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Nikon AF-S 70-300mm VR vs Nikon AF-P 70-300mm Lens Comparison

Now that Nikon has release their new Full Frame AF-P version of the 70-300mm VR lens, it is time to compare the Nikon AF-S 70-300mm VR vs Nikon AF-P 70-300mm.

Overall the two lenses are very close in size and weight and not really a difference that is noticeable. Both lenses feature a 67mm filter ring and both lenses are image stabilized. So what is different? The new lens features Nikon’s new AF-P autofocus system and the MTF charts indicate an improvement in image quality.

Image quality comparisons will have to come later as the new lens has not started shipping at the time of this review, but I plan to update this as soon as I can get my hands on one.

Since I have not been able to formally test the new lens yet, here are the MTF charts for 70mm on both lenses. The New AF-P lens is shown first:

The new AF-P lens looks to be a bit better behaved and more consistent, especially in the corners, which is a good thing since this lens is designed for full frame bodies.

Here are the MTF charts for 300mm on both lenses, again the AF-P lens is shown first:

At 300mm the new lens looks to be a pretty good improvement for the most part, especially when stopped down.

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED Pricing*

  • Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED - $499.95

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Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Pricing*

  • Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR - $749.95

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*Pricing from Manufacturer's website - Current selling price may be different. Be sure to visit the links below for current pricing.

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED Advantages

Price – The original AF-S 70-300mm VR lens is currently selling for less than $500 while the new AF-P 70-300mm lens is selling for $750.

Focus Distance Window – the new AF-P lens does not have a focus distance window. This is not a big deal for most photographers, but I like having one as it allows me to easily prefocus the lens for faster initial Auto Focus performance. However, the new AF-P lens has a much faster autofocus so this may not be much of an issue.

Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Advantages

AF-P auto focus. This is one of the biggest differences between the two lenses so far. The AF-P is optimized for fast and silent autofocus, especially when recording video. The new focus system uses a stepper motor technology that is faster, quieter and more precise. This is one of the biggest frustration when recording video – focus hunting. I hate watching youtube videos where the image goes out of focus and then takes several seconds to come back into focus.

Weather Sealed – the new AF-P is officially designated as “Weather sealed” while the original AF-S 70-300mm lens only had a rubber gasket at the lens mount. Of course this depends on the camera body you are using as well – if it is not weather sealed then it makes no difference.

Conclusion

Of course the final conclusion will have to wait until I get my hands on a copy of the new AF-P lens. In the meantime based on the MTF charts and the new focus system that has been implemented on a few other lenses, the new lens looks promising. I was surprised to see the new AF-P lens price was announced as $699, but the actual selling price is $749 – a $50 increase right off the bat. If the image quality of the new lens is better, especially at the telephoto end, then it will probably be worth the higher price. Stay tuned for an update.

Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED Overall User Rating

4.47 out of 5

based on 2645 user reviews online.

: 63% (1662.04)
: 28% (732.31)
: 5% (128.66)
: 2% (62.55)
: 2% (59.44)

Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR Overall User Rating

4.78 out of 5

based on 27 user reviews online.

: 81% (22)
: 15% (4)
: 4% (1)
: 0% (0)
: 0% (0)

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Specs

Spec Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED Nikon AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR
Focal Length 70 70
Max Aperture f/4.5-5.6 f/4.5-5.6
Minimum Aperture f/ f/32-40
Minimum Focus distance 58.8 inches 3.94 inches
Maximum Magnification 0.25x 0.25x
Number of Elements 17 18
Number of Groups 12 14
Aperture Blade Design Rounded Rounded
Number of Aperture Blades 9 9
Filter Size 67 mm 67 mm
Diameter 3.1 in. 3.2 in.
Length 5.6 in. 5.7 in.
Weight 1.64 lbs. 1.5 lbs.
Lens Mount Construction Metal Metal
Tripod Collar None None
Weather Sealed No Yes
Distance Scale Yes - No Hyper Focal Markings No
Image Stabilization Yes Yes
Lens Shade Included Included