal length you’re using the lens at.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Distortion at 70mm

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Distortion at 200mm

Light Fall-Off

At the widest point of the lens (70mm) it’s possible to see some slight vignetting in the corners when shooting a white wall at f/4.5 (the widest aperture). The effect is lessened somewhat by f/5.6, and is gone altogether by f/8. At the longer telephoto lengths, such as 200mm and 300mm, vignetting is stronger at the widest apertures. It’s true to say however that it is particularly noticeable when shooting a white wall, but with most ordinary subjects it shouldn’t be too obvious.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

70mm

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

300mm

Chromatic Aberrations

The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR is not blighted with bad chromatic aberrations. It’s possible to see some examples when shooting in certain conditions – i.e. straight into the sun, but otherwise, purple or blue fringing is pretty well controlled. While we were able to find some examples, it’s because we were particularly looking for them – for most shots displayed at normal sizes, it’s not something which will be hugely noticeable.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
Macro

The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR is not a designated macro lens, but thanks to its long focal length, you can use it to take photos of subjects which would traditionally be considered macro subjects, such as flowers. The closest focusing distance is 1.2 metres throughout the focal length, with a maximum magnification of 0.25x.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Close-up performance

Bokeh

Despite the fact that this lens only has a maximum aperture of f/4.5-5.6, you can still achieve attractive shallow depth of field effects. Bokeh is generally described in subjective terms, such as creamy, soft, harsh, and so on. The bokeh produced by the AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR is very pleasing to look at, with the 9-rounded blade diaphragm design producing attractive shapes. Recognising that appreciation of bokeh can be down to a matter of opinion, we have provided some examples below for you to see for yourself.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Sharpness at 70mm

For this review, the sharpness test is carried out by photographing a real-world sample, rather than a test chart. The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR was mounted on a Nikon D850, which was in-turn mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay was activated to prevent camera-shake. Any changes in tone you might see across the crops are due to natural light changes during the shooting session.

The full frame at 70mm

The full frame at 70mm

At 70mm, at the widest aperture of f/4.5, centre sharpness is very good. It becomes sharper at f/5.6, and slightly sharper at f/8. From f/11 softness starts to creep in again, becoming noticeably soft at f/22, and even more so at f/32. At the edges, sharpness is best between f/8 and f/16.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/4.5 f4_5.jpg f4_5.jpg
f/5.6 f5_6.jpg f5_6.jpg
f/8 f8.jpg f8.jpg
f/11 f11.jpg f11.jpg
f/16 f16.jpg f16.jpg
f/22 f22.jpg f22.jpg
f/32 f32.jpg f32.jpg

Sharpness at 100mm

For this review, the sharpness test is carried out by photographing a real-world sample, rather than a test chart. The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR was mounted on a Nikon D850, which was in-turn mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay was activated to prevent camera-shake. Any changes in tone you might see across the crops are due to natural light changes during the shooting session.

The full frame at 100mm

The full frame at 100mm

At 100mm, the widest aperture available is f/4.8. The centre sharpness is good at this aperture, but is particularly sharp between f/8 and f/16. At f/22 it’s noticeably soft, while at f/32 and f/34 it’s even softer. At the edges, the sharpest results can be seen between f/8 and f/16.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/4.8 f4_8.jpg f4_8.jpg
f/5.6 f5_6.jpg f5_6.jpg
f/8 f8.jpg f8.jpg
f/11 f11.jpg f11.jpg
f/16 f16.jpg f16.jpg
f/22 f22.jpg f22.jpg
f/32 f32.jpg f32.jpg
f/34 f34.jpg f34.jpg

Sharpness at 135mm

For this review, the sharpness test is carried out by photographing a real-world sample, rather than a test chart. The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR was mounted on a Nikon D850, which was in-turn mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay was activated to prevent camera-shake. Any changes in tone you might see across the crops are due to natural light changes during the shooting session.

The full frame at 135mm

The full frame at 135mm

At 135mm, the widest aperture available is f/5. Centre sharpest at this aperture is reasonably good, but it gets sharper at f/5.6. The sharpest results can be seen between f/8 and f/16. From f/22 softness is visible, being particularly soft at f/36. At the edge, f/5 is a little soft, with the sharpest results visible between f/8 and f/16.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/5 f5.jpg f5.jpg
f/5.6 f5_6.jpg f5_6.jpg
f/8 f8.jpg f8.jpg
f/11 f11.jpg f11.jpg
f/16 f16.jpg f16.jpg
f/22 f22.jpg f22.jpg
f/32 f32.jpg f32.jpg
f/36 f36.jpg f36.jpg

Sharpness at 200mm

For this review, the sharpness test is carried out by photographing a real-world sample, rather than a test chart. The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR was mounted on a Nikon D850, which was in-turn mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay was activated to prevent camera-shake. Any changes in tone you might see across the crops are due to natural light changes during the shooting session.

The full frame at 200mm

The full frame at 200mm

The widest aperture at 200mm is f/5.3. Here, centre sharpness is pretty good, but it’s sharpest between f/8 and f/16. F/22 sees noticeable sharpness, dropping off even more at f/32 and f/38. At the edge, the best results can be seen between f/8 and f/22.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/5.3 f5_3.jpg f5_3.jpg
f/5.6 f5_6.jpg f5_6.jpg
f/8 f8.jpg f8.jpg
f/11 f11.jpg f11.jpg
f/16 f16.jpg f16.jpg
f/22 f22.jpg f22.jpg
f/32 f32.jpg f32.jpg
f/38 f38.jpg f38.jpg

Sharpness at 300mm

For this review, the sharpness test is carried out by photographing a real-world sample, rather than a test chart. The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR was mounted on a Nikon D850, which was in-turn mounted on a sturdy tripod. Exposure delay was activated to prevent camera-shake. Any changes in tone you might see across the crops are due to natural light changes during the shooting session.

The full frame at 300mm

The full frame at 300mm

At 300mm, the widest aperture is f/5.6, where centre sharpness is reasonably good. It is sharper again at f/8, but sharpest between f/11 and f/16. There’s visible softness at f/22, deteriorating as you move through f/32 to f/40. At the edges, the sharpest results can be seen between f/11 and f/16.

Aperture Centre Crop Edge Crop
f/5.6 f5_6.jpg f5_6.jpg
f/8 f8.jpg f8.jpg
f/11 f11.jpg f11.jpg
f/16 f16.jpg f16.jpg
f/22 f22.jpg f22.jpg
f/32 f32.jpg f32.jpg
f/40 f40.jpg f40.jpg

Sample Images

The thumbnails below link to full-sized samples taken with the Nikon AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D850 camera.

1/320s · f/8 · ISO 100 – 70mm (35mm)

1/60s · f/5 · ISO 25600 – 116mm (35mm)

1/1250s · f/4.5 · ISO 100 – 70mm (35mm)

1/320s · f/8 · ISO 100 – 300mm (35mm)

1/250s · f/8 · ISO 100 – 175mm (35mm)

1/160s · f/4.5 · ISO 100 – 85mm (35mm)

1/100s · f/8 · ISO 450 – 85mm (35mm)

1/80s · f/5 · ISO 1600 – 70mm (35mm)

Specifications

Focal length 70-300 mm
Maximum aperture f/4.5-5.6
Minimum aperture f/32-40
Lens construction 18 elements in 14 groups (including 1 ED glass element)
Angle of view 34°20′-8°10′ (22°50′-5°20′ with a DX-format camera)
Minimum focus distance 1.2 m (3.94 ft) from focal plane at all zoom positions
Maximum reproduction ratio 0.25x
No. of diaphragm blades 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
Filter attachment size 67 mm
Diameter x length (extension from lens mount) Approx. 80.5 x 146 mm
Weight Approx. 680 g (1 lb 8 oz)
Supplied accessories LC-67 67 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap, LF-4 Rear Lens Cap, HB-82 Bayonet Hood, CL-1022 Lens Case

Conclusion

The AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR is a versatile optic to use with a full-frame camera. Potentially, you can use it as a walk around lens, if you don’t mind starting at 70mm. It would also be a good pairing for something like a 24-70mm, if you want to keep your kit as light as possible – a lens like this is much lighter and smaller than something with a wide maximum aperture. It’s for this reason that it would also be a good travel lens.

In terms of price, the AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR is also much cheaper than something like a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, making it a good alternative for those who want a telephoto lens but have more of a budget to work with.

Despite the fact that this lens offers a relatively narrow maximum aperture range, you can still get good shallow depth of field effects. The inbuilt VR does well to minimise shake as well, making using narrow apertures less problematic than it might otherwise be. Focusing is quick and accurate in the majority of conditions, too.

Although this is not one of Nikon’s premium lenses, it’s still more than capable of producing good quality, sharp images. It’s ideally suited to subjects such as wildlife and sport, but you can also use it for other subjects such as portrait and macro, making it quite a versatile choice for your kit bag.

This lens is designed for full-frame cameras, but you can use it with APS-C cameras if you wish. Bearing in mind that the equivalent focal length will be 105mm – 450mm, it may be appealing to wildlife photographers who need to get particularly close to a subject.

At the time of writing, the AF-P Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR retails for around £730, making it some £1200 cheaper than the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED lens – that makes it great value for money, making telephoto type subjects much more affordable to tackle.

(photographyblog.com, https://goo.gl/9abryT)

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