Nikon Nikkor AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR full frame lens review (from the perspective of a hummingbird photographer)


Here is a quick review of the Nikon Nikkor AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR full frame lens by a reader:

My motivation for trying this new lens is that each summer (April through September) I spend a bunch of time in the garden photographing hummingbirds. My best photos are usually made with the Af-S 300mm F/4 prime, but it is a heavy lens for extended use. Most times I use a monopod to help support that heavy lens for anything other than a quick session. LIkewise, using the Nikkor 200-500mm, F/5.6 doesn’t work for me either because of its weight, the lack of maneuverability and a slightly sluggish auto-focus, compared to the AF-S 300mm, F/4 prime. However, it has produced some really nice images:

window into the garden 8-13-17_025

Little bird drama 8-13-17_140

cardinal flower 8-8-17_065

My other “go to” lens for chasing hummingbirds is the venerable Af-S 70-300m f/5.6 that I have been using for about the past 10 years. It has been to the Nikon hospital at least once, while still under warranty to replace the focus motor (AF-S). Some say it’s “soft” on the long end (300mm) and maybe it is. However, I can usually hand-hold it and follow the “little birds” for hours, if need be (it is rarely ever hours…). Nikon has a newer 300mm F/4 E “PF” lens (Phase Fresnel) which is much lighter, but it’s $2,000. Besides, the AF-S 300mm F/4 prime is an excellent lens which I already own.

Thus, my hopes for a light, worthy replacement for the 70-300mm AF-S rest upon this new rendition of that classic lens. However, I’m also concerned about compatibility with the D7200, my “go to” DX camera for this type of photography. What does it mean I will "lose focus when it times out?" I need to try it to see if it meets my needs utilizing “back button focus” and “pre-focusing” on flowers and awaiting a bird to alight.

What do you want to read first, the good news or the bad news?

Good news is that the lens seems to focus very quickly using the D7200, about like the 300mm F/4 AF-S prime, even in poor light approaching dusk. Also, the focus appears spot-on, nearly silent. I thought it “was” totally silent at first, but listening closely I can hear a slight hum. Well, not exactly a hum, more like a soft clunk; very quiet. The further the “throw” distance (going from near to way out or vice versa) the more pronounced the clunk. “Clunk” isn’t exactly the right word either, but it’s very quiet. An aside, playing with the AF on my other camera body, the D750, the focus is absolutely quiet. Don’t know why the difference.

Can you handle more good news? Well, the image quality even wide-open (f/5.6 @ 300mm) and especially stopped down to f/6.3, f/7.1 approximates the 300mm AF-S prime IQ. It’s obviously better IQ than my old 70-300mm AF-S zoom at 300mm, which is what I was hoping for. In that regard, I’m quite impressed and pleased with the IQ. NOTE: it became dark and will await morning to check out IQ, AF, etc. with the other body, the D750.

OK, the not so good news… That “time out, loss of focus” is going to bother me when using the D7200. I use back-button AF, and keep the shutter depressed as I follow “those little birds” around. No problem in that mode of attack. However, I didn’t realize how much I focus on a flower, for example, then let up on the shutter and wait a bird to alight or hover by a flower. Then, I would fully depress the shutter and get the shot, most of the time (things happen quickly!). However, with this new lens, the 70-300mm f/5.6 AF-P zoom, if the camera has “timed out” (e.g. info [LEDs] along bottom of viewfinder goes blank) when I press down on the shutter, it loses focus, though it still appears in focus in the viewfinder until I push down on the shutter release. Then, I have to stab the back-button to re-establish focus and that’s a problem because of how quickly things are happening in photographing hummingbirds. FYI, after applying the latest firmware update on the D750 in anticipation of getting this lens, this “time out, and lose focus” does not happen with that camera body with my preliminary testing indoors, overnight.

An aside, the lens fits very snugly on both bodies. I had some difficulty removing it from either body and had to use both hands and deliberately hold the body & move the lens. I felt like maybe something was “stuck,” but I didn’t see anything unusual. I don’t think I have to be so deliberate with most all other lenses, except the very long telephoto lenses.

So, I’m trying to figure out what to do… Nikon could make it so easy by updating the D7200 camera’s firmware like it has done with the D750 so that focus problem would be solved. Meanwhile, I will be trying to figure out how to lengthen the amount of time, before D7200 “turns off.” I’m not interested in upgrading to another DX body, despite how nice, capable they are (e.g. D500, D7500). For one thing, the software I presently own and am quite content with using doesn’t support those new cameras, but I’m getting off -track here.

I suspect I am not alone in this quandary of what to do with a lens if I own a camera body with “limited” compatibility. Overall, I really like the initial results (IQ, AF) and will continue to test (VR, video… - but I don’t use these that much). OK, just wanted to share my initial impressions.

This review was first published here.

This entry was posted in Nikon Lenses, [NR] Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Spy Black

    I think Nikon might screw D7200 users on this issue this fellow is having because they’re trying hard to strongarm them into a D500. A shame, really. We’ll have to wait and see I suppose.

    • Captain Megaton

      Back compatibility with older cameras is problematic. Nikon might be doing the best it can, or it might be deliberately dragging it’s heels, it comes out to the same thing: one is better of sticking with the latest bodies to use afp lenses.

      • Spy Black

        …except that the D7200 is not that old. It’s newer than the D750, which received a firmware update that allows it to use this lens. If I’m not mistaken, even the D600/610 received the firmware update. So it strikes me more as strongarm tactics to upgrade to a D500.

        • Paul Shepard

          If the D7200 user increases the “standby timer” (custom setting menu, timers/AElock, C2-) to a longer duration, they might get by using the AF-P lenses, if that “time out, lose focus” is the only issue… for example, I’ve increased it to 30s & haven’t been bothered by loss of focus. Might be a different experience for some other types of shooters (?landscape?).

          • Spy Black

            Well if the workaround helps that’s fine, you should have mentioned it in your review however for the sake of any potential users of the D7200 and this lens.

            It still strikes me as a deliberate snub by Nikon to D7200 users, because cameras much older got the firmware update.

            • Vince

              Not just a snub to D7200 users, same as the D800/800E/810 and other models. This is on Nikon USA, and I also got an email reply from Nikon USA stating the same: Regardless of firmware update, these models will still have some limitations*: D4, D4S, D3, D3X, D3S, D810, D810A, D800, D800E, Df, D700, D300, D300S, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5200. Seems to me by doing this they are trying to force you to upgrade to a newer model camera, or else put up with changing the standby status timer so focus does not reset.

              Just look at the “fully compatible” model cameras and the ones with the firmware update… all the newer models, except for the D600/610 and D750. D600/610 are not being updated so it gets the firmware update so its users can still use it. D750 is puzzling though as it is supposed to be updated, unless that has changed.

            • Robert

              Makes sense. Nikon wants you to buy the latest model. I think it means that even if Nikon may later release updates of D750 or even D600/610 (i.e. new models) they are now considered as current with no update planned in near time, therefore they get a firmware update.

            • Thom Hogan

              Such thinking is naive and problematic. The thinking should be: we want you to fully enjoy your Nikon products so that when you eventually do update or buy a new lens, you continue to pick us as your camera/lens provider.

              Given that Nikon is still selling some of those “affected” products, this, too, is another problem. Someone can literally walk out of the store with two brand new items from Nikon that are not fully compatible. If that doesn’t scare the daylights out of management, then its the wrong management.

            • ITN

              I think the issue is that for a number of years now the management have not been up to the task. They shouldn’t be just scared but replaced with competent people, along with a service advisory that Nikon offers to modify the old cameras in hardware to be compatible, period.

            • Robert

              I meant that @Vince’s analysis about what Nikon is doing makes sense (hence my addition to the analysis). What Nikon should do is something else. @JXVo’s comment above about possible HW differences is interesting, since it may not be possible to update the FW for too old cameras containing an older motor control HW design. Do you know if that is a plausible theory with Nikon?

              I guess that Nikon do their cost benefit analysis on upgrading FW in existing products also based on estimated customer perception. In this case it looks to me like something pretty easily solved by the customer (by changing the “shutter awake” timeout), so that may be another reason why Nikon did not choose to update the FW for the D7200.

            • Spy Black

              Brave management. They’re not scared at all. Now go out and buy a D850/D500/D7500…

            • Robert

              You forgot the D5. 😉

            • Spy Black

              The D4 is already discontinued. 😉

            • Robert

              Ah I see, and the D810 and D7200 are not. I guess you meant D4S. 🙂

            • ランギ マコール

              > Someone can literally walk out of the store with two brand new items from Nikon that are not fully compatible.

              Apple has been doing the same thing. It is a big red flag for me too.

            • Thom Hogan

              Really. What two items would those be?

            • ランギ マコール

              iPhone and a Macbook or MacBook Pro unless you buy a USB→USBC adapter separately. iPhone earphones don’t work with Macs anymore either (they still have a standard audio jack).

            • Thom Hogan

              And yet you can walk out of the store with what you need to be fully compatible. Unlike Nikon, Apple provided transition options, that’s the point.

            • David

              Nikon should be happy if you buy a camera, AND it should also be happy if you just buy a lens. The problem with essentially requiring you to buy both is that it forces the customer to reevaluate his/her commitment to the entire system.

            • Robert

              I am sure that it is Nikon’s intention to provide lens/body compatibility as long as possible (as history shows). The thing is that at some points in time you have to allow yourself some freedom as a system designer to skip (some) backwards compatibility or you will not be able to make necessary development of your products. To balance that well can be a delicate task, as can be seen in the discussed example.

            • Captain Megaton

              Or it could just be a part they used. The old part went into the D7200 as it was pretty much a point update to the D7100, the D800, since it was in development for a long time. D600 is a new chassis, D750 also.

              Although the transition looks a little illogical from the outside to me this explanation makes more sense than tinfoilhattery about which models Nikon wants you to purchase upgrades to.

            • Spy Black

              Yes, we may not see updates to the D6xx and D7xx models. No surprise the D8xx models didn’t get the firmware update, ay? 😉

            • Vinnie

              Right, they want, and are hoping all D800/800E/810 owners will upgrade to D850. I’m sure there are others like me that can’t update right now and will continue to use current model camera. I would prefer to use nikkor lenses but if my camera is incompatible I will use third party lenses instead. There might be the work around for the AF-P lenses by changing the standby timer, but I would prefer not to go that route.

              If Nikon thinks this is a good way to do business and keep their customer base happy, so be it. I can spend my money elsewhere if it comes down to that.

            • ITN

              It’s a technical glitch not a business decision.

              There is so far only a few AF-P lenses and most new lenses are AF-S. There is no need to start using AF-P unless you specifically want the video AF capability. There are no third party lenses with stepper motors for F mount so use of third party lenses won’t solve the problem for those who want AF-P capability in LV and video AF.

            • Vinnie

              I’m not interested in the stepper motor in 3rd party lenses. What I said was if the 70-300 AF-P wouldn’t work in my D800 because of stepper motor and the time out issue, I would buy 3rd party lenses instead of Nikkor lenses. I was initially interested in the AF-P 70-300 because it was supposed to be sharper at 300mm, focus faster than the current 70-300mm. I only see this as an issue if Nikon makes all new lenses AF-P. If not, then not a big deal.

            • Paul Shepard

              the review (originally at Amazon) got amended in ‘comments’ that discussed the standby timer adjustment; those ‘comments’ didn’t come over with the review, but the discussion here went way beyond that & so was helpful, interesting…

        • ITN

          The D810 also not fully compatible and Nikon say it cannot be made fully compatible through any firmware updates. There is some hardware incompatibility.

          • Spy Black

            Hardware incompatibility with the D850, methinks…

            • ITN

              Obviously the D850 will be compatible.

              I guess Nikon could offer to clean up this mess by issuing a service advisory and ask users to send the cameras in for hardware modifications which permit AF-P use without issues. But they seem to have lost their way in introducing this kind of badly designed protocol that cannot work with older cameras.

            • Spy Black

              I think you missed my point. 😉

            • ITN

              I did.

              Nikon listed cameras which can be be made fully compatible and those which cannot. Since the D750 is fully compatible and D810 not and the latter is higher end (which normally would mean they would make sure it is compatible while leaving lesser models with the incompatibilities), Nikon seem to have botched up the design in a way that is not their typical policy, so likely it’s unintentional and at this point they can’t fix it.

            • Spy Black

              The incompatibility of the D810 is the D850. 😉

            • ITN

              If that were the intention, why would anyone trust that future lenses would work on the D850? No, this is just Nikon shooting themselves in the foot.

            • Spy Black

              Better ask that question indeed, because shutting out the D810 is exactly what’s going on here.

            • ITN

              No, it’s just incompatible hardware. Nikon didn’t plan for stepper motors in time and hacked up something that only is compatible with some of the hardware they’re using. Not a good state of affairs but it is what it is.

            • Spy Black

              Whatever you want to believe. Interesting that the D600, D610, and D750 were designed to handle it, but none of the existing D8xx/D7xxx line, ay? 😉

            • ITN

              Different hardware. The D600, D610 and D750 were not designed to handle AF-P but could be augmented by firmware to correctly operate these lenses while the pro bodies could not. This may simply be that they use older components. In any case this is a case of bad engineering and short-sighted design.

            • Spy Black

              Whatever you want to believe.

            • ITN

              Without doubt you can provide a firmware hack to fix the problem since you are so sure it can be fixed. No one is going to buy a D850 specifically to be able to use with this AF-P lens.

            • Spy Black

              Nikon already fixed it for ya. All you need to do is buy a D850 or D7500.

      • JXVo

        Thinking out loud and as an engineer, the control philosophy for a stepper motor (that can be predictably moved by a very precise amount) and a mechanism powered by a rotary motor (whose movement has be controlled by a feedback mechanism) would be quite different. This would require both different programming and different hardware to support the different control systems. Nikon obviously knew it would move to stepper motors for AF at some previous time and bodies mades since then probably have some hardware/software provisions for both AF-S and AF-P. The prior bodies likely lack something that cannot be fixed by firmware alone.

        • Paul Shepard

          haven’t i read somewhere that the AF-P stepper motor is more appropriate, useful with lighter lenses vs. the super tele, larger lenses & that these larger lenses will require AF-S type motor movement (something about the torque requirement?)

          • shadowfoto

            steppers could probably be made with high torque and speed for those biggies, but there’s just no point – people buying them are unlikely to care about their AF performance in lv or video.

            and at least in canon STM case, they are somewhat fragile

        • ITN

          Nikon isn’t “moving” to stepper motors except in the case of a few relatively small aperture, compact lenses. Most new DSLR lenses (by both Canon and Nikon) continue to be designed with silent wave motors as the stepper motors do not provide adequate torque to focus larger lenses quickly.

        • shadowfoto

          if that was the case, AF-P would be genuinely incompatible with all the DSLRs designed before it.

          …which makes me wonder if that “focus loss” in AF-P is actually serves a purpose, because it certainly looks so – be it management demand or a trick to avoid canon patents.

        • Captain Megaton

          The interesting thing is the D7200 and some others are “semicompatible”, which doesn’t fit with the narrative that Nikon planned out the switch in advance. If that were the case, it would be a simple yes/no and all camera models after a certain date would be fully AFS-P compliant.

          • JXVo

            I suspect we will see firmware updates in time for those bodies that can be made compatible this way.

    • Paul Shepard

      ha! the older 70-300 AF-S has been through the wars! It will be a hand-me-down to family…
      The 300mm f/4 is really a nice lens. Besides hummingbirds, I do some sports (football, soccer) action photos with it & it performs nicely; though i use it with a monopod for such times.
      If that new 300mm f/4 ever gets down close to $1K (refurb)… I might bite.

      • Gosh1

        if the 300 f4 PF needs a tripod collar, there are these options, to get around the costly original collar (that for the 70-200 f4G)
        RRS LC-A12: for AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR and AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR

        SunwayFoto Replacement Foot LF-N3 for Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II f4G

        LeoPhoto Replacement Foot LF-N3 for Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II / f4G

        • ITN

          IMO the Nikon RT-1 is excellent. I don’t like the RRS, it drags metal against the barrel and is not at all well designed in that respect. Expensive and not good.

          • Gosh1

            Most valuable to know this!
            Thank you

        • Paul Shepard

          Sorry, I missed why you’re suggesting the 300 f/4 PF lens needs a tripod collar. I wish I could afford a 300 f/4 PF! I have the older AF-S version & it takes great shots, focuses great & while I can handhold it for a while, after a few minutes, half-hour I’ll tire & use the monopod.

          • nhz

            Thanks for the review, always interesting to read such practical comments.

            I mostly shoot flying dragonflies which is a bit similar and am considering moving from my current Canon gear to Nikon (D7500/D500/D850 plus probably the 4/300PF lens). My previous dragonfly lens was the Canon 4/300IS which is a bit similar to the Nikon non-PF one (the Canon is also an old lens and its IS isn’t very effective). I sold it for the much hyped 100-400II which proved a bad decision, both regarding image quality close up and the increased weight. The lower weight of a 4/300PF should not only help with hand-holding but also if you have to quickly track an erratic moving subject, much more difficult with heavy gear! I never use a tripod, it doesn’t work with my subject. 300mm seems to be the best compromise between size/weight and magnification.

            From what I have read the 4/300PF lens still has some VR issues with certain bodies. Also some lenses have far worse image quality for close up than others. And in my case good manual focusing ring is very important, because I use MF all the time (maybe a D500 is good enough for tracking dragonflies?). Most of such issues are rarely mentioned in reviews so you need to be able to test a lens before buying (difficult if you don’t know what could be wrong) or try to read as much as possible about experiences from others 😉

            BTW, my Canon 80D also has a weird ‘timeout’ problem that prevents taking the first shot after waking up. I haven’t been able to nail down the cause but here too it helps to increase the timeout value to a few minutes.

            • Gosh1

              Interesting comment – thanks.

              Search the threads on NikonGear discussion group for considerable discussion on problems with some copies of 300 f4E PF on certain Nikon DSLRs

          • Gosh1

            see reply above

        • Gosh1

          The 300 f4E PF is by all accounts a most versatile optic. Arguably one of the most versatile primes in the Nikkor inventory. Despite its lightness, a tripod collar may be needed for landscape shots and to use on a gimbal etc

    • Seb

      Nikon as never been keen on updating “older” cameras. That the D750 has been updated for AF-P compatibility is a surprise.
      Not long ago I asked Nikon why they didn’t add the three “new” AF modes the D5 received to the D500… they claimed (three times) that the parts are different, which allows for the difference in price.

      Because you know… “same AF system as the D5” in their marketing documents isn’t at all contradictory with that…

      But that’s a huge mistake on Nikon’s part. Being updated as long as hardware allows (look at Apple…) would be a massive competitive advantage compared to others. At the very least, latest generation cameras should all be updated together (when hardware allows).

      • Wayne Jackson

        Fujifilm seem to be the only camera company adding functionality to their cameras via firmware updates. I think the xt-2 has received 2 significant updates since it’s release. I have a d5100 which has served me well and several Nikon primes and zooms, flashes aswell etc. I want to upgrade the camera body but find myself attracted to Fuji’s aftermarket support.

        • Leica does this as well – they have made really exciting changes to the Q since it was released.

          Admittedly Leica has longer development cycles and of course pricing is on another planet entirely …

      • Thom Hogan

        Apple isn’t anywhere near perfect here, but at least they’re 100% predictable. They have published guidelines for when they will stop supporting older products, and they document when they do stop supporting them.

        Nikon is opaque and inconsistent. Nikon’s modus operandi is “leave the customer guessing.”

        • GirchyGirchy

          I AM confounding

      • ITN

        These are new features. It shouldn’t be surprising if a 6500€ camera gets better support than a 2200€ camera.

        • Spy Black

          …except when an 850€ camera is getting it as well…

          • ITN

            What I was referring to (in Seb’s post) were the three new AF area modes added in firmware to the D5. Horizontal & vertical line group area AF and 9-point dynamic.

        • Seb

          Mmmmh, not sure what to think. D500 is supposed to be the DX D5 companion. You need to be able to shift from one to the next with o thinking “oh crap, if I use that body I lose Dyn9”.

          Plus it’s a serious mistake from the start not to include it, imho.

      • Piooof

        The AF module can be the same, if the processing chip downstream is less powerful, then some computationally-heavy AF modes can only run on the D5. This is how I read Nikon’s answer. You don’t have to be paranoid, sometimes (most of the time?) things boil down to differing hardware characteristics.

        • Seb

          How could Dynamic 9 require more computing power than Dynamic 25?

          Plus it says same AF system. Not AFsensor or module. System.

          • Piooof

            It seems that Nikon does not use the same microcontrollers in their pro line and in the other bodies. Not sure what goes into the D500 but I’d
            guess the only truly pro bodies are the 1-digit ones. Then the AF system may not be exactly the same in the D5 and D500. But I agree, after looking at the available information on the guts of these bodies, it shouldn’t be very complicated to update the firmware of the D500 if one has done it for the D5. Their reaction clearly shows they have different priorities.

    • Sigma lenses may now be more compatible with the D7200 than Nikon’s new P lenses. Ironic.

  • Alexander Gray

    But… where are the picture from the lens being reviewed? I see the pictures from the other lens…

    • Paul Shepard

      These are the photos taken with this new lens; only one “old lens(AF-S)” photo recently added to FLICKR site. sorry for the confusion. I went back & cleaned up recent photos so the correct lens used is noted.

  • Duncan Dimanche

    nice read !

    • Paul Shepard

      thanks, your kind to share that; motivation was to share first impressions w/ the Nikon user community

  • animalsbybarry

    This was taken with the Sony equivalent of this lens

    70-300 F4.6-5.6 FE on A6300 F8 1/2000 sec

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b66b27f0a510ee076091410b91b56eefa2adc2f5c9a131818f29cd1e446907ca.jpg

    • Proof of why you should stick with Nikon.

      • ??? rather than just sarcy a snub comment why not explain

        • Amir

          Look at different levels of tonality,micro-contrast,saturation,and colours.If you cannot distinguish,I strongly suggest you to take some photography courses.Thank you for your co-operation!

          • What a moron, first you comment rudely on someone else’s images without bothering to say what the issue is then laughably tell me to go on a course, I suggest YOU look at my sites before making yourself out as a fool.

            You can NOT judge such things as colors and contrast from a low quality uploaded image.

            Finally “Thank you for your co-operation!” talk about bad grammar and English, and there should be a gap between full stops, commas and the next word

            Perhaps you would like to post a better photograph so we can see how good you are

            • IronHeadSlim

              You really are a internet tough guy, aren’t you? Stop with the name calling all the time.

            • then stop the insults

              “I strongly suggest you to take some photography courses”

            • IronHeadSlim

              I don’t have any idea what your comment is in reference to.

    • Paul Shepard

      nice photo

      • Max

        Hi Paul
        What was the settings for the first/top photo in article?

    • JXVo

      Nice pic. Pity about the blurred vertical white element at the right (wall of a building?).

      • animalsbybarry

        I do not sell my photos, I only use them as refferrence for my paintings
        So unlike most photographers I am actually not concerned with distracting stuff in the background….I simply do not paint the stuff I don’t want

        Here for example is a Barred Owl painting …16″x20″ acrylic on claybaord

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/29c72441c1fcc6f5da3058e4b1384486faf136414a63fcfee8958bfc9f508578.jpg

        • JXVo

          Wow! Beautiful.

          • animalsbybarry

            Thanx

            • JXVo

              Barry, I propose you do an article for NR 🙂

              It would be interesting to see the a few examples of the photographs you use and then the final painting that results from them. If you have already published articles on this please post a link.

            • animalsbybarry

              That would be a very time consuming article because a lot of steps go into my paintings
              I also do not think it would be a relevant article for a photo website

          • Roger S

            Ditto — quite spectacular!

        • Robert

          Nice! Impressive amount of details in the feathers. Surely takes some skills to achieve that.

        • Max

          Wow. That must’ve taken taken patience.

        • Spy Black

          Great work brother!

        • IronHeadSlim

          That is superb!

      • A bit like a club judge marking down a shot and commenting that the togger should have taken a few steps backwards before taking it without knowing there was a 200′ drop 1 step back !

        Photoshop

        • JXVo

          I guess. I didn’t mean to be condescending…my apologies if it came across that way.

  • Bill Ferris

    Redundant paragraph beginning, “OK the not so good news…”

    • Paul Shepard

      probably so… but was trying to get at… how to get around the “time out & lose focus” issue. As, I’ve stated above, now by increasing the time out (from ?4 seconds to 30 seconds) works fine for what I do shooting nature, hummingbirds, etc.

      • Bill Ferris

        Earlier, the paragraph was repeated in that article. The duplicate appears to have been removed.

    • JXVo

      Not so redundant….increasing the metering timeout, especially setting it to ‘no limit’ will appreciably increase battery drain. This is not a problem when shooting in your backyard with spare batteries and charging equipment nearby ….. however when you are on a field trip it is a different matter. At the very least, users of cameras affected by the refocusing issue would be advised to carry an additional spare battery with them.

      We are also left wondering if Nikon is going to address the firmware issue on some recent camera bodies, many of which are still available from retailers.

      • Bill is right – the paragraph was redundant and I fixed it, sorry for the confusion.

  • CaMeRa QuEsT

    Ed. : Go to Menu>Custom Settings>c2 Standby timer: select “No limit”, meter will stay alive as long as the camera’s main switch is on. Problem solved. Just remember to switch the camera off when you’re not using it so you don’t drain the battery. I believe that I’ve read this go-around either on my AF-P 70-300 DX’s instruction manual or somewhere online, can’t remember exactly where. It’s really a non-issue with your lens as you’ve got both AF and VR physical switches on the lens itself, unlike the DX version which needs the body to have a menu for VR selection on its firmware, which I believe the D7200 doesn’t have.

    • Paul Shepard

      thanks, I’ve done this- increased the “time out” to 30 seconds & it makes all the difference in the world, for what I want. An aside, I had let the review alone after adding a few photos (on Amazon)… I’ve gone to the FLICKR site (link above) and labeled all the recent photos taken with this new lens. Only one recently added photo was taken with the older AF-S version. I’ve also labeled all the photos taken with the 300mm, f/4.

    • Spy Black

      “Problem solved. Just remember to switch the camera off when you’re not using it so you don’t drain the battery.”

      Well that introduces a new potential problem, doesn’t it?

    • Michiel953

      Thanks for that little nugget of info; I never knew that. Just changed the default 6 secs on my 810 to 30 secs. Should be helpful and not drain the battery too much.

    • Paul Shepard

      Thanks, setting the ‘standby timer’ to 30s for me works; the ‘loss of function’ on the D7200 becomes a non issue.

  • DaveyJ

    I have hummingbird photos with the 200-500 far better than this. Sluggish?, Rubbish! I used the D7500 and have both photos and video. Theses photos posted show nothing establishing superiority of of this lens!

    • Ben Brayev

      you love your gear and its great. but side by side, even the old afs 300mm f4 is fast compared to the 200-500.. actually a lot faster. even with a teleconverter.

      • Amir

        I believe he was joking!

      • Thom Hogan

        As I wrote in my review, tracking AF on the 200-500mm seems fine. It’s initial acquisition of AF that people are responding to as “being slower.”

    • Paul Shepard

      Thanks, for the note. glad you have some good hummingbird photos, w/ the 200-500, f/5.6. I do also. as i was trying to share, the motivation in adopting this small, light-weight lens is for up-close, long periods of hand-holding. I can’t do that with the 200-500. an aside, these are ‘low-res’ photos; their ‘high-res’ counterparts print out nicely at 8×10″ & beyond.

  • DaveyJ

    The posts are good and a good test of camera gear and the setting. I do have hummingbird photos with the D7500 with the 70-300 DX VR AF-P lens which are this good. I would comment that the first photo is decent., after that the interference of plant parts masks details etc, the use of shallow depth of field further reduces the value of the image from my viewpoint. I have shot the D7500 on cH and once you are in focus the images are all in focus. Having shot the 70-300DX and the 200-500 sometimes on the same day, I would say the use of the 200-500 allows more distance to keep the activities less influenced by my presence. Many times a couple sparing in aerial combat will purposely race by my ear and come within two inches squeaking and chortling at each other and at me! The shots
    I have taken at around 20-35 ft away seem to be somewhat better at 500 and I usually shoot at f11, and a ISO of 800. Our hummingbirds here are all Ruby Throated, same as the female or females on these posts. I have fewer pictures of the Ruby Throated Males which are more noticeable in the earlier season here, and they are quite showy and tougher to depict their movements. The most interesting would be the aerial combat scenes but that is difficult to the point I have none of that. Two in the same scene yes, but no thrilling races or chases.

    • Paul Shepard

      thanks, for the note. Since i also use the D750; reason why i opted to wait for, get the 70-300 AF-P “FX” version of the lens. was just trying to share “first impressions” of use of lens to meet a specific problem. re: flower obstructing view of bird: sometimes the flower is as much or more the story vs. the bird… as was case in that photo.
      re: quality: I generally upload only “low-res” photos, which lack much detail once blown up. the “high-res” files can be printed at 8×10″ and beyond, as needed. (good luck on those aerial combat scenes; I have a few sprinkled in on the FLICKR site… case in point: the one bird taking the other one out as she is sipping on the blue salvia…)

  • JXVo

    Some nice pics in your flickr feed but I guess some are from the older lenses?

    I also saw honey processing equipment. Just checking but I hope that if you have feeders out, the hummingbirds are not fed with honey….it apparently causes health problems for them. Only sterile sugar solutions should be used in feeders.

    • Paul Shepard

      Sorry, for confusion. updated FLICKR site to reflect which lenses are used in the most recent photos…

      re: HONEY equipment… photos of two separate activities. nope, don’t use honey in feeders. However, sterility of sugar solution not required; cleanliness helpful, free of dyes, etc.

  • animalsbybarry

    When shooting hummingbirds fast frame rate is best to get as many poses as possible as quickly as possible
    Here mirrorless has the advantage

    • Paul Shepard

      Thanks, for sharing that insight. Instantaneous focus; does mirrorless offer the same advantage?

      • animalsbybarry

        The A6300 I used focused fast with the 70-300

  • Too much to read for me but I have to say that the 70-300 lenses for as long as they have been around have always been the mainstay as far as I can see, I have been into photography for many many many years and it was always a 50mm then a 200mm in film days, then I got a 75-300 and it rarely came off the camera.

    Lenses have been able to be “re chipped” by Sigma for YEARS when new bodies from nikon came out, you sent them back for free re chipping, now you have the Sigma dock.

    It is now a shame the technology changes so fast that older/newer bodies/lenses have compatibility issues, whilst I no longer use the less expensive 70-300 lenses it is a great lens for the majority

    As for DX v FX, I have never since the early 75-300 bought DX lenses, I never feel into the trap of then wanting FX and having to re-buy, I have always bought FX lenses that can be used on both, buy one it is cheaper.

  • Aba Novo

    The first shot is nice but am I the only one to think that the two last photos are rather poor? 2nd photo: noisy, cluttered, not focused well (focus is on purple corolla, not the bird) and all eyes are shut closed…; 3rd photo is harsh lit and totally cluttered… How about improving techniques before drooling on some new gear?

    • Paul Shepard

      obviously don’t shoot hummingbirds? re: 2nd photo captures two birds in same frame with top one zooming by the lower one at a great speed… try capturing that. eyes closed a “plus” (rarely capture a photo with a hummingbird’s eyes closed…).
      focus of 3rd photo is the flower.
      I’m constantly trying to improve my technique; my aim was to contribute some feedback about the lens to the greater Nikon user community.
      thanks, for your comment. I can understand why others would choose not to contribute with the tone of your response.

    • JXVo

      If I read the review correctly these pics resulted from a single afternoon session with a new unfamiliar lens. Worthwhile info on the new lens was given and it is giving a little trouble with the need to refocus after meter timeouts on author’s relatively recent cameda body. Author’s Flickr link has some great shots taken with other lenses.

  • Paul Shepard

    thanks for the insights…

  • Michael Denker

    I dont thnk you are getting out of track, I still use Aperture and will not change camera model if idont have to.

  • North Polar

    My understanding on the firmware issue is that the D7200 doesn’t have the right chipset to control the lens constantly. So it loses focus lock when it sleeps.

    Could be wrong, but that’s the poor man’s explanation I got about it. Can’t say if true or not though.

  • Ben Brayev

    in israel it costs 1050$ hahaha (bitter laugh) and the old af-s 300mm f4 costs 1200$ xD

  • Dave

    I have very similar issues, Nikon D7200, using the old 300mm because I can’t afford the new one. As I use a Fuji for all non action shots, then if Nikon really want me to upgrade I’d have to consider Canon/Sony. I was almost moving towards getting a used 7dII and 400mm f5.6 but I got the old 300mm f4 instead and a teleconverter because I love the D7200. That’s the problem with Nikon forcing people to upgrade, some of us might just jump ship.

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