Review Nikon AF-P 70–300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR @ DX

Is the image quality of a lens designed for FX visibly better on a DX camera? With the Nikon AF-P 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR, in any case, it is. The image quality of the Nikon AF-P 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR on a Nikon D7200 is better than that of the smaller, lighter and cheaper Nikon AF-P 70-300 mm f/4.5-6.3G ED DX VR. But is the price difference of the two Nikon 70-300 mms important for you?
​Click on the product for specifications, prices and test results.

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Nikon AF-P 70–300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR + Nikon D7200 @100 ISO 70 mm f/5.6 1/100

See also: Review Nikon AF-P 70–300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR @ Nikon D810

Do you own a camera with a DX sensor, such as the Nikon D3400, D7500 or D5600, but are you sure that in the coming years you will switch to a Nikon camera with a larger FX sensor, such as the Nikon D750 or D850? Then do not hesitate and opt for the Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR instead of the Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED DX VR. Both telephoto zooms have the same ample zoom range, with which you can bring a subject to you, or compress the perspective. Both zooms have built-in image stabilization. But the more expensive version illuminates the entire sensor surface of an FX sensor, while the DX version on an FX camera can only be used in crop mode.

BUILD AND autofocus

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A stepper motor in the Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR delivers fast (for photos), quiet and accurate (for photo and video) focusing. This lens focuses on a Nikon D7200 from infinity to one and a half meters in 100ms (“70mm) to 250 ms (“300mm). That is very fast, especially at the shorter focal lengths. The AF speed may even be higher on a more modern Nikon with a faster AF, such as the Nikon D500 or D7500. Focusing during video is slow with the current Nikon cameras, but that is not because of the lens but because of the contrast AF that is used in Nikon SLR cameras for video recordings.

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Built-in image stabilization makes it possible to get sharp pictures in the dark without a tripod (with high ISO settings) or to continue using low ISO. The above image was taken without a tripod at a focal length of 145 mm and a shutter time of 1/25 sec.   

IMAGE QUALITY: LESS VIGNETTING AND DEFORMATION

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As far as vignetting, distortion and color errors are concerned, you can see that the image quality increases when you use a lens designed for FX on a camera with a DX sensor. Without lens corrections, visible barrel distortion is visible only at 70 mm, but it is totally absent at all other focal lengths tested. In corrected RAW and jpg files, distortion is not visible at all focal lengths. More or less the same applies to vignetting: Without lens corrections, vignetting is only visible at the longest focal length (1 stop). At all other focal lengths tested, vignetting is already not visible without lens corrections. With lens corrections, vignetting is absent at all focal lengths, with 300mm (0.5 stop) performing the least well of all the focal lengths tested.
In terms of resolution, the differences between the Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR and the Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED are small. The FX version does a bit better in the Imatest measurements, but in practice shots you cannot see that small difference, or only with difficulty.

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Nikon AF-P 70–300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR + Nikon D7200 @ 100 ISO 300 mm f/5.6 1/1000

Nikon AF-P 70–300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR + Nikon D7200 @ 100 ISO 300 mm f/5.6 1/1000

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Nikon AF-P 70–300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR + Nikon D7200 @ 100 ISO 230 mm f/5.6 1/500

ConclusiON: REVIEW Nikon AF-P 70–300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR @ DX

PROS

  • Very good image quality: little vignetting, distortion and color defects
  • Can also be used on a camera with an FX sensor

CONS

  • Bigger, heavier and twice as expensive as the Nikon 70-300 mm AF-P f/4.5-6.3G ED DX VR
  • Due to modern electronic aperture, AF-P lenses cannot be used on all older Nikon cameras (often can after a firmware update)

A modern lens design clearly results in higher image quality. By using the Nikon AF-P 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR on a camera with a DX sensor, you can go a step further.

The Nikon AF-P 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR scores higher in our test than the 70-300 mm Nikon that we tested a few years earlier. The sharpness is higher, and, although we have not measured the AF speed in the previous version, the AF speed and accuracy have also improved compared to its predecessor. Compared to the cheaper and more compact Nikon AF-P DX 70-300 mm f/4.5-6.3G ED, designed specifically for DX, the differences are smaller, but the Nikon AF-P 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR wins when it comes to image quality. If you are sure that you are not going to switch to a camera with a larger FX sensor, you can save the extra money and go for the cheaper DX version. Whichever of Nikon’s two AF-P 70-300 zooms you choose, you get very high image quality on a Nikon camera with a DX sensor, with both the FX and the DX version.

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