Reminder: the new AF-P Nikkor lenses are not compatible with older Nikon DSLR cameras

I keep receiving questions from readers about Nikkor AF-P lenses compatibility with older Nikon DSLR cameras - the short answer is: they are not compatible. Here is some additional information:

"The number of cameras compatible with AF-P NIKKOR lenses is limited. Even for compatible cameras, firmware update may be required*. Fully compatible models: D850, D500, D7500, D5600, D5500, D5300*, D3400, D3300* and later models

Compatible models with limited functions: D5, D810 series, Df, D750, D7200, D7100, D5200, Nikon 1 series with the FT-1

Incompatible models: D4 series, D3 series, D2 series, D1 series, D800 series, D700, D610, D600, D300 series, D200, D100, D7000, D5100, D5000, D90, D80, D70 series, D3200, D3100, D3000, D60, D50, D40 series, film cameras" (source: Nikon Support)

For more information, see the Nikon Lens Compatibility Chart.

Nikon currently has the following Nikkor AF-P lenses:

  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G (VR and non-VR version)
  • AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED (VR and non-VR version)
  • AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR (the only full frame AF-P lens)

Additional info on Nikkor AF-P lenses:

There are two types of Nikon lenses that have a built-in focus motor: AF-S lenses and AF-P lenses. Lenses that do not have a focus motor incorporated into it are simply called AF NIKKOR lenses.

AF-P lenses use a “Pulse” motor or “Stepping” autofocus motor and are even quieter and smoother to autofocus than an AF-S lens, making these lenses ideal when shooting video with a DSLR.

Consumer DSLRs that do not incorporate a built-in focus motor, therefore need to use an AF-S or AF-P NIKKOR lens to get the full autofocus capabilities from the lens.

The newer AF-P lenses let you set certain settings from the camera’s menu system, such as VR (Vibration Reduction) and the AF/MF mode. Older lenses have switches on the lens barrel for turning VR on and off, as well as switching between manual focus mode and AF mode.

Because the focus mode and VR are set using the camera menus, not every Nikon DSLR is compatible with AF-P lenses, and those that are may need to have their firmware updated so they’ll show the correct menu items. (source Nikon USA)

Via Nikon Rumors Forum

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  • C’mon Peter, bring on the DM system news! 🙂

    • TheDon

      Newsflash, there are no news! This is Nikon’s last stance, their alamo.

    • I was offline for 2 days – I drove to the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch. Yes, it was amazing 🙂

  • ArkadiiShapoval

    What about rare af-i leses?
    Nikon ED AF-I Nikkor 300mm 1:2.8D
    Nikon ED AF-I Nikkor 400mm 1:2.8D
    Nikon ED AF-I Nikkor 500mm 1:4D
    Nikon ED AF-I Nikkor 600mm 1:4D

    • ZoetMB

      What about them? Obviously they’re compatible with older Nikon bodies.

      • Oguz

        Not so, even D850 and D5 can be used with all AF-I Lenses, also all Entry-Bodies like D5500, as this Lenses have all built-in AF-Motors. Not so the Lenses before these, like AF 300mm 1:2.8D, as these rely on built-in AF-Drive of the Body

        • ZoetMB

          I never said they couldn’t be. The article was about the AF-P lenses that couldn’t be used with older bodies and Arkadii asked about the AF-I lenses and I answered accordingly.

          • El Aura

            I think Arkadii merely wanted to point out the the Nikon article that talks about “There are two types of Nikon lenses that have a built-in focus motor: AF-S lenses and AF-P lenses.” is incorrect as in fact there are three types of Nikon lenses with built-in focus motor.

            (And yes, that ignores the F3 AF lenses.)

            • ArkadiiShapoval

              Thants right!
              and F3AF lenses (only Nikon AF-Nikkor 80mm 1:2.8 and Nikon AF-Nikkor ED 200mm 1:3.5) from 1983 dont work with any DSLR.

    • HotDuckZ

      I’m used Nikon 300 f/2.8 in various version. AF-I was louder than AF-s but also fast, however no official replacement if motor broken on this day.

  • Paul Plak

    Not so nice, D3S is still a very good camera, especially in low light, so now we need to choose our lenses with care for compatibility issues. I thought the whole idea of a Nikon lens system was to make it as universal as possible across generations of bodies and lenses.

    • catinhat

      I agree with the sentiment, but don’t really have a problem sticking with the older lenses. The idea though always was the backward compatibility of cameras rather than lenses because, in theory at least, one would replace cameras more often than lenses. Nowadays though there are so many choices, used and new, third party and Nikon, that it is hard for me to imagine needing one particular lens for which there wouldn’t be a comparable alternative elsewhere. I would say making lenses without full compatibility is Nikon’s loss more than consumer’s.

  • Allen_Wentz

    Actually, if one uses back-focusing the D3 drives AF-P just fine.

  • Jeffry De Meyer

    d500 fully compatible but d850 might need an update??

  • animalsbybarry

    AF-P lenses have pulse motors and are therefore desighned to work with the new Nikon mirrorkess cameras when they come out
    If (as we expect) there will be a new Z mount they will require a simple adapter to be fully functional with the new mount
    Non AF-P lenses will require a more complicated adapter like the pelicular mirror adapter Nikon is likely to also come out with.

    So the AF-P lenses will be fully functional with some newer Nikon cameras and the new Nikon mirrorless camera (with only a simple adapter) but incompatable with older Nikon cameras

    Non AF-P lenses will work with most Nikon DSLR cameras but will required the more elaborate pelicular mirror adapter (which will probably reduce light by 20-30%) in order to to be fully functional on the new mirrorless cameras

    The pelicukar mirror adapter will function similar to the way the Sony A mount system works and the adapter will function similar to the Sony LAEA3

    • Jim Huang

      I don’t think we need to go to that route. Canon’s dual pixel AF works pretty well with USM motor, especially if it is the ring type, not micro.

      To be honest, I really don’t understand why Sony needs to a perfectly fine mirrorless into a SLT with an adapter. Personally I think it maybe a software issue than hardware, I see no difference in terms of principle from having AF on the imaging sensor than a separate AF sensor as far as how PDAF works.

      • animalsbybarry

        PDAF sensors on mirrorless camera sensors work differrent than off sensor AF sensors
        They require very quick lens adjustments

        Regular AF motors work fine for DDLR they are powerfull but not fast enough for mirrorless that makes constant very small movements

        Pulse motors are very bast but not very powerful relative to thier weight so to avoid big heavy pulse (stepping) motors the focusing elements of the lenses must be extremely light
        This reguires mirrorless lenses to be desighned differently than DSLR lenses

        The pelicular mirror adapter has an AF sensor that functions like those found in DSLR cameras and will therefore allow lenses that were never desighned to work on mirrorless cameras to perform the way they were intended

        PD lenses are basically mirrorless lense, therefore they will not need the pelicular mirror adapter to work on the new mirrorless cameras when they come out, and they also work on the newest Nikon cameras that have the electronics to support them

        When the mirrorless cameras come out Nikon will not have many new mirrorless kenses out instantly so they are getting ready for this with PD lenses that will function like native lenses on the new mirrorless cameras
        They will also allow users to use these lenses on both systems without the pelicular mirror adapter that some people will not want to use

      • Robert Martinu

        The seperate PDAF works with a very narrow aperture paired with large sensor cells to get the sensitivity. Which means the sensor (almost) always sees two reasonably sharp image lines and can calculate the desired focus from them and send that request to the lens. The lens firmware does the work of actually getting there. Once there you might check again for a final measuremant, to account for various shifts, that little twitching when you’ve almost got proper focus.

        The mirrorless AF gets an image at the actual current aperture. Its much harder to make absolute calculations. You need a protocol that supports incremental adjustments and for good performance also variable step sizes – something never built into the firmware of older lenses. If you don’t want them to trip over unknown instructions you have to wrap your intent in a language they understand, and accept that the execution can take its time as the lens doesn’t understand that for example correcting overshoot to be right on spot isn’t neccessary or even desired.

        Remember Sigmas EF lenses sometimes stop working with newer EOS cameras? Canon has a more flexible protocol definition, they can add new commands by design, the lens will talk to the camera about its actual capabilities. Or just lock up if the electronics simply interprets the received data/sends generic responses without full understanding of the communication.
        The others have to account for their own legacy hardware.

  • Eloise

    “The newer AF-P lenses let you set certain settings from the camera’s menu system, such as VR (Vibration Reduction) and the AF/MF mode. Older lenses have switches on the lens barrel for turning VR on and off, as well as switching between manual focus mode and AF mode.”
    This isn’t entirely true as the non-DX 70-300 has switches for AF/MF and VR mode.

  • Douglas Saum

    Seriously? My D5 is only getting “limited functions”? Why?

    • Douglas Saum

      Not that I’m likely to purchase any of these lenses, but I presume they’ll make “good” ones eventually…

      • AuxFawkes

        The “limited” really isn’t all that limited. I think it just means your D5 won’t have a menu setting option to disable VR.

        • Eledeuh

          ..which is a “lens feature” that a typical D5 owner wouldn’t wish to see in their lenses anyway. So yeah.

          All in all, they’re limited on the VR front because they’re cheap consumer lenses, AFAIK it has nothing to do with AF-P in itself.

  • taildraggin

    Who cares, the whole set of costs less than $1000 and they are terrific. Great IQ, they weigh little and if you break one, it costs little to replace. A D3300/D3400 + 3 AF-Ps + 35/1.8 set is great, unfashionable, travel/hiking rig. I leave the big rig home much more often, now. (No, I don’t use DX lenses on FX…)

  • Amir

    Interesting indeed! D7200,unlike D5xxx,cannot work with that kind of lenses!

    • pedantic_brit

      My 70-300 AF-P DX VR works very nicely with my D7200 but the limitation is that VR is always on. Not a big deal to me for a very sharp, light travel zoom for $150 ( refurb on sale direct from Nikon USA) It is even better on my D850 when I don’t want to travel with my 80-400.

    • Someone

      It absolutely can.

      There are 2 caveats (thats why it is in “Limited compatibility” list):

      1. AF resets every time the metering (top screen) goes to sleep

      2. With DX version, there is no way to switch off VR (there is no physical switch on the lens and the camera has mo menu item for it)

      Otherwise, works fine.

    • doge

      Not true at all.

      My D5500 works flawlessly with my af-p 70-300 VR. and I can turn off VR via the menus.

  • Michael Turner

    Peter, B&H has a D7200 bundle with the 18-55p and 55-300p. I almost got it just cause why not have two extra lenses for cheap. Is an update expected for the D7200? Weird right?

  • lorenzo

    My eyes fell on that Silent and Swift ad above for the new 70-300mm.

    I had the old one and was happy, but convinced by the few great reviews I ordered one and instead I got a lemon. I returned to B&H 3 days later. Here is my review:

    A very sour… lemon.

    I bought this lens to replace my previous 70-300 mm only because I saw extremely good reviews but with my usual luck I might have gotten the only one defective in the whole batch.

    The lens, tested on a D7200 had the following issues:

    1. The VR on Normal made a click very loud and the image flickered like a reflection on water. Releasing the shutter the image flickered again.

    2. After taking a photo on a very close object the lens got completely stuck if pointed to a distant subject and vice versa. It took several attempts, pushing the shutter, before the lens moved and focused.

    3. Often the lens moved as if it found the focus but the image instead was completely out of focus. Nothing happened even if the shutter was pressed half way again.

    4. Often the manual focusing gear did not engage at all, so when the lens failed to focus it was not even possible to override it with the gear.

    I never had any problems with the old 70-300 mm and I really expected to find a great improvement in this one 🙁

    With a lot of sorrow and disappointment I had to return it and thank in advance B&H for a refund – but I do feel bad for them when Nikon should be responsible instead!!

    • Mr_Miyagi

      By “new 70-300mm” do you mean the FX lens? I was planning to buy one for my D7200 to replace the old version I’ve had for a long time, an upgrade Thom Hogan highly recommends doing.

      • Allen_Wentz

        The FX 70-300mm AF-P is a good lens and a great value at $750. I cannot speak to sample variation.

    • Allen_Wentz

      Sorry but your bad.

      Not fair to claim “lemon.” You tested it on a D7200 that Nikon describes as having the incompatibilities you report.

      • lorenzo

        Honestly I thought what you say after I already returned it but could not find a place that officially stated it.

        Yes, it was the FX version at $750 and I planned to use it on the D7200 that I carry in my hikes because it is lighter than the D500 and D810 that I also own. Too bad.

        I never suspected such incompatibility, so allow me to call it lemon ah ah ah.

        • Mr_Miyagi

          See the link above: “For more information, see the Nikon Lens Compatibility Chart.”

          There were various discussion threads on NR after the FX 70-300mm lens was announced regarding the incompatibilities that were flagged for the D7200 and other cameras. I cannot remember now precisely what they are, but I recall thinking at the time they were not of such a serious nature for the D7200 to deter me from buying the lens. The only reason I have not bought it by now is the anticipated announcement by Nikon of its new mirrorless camera. I want to see what they are offering in mirrorless before I invest more money in DSLR gear.

  • ランギ マコール

    It’s BS that cameras that are only a few years old (any on the “limited function” list) don’t get an update to be 100% compatible.

    • AuxFawkes

      It’s literally probably nothing more than adding the VR option to the settings menu. The lens still works just fine. A firmware update should be able to be added to disable/enable VR, otherwise VR is enabled by default.

  • mobilevil

    Nikon talked about continued firmware support for their cameras and at least D800 was included, but nothing came and now the news is gone. I can’t find it anywhere.

  • The info in this post is taken from Nikon directly, I did not make this up.

  • I looked at this post but I fail to see what is “false”.

    • MrPRD

      Well for example the quotes that you included say that the D750 can only be used with limited functions, however it is fully compatible with up to date firmware as mentioned in the article I attached. Your points also mention that the D610/600 are completely incompatible with AF-P lenses, however they are fully compatible with the proper firmware.

      There are quite a few other examples that are different between our 2 articles and if read closely, your faith in that 3 year old camera is restored because you can still use the new lenses to their full potential(apparently).

      I have a D750, but no af-p lenses so I can’t say first hand. But the article you were getting your information from, I believe is not detailed enough and can be misleading to someone who isn’t willing to look into it a little more.

  • saywhatuwill

    This is what’s wrong with the F-mount. Not every lens works with every camera. Nikon touted that you could use every single F-mount lens on all cameras and for the most part they’re right, but if you want certain features, well, you’re out of luck. I was always grateful that my old Ai-S lenses worked with my D700/D810, but not all features are active. Then there’s the newer lenses that won’t even work with my D700 (see the AF-P). It’ll mount okay, it just won’t work.

    I always thought Nikon should just pull the band-aid and change the darn mount like what Canon did with the FD to EF.

  • Eric Duminil

    So what happens if you mount an AF-P on an incompatible model (let’s say D700). Doesn’t it focus? Doesn’t it have VR? Can’t you adjust the aperture?

    • No focus. But three of these are already crop frame, and so sub-optimal on the D700. The last one ought not be a deal breaker.

    • Kim

      On incompatible cameras you wont be able to focus the lens at all! Even manual focus doesn’t work because the focus-ring is not coupled mechanically to the lenses, but is only a “knob” for electronic fokus.

  • Well that’s a whole lot of nothing…not missing out on any lenses there!

  • Kim

    Nikon should make new firmware for ALL cameras that CAN be compatible with these lenses! (I can’t see any mechanical differenses on the mounts and contacts on my compatible D3300 and my incompatible D40, so in theory a firmware upgrade should be enough)…
    They would sell a lot more lenses then!

  • The 70-300 AF-P I tested in October just worked fine with the D800E on recent firmware, with good VR on all apertures and shutter speeds, focusing well. It’s a great lens btw, reaching 70-200/2.8 VRII level sharpness. I’ll ask Nikon why they say it isn’t compatible later.

  • jmb2560

    Another reason to use IBIS instead of lens-based image stabilization…

  • Jason Joyce

    On my D750 with 1.12 and the 10-20 mounted, I cannot find anywhere to turn off VR. It did solve the issue with the focus point moving.

    • So this is probably why they said limited compatibility.

  • Duncan Dimanche

    I wonder if this new system is the next generation of lens to be compatible with Nikon’s upcoming Mirrorless ? With an adapter that is

  • Cinematism

    What are those limitations on Nikon D750?

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