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Which Nikon lens is better AF-S or AF-P?

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Which Nikon lens is better AF-S or AF-P? There a lot of questions from our readers and they want to know which Nikon lens is actually better? To get a lens with AF-S designation or a lens with AF-P designation.

First let us understand what is AF-P. It is a lens with a stepping motor which allows faster and quieter auto focus which is advantageous for video and also in quiet shooting conditions. Nikon is slowly introducing this tech in it’s new lenses. In terms of autofocus motors it is like Canon STM lenses with stepping motor.

As AF-P lenses incorporate a stepping motor, the number of compatible cameras is limited. For compatible cameras, a firmware update may be required. AF-S and AF-P refer to the two types of autofocus systems used in Nikon SLR/Digital SLR cameras. Let’s find out the differences of this two designation.

What is Nikon AF-P Lenses? Which one to choose AF-S or AF-P?

“AF-P” lenses that achieve fast and quiet AF with adoption of a stepping motor for AF drive operation. AF-P is the designation used to distinguish these new lenses from Nikon’s existing AF-S models. The only difference between the new AF-P models is that the cheaper lens does not have Nikon’s VR image stabilization system.

AF-S is universal, as it refers to the silent wave focusing system, and should work with all autofocus capable cameras. AF-P requires a camera which provides camera body powered focusing, which is only in the higher end Nikons, like the D7100/D7200.

The following lenses are available with AF-P motors:

  1. AF-P DX Nikkor 70–300mm f/4.5–6.3G ED VR
  2. AF-P DX Nikkor 70–300mm f/4.5–6.3G ED (without VR)
  3. AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
  4. AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G (without VR)
  5. AF-P DX NIKKOR 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

Please read the following links also and check if your camera is compatible with AF-P lenses.

Nikon AF-P Lens Compatibility

1. Cameras that are fully compatible cameras with AF-P lenses

  • D850, D500, D3400, D5600 and D7500.

The following cameras are also fully compatible with AF-P lenses when the firmware is updated to the following versions:

Restriction for D5300 and D3300 only

As D5300 and D3300 firmware updates do not include the “Manual focus ring in AF mode” Custom Setting included with the D5500 firmware update, the focus ring can always be used for manual focus when the camera is in autofocus mode.

2. Cameras that are compatible with AF-P lenses (restrictions apply)

  • D4, D4S, D3, D3X, D3S, Df, D300, D300S, D700, D800, D800E, D810, D810A, D5200, D7000, D7100, D7200.

Check out the latest update here.

These restrictions apply only when the following lenses and cameras are matched:

  • AF-P DX-format lenses when used with D810A, D810, Df, D7200, D7100, D5200.
  • AF-P FX-format lenses when used with D4, D4S, D3, D3X, D3S, D810A, D810, D800, D800E, Df, D700, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5200, D300, D300S.
  • Cameras do not offer the “Manual focus ring in AF mode” Custom Setting for enabling/disabling focus ring operation in autofocus mode.
  • As the lens does not have a VR switch, its built-in vibration reduction function cannot be disabled. (AF-P lens for DX format)
  • If the standby timer is allowed to expire, the focus position will change when the timer is restarted, requiring refocusing. Focus is initialized (reset to infinity) when the standby timer is allowed to expire (camera enters sleep mode) and is then started (camera recovers from sleep mode) by pressing the shutter-release button halfway or operating a button. Specifying longer standby times is recommended for manual focus photography (remote photography, fixed photography using a tripod, interval timer photography, etc.) and in other situations in which the shutter may not be released immediately after focusing.
  • If the camera is turned on with the lens retracted, the camera will display a “Lens not attached” message, “F–“, “△F”, or other warnings. (AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR ,AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G )