Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Review

July 10, 2017 | Amy Davies | |

Introduction

The Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR is one of a twin set of lenses released at the same time, both featuring a stepper motor and a 70-300mm focal length, but one of which doesn't have the VR mechanism inbuilt.

The fact that this lens is a stepper motor lens is indicated by the AF-P in the lens name. It's important to note that AF-P lenses are not compatible with every Nikon model (mostly older models) - so make sure your camera is before buying one of the lenses. It is designed for DX (APS-C) DSLRs, and as such has an equivalent focal length of 105-450mm in 35mm terms. A maximum aperture range of f/4.5-6.3 is available.

For this review, we will be looking at the Vibration Reduction version of the 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 lens. The VR function offers 4 stops of shutter speed compensation, according to CIPA ratings.

The Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens is available now priced at £279 / $399.

Ease of Use

The Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR has a very minimalistic design, featuring no buttons or switches on its exterior. It’s also neat, compact and lightweight, making it an ideal companion for smaller DX format cameras from the D7500 down. It’s also a good option for those who want to travel light, perhaps pairing it up with a wide angle zoom to have all of your bases covered.

Unlike many Nikon lenses, you can’t switch the VR off from the lens itself, instead, you need to be able to switch it off from the body of the camera. On the D7500 for example, you’ll find this option under Custom Setting Menu d.

It’s also not possible to switch between autofocus and manual focus. Again, you’ll have to enable this on the body of the camera. For the D7500, you can use a switch just near the lens mount to switch between the two different focus modes.

The majority of the lens is taken up by the zoom mechanism, which is centrally covered with a textured coating. At the base of the lens is markings which denote the different focal lengths available, starting at 70mm. A dot indicates where you have the lens zoomed to. When the lens is fully zoomed it almost doubles in size, but it compacts down nicely for storage and travelling.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D7500 body

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D7500 body

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D7500 body

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D7500 body

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D7500 body

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D7500 body

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens mounted on a Nikon D7500 body

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe side of the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe side of the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe side of the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe side of the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe rear of the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRThe Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR lens in-hand

Focal Range

At the 70mm focal length the angle of view is 22 degrees and the equivalent focal length is 105mm.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRField of view at 70mm

At the 300mm focal length, the angle of view is 5 degrees and the equivalent focal length is 450mm.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRField of view at 300mm

Focusing

At the front of the lens is a small manual focusing ring. There are no hard stops at either end of the focusing range, so it’s not immediately obvious when the lens has reached infinity focusing. The front element of the lens doesn’t rotate when zoomed, making it useful for attaching filters.

The stepper motor design of the lens means that it achieves focus quickly and quietly - in fact it’s barely audible at all, which is great news if you need to shoot in a quiet environment, or you’re using it for video recording. Generally speaking, the lens locks onto target quickly and easily in most scenarios. Even when shooting in darker conditions, lens hunting to lock onto target is kept to a minimum.

Light Fall Off

With the lens set to its maximum aperture of f/4.5 at the widest point (70mm), there is some very slight fall-off in the corners of the image. This is eliminated completely when shooting at f/5.6 and narrower. At 300mm, the widest aperture is f/6.3. At this value and focal length, the light drop off is a little more noticeable - although it’s probably not something you will be able to see all that well if you’re shooting a normal subject which is not a white wall. By f/8, the effect is drastically reduced, and by f/11 it has gone altogether.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRVignetting at 70mm

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRVignetting at 300mm

Distortion

Distortion throughout the different focal lengths is not particularly visible in any image for real-world subjects, as we'd expect from a telephoto lens of this length.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRDistortion at 70mm

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRDistortion at 300mm

Chromatic Aberrations

It’s difficult to find many, if any, examples of chromatic aberrations - typically displayed as purple or blue fringes in the images taken with the D7500. Even at the edges of the frame, quality is high.

Macro

The Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Lens is not a macro lens, but its focal length makes it quite well-suited to typical macro subjects, such as flowers. The minimum focusing distance is 1.1m, while the maximum magnification ratio is 0.22x. You can achieve some nicely detailed results, and can fill the frame with small subjects if you zoom the lens to its full reach.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VRClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word that is used to describe the out of focus areas in a shot. Despite the fact that the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Lens has quite a narrow maximum aperture, due to the long focal length, you should still find that you can create shallow depth of field effects. The lens has a 7 rounded diaphragm blade design which results in smooth and attractive bokeh. Generally speaking, bokeh quality can be quite a subjective thing, so we have provided some crops to help you decide for yourself.

Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR
   
Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR

Sharpness

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